Back in July when we hosted “take your kids to work day” in Food Network’s offices, our editors were already in planning mode for the holidays. For a fun activity with our group of 8- to 12-year-old visitors, we printed blown-up images of some of FoodNetwork.com’s top cookie recipes and asked the kids to vote for their favorites. Sugar cookies were the overall crowd favorite, but chocolatey cookies like Bobby’s Triple-Chocolate Cookies also ranked high for the kids. This prompted one young future food editor to comment: “You should have chocolate sugar cookies!” We loved the idea and promised we’d run with it.
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While Christmas dinner may be the centerpiece meal in most homes come next week’s holiday, brunch isn’t to be forgotten, as it’s often quicker and simpler to prepare than supper, even if you’re cooking for guests. This year, whether you’ll be hosting a crowd on Christmas morning or simply unwrapping presents with your family, enjoy a spread of sweet and savory brunch picks, like crispy peppered bacon, Alton’s golden-brown French toast and Ina’s indulgent bread pudding. Check out Food Network’s top-five Christmas brunch picks below to find these recipes and more to complete your holiday celebration.
5. Breakfast Casserole — Filled with all of your favorite breakfast components — bread, eggs, sausage, potatoes and gooey cheese — this big-batch casserole can be assembled the night before and baked when you’re ready to enjoy it on Christmas morning.
4. Maple-Pepper Bacon — No matter what else you’re serving at brunch, be sure to round out the meal with a batch of Food Network Magazine’s crispy bacon, baked instead of fried, with a sweet and savory topping of maple syrup and pepper.
Whether it’s enjoying Grandma’s sprinkles-dusted sugar cookies and marshmallow-studded hot cocoa by her fireplace, singing along with your favorite carols in the car, or curling up on the couch and watching timeless Christmas movies, holiday rituals are an essential part of the season. For many, the celebration simply wouldn’t be complete without certain traditions. Just in time for the upcoming holidays, FN Dish sat down with Iron Chef Michael Symon during a recent trip to Atlantic City’s Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa to find out how he celebrates the season. Although much of his work takes him to New York City, he’ll be celebrating in his hometown of Cleveland this year, and when it comes to his seasonal sipper of choice, he’ll reach for rich hot cocoa over eggnog any day. Read on below to hear from Michael and learn more of his holiday must-haves.
Hot cocoa or eggnog: Hot cocoa
Gingerbread or sugar cookies: Gingerbread
The movie Christmas Vacation or Elf: Christmas Vacation
With the constant flurry of tree trimming, gift wrapping and cookie swapping going on this month, the added task of preparing a big holiday dinner can quickly become overwhelming. Take some of the stress out of the season with the help of these easy appetizers that take just 10 minutes to prepare or assemble. Start off with Food Network Magazine’s colorful Walnut-Pepper Spread, which balances earthy toasted walnuts and roasted red peppers with honey and a pinch of red pepper flakes for subtly sweet heat. As an added holiday bonus, this dip can even be made a day in advance and refrigerated.
Trade your traditional holiday lights for a fun food-themed strand. Go for a sweet look with gumdrop string lights ($30 for 25 feet; holidayprojectors.com) or peppermint candy lights ($20 for 11 feet; lightsforalloccasions.com). Or if your family hides a pickle ornament in the tree every year (a quirky tradition in which the kid who finds the pickle gets an extra present), change the game with a strand of pickle string lights ($8 for 11 feet; thewirelesscatalog.com).
(Photograph by Kang Kim)
Whether it’s a small family gathering, an open-house cocktail party or a dressed-up sit-down dinner, entertaining during the holiday season can be daunting for even the most-prepared host. That’s why it’s often a good idea to surprise the party-thrower with a small gift as a token of appreciation for his or her hospitality and generosity. Some resort to bringing candles, picture frames or other household trinkets, but deciding what matches the host’s style and taste can be tricky, which is why Giada opts for edible gifts.
Giada recently shared a few go-to edible gift ideas that are sure to impress your hosts this holiday, as they include some of her favorite seasonal recipes. Instead of elaborate dishes that might take up valuable refrigerator or oven space at the host’s home, Giada prepares simple cookies and cocktails that are both easy to transport and simple to store once given. The key to her gifts is in the packaging: She makes the goodies extra-special by stashing them in see-through containers and adorning them with colorful bows.
Whether it be staying true to the Southern food she grew up eating or every year bringing the same dish to her family’s Thanksgiving dinner, Damaris Phillips is all about tradition, and there’s perhaps no more important time for tradition than the holidays. For Damaris, this season of celebration means just a few things — family, food and love — and that hasn’t changed since she was a young girl growing up with her five siblings in Louisville, Ky. Just in time for Christmas, FN Dish sat down with Damaris in Louisville to find out more about what the holidays looked like for her when she was a child and to chat about how she celebrates today. Read on below to hear from Damaris and to learn the must-have item at her Christmas dinner, her favorite holiday song and movie, and her sweet alternative to eggnog.
How did you celebrate the holidays growing up?
Damaris Phillips: With my family. There’s a bunch of siblings and so we’d would go downstairs in the morning. We’d wake my parents up. My mom would make, like, quiche or cinnamon rolls or something, and we’d go downstairs and there was always, like, bags of our presents. Our parents were really good at, like, not wrapping Santa presents, so if there was, like, a bicycle, there’d be just a bicycle there waiting for you. And then we would hang out and play with toys — and eat lots of food. I mean, just exactly like you think of Christmas …. It used to be the whole world went still and it was just a time to hang out with your family. So thankfully I had all those siblings, so it was always fun, and we were playing with new toys and probably driving my parents bonkers, but it was awesome.
Whether you’re a novice in the kitchen or a culinary pro, you can never have enough cookbooks—especially during the holidays. Find inspiration for your next holiday feast, weeknight dinner and more with our favorite cookbooks from the last year.
There’s nothing more snuggly than sitting around with warm mugs of goodness this time of year. And if you’re not into a massive sugar crash after they’ve gulped down hot chocolate, look no further than your favorite summer smoothie for inspiration.
We recently discovered the joys of warm flavored milk at our house, and here’s the great thing: Anything works. Frozen strawberries plus milk and a zap in the microwave? Sweet and yummy. Peanut butter and banana? Thick, creamy and wonderful. We’re doing frozen peaches with milk next time, plus a pinch of cinnamon. Sounds a lot like pie, without all that pesky crust.
Struffoli is a classic Neapolitan Christmas dessert that is traditionally made up of fried balls of dough tossed with honey. Giada’s struffoli recipe reveals a De Laurentiis family secret: Use 2/3 fried dough balls and 1/3 hazelnuts so each bite is a surprise.
Start by making the dough in a food processor, using lemon zest and orange zest to help make the dessert crisper and lighter. Add butter at room temperature so that it mixes into the flour really well. The consistency will be a bit chunky before the addition of 3 eggs, a teaspoon vanilla extract and a tablespoon dry white wine. Mix it together until you can scoop out the dough.
After refrigerating the dough for 30 minutes, cut it into sections and then pieces. Roll each piece of dough into a small ball about the size of a hazelnut, then fry until lightly golden. To make the sauce, bring honey, sugar and lemon juice to a boil and cook until the sugar is dissolved. Remove the pan from the heat. Add the fried dough and hazelnuts and stir until coated in the honey mixture.