With the holidays officially in full swing and the end of the year just one month away, you’ll likely be planning at least one or two seasonal get-togethers in the next few weeks. Instead of stocking your bar with everyday bottles of wine, this year toast to good friends and good cheer with easy, crowd-pleasing holiday cocktails. We’ve rounded up some of Food Network’s favorite adult-only drinks like eggnog and mulled wine and more family-friendly options like hot chocolate to help you shake up your holiday cocktail parties with ease. Check out our top picks below, then tell us in the comments: what’s your favorite holiday drink?
One of the most beloved seasonal cocktails, eggnog is a party-ready sipper that’s deliciously rich and just sweet enough. If you’re craving a classic preparation of this no-fail favorite, look to Alton’s five-star Good Eats Eggnog. For a new twist on traditional eggnog, however, prepare a batch of Sandra Lee’s Irish Eggnog from Food Network Magazine made with Irish cream liqueur and Irish whiskey, or her Santa’s Sleigh Cocktail (pictured above), which dresses up store-bought eggnog with amaretto liqueur, brandy and fragrant cinnamon sticks.
Get more holiday drink recipes
It’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 for rolling, spooning, slicing, baking and decorating delicious sweet treats to give — or keep — from your favorite Food Network chefs.
Light and chewy, Trisha’s top-rated treats combine two ingredients that are simply better together — white chocolate and bright cranberries— and feature chopped macadamia nuts for a crunchy, textured bite. The best part about these beauties is that they’re practically fail-proof. There’s no rolling of the dough or precise decorating here, just an easy mix-drop-bake process that will wow professional holiday bakers and first-timers alike.
Get Trisha’s White Chocolate Cranberry 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.
Find recipes for our Top Holiday Cookies
Here in Food Network Kitchens, we love simple, classic recipes. We are also paid to think about food all day. So we’ve taken classic foods and drinks and reimagined them into three, four or five different ways. No standard recipes here, just the occasional technique and pictures. Think of it as a picture recipe.
Apple cider is delicious plain, but we decided to come up with a few simple additions to make it ready for a night on the town with the grown-ups.
First, start with the classic version
You have all the spices, dried fruits and nuts you’ll need for the perfect holiday bakeathon. But are your coveted jars of ground cinnamon, allspice, cloves and nutmeg from years gone by? Are the lids perhaps partially unscrewed or maybe even missing in action? That box of raisins you opened for your neighbor’s “welcome to the neighborhood” oatmeal raisin cookies may need to go, and the walnuts you are squirreling away have perhaps seen better days.
Yes, everything has a shelf life. If you bake with ingredients past their prime, they may not send you to the hospital, but they may taste like hospital food.
If you cannot remember when you purchased that box of baking soda, chances are it needs to go in the garbage along with that old fruitcake in the freezer that your Aunt Franny baked pre-Food Network days.
If you’re still not convinced that you need to purge your spices, do the smell test: If it has zero scent, ditch it. Spices, especially cinnamon, have oils that lose their character when exposed to heat, light and age.
Bobby shares some holiday fun facts and lets us in on his New Year’s resolution:
FN Dish: How can cooks be less stressed during the holidays?
Bobby Flay: Cook from within yourself at your skill level. Don’t try to conquer the world with your holiday meal.
FN Dish: What’s your favorite holiday food memory?
BF: One Christmas morning I tried to find a turkey because the Cornish game hen I had planned to cook had gone badly.
FN Dish: What do you cook just when it’s just you?
BF: Homemade nachos with a white American cheese sauce.
FN Dish: What’s your 2012 New Year’s resolution?
BF: To reopen my restaurant in New York City, Bolo. It’s time. It’s like a broken heart that I need to mend.
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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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Bobby Flay took a break from cooking for “Savor Borgata: A Taste of American Classics” at Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in Atlantic City, N.J. to chat with us about his holiday plans. We asked him seven rapid-fire questions to help us get to know his holiday personality.
FN Dish: For a holiday drink, eggnog, apple cider or hot chocolate?
Bobby Flay: Hot chocolate
FN Dish: Vodka, tequila, gin or bourbon?
FN Dish: Christmas breakfast or Christmas dinner?
Does Bobby eat fruitcake? »
- Baking perfect Molten Chocolate Cake is easy with Food Network Magazine's step-by-step how-to.
You hardly need a dedicated day to appreciate the lusciousness of chocolate cake (every day is chocolate cake day in my mind), but an excuse to indulge is always welcome. So why not give an impressive Valentine’s Day sweet a practice spin? Go ahead and mix up Molten Chocolate Cake with this step-by-step guide from Food Network Magazine.
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- Our fans love Paula's gooey, buttery cookies: The five-star recipe has close to 700 reviews! Make a batch and add yours.
It’s time for 12 Days of Cookies, FoodNetwork.com’s annual cookie swap. Each day visit us here on the Dish for a peek at new holiday cookies, party-planning tips and top techniques for rolling, spooning, slicing, baking and decorating delicious sweet treats to give – or keep – from favorite Food Network chefs. Then visit Cooking Channel’s blog for great takes on holiday baking from Cooking Channel chefs and Food People alike – cookies by the dozen to celebrate all season.
Who better than the Queen of Butter to kick off FoodNetwork.com’s annual cookie party, y’all? Paula Deen’s Chocolate Gooey Butter Cookies are chocolate-kissed snowballs that’ll melt in your mouth faster than you can say, “Hand me another one!”–which believe me, you will. Thanks to a combination of chocolate cake mix (shh! it’s a super shortcut) and cream cheese, these cookies stay moist and tender after baking. Dusted with a sprinkling of powdered sugar, they’re rich, sumptuous and a dessert unto themselves, no ice cream needed. But if you wanted to add a scoop….
Get Paula’s recipe and check out dozens and dozens of batches in 12 Days of Cookies for more sweet ideas. Then tell us what you’re baking.
‘Tis the season to put away your Christmas decorations. However, a select group of Food network employees are either gearing up for the 2009 holiday season, or they just can’t seem to part with the Christmas spirit of ’08. Honestly, I think it’s charming that (inadvertently or not) these guys have chosen to keep the festivities going year-round here at the Food Network offices. Come to think of it….why does society tell us that we’re allowed to eat Christmas cookies only around the holidays?… Eureka!
Get to the cookies here.