They say you have to learn the rules before you break them. But is it ever possible to break them just a little bit while you learn them? Case in point: gingerbread men.
I haven't made enough of them to feel comfortable messing with the classic recipe but wanted to have a little fun with this batch nonetheless. The solution? Using a classic recipe—in this case, from Betty Crocker's Cooky Book—but decorating them as Gingerbread Mad Men, inspired by the characters in the AMC series.
Note: I am pretty much obsessed with Mad Men (I blame my friend Julie). I only discovered it about a month ago and actually am not caught up to the end of Season 3 yet, so please, no spoilers!
You can check out the full entry -- plus the recipe I used -- on Serious Eats!
Entries in serious eats (119)
What do black and white cookies wear to holiday parties? Festive red and green frosting, of course! This fun take on the classic New York treat starts with the classic cakey drop cookie, but instead of the traditional fondant, I went for a more rich (and in my opinion, more delicious!) combo of colored buttercreams for the top. This was also a great choice because Challenge Dairy was kind enough to send me a bunch of coupons for free butter to bake with (say what you will, but I will always accept candy from strangers and free butter)! They were intended for a party, but they didn't last long enough!
The recipe can also be found on my latest entry for Serious Eats!
Red and Green Christmas Cookies
- makes 8 to 12 cookies, depending on size -
For the cookies:
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/3 cup well-shaken buttermilk
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/3 cup (5 1/3 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter--I used Challenge Dairy's unsalted butter
- 2 cups confectioners' sugar (you may not use all of it)
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
- red and green food coloring
- Make the cookies. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt in a bowl; in a separate small bowl, stir together buttermilk and vanilla.
- Beat together butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes, then add egg, beating until combined well. Mix in flour mixture and buttermilk mixture alternately in batches at low speed (scraping down side of bowl occasionally), beginning and ending with flour mixture. Mix until smooth (the texture is somewhere between cake batter and drop cookie batter).
- Using a cookie or ice cream scoop, put mounds of batter about 3 inches apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet. If you use a cookie scoop, you will probably get about 12 medium-sized cookies; if you use an ice cream scoop, which is generally a bit bigger, you will get about 8 big cookies. Bake in middle of oven until tops are puffed and pale golden, and cookies spring back when touched, 15 to 17 minutes. Transfer with a metal spatula to a rack and let cool until they are room temperature.
- While the cookies cool, make the frosting. In an electric mixer, cream the butter, adding the vanilla, and then the confectioners' sugar, bit by bit, until it has reached your desired consistency. Separate your frosting into two separate dishes. Combine the frosting in each dish with food coloring (I used about 10 drops of green and 10 drops of red for strong, vibrant colors) until fully combined.
- To frost, first turn the cookies over—you will actually frost the flat bottom side. Frost the cookies one side at a time. I found that I could get a sharper line down the middle if I started frosting from the outside in, finishing with a stroke down the center. When adding the second color of frosting, the key is to make sure you frost the part where the two colors touch last, frosting the dividing line in one smooth stroke (no backtracking or you will drag the other color of frosting back with you!).
- Serve immediately; store at room temperature in an airtight container. I found that these tasted best either the day made or the next day.
For this week's pie entry on Serious Eats, I bravely took on the task of testing out different ways of combining these classic pie recipes: in one pie, I layered the fillings one on top of the other; in another, I mixed all of the fillings together into one sweet slurry; and in the final (and--spoiler--best tasting) one I baked them in individual compartments. As it turns out, the peace-sign pie tasted the best. So why bother going to the trouble of baking them together? While baking in the same pie crust, each flavor gets a boost from being baked with the others--it lends a certain je ne sais quoi to the pie.
Check out the full experiment, plus recipe, here.
Easy as pie? No, these cookie turkeys are even easier! I actually came across this recipe when I was assigned to illustrate it for a Taste of Home coloring book, and was so smitten that I had to test it out for my weekly entry on Serious Eats. They're not only simple but pretty delicious (in an admittedly guilty-pleasure sort of way) too!
Check out the recipe here.
The problem with sweet potato pie? While it's delicious, after consuming all of the mashed potatoes and stuffing at dinner, it often equals starch overload. Luckily, the Sweet Potato Tarte Tatin from the newly published cookbook DamGoodSweet: Desserts to Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth, New Orleans Style by David Guas and Raquel Pelzel provides the perfect solution: it starts with slivered sweet potatoes—just enough to provide flavor without becoming a starchy bulk—then pairs them with a thick, rich caramel sauce and buttery puff pastry, all of which is combined, baked upside down, then flipped post-baking for a sophisticated and (especially when topped with a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream) supremely satisfying dessert.
Oh, and it's fantastic for breakfast the next day, too!
You can check out the full recipe that I posted over at Serious Eats!
Confession: I get a little thrill every year when Starbucks rolls out their holiday menu, that sugar bomb-laden collection of eggnog and gingerbread lattes, frosted sugar cookies...and especially the Cranberry Bliss Bar. Don't get confused by the fact that "cranberry" is in the title--these are very much the opposite of health food.
And this week for my entry over at Serious Eats, I tried a homemade version which I adapted from the Mr. Breakfast website. While the bars don't taste exactly like the 'bucks version, they are very good: dense, moist cake studded with tart cranberries and sweet white chocolate, and a veritable winter wonderland of cream cheese frosting and white chocolate drizzled on top. So sweet, they're bound to bring on a holidaze.
You can check out the full recipe on Serious Eats.
Have you ever heard of Osgood Pie? Didn't think so. Actually neither had I, until I discovered it via Not Martha!
While the pie, which is in the tradition of old-time vinegar and chess pies, doesn't necessarily sound like the most appetizing dessert--it's comprised of eggs, sugar, vinegar, and raisins--I was nonetheless intrigued, and I tried to modernize it a bit for my latest contribution to Serious Eats by swapping raisins for cherries and adding some almonds for an added texture and flavor contrast.
If I do say so myself, it turned out pretty tasty--once you've wrapped your mind around the vinegar pie idea, that is. You can check out the entire post and recipe, as well as more Osgood Pie lore, over at Serious Eats!
Poor Halloween candy. Just a few days ago it was the star of the supermarket aisle, the festive treat on everyone's mind. But now, just two days later, these sweet treats are Halloween has-beens, relegated to sale bins, withering away in candy dishes.
This pie was the subject of my weekly sweet writeup over at Serious Eats--why not click over and check out the full post plus recipe?
Candy corn topping, of course.
For this week's entry on Serious Eats, I decked out the decadent Canadian treat with a sweet Halloween topping, swapping out the typical chocolate topping for melted candy corn. The result is a treat that is unforgivingly sweet and unabashedly rich: that is to say, completely awesome.