Tuesday, December 31, 2013

SPOON's New Year's Eve Drink and Gift Selections

Can you believe another year has come and gone? 2013 was pretty awesome, but I believe 2014 will be even better. As I start thinking about tonight's festivities, I'm wondering what kinds of drinks to bring and what will be the hit of the party. I know I'm probably late to the game since you can't order things in time (sorry), but these suggestions are always a great idea to have in your home... especially if you're the party hosting kind of folks.

I don't know about you, but I'm planing on Ringing in the New Year with RedEnvelope. Be sure to visit RedEnvelope.com for all of your bartending and party planning needs.

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SPOON's New Year's Eve Drink and Gift Selections
(perfect for using those gift cards you got over the holidays)

Don't forget about beer. Everyone on New Year's Eve thinks of great cocktails and champagne and celebration, but beer can be pretty darned celebratory too. Take this Beer Tasting Flight Set from RedEnvelope. Not only is a great way to try out some great new beers, but it's also great for events.


And with this sexy beer tasting flight set, you should also be sure to try some beer recipes of your very own. We've got some great suggestions for you: Craft Beer for the Home Brewer and The Home Brewer's Guide to Vintage Beer will get you started off right.

Craft Beer for the Homebrewer

The Home Brewer's Guide to Vintage Beer

Wine anyone? This Wine Aerator will help ensure your wines are rich in flavor and your guests are happy. Plus, it looks awesome as the wine pours from bottle to glass. And putting on a good show while serving guests great wine is always in good taste.


Have no idea how to pick the best wines or how to talk about them? We've got you covered. First Course in Wine will answer all of your questions and is sure to make "knowing everything about wine" one of your top new year's resolutions.

A First Course in Wine

Finally, it's not a New Year's Eve party without a little champagne, right? Rather than screaming "cheers" while sipping champagne straight up, why not mix it into a cocktail? And go ahead and use those fancy Nachtman Highball Glasses. You know you want to.


Need a recipe? We've got plenty. Check out Shake, Stir, Pour: Fresh Homegrown Cocktails, Apothecary Cocktails, or Architecture of the Cocktail for tons of amazing cocktail recipes.

Shake, Stir, Pour-Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Apothecary Cocktails Restorative Drinks from Yesterday and Today

Architecture of the Cocktail

Happy New Year everyone! Cheers to a wonderful evening and an amazing 2014.


Friday, December 27, 2013

Gingerbread Doughnuts with Spiced Gingerbread Glaze

I have a soft spot in my heart for gingerbread (not the hard cookies, but the soft, warm bready gingerbread). I think this is because it is one of my favorite desserts at Flatbread's Pizza and because it really isn't that tricky to make.

I never thought of making gingerbread doughnuts until I saw them in Ashley's book. How obvious and yet brilliant. I have a feeling these are going to be a new holiday favorite.

Gingerbread Doughnuts with Spiced Gingerbread Glaze
Excerpted from Baked Doughnuts for Everyone by Ashley McLaughlin
Photography in this post courtesy of Emily at Daily Garnish 


Thanks Daily Garnish!
I’m not really a fan of crunchy gingerbread cookies, but add all of that lovely cookie flavor into a doughnut
and I’m sold. Topped with the gingerbread glaze and it’s all over. Meaning, you will have to fight me if
you want one.

Recommended pans: standard, mini, holes, twist

For the doughnuts:

½ cup (60 g) oat flour
½ cup (70 g) sweet rice flour
1/3 cup (67 g) pure cane sugar
3 tablespoons (19 g) almond meal
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons (5 g) ginger
1½ teaspoons (3.5 g) cinnamon
½ teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon clove
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
2 large eggs
1/3 cup (80 ml) milk
3 tablespoons (47 g) unsweetened applesauce
2 tablespoons (28 ml) molasses
2 tablespoons (28 ml) oil
1½ teaspoons (8 ml) vanilla extract

For the glaze:

1 cup (125 g) powdered sugar
2 to 3 tablespoons (15 to 28 ml) milk
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ginger
1/16 teaspoon clove

Thanks Daily Garnish!

