Spread Holiday Cheer with These 7 Edible Homemade Gifts

by in Holidays, Recipes, December 4th, 2015

Quick and Easy Peppermint FudgeWe’ve all been there: You can’t seem to track down the perfect gifts for those last few people on your holiday shopping list, so you do the inevitable and resort to a series of gift cards. Are they still thoughtful gifts? Absolutely. But perhaps they’re just not ideal for the holidays, right? This year, skip the hours spent combing the aisles for that just-right present and ditch the gift-card game once and for all; what your friends and family will surely appreciate is an edible homemade gift full of holiday cheer. No matter whom you’re shopping for — the chocoholics, the caramel mavens, the drink connoisseur — there’s indeed a treat for everyone on your “nice” list in this ultimate collection of edible delights.

Quick and Easy Peppermint Fudge
It takes only a few pantry ingredients to make The Pioneer Woman’s fuss-free fudge, which she sprinkles with crushed peppermint candies for flavor and seasonal flair.

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What to Watch: Duff Goldman on The Kitchen, and Christmas at Bobby’s

by in Shows, December 4th, 2015

nullHoliday prep is in full swing, and this weekend all of your favorite chefs have new ways to make the season more enjoyable than ever. First up on Saturday, Ree Drummond is making lots of different Christmas goodies to give away as gifts. After that, Nancy Fuller is hosting Christmas Eve and serving Crown Roast of Pork with Chestnut Sausage Stuffing and after-dinner Ice Cream Eggnog for the adults. Next, Duff Goldman stops by The Kitchen to demonstrate how to become a pro at making gingerbread cookies. Then, Patricia Heaton is whipping up Shepherd’s Pie and Popovers with Roast Beef and Horseradish, followed by Valerie Bertinelli hosting a holiday buffet stocked with Lasagna alla Besciamella and a very special cocktail.

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Marcela Valladolid’s White Chocolate-Apricot-Oatmeal Cookies — 12 Days of Cookies

by in Holidays, December 4th, 2015

12 Days of CookiesIt’s time for 12 Days of Cookies, Food Network’s annual virtual cookie swap. Each day, visit us here on FN Dish for a peek at new holiday cookies, party-planning tips and top techniques from your favorite Food Network chefs for rolling, spooning, slicing, baking and decorating delicious sweet treats to give — or keep.

Marcela Valladolid puts a seasonal twist on oatmeal cookies by swapping classic raisins for two ingredients you’ll find in abundance in the baking aisle at this time of year: white chocolate chips and dried apricots. “My mom loved white chocolate and apricots, so I decided to develop a recipe for the holidays that reminded me of her when she passed. It is one of those recipes that is very comforting,” says The Kitchen co-host. Laced with cinnamon and brown sugar, these cookies are sure to be a hit — especially with guests who prefer a subtle cookie to a heavily frosted concoction.

Get Marcela’s White Chocolate-Apricot-Oatmeal Cookies recipe, and check out 12 Days of Cookies for dozens more recipes and holiday baking inspiration. Then, join the conversation: Tell us what you’re baking this season and what your all-time favorite cookie is.

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Restaurant Ambush Revisited: Facing Fears at Cape Horn Family Restaurant

by in Shows, December 3rd, 2015

Robert Irvine on Restaurant: ImpossibleThough Joni Kauffman, the owner of Cape Horn Family Restaurant, did not know that Robert Irvine was about to ambush her, her husband, Barry, was indeed aware of the surprise. Barry reached out to Robert and his Restaurant: Impossible team for help to rescue the failing Red Lion, Pa., eatery. With the help of some revealing hidden cameras staged around Joni’s business, Robert was able to see that perhaps the greatest problem plaguing Cape Horn was in fact Joni herself. He ultimately worked with her to improve her management skills and help her realize what she needed to do to guarantee both her personal and professional success. Read on below to hear from Joni to find out how her business is faring a few months after its Restaurant: Impossible transformation.

“Robert Irvine has taught me so much in such a short time,” Joni explains of Robert’s impact on her. “I have come to realize that I cannot and will not let my staff disrespect me or my expectations of them.”

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The Hottest Thing in Cocktails? Room-Temperature Drinks

by in Drinks, News, December 3rd, 2015

The Hottest Thing in Cocktails? Room-Temperature DrinksThe trend pendulum swings — first toward one extreme, and then toward the other. At least that’s true when it comes to what’s cool in cocktails.

One minute bar culture is all about fancy ice cubes — “premium ice,” they call it. “As with diamonds, cocktail ice is judged by its clarity, density, size and cut, all of which add to the quality and aesthetics of the experience,” Christopher Jones wrote a few months ago in a Wired.com piece looking at the “obsessive world of artisanal cocktail ice.”

