Q: Do you have any good ideas for room temperature appetizers I can make in advance? I'm having a large party and don't have the time, refrigerator space, or oven space to make too many hot or cold things. Thanks!
Once an obscure Italian cookie from Prato, biscotti are now a common addition to many cookie plates. Classically, the cookie is made with pine nuts and almonds, but it's possible to find all sorts of additions these days, from bacon and cornmeal to drizzles of chocolate, both dark and white. Usually, I like to stick to a simple almond biscotti — unless it's the holidays when I show no shame in pulling out the pistachios and cranberries. Really, basic biscotti like our recipe here can be tweaked to suit whatever you fancy!
Q: I want to get into holiday baking this year. But this is a new tradition for me so I'm confused about the timing. Should I bake cookies, say, this weekend and send them to friends and family? Or should I wait until we visit my partner's family for Christmas and do some baking then? Please help!
Q: I'm trying to keep my gift giving this year to handmades and edibles, but I have a lot of family and friends in other parts of the world, so that leaves making truffles or perishables that could melt or get ruined en route. What are some great edible gifts that will travel well?
With all the tins of cookies and the pretty packages of homemade caramels and truffles that get passed around this time of year, I would like to put in a good word for the humble loaf cake. Here is a gift that keeps on giving: a slice for breakfast, a slice for afternoon snack, a slice before bedtime! Want a few recommendations for surefire gifting wins? Here are five of my personal favorites.
From the medicine cabinet to the bar, bitters have a long history of curing ailments and flavoring drinks. Though they may seem mysterious, at heart, bitters are simply bitter and aromatic herbs and spices infused or tinctured in spirits. Combining the various flavors is where the fun part comes in. Here's a primer to making your own bitters at home, which you can use in cocktails, sodas, cooking, and even as digestive aids.
Q: For the holidays, I want to buy my boyfriend a quality kitchen scale. It needs to be sensitive enough for molecular cooking, but also able to handle the larger amounts used in traditional baking. What are some reliable, reasonably priced options? Ideally, I would like a scale that could last for years, but come in at under $100.
Q: I am very very new to baking. I have tried to make pizza so many times and failed every single time. The crust is always very flat, crunchy, and hard. It doesn't form into a bread-like substance. Where I live in India, I don't get all-purpose flour so I used maida flour. Help!
I have two left thumbs when it comes to anything crafty, and I approach making things "look pretty" more like a wrestling match than an afternoon of fun. But if I can do it, so can you. I have three tips that will take your special treats from baking sheet to gift-ready in no time flat.