Thanks Daily Garnish!
To make the doughnuts: Preheat your oven to 350°F (180°C, or gas mark 4) and grease your doughnut pan.
Combine the oat flour, sweet rice flour, cane sugar, almond meal, baking powder, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, salt, and pepper in a large bowl, mixing until well combined. In another bowl, whisk the eggs together. Then add in the milk, applesauce, molasses, oil, and vanilla extract. Whisk until well combined.

Pour the wet mixture into the dry ingredients and stir with a large wooden spoon until just combined, being careful not to overmix (stop when you no longer see dry flour).

Spoon the batter into the doughnut molds filling to just below the top of each mold, 1/8” to ¼” (3 to 6 mm) from the top. Bake for 18 to 22 minutes, until lightly golden brown around the edges. A toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean. Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes. Slide a thin spatula around the edges of the doughnuts to help loosen them out, then place on a cooling rack and allow to cool fully before topping.

To make the glaze: Mix the glaze ingredients together with a fork until smooth. Add more milk if a thinner consistency is desired.

Invert the doughnut into the glaze letting the excess drip off, or drizzle the glaze over the doughnut. Let the doughnuts rest until the glaze has hardened.

--

Baked Doughnuts For Everyone

Gluten-Free Doughnuts, Baked to Perfection!

Who doesn’t love a doughnut? From their pillowy soft texture, to their perfect size and shape, to their sweet glazes and sprinkles—they’re everyone's favorite treat. But they’re always unhealthy, and you can only get them at the bakery right?

Not anymore. This doughnut cookbook is for everyone! With Baked Doughnuts for Everyone, you can now enjoy fresh--completely gluten-free!--doughnuts from the comfort of your own kitchen and without fussing over a fryer. All you need is a doughnut pan, a mixing bowl, and a few simple ingredients like oat flour, almond meal, and pure cane sugar. The result? Truly cake-like doughnuts with no grainy texture and no scary starches or gums--only pure, all-natural flavor. No one will ever even guess they're gluten-free, whether they follow a wheat-free diet or not!
 
From sweet confections to more savory combinations, you’ll find recipes to suit every occasion and every taste, including:

Cinnamon Sugar Doughnuts
Apple Fritter Doughnuts 
Peanut Butter Crunch Doughnuts 
Vegan Gooey Chocolate Doughnuts 
Jalapeno Cheddar Doughnuts
Greek Stuffed Doughnuts

We all need more doughnuts in our lives and now it's easier than ever—what are you waiting for?

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Holiday Party Finger Foods

Whether you're hosting a holiday party or just having a couple of friends or family members over, this Ricotta and Pancetta Crostini is sure to be a huge hit. The best part is that it really doesn't take too long to make and looks simply fabulous set out on a wooden cutting board (like in the image below). Sometimes simplicity is the best way to go. Especially since you'd rather enjoy yourself and your company than be slaving away in the kitchen, right?

Ricotta and Pancetta Crostini
Excerpted from Cicchetti by Lindy Wildsmith and Valencia Sforza



The combination of ricotta with nuts and lardo is a traditional take on the Venetian cicchetto that I have enjoyed on many occasion while staying in the region. However, it is a combination difficult to replicate here as we do not have the equivalent of lardo. You cannot translate the Italian word lardo with the English word lard. They are both products of the pig, but Italian lardo is cured pork back fat, and like prosciutto it is served sliced paperthin as an antipasto. It is soft, tender, and full of flavor.

Anglo-Saxon lard is the much-maligned rendered pork fat, used melted for frying or cold and hard for making pastry. Lardo is a bit of a shock at first sight. We have become quite used to the proportion of fat to flesh of the average prosciutto or pancetta but not to a paper-thin slice of fat. One bite, however, is enough to persuade you otherwise. Lardo is sometimes creamed with rosemary and spread between two magnificent slices of country bread to make a sandwich fit for a king.

I have used crispy pancetta to top the creamy ricotta mixture rather than the requisite lardo, but if you are making this recipe in the Veneto, please use simple paper-thin lardo and drink a glass of amarone with it. I look forward to the day when it is available overseas alongside so many other good ingredients that were
once unheard of beyond Italy’s borders.

