Tiramisu is Italian for “pick-me-up.” It’s made with ladyfingers dipped in espresso that are then layered with a whipped mascarpone mixture and topped with chocolate shavings. Giada’s version will make enough for you, your sweetie and then some.
Whether it’s an after-school snack or a silky spoonful of dessert, vanilla pudding is always a sentimental treat that can instantly channel the flavors of childhood. To re-create this creamy comfort food from scratch, toss out the powdery boxed mix and whip up Food Network Kitchen’s old-fashioned Vanilla Pudding recipe that tastes just like Mom’s used to. Once you’ve whisked together this sweet bowl full of nostalgia, start experimenting with mix-ins to give your pudding a modern twist. From crushed cookies to ice cream-inspired candy combos, these imaginative additions only enhance the basic pudding, allowing the classic flavor to shine through.
Rocky Road Pudding: You won’t have to worry about this bowl of rocky road melting: Vanilla pudding stands in for the ice cream scoop but delivers the same classic flavors when mixed with semisweet chocolate chips, toasted walnuts and miniature marshmallows.
I spent most of last week in Austin hanging out with my sister and her family. It was a trip I planned months ago, for no other reason than to see their new house and get a chance to spend many days playing trains with my 2-year-old nephew, Emmett.
One of Emmett’s favorite things to do is to pretend to make food (pizza and soup are two of his regulars). Because of that, I thought it would be fun to do a real food project with him. To maintain my sanity, I went in search of a no-bake cookie recipe and came up with Trisha Yearwood’s Chocolate Pretzel Peanut Butter Squares.
You start by crushing up enough pretzels to make two cups of crumbs. I put them in a big zip-top bag and told Emmett to break them. He put the bag on the floor and jumped up and down on it. He enjoyed it greatly and it worked perfectly. Once they’re crushed, stir in melted butter, powdered sugar and peanut butter until fairly well integrated. I got it started so that the sugar wouldn’t explode everywhere and then let Emmett help with the stirring.
When that base layer is fully combined, pat it into a baking pan. This is another opportunity for a kiddo to help. I put a sheet of aluminum foil down and had him help me push it flat.
The first Thanksgiving I ever hosted was a cooking obstacle course, except the stress had nothing to with the actual cooking task at hand. It was the fact that I knowingly tossed my family’s traditions out the window, in an effort to create new ones for my own growing family — I was four months pregnant with my first daughter.
The list of what I changed goes on and on (including the stuffing and cranberry sauce). Therein lies my biggest mistake that very first Thanksgiving: I changed too much, too fast. Rather than create the picture-perfect memory of a blissful family Thanksgiving, I was left feeling under-appreciated for all my hard work.
What does any of this have to do with your Thanksgiving plans this year, you may be wondering? It’s pretty simple, actually. Learn from my mistakes. Thanksgiving is first and foremost supposed to be about family and being grateful. People hold tight to their traditions, though, and making drastic changes to beloved family recipes is an invitation for disaster. This doesn’t mean you can’t chart your own course. It just means you should stick with familiar favorites, but give them your own twist.
I believe everyone should have one cookie recipe that they know by heart — one that can be easily whipped together to welcome new babies, offer up at potlucks and make on a whim when you need a touch of sweet homemade comfort.
For some people, that cookie is a basic chocolate chip. For others, it’s a rough and tumble mix of oats, nuts and dried fruit. And I know other folks who can make peanut butter or sugar cookies with their eyes closed.
The basic requirements of this type of cookie are that the ingredients can be kept in the kitchen cupboard, that you need only a bowl or two to make it, that it drops from spoon to baking sheet with ease (no roll-out cookies need apply) and that it tastes good. Being sturdy enough to withstand the U.S. Postal Service is not required, but it’s a plus.
Pumpkin pies and apple pies are a must on the Thanksgiving table — and, yes, people are starting to plan for Thanksgiving already. But sometimes it’s the unexpected dish that sparks the conversation and becomes the favorite of the night. Enter in this week’s Most Popular Pin of the Week, Anne Burrell’s Sticky Toffee Pudding. After Anne bakes the cake for this decadent and sweet dessert, she pokes holes on top so her toffee sauce can seep in throughout. Round out the dessert with a hearty scoop of vanilla ice cream or a heaping mound of whipped cream. Expect lots of requests for seconds.
