All Posts In Holidays

Go for the Gold: How to Make Gold-Leaf Brownies for New Year’s

by in Food Network Magazine, Holidays, December 27th, 2011

Gold Leaf BrowniesWe’re not in the business of doling out financial advice, but we hear gold is up in value — all the more reason to buy some for your next batch of brownies. Get a booklet of “transfer” edible gold leaf (about $40 for 15 three-inch-square sheets; lagoldleaf.com), then brush the top of already-baked brownies with warm honey and, starting in one corner, place a sheet gold side down on top. Gently rub the paper until the gold transfers onto the brownies. An 8-inch-square pan takes about $14 worth of leaf — a downright bargain for a gift of gold.

Easy Homemade Gifts — Really!

by in Family, Holidays, December 23rd, 2011

Easy Homemade Gifts
This week is like the holiday Olympics for moms, jam-packed with recitals, school parties and hours of gift-wrapping. Homemade gifts have always been my favorite to give, and they’re the ones that friends and family talk about for years to come. In the past, spending hours squirreled away in the kitchen wasn’t an issue, but life is quite different these days.

As my daughters grow, homework duties increased, and the list of recipients grew longer, I started re-thinking my homemade gift-giving strategy. I didn’t want to give up on the idea of hand-decorated cookies, but I began to realize I was in need of a compromise. Rather than start crossing names off my “nice” list, I decided to put friends, family and even my girls’ teachers in charge of the final product.

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Lamb Ragu With Mint — The Weekender

by in Holidays, Recipes, December 23rd, 2011


One of the basic truths of cooking is that there are as many pasta sauces out there in the world as there are home cooks. I grew up eating my mom’s long-simmered sauce that was bursting with zucchini, peppers, mushrooms, tomatoes and onions. My husband grew up eating a more basic marinara, studded with rounds of sausage (my younger self would have been very jealous that he got to avoid so many of the veggies).

These days my sauces tend to shift with the seasons. During the summer I like to prep an uncooked sauce of chopped tomatoes, torn basil, olive oil and salt. But as the days get shorter, I opt for thicker, heartier ingredients that have the ability to warm the kitchen and keep bellies satisfied.

With the holidays looming and houseguests streaming into town, a pot of filling pasta sauce is just the thing to make those big family dinners a bit easier. Right now my go-to recipe is one from Giada De Laurentiis for Lamb Ragu With Mint.

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Quick Christmas Morning Brunch Menu

by in Holidays, Recipes, December 23rd, 2011

It’s Christmas morning: There are a few half-eaten cookies and an empty glass on the table next to the tree, the kids are ripping open presents and Dad has been videotaping the entire event for hours. This is surely not the moment to worry about what to serve for breakfast. This year, instead of resorting to cereal and cocoa (though there’s nothing wrong with either!), serve a simple brunch featuring hearty dishes that are ready in 30 minutes or less and will leave the family full until dinnertime.

What better way to spread Christmas cheer than with Food Network Magazine’s light and fluffy Almost-Famous Cheesecake Pancakes (pictured above). Chunks of creamy cheesecake are incorporated into a classic pancake batter and each flapjack is cooked until golden brown and topped with a sweet strawberry sauce, featuring fresh berries and strawberry jam. Top each stack with a dollop of whipped cream — because it is Christmas, after all, and New Year’s diets don’t start for another week.

More Christmas morning brunch recipes »

Best 5 Christmas Recipes

by in Holidays, Recipes, December 23rd, 2011

Old-Fashioned HamThis Christmas, serve up a little holiday cheer in the form of crowd-pleasing recipes the whole family will enjoy. We’ve complied Food Network’s top five Christmas recipes below; prepare them all for a weekend’s worth of festive favorites and holiday classics.

5. White Chocolate Holiday Bark — Dried cranberries and pistachio nuts add color and texture to this sweet snack, perfect to give as a last-minute gift.

4. Baked French Toast Casserole With Maple Syrup — Prepare Paula’s indulgent casserole the night before and bake on Christmas morning for an easy brunch favorite.

Get the top three recipes »

A Holiday Surprise Cake

by in Holidays, How-to, December 22nd, 2011


I don’t know about you, but I love to make people happy. I strive for that moment in presentation when you hear an audible gasp of delight and surprise.

If I could, I would spend hours in the kitchen slaving away over a special dessert, but I can’t. And I am betting your time is valuable as well.

So that is why I could not be more excited to share this cake with you. It takes less than an hour to assemble, including prep. This stunning cake is so easy to make, but it can make a huge impact on your family and friends. They will be talking about it for years to come.

Let’s put it this way, if you can play with Play-Doh, you can make this cake.

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Alex Makes: Skillet Potato Cake

by in Holidays, Recipes, December 21st, 2011


The skillet potato cake is a lot like a potato gratin and, in my opinion, easier than making a lot of individual latkes. It has tremendous flavor and goes really well with other lighter dishes that adorn your holiday table. Let’s face it: Who doesn’t love a scoop of some kind of potatoes this time of year? I love to give people what they want. Last week, while I was cooking at my restaurant, we were making various sauces for pasta and all I could think of was a simple tomato sauce. This potato cake serves the same purpose.

Get Alex’s Skillet Potato Cake recipe »

Best 5 Hanukkah Recipes

by in Holidays, Recipes, December 20th, 2011


No menorah lighting is complete without a few snacks to mark the occasion. This year, switch up tradition and try our top five Hanukkah recipes below. Each is quick and easy to make and boasts classic holiday tastes.

5. Apple Cider Doughnuts — A pureed red apple-apple cider mixture gives these doughnuts their sweet, seasonal flavor, while a cider glaze and cinnamon-sugar topping adds extra decadence and decoration.

4. Challah Crowns — This dense but light egg bread is scented with warm honey, sprinkled with poppy seeds and baked until the crust achieves a glossy, golden hue.

Get the top three recipes »

Overnight Cinnamon Rolls — The Weekender

by in Holidays, Recipes, December 16th, 2011

Alton Brown's Overnight Cinnamon Rolls
I come from a family with a well-established set of holiday traditions. We make cranberry bread at least once in December, we light candles and make wishes for the coming year on Christmas Eve and on Christmas morning, we always have the same breakfast. It’s been this way as long as I can remember and I have absolutely no wish to change things. I value the feeling of comfort and holiday continuity that it offers.

Once the turkey is stuffed and in the oven, I fry eggs so that the whites are cooked and the yolks are still runny. My sister cooks up a packet of turkey bacon and my mom warms up the baked good. The baked good is the only place where there’s variability in this menu (what can I say, we like consistency). Sometimes there are homemade scones, other years, toasted slices of panettone. One year, I tried my hand at from-scratch bear claws. Sadly, they were not my best work.

Throughout the year, I test recipes in search of the right Christmas morning baked good. This year, I’m leaning strongly in the direction of Alton Brown’s Overnight Cinnamon Rolls. They might seem like a lot of effort, but really, they come together quickly. And as the recipe title implies, they can be almost entirely prepped the night before, meaning that you just have to sneak them into the oven on Christmas morning for a fun holiday morning treat.

Before you start rolling your dough, read these tips »

How to Make Challah

by in Holidays, Recipes, December 16th, 2011


Whether you’re prepping for Hanukkah or just looking to spruce up the bread basket at your holiday dinner, challah is a versatile, easy-to-make bread that is sure to impress your guests. Often made with silky honey or dried fruit, this light but dense loaf gets its consistency from several rich egg yolks. Take a look below at how Food Network Kitchens fashions Challah Crowns (pictured above), a unique twist on traditional bread braids.

More step-by-step photos and recipes »