Ingredients

8 oz ricotta 2 ⁄3 cup walnuts or hazelnuts, chopped
salt and black pepper
1 oz thinly sliced lardo or unsmoked pancetta, cut into 4-in lengths
24 crostini

Directions

Mix the ricotta, nuts, a little salt, and a good grinding of black pepper to taste. Dry-fry the pancetta pieces to a crisp, drain on paper towels, and leave to cool.Spread the ricotta mixture on the crostini and top with strips of crisp pancetta. However, if you are lucky enough to have access to some lardo, simply top the ricotta with a looped, paper-thin slice.

Yield: Makes 24

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Cicchetti Delicious Italian Food to Share

Cicchetti is for those of you in love with Italy and Italian food. Many people find sitting around a table with friends and family to be one of the great joys in life. This book will help bring what wonderful Italian tradition home with regional recipes from all over Italy prepared in irresistible bite-sized portions.

"Small plates" have become popular for both restaurants and now home cooking. From tapas of Spain to the mezze of the Middle East and the canapes of France, finger food allows us to eat almost anything guilt free. The smaller bite-size portions make even the most fattening ingredients consumed without concern.

This book will teach you all about this Venetian tradition while delivering a unique collection of dishes that span the entire country. In no time you'll be serving your friends irresistible little snacks on sticks or on bread with an ombra, as aperitif or for lunch on a plate with a glass of crisp soave.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas!

From our home to yours, wishing you and your family a very Merry Christmas and a wonderful holiday season. Thank you so much for your support throughout 2013. We appreciate you!


Tuesday, December 24, 2013

SPOON Holiday Cookie Swap: Orange Chocolate Linzers



Whether you're still planning for a cookie exchange or just want a unique holiday DIY gift, these cookies from the marvelous mind of Joni Marie Newman are sure to satisfy. Vanilla, orange, and chocolate come together to create a cookie that you just might have a hard time sharing. 

Orange Chocolate Linzers
Excerpted from Vegan Food Gifts by Joni Marie Newman, Celine Steen, and Kurt Halsey



Specialty linzer cookie cutters are widely available at baking supply shops and online. If you don’t have one (or don’t want one) you can simply use graduated round cookie cutters, 2 inches (5 cm) for the outer circle and 1 inch (2.5 cm) for the inner circle.

For Cookies:

1 2⁄3 cups (280 g) all-purpose flour
1⁄4 teaspoon baking powder
1⁄4 teaspoon salt
3⁄4 cup (150 g) evaporated cane juice or granulated sugar
1⁄2 cup (112 g) nondairy butter
1⁄4 cup (60 ml) orange juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon orange extract
Powdered sugar, for sprinkling

For Ganache Filling:

1⁄2 cup (120 ml) nondairy cream (full-fat coconut milk, MimicCreme, or soy or coconut creamer)
1 cup (176 g) vegan chocolate chips
1 tablespoon (15 ml) orange extract

To make the cookies: In a small mixing bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt.

In a large mixing bowl, beat together the evaporated cane juice, butter, orange juice, vanilla, and orange extract until well combined. The butter will separate; that is normal.

Slowly add in the flour mixture and beat until well combined. Turn out the dough onto a floured surface and knead into a soft, smooth dough. Shape into a ball, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or until ready to bake.

Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C, or gas mark 5). Line several baking sheets with parchment or silicone baking mats. Remove the dough from the refrigerator. Divide the dough in half, so it is easier to work with. Roll out the dough on a well-floured surface until it is about 1⁄8 inch (3 mm) thick. Use a linzer cookie cutter (see headnote) to cut 36 tops and 36 bottoms, gathering up the scraps and rerolling as needed. Transfer to the prepared baking sheets.

Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or until golden and the bottom and edges are lightly browned. Remove from the oven and transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Sprinkle the powdered sugar all over the tops.

Meanwhile, make the filling: In a small saucepot, heat the cream until it just begins to boil. Remove from the heat and stir in the chocolate chips and orange extract until completely melted, combined, and smooth.