For more of Anne’s recipes, visit Food Network’s Let’s Cook With: Chef Anne Burrell board on Pinterest.
Get the recipe: Sticky Toffee Pudding
Even if you won’t be trick-or-treating this year, your sweet tooth will likely start acting up a bit more than usual as Halloween nears. After all, kids and kids at heart would surely agree that this spooky holiday means but one thing: sugar. Instead of resorting to store-bought chocolates or caramel-filled, peanut-topped candies to curb your cravings, however, make your own ghostly goodies at home in the form of decadent Halloween desserts that both little goblins and grownups will enjoy. Check out Food Network’s top-five treats below to find sweet tooth-satisfying recipes ideal for family-friendly indulgences and fright night bashes alike.
5. Chocolate Candy Pie — Save time in the kitchen by starting with a prepared pie crust, then fill it with a rich chocolate pudding and finish with fluffy whipped cream and your favorite crushed chocolate candies. It’s important that this pie freeze for a few hours so the flavors and textures can set, so it’s best to plan ahead before making and serving.
4. Caramel, Chocolate and Candy Apples — Perhaps the ultimate autumn indulgence, Giada’s triple-coated apples feature a first layer of gooey caramel, then a drizzle of melted dark chocolate, and finally a sprinkle of crunchy nuts, sprinkles and candies. Set up a DIY decorating bar, and let everyone create his or her preferred apples.
I have a sweet tooth, so my favorite part of a meal is dessert. In addition to being sweet and fabulous, though, dessert can be a great strategic player in helping picky eaters becoming more adventurous. And I don’t mean in the old-school “clean your plate so you can eat dessert” sort of way.
Here are five dessert strategies that I use in our household to combat picky eating:
1. Encourage an adventurous palate.
Most kids love dessert. So if you serve a child who loves cookies a new kind of cookie (say, an oatmeal chocolate chip cookie instead of her normal favorite gingersnap), she will probably dig it. And then you can have a conversation about how fun it was to try something new. (If she doesn’t go for the swap, no big deal, because dessert is an optional course; there’s no risk of you caving in and becoming a short-order cook.)
Whether it’s because of an A+ spelling test, a hat trick on the soccer field or a pristinely cleaned bedroom, every child — and grownup — deserves to be treated to something special once in a while, and for many kids, that surprise may come in the form of dessert. Instead of resorting to store-bought goodies to save time in the kitchen, stick with from-scratch treats, like these homemade desserts, ready to eat in mere minutes.
A single-serving indulgence that demands no baking at all, Food Network Magazine’s Instant Chocolate Cake (pictured above) is a family-friendly pick that takes just 10 minutes to make. This rich, moist cake is prepped with traditional pastry ingredients, like cocoa, flour and vanilla extract, but it’s cooked quickly in the microwave instead of the oven. Perhaps the best part about this go-to recipe is that all of the ingredients are simply stirred — without the help of a mixer — in the same oversize mug in which it’s served.
Wrapped in paper and featuring the deliciously classic combination of a chocolate cookie exterior and cool vanilla center, store-bought ice cream sandwiches are a timeless summer treat. But there are indeed more ways to celebrate ice cream sandwiches than the original, especially when you think way beyond those chocolate and vanilla bars and commit to making your own signature creations at home.
The key to making successful ice cream sandwiches is combining flavors that you know work well together, like peanut butter and jelly or chocolate and bananas. Start with your favorite ice cream flavor — no need to make it from scratch, as any grocery store brand will do. Then look to complement it with two shells; cookies are a traditional pick, but other treats like doughnuts, crackers and sweet breads transform the sandwich into something extra special.
Food Network Magazine created a collection of frozen concoctions — Super Cool: Ice Cream Sandwiches — that features inventive sandwich-inspired twists, like Cherry-Almond Croissants (pictured right), Coffee and Doughnuts and Chocolate-Banana Bread. Check out these photos to learn how to craft these desserts and more at home. No matter what ingredients you choose to use, Food Network Magazine notes that it’s important to “freeze your base before assembling” and to “freeze sandwiches at least 1 hour before serving.” This will give the ice cream a chance to solidify, so that it doesn’t turn into a melted mess when you eat it.