If you're looking for another baking challenge, be sure you check out chocolate-pretzel cookies. I've definitely added it to my must-bake list. — Smitten Kitchen
Posts for December 20th 2007
We recently asked you to choose your favorite restaurant chef of 2007. The response was surprising and 28 percent of you said that Grant Achatz of Chicago's Alinea was your fave in 2007. Unfortunately, I've never made it to Alinea and am actually not that familiar with Achatz's work — which seems like a crime as his reputation is fantastic — so I'm going to have to go with my personal fave. Here at San Francisco-based Sugar HQ, we are gaga for Elizabeth Falkner. If you're not familiar with her, I think you soon will be. Her star is on the rise; she's been a guest judge on Top Chef and has just released Demolition Desserts, a book of recipes from her restaurant Citizen Cake. She's also set to open a new restaurant, Orson, where eaters can find "edgy California cuisine." I know I'll be making a reservation!
This week's cupcake comes from our pal Nicole over at Baking Bites. Her vegan eggnog cupcakes look absolutely delicious and fool even the most whole-hearted carnivore. They're beautifully moist and tender. Did I mention that they're also spiked with rum? Definitely give these delights a try, and if you do, be sure to let us know what you think.
Last night was our holiday party, and like everything Sugar, it was fabulous! It wasn't your average, boring old event, it was a bowling extravaganza. The party was expertly planned by LilPeaPod and held at the Presidio Bowling Center.
Hosting an event at a bowling alley is lots of fun — especially if you have a large group of people — because the activity unites party-goers. This type of party is wonderfully easy on the host as the cooking and cleaning is done by the bowling alley staff. For my tips on hosting a party at a bowling alley, plus a gallery of pics from the Sugar party, read more
My elegant Christmas dinner calls for equally-sophisticated cocktails. I'll have distinct wine pairings for each course and one festive signature cocktail to get the night started right.
With the oysters and crab crostini, pour a sparkling Prosecco; it's a lovely and affordable varietal. With the main course offer a spicy red Pinot Noir or Zinfandel. Have a white varietal that complements the gorgonzola gnocchi. An American Chardonnay or Italian Fiano are excellent choices.
Make the signature cocktail a red-hued concoction by using frozen berries. Get the recipe for this festive drink, just read more
This year I decided to pick a New Year's resolution that I could stick with, and that's how I ended up on my 52 weeks of baking adventure. We're 51 weeks in, and I've surprised my friends and myself with some interesting baked goods. It's definitely been a challenging experience; I've had some inventions that came out better than anticipated, as well as some downright disasters. Overall it's been a great learning experience — if a messy one, as my kitchen's been filthy for a year! — and I hope I've inspired you to get baking!
There's one more treat on the way, but until then here are my favorite six of the year. Clockwise from the top left, they are:
As you may know, I believe that it's very important to send beautiful invitations through regular mail. It may be old fashioned, but it's incredibly special and exciting to receive an invite in your mailbox. If you love the thought of sending a real paper invitation, but don't have time to get crafty this holiday season, download one of our new print-and-fill invitations!
Our fabulous designer has been hard at work creating a variety of festive invitations to suit your party needs. All you have to do is download the invite, print on the paper of your choice — I recommend card stock — fill in the details of your party with a fun pen, stick it in an envelope, stamp and send! The invites are free allowing you to spend more on other aspects of the event. We hope you enjoy these invites — it's our little gift to you!
To see all of the invites we've created — there are eight different options including some that are not holiday related — all you have to do is read more
The other day my girlfriend was flipping through the December issue of Bon Appetit at my house. She came across their Hanukkah menu and got super excited about the delicious looking golden beet soup. She liked the way it sounded so much that she asked if I would help her make it. Instead of taking control, I agreed to let her be chef and I would act as the lowly-onion-chopping line cook.
The final result was a luxurious, perfectly smooth soup. Golden beets are an out-of-the ordinary ingredient, one that would be lovely on any holiday menu. To see how we made the soup, read more
Every year, my mom gives a big box of cookies to all of her friends, neighbors and clients. I know because I spend the better half of a weekend curling ribbons for all of the packages. This year I'm helping her branch out of her comfort zone and have come up with a few fun ideas for her neighbors. She can present them with a cute set of holiday spatulas or she can update her tradition with a box of French-Style Macaroons. Either gift will definitely be well received. If you're looking for something for your neighbors, scroll through the list below.