When the cookies are cool, spread about 1 teaspoon of ganache onto a cookie bottom and place a cookie top on top. Return to the rack and allow the ganache to cool and stiffen completely before packaging.

YIELD: 36 sandwich cookies

GIFT IT: Because these ones are so pretty, I suggest packing them in a way that shows them off, in a clear cellophane bag with a pretty bow and Hang Tag. Download the templates for Joni's gift ideas here.

--

And go ahead and download our SPOON recipe card template and get cracking on some great recipes.



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Vegan Food Gifts

Impress your family, friends, neighbors, guests—anyone!—with homemade gifts that you can feel good about and others will love. From mouthwatering vegan baking mixes you can create, package, and label yourself, to DIY gift baskets, preserves, liquors, and more, you’ll find that perfect something for everyone, no matter what their views or inclinations. (No one can say no to a chocolate chip cookie after all—vegan or otherwise!)

Vegan Food Gifts shows you how easy it is to create great homemade gifts that are not only kind and eco-conscious, but delicious too. So whether you are an expert chef or a beginner cook, a crafty genius or someone without an artistic bone in your body, you’ll find projects that not only suit your skills, but your budget too.

Be the hit of the bake sale, the darling of the holidays, the hostess with the most-est, and more with Vegan Food Gifts.

Monday, December 23, 2013

White Chocolate Snowmen

I am not very crafty. In fact, I often see pictures of amazing food plates and think to myself --- I wish my food looked that way. That being said, I am the daughter of an awesome cake decorator and always at least try my hand at cake and cupcake decorating.

So, I couldn't help but give these little snowmen cupcakes a try. After all, look at them. They are so adorable that everyone should at least TRY to make them.

White Chocolate Snowmen
Excerpted from Cupcake Decorating Lab by Bridget Thibeault



In this lab you’ll learn to make white chocolate, coconut truffle snowmen. You can get creative and use a variety of candy to decorate the snowmen. We kept it simple by using one candy and one color of royal icing. A fondant hat would be cute too!

You'll Need:

• frosted cupcakes with shredded coconut topping
• white chocolate truffle mix, chilled (see recipe below)
• finely shredded coconut
• black royal icing (see recipe below; medium peak consistency) in pastry bag fitted with #3 round tip
• flexible candy strips (Air Heads Extremes Sweetly Sour Belts candy shown)
• small 1¼" (3 cm) ice-cream scoop (#70)
• toothpicks
• sheet tray lined with parchment or wax paper
• small craft scissors

1. Scoop the truffle mix and roll into round balls. Roll in finely shredded coconut and place on the tray.



2. Spear one ball with a toothpick. (See C.) Add another ball for the head. (See D.) Chill if snowmen are soft and difficult to handle.



3. For the scarves, use the scissors to cut the candy strips in half lengthwise. Trim the length to fit around the snowman’s neck, and cut 1" (2.5 cm) slits on the ends for fringe. Attach the scarf to the snowman with royal icing. Cut triangles from the candy for a nose; attach with royal icing.



4. Add eyes with black royal icing. Insert the toothpick that is protruding from the snowman into cupcake.


White Chocolate Truffle Mix

Chocolate truffles look fancy and are often intimidating to make, but they don’t have to be. It can be tricky to dip them in tempered chocolate, so instead we rolled these in coconut to make the snowmen. To showcase them in a different way, try rolling in chopped nuts, cocoa powder, sprinkles, or chocolate shavings. This truffle mixture can be used without the coconut too. Add a little liqueur for a flavor boost.

¼ cup (60 ml) heavy cream
8 ounces (225 g) good quality white chocolate, finely chopped
¼ cup (26 g) finely shredded sweetened coconut

1. In a small saucepan, bring the cream to a simmer.

2. Remove the pan from the heat, stir in chocolate, and whisk until smooth.

3. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and stir in the coconut.

4. Refrigerate until firm enough to scoop and roll into balls.

Yield: About 1 cup (295 g); makes about 20 (½ ounce [15 g]) truffles.