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Have Yourself a Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie — Holiday Baking Championship [INFOGRAPHIC]

by in Holidays, Shows, December 3rd, 2015

Have Yourself a Perfect Chocolate Chip CookieCheck out this step-by-step guide to learn how to make the best chocolate chip cookies.

Spike It: Boozy Eggnog Sugar Cookie Shake

by in Drinks, Holidays, December 3rd, 2015

Spike It: Boozy Eggnog Sugar Cookie ShakeAny other eggnog fans out there? The creamy texture and interesting flavor tend to leave people either loving or loathing the holiday beverage. But! I happen to fall on the eggnog-lover side of things. Shocking, I know. My adoration for the drink goes so, so far back. Every Christmas my gram used to make her annual trip to our home with her infamous pumpkin rolls and loaves of fruitcake delicately bagged and tucked in her luggage. The day Gram came was one I looked forward to … basically from the day she boarded her flight back home.

According to my sweet gram, any and all desserts during the month of December could not be consumed without a glass of eggnog. My perfect equation was a thick slice of pumpkin roll and a cup of eggnog with a sprinkle of freshly grated nutmeg. This was quintessentially holiday season for me. Occasionally, I’d swap out one of her perfect sugar cookies and dip it in the nog.

Now here I am, many years later, continuing Gram’s tradition of enjoying my holiday treats with a glass of eggnog. What’s even better: making a boozy holiday dessert cocktail with it. Take your favorite eggnog, blend with some sugar cookies (I used this recipe, but feel free to use your favorite!) and bourbon. I think my gram would be awfully proud.

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5 One-Bite Wonders You Need at Your Holiday Party — Fall Fest

by in Holidays, Recipes, December 3rd, 2015

One-Bite Baked Brie with Grape-Pecan CompoteWhile decking the halls and tearing open gifts are one person’s way of spreading holiday cheer, serving friends and family festive food is another’s. But when guests are juggling their mulled cider in one hand and a loaded plate in the other as they’re schmoozing their way through a holiday party, who has room for a fork and knife? If you’re welcoming guests this season, stay away from unwieldy appetizers in favor of these one-bite, hand-held appetizers that are showstoppingly elegant.

Sure, you could bake a triangle of Brie until it oozes and melts after some time in the oven, but trust us when we say this recipe is an easier, smarter approach. Instead of wrapping the whole wedge in flaky phyllo dough, serve One-Bite Baked Brie with Grape-Pecan Compote in phyllo cups for a modern, mini presentation that’s easier for you to make and easier for your guests to eat.

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Go Behind the Scenes: It’s Bananas in Food Network Kitchen

by in Behind the Scenes, December 3rd, 2015

Go Behind the Scenes: It’s Bananas in Food Network KitchenI wish you could actually smell the photos here. We had nearly 700 speckled bananas in the Food Network Kitchen walk-in just a couple of weeks ago, and their intense perfume almost knocked my socks off. They were that perfect kind of ripe, ideal for banana bread (which these guys were destined for). Culinary Purchasing Manager Jacob Schiffman had ordered about 100 unripe bunches nearly a week before and had patiently let them ripen at room temperature. But measuring out the ingredients for 200 loaves of banana bread, for a special event, takes time, so to keep them from overripening he moved the bananas into the cold to slow down the process.

Jacob also shared a great tip for keeping your bananas from ripening too fast: Break them apart as soon as you get them home, since a single banana can ripen the whole bunch (he’s got a million handy produce tips like this). And unless you’re planning on making banana bread, it’s a great tip for getting more life out of your fruit.

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4 Hands Are (Maybe) Better Than 2 — Alton’s Superstar Sabotage After-Show

by in Shows, December 3rd, 2015

It was a finale of evilicious proportions last night when the top-four chefs took their places in the Cutthroat Kitchen: Superstar Sabotage arena for the fifth and final face-off. Fabio Viviani ultimately claimed the win after several downright diabolical sabotages, but it was Richard Blais who landed what was perhaps the most “hands-off” challenge of the battle. In the Round 3 dessert test, a Bob lent Richard a hand — or rather, both of his hands — which acted as Richard’s own while the Bob finished the round behind him. And in keeping with After-Show tradition, of course, it was only a matter of time before Alton Brown and Simon Majumdar, the judge of the day, tried their hands at this sinister setup.

Simon opted to prepare a cranachan, a layered trifle-like dessert spiked with whiskey, though of course it was Alton who’d be doing the actual prepping with verbal cues from Simon. While the situation started out efficiently enough, with Alton following Simon’s commands and executing each step gently, it indeed didn’t end that way, as Alton could hardly see his moves before him. “Not even close!” Simon said as Alton struggled to pour a glug of brandy into the glass. What resulted was a finished dessert, but also a messy prep station, a messy Alton and a messy Simon.

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