Archives / 2012 / November

Cookies by the Dozen - Best Baking Gifts for Bakers and Cranberry Cookie Recipes

Shiny new cakes pans filled with rich chocolate batter,
Teaspoons and measuring cups for ingredients that matter,

A KitchenAid stand mixer that blends like a dream,
These are a few of my favorite things.

‘tis the season for baking, gift lists and gift-giving. Today at CHEFS Mix, we're looking at gifts for bakers and baking cookies with cranberries.

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Cookies by the Dozen - Shortbread Cookie Recipe

For the annual cookie exchange, my neighbor pours her heart into baking batch after batch of crisp shortbread, rich chocolate chip and fragrant gingerbread cookies. Then she spends an ambitious weekend decorating scores of sugar cookies in lavish designs.

She confides that, this year, her group will award a prize for the most creative presentation and packaging for a dozen cookies. “Any suggestions?” she asks me.

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Cookies by the Dozen - Sugar Cookie & Royal Icing Recipes

While growing up in California, my family’s holiday activities always included baking dozens of sugar cookies. After rolling out the buttery dough, my sisters and I cut out favorite shapes and baked them to the palest brown. Then the real fun began: decorating cookies with royal icing tinted in holiday hues and, for glitz and sparkle, colored sugar and silver dragees.

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Cookies by the Dozen - Bar Cookie Recipes

Sending boxes of homemade cookies to distant family or friends is a delicious holiday tradition. Unfortunately, “fragile” written boldly on the mailing box doesn’t guarantee your cookies will survive the trip.

If your holiday to-do list includes baking and shipping cookies, don’t stress. There are things you can do to help ensure your cookies arrive safely.

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Cookies by the Dozen - Family Favorite Recipes

If you’re just beginning your holiday baking, warm-up your idle stand mixer and let CHEFS Mix help stir your creativity. This week, we’re featuring some of our favorite holiday cookie recipes plus tips on baking, decorating, gift wrapping and shipping your bite-sized masterpieces.

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Happy Thanksgiving!

From all of us here at CHEFS, we wish you and your family a very Happy Thanksgiving.

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Asparagus and Shrimp Risotto

Most people consider risotto to be tricky to get just right. But it’s not. It’s actually really easy, although it may just take a bit of experience to raise your own confidence. Let me break down the steps to give you an idea as to how easy this dish actually is.

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Flawless Homemade Gravy

With the holidays right around the corner, no doubt you’re scouring your recipe book for the perfect gravy recipe. Growing up, I remember watching my mother make homemade gravy over the stove, carefully portioning out each ingredient to create the smoothest, most flavorful gravy. Now that I’m making holiday dinners for my own family, I’m really putting the things I learned from her into practice, especially when it comes to making flawless gravy.

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Leftovers: Love them but don't leave them on the table

Around the holidays, food safety experts remind us to handle leftovers with care. When food sits too long in the “danger zone” – between 40 and 140 degrees F (4 to 60 degrees C) – bacteria can quickly multiply, causing nasty foodborne illnesses or food poisoning.

This holiday season, let’s keep family and friends safe at our dinner or buffet tables.

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Secret Ingredients & Our "Not-So-Secret" Cranberry Sauce Recipe

An unexpected pinch of this or splash of that takes a common recipe from mundane to sublime. Family, friends and colleagues detect something different about the dish, rave about the taste and texture, but can’t name the unique ingredient. A few ask, even beg, for the recipe.

Now comes the moment of truth: do I share a signature recipe and reveal my “secret” ingredients and techniques?

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I first learned about koshari, a popular Egyptian street food, by chance. While half-watching an episode of No Reservations, I caught host, Anthony Bourdain, at a Cairo eatery savoring a tasty vegetarian meal for breakfast. He was eating koshari, often regarded as the national dish of Egypt.

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Homemade Vanilla Extract

Don’t look now but it’s already November. With the holidays looming, it’s time to begin making all the wonderful homemade food gifts you plan to give this holiday season.

High on my list of food gifts to make is homemade vanilla extract, a perfect hostess gift or thank you gift.  I simply pour the extract into a small amber glass bottle and add a handwritten label and festive ribbon.

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CHEFS Mix Commonly Asked Questions—So far…

You have been sharing questions, comments, and suggestions. You have also been sharing a few frustrations. We read every email and every suggestion, and wanted to give you a short update on what is happening behind the scenes.

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The Right Tool for the Task: Carving Knives plus How to Carve a Turkey

Have you ever used your beloved chef’s knife to carve brisket, roast beef or ham, only to get uneven, shredded slices? While a chef’s knife is ideal for chopping, dicing and mincing, its thick, wide blade doesn’t excel at slicing poultry and meat. What you need is a carving knife.

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The Right Tool for the Task: Roasting Pans and Roasting Racks

A heavy duty, high quality roasting pan is an essential piece of cookware especially around the holidays.  Add a roasting rack and you’re ready to roast turkey, goose, beef roast or ham for a holiday buffet and chicken for a weekday dinner.

If you’re shopping for a new roasting pan or roasting rack, here are the three key things to consider.

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CHEFS Holiday Giveaway, Kicking-off the Holiday Season Right!

Holidays are just around the corner, and CHEFS is kicking-off our annual Holiday Giveaway. This year we have two extra-special prizes that you do not want to miss! I promise, you are going to want to share this opportunity with all of your friends & family!

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Beet Chips

What do you do with bunches and bunches of fresh beets? Make batches and batches of beet chips.

This summer, I purchased a CSA (community supported agriculture) veggie share for the first time. After work on Thursdays, I dashed over to my pickup location. Like a contestant on Food Network’s Chopped, I couldn’t wait to open my box and inspect the contents: fresh, locally grown produce for a week’s worth of meals. And, beets. Bunches and bunches of fresh beets. Traditional red and heirloom Chioggia.

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8 Tips for Planning Your Holiday Menu

Holiday party. Thanksgiving dinner. New Year’s brunch. Each sounds exciting if someone invites you but maybe a bit intimidating if you’re the host.

If you are hosting the party, don’t panic. Whether the event is your first cocktail party or tenth consecutive Thanksgiving dinner, the secret to serving an unforgettable meal is advance planning.

Here are 8 tips to help you jumpstart the meal planning process.

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Rustic Apple Tart

Bakers, turn on your ovens and celebrate. Baking season is finally here.

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