Royal Icing

Royal icing is simple to make and essential for decorations that you want to dry hard. It is the only icing we use for sugar cookies to give a nice shiny, bright finish. In this book, we note the consistency of royal icing you will need. Stiff peaks are best for detailed piping and flowers. Medium peaks are best for outlining and basic piping. Liquid icing with no peaks is best for filling in run-outs or sugar cookies.

3 egg whites
4½ cups (560 g) powdered sugar
1 tablespoon (15 ml) water

1. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat or whisk slowly until the powdered sugar begins to mix in. If you use an electric mixer, increase the speed to medium, or beat by hand until the icing is smooth and shiny; about 3 minutes.

2. Adjust the amount of sugar or water to reach the desired consistency.

Yield: About 2 cups (470 ml)

--

Cupcake Decorating Lab

Discover easy, accessible, and fun techniques for making beautifully decorated cupcakes with Cupcake Decorating Lab! This inspiring guide starts out with basic techniques, such as frosting cupcakes with an offset spatula; using a piping bag and tips; flooding cupcake tops with icing; frosting with chocolate ganache; and tinting buttercream.

The labs in the book cover a wide variety of exciting decorating techniques, such as how to make sugared and candied fruit and flower garnishes; stamping, stenciling, and piping on fondant; and scroll work, writing, and borders. You’ll also find fun ideas for children, weddings, holidays, entertaining, nature themes, and more. Plus, the author includes all of her favorite cake and icing recipes! Create the most delicious and stylish cupcakes imaginable with Cupcake Decorating Lab!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

SPOON and Where Women Cook Holiday Giveaway

I don't know about you, but my holiday season has gone somewhat array. Thanks to the glorious Martha Stewart, I always want my home to look like this:


And yet everything always seems to end up like this (I feel for you, Donny Break):



Story of my life.

The good news? Jo Packham and our friends at Where Women Cook have graciously sent along tons of gorgeous home decorating swag for us to give away along with three of her amazing books: Pieography, Everything Goes With Ice Cream, and Artisan Food Entrepreneur. Just think how great your home will look (and how much fun you'll have making pies and ice cream!)

Get in on the action below. And know that you're not alone. Even if your cat did knock over your Christmas tree, you can bounce back and still have an amazing season. I promise.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck!

--

The Artisan Food Entrepreneur

Come along on an artisan food journey with thirty of the top “foodie” entrepreneurs in the industry. Chapter by chapter, you’ll be carried away with beautiful photography, delicious recipes, and inspiring stories from restaurant owners, farmers, beekeepers, bakers, and more. Get valuable advice for your own business along the way. This wonderful collection is sure to nourish your body and your soul with over thirty recipes that you will want to make again and again.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Eyecatching Examples of Food Art and Styling

I don't know about you, but I absolutely adore drooling over some of the astounding food photography there is out there. From dedicated food stylists, to food photographers, to food bloggers, to amateur photographers, there is a deluge of gorgeous photography online and off that just pops off the pages and convinces us all to make those recipes we simply adore.

So today, I'm sharing some of my favorite food and drink photos from the new book, 1,000 Food Art and Styling Ideas by Ari Bendersky.

If you love these photos and want to see hundreds more, you'll want to pick up a copy of the book today. Better yet, win one right now. 



Anthony Tahlier

Heather Sperling

Heather Van Gaale

Michelle Deiter

Molly McMahon

Paragon Marketing Communications

Scott Erb & Donn aDufault

Ty Lettau

--

1,000 Food Art and Styling Ideas


Whether you’re a food photographer or a food lover, this book is sure to inspire you to create visually stunning dishes. 1,000 Food Art & Styling Ideas beautifully showcases 1,000 of the best food art presentations from around the world. From Italy to China to the United States, the photos highlight the best food art presentations each country has to offer, submitted by professional photographers, food stylists, chefs, and food bloggers. The succulent images will make your mouth water and inspire your next photo shoot—whether it’s a basic plate of pasta or a table full of pastries and parfaits. You’ll learn new techniques for staging your food to make it an out-of-world experience for your guests.

This is a visual showcase designed to provide endless inspiration for anyone who loves food, styling, and photography.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

How to Make Infused Vinegars

I'm all about homemade gifts for the holidays. They have a special look and feel and always get a great response. In the past, I've made homemade vanilla, hot chocolates, marshmallows, and tons and cookies and chocolates. I have never thought to make vinegar.... until now.

According to Erin Coopey of The Kitchen Pantry Cookbook: "infused vinegars are a great way to add extra flavors to salad dressings, marinades, and pickled items." This makes them a great thing to give over the holidays (or start making now for your own kitchen pantry).


Garlic Dill Vinegar
This vinegar is phenomenal in potato salad.

Yield: Makes 2 cups (475 ml)

Ingredients
6 to 8 sprigs fresh dill or 1 tablespoon (4 g) dried dillweed
2 cloves garlic
4 peppercorns
2 cups (475 ml) cider vinegar

Directions

Wash the dill sprigs. Pat dry and crush the herbs gently with your fingers. Put the crushed herbs into a  sterilized pint (475 ml) jar. Add the garlic and peppercorns. Fill the jar with the vinegar.

Close the lid and place the jar in a cool, dark place, like a pantry cupboard, for at least 1 week, gently shaking the jar every day or so to mix the flavors of the herbs.

Strain the flavored vinegar through a funnel lined with cheesecloth to remove the herbs and spices. Pour the strained vinegar into a sterilized bottle. If you’d like, you can add a few fresh sprigs of dill, or a few dill seed heads, into the bottle for decoration. Store the strained vinegar for up to 6 months.

Chive-Blossom Vinegar
If you grow chives in your garden or planter, snip a few in the springtime for this flavorful vinegar. The fresh blossoms also make a pretty addition to green salads.

Yield: Makes 4 cups (950 ml)

Ingredients

1 cup (48 g) freshly snipped chive blossoms
4 cups (950 ml) white wine vinegar

Directions

Gently rinse the chive blossoms in a bowl of cool water. Drain and pat dry with a clean kitchen towel.

Place the clean blossoms in a sterilized, quart-size (950 ml) glass jar. Pour the vinegar over the blossoms. Seal the jar tightly and store in a dark place for 2 weeks. Shake the jar from time to time.

Little by little, the blossoms will begin to lose their color, and the vinegar will turn pale pink. At the end of the 2 weeks, strain the vinegar through a cheesecloth-lined funnel into a sterilized bottle. Cork tightly. Store for up to 6 months.

--

The Kitchen Pantry Cookbook

You work hard to make dinner—choosing the best food, mastering preparation techniques, and picking the perfect recipes. But what about the unsung staples, the ingredients and condiments that build and accompany your meal? Too often, the store-bought versions are loaded with extra salt, sugar, allergens, and preservatives, and they end up bland and uninspiring. But you don’t have to limit yourself to the same tastes and the same plastic bottles. With Kitchen Pantry Cookbook you can create your own staples—fresh, delicious, and just the way you like them. Chef Erin Coopey shows you 90+ recipes and variations to personalize your pantry. You’ll never go back to the bottles.

Stock your kitchen pantry with:

· Condiments: Everything you need—Mayonnaise, Dijon Mustard, Ketchup, Steak Sauce, and more
· Nut butters and spreads: The classics and the creative—Homemade Peanut Butter, Chocolate Hazelnut Butter, Vanilla Chai Pear Butter, and more
· Salad dressings: All your favorites, from Balsamic Vinaigrette to Honey Mustard to Sesame Tahini
· Stocks: The basics to have on hand, including Chicken Stock, Vegetable Stock, and Court Bouillon
· Relishes and refrigerator pickles: Delicious and easy—Bread and Butter Pickles, Pickled Peppers, Sauerkraut, and more
· Chips, dips, and dunks: Snacks that hit the spot, from Homemade Potato Chips with French Onion Dip to Tortilla Chips with Tomatillo Salsa

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Triple Chocolate Crunch Granola

It's Wednesday! And that means we're hosting another amazing #spoonchat at 1 PM EST on our Twitter account. Today we'll be chatting with one of our all-time favorite bakers and cookie-makers, Sally McKenney of Sally's Baking Addiction. Sally has a brand new cookbook coming out in a couple of months and we have tons of questions. We bet you do too, so be sure to join us. The best question wins an advanced copy of her book.

We don't want to share a sneak peek from Sally's book quite yet, but we couldn't help but share one of our favorites of her healthy recipes. This triple chocolate crunch granola is especially perfect as a snack at work.


Triple Chocolate Crunch Granola
Recipe source: Sally's Baking Addiction
Be sure to pre-order your copy of the Sally's Baking Addiction Cookbook today!


Ingredients
3 cups (270 g) old-fashioned whole rolled oats (not quick or instant)
1/4 cup (60 ml) coconut oil, melted (or canola oil)
1/2 cup (55 g) unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup (45 g) dark brown sugar
1/3 cup (80 ml) honey (or maple syrup, or agave)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (75 g) semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/23/4 cup (75 - 110 g) dark chocolate covered raisins
Optional additional add-ins like nuts, seeds, or dried fruit

Instructions
Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C or gas mark 5). Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Set aside.

Pour oats into a large bowl and set aside. In a smaller bowl, mix melted coconut oil, cocoa powder, and dark brown sugar until combined. Add honey and salt and mix until a liquid-y paste forms. Pour over oats and mix until all oats are moistened. Add more honey if needed.

Bake for 30 minutes, stirring and flipping every 10 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle with chocolate chips while the granola is still warm. Stir. The chocolate chips will melt, creating larger clusters of granola. Once cooled, add in chocolate covered raisins and any additional add-ins you prefer. Store covered at room temperature for up to three weeks.

--

Sally's Baking Addiction

Named by Huffington Post as one of the “Top 10 Food Blogs to Watch” in 2013, Sally’s Baking Addiction has skyrocketed in popularity since its inception in late 2011. Baking addict and food blogger Sally McKenney loves to bake. Her famous Salted Caramel Dark Chocolate Cookies won Nestle’s Dark Chocolate contest in 2013, and now, in her first cookbook, Sally shares her baking secrets with fans everywhere. Try her No-Bake Peanut Butter Banana Pie, her delectable Dark Chocolate Butterscotch Cupcakes, or her yummy Marshmallow Swirl S’mores Fudge. Featuring a brand new selection of desserts and treats, the Sally’s Baking Addiction Cookbook is fully illustrated and offers 75 scrumptious recipes for indulging your sweet tooth—including a chapter of healthier dessert options for those who follow a vegan or gluten-free lifestyle. With dozens of simple, easy-to-follow recipes, you get all of the sweet with none of the fuss!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

SPOON Holiday Cookie Swap: Lazy Lattice Cherry Bars


How is your cookie baking going? Try anything new? Exciting? Terrible? We'd love to know. Send us an email or leave us a note on Facebook or Twitter.

This week, we thought we'd switch it up a bit and share a bar recipe rather than a straight-up cookie. After all, variety is the spice of life, right? And these cherry bars from Celine and Tami were just too delicious to pass up.

Lazy Lattice Cherry Bars
Excerpted from Whole Grain Vegan Baking by Celine Steen and Tami Noyes



You know the saying “Baseball, not-dogs, apple pie, and lemonade”? Not in Tami’s family. Mouthpuckering sour cherry pie is the family favorite. Making pies is a labor of love, but sometimes cutting corners can be a good thing. This quick bar cookie version is lower in fat than a typical double crust pie, but still delivers on taste.

Nonstick cooking spray

For Filling:

1 can (141⁄2 ounces, or 451 g) pitted red tart cherries, drained
20 g (2 tablespoons) coconut sugar
24 g (2 tablespoons) instant tapioca, such as Let’s Do…Organic
12 g (1 tablespoon) Sucanat
3⁄4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1⁄2 teaspoon almond extract

For Crust:

60 g (1⁄2 cup) almonds or almond meal
90 g (3⁄4 cup) whole wheat pastry flour
68 g (3⁄4 cup) oat flour
15 g (2 tablespoons) barley flour
21 g (3 tablespoons) finely ground cornmeal
40 g (1⁄4 cup) coconut sugar
12 g (1 tablespoon) Sucanat
7 g (1 tablespoon) flax meal
1⁄4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1⁄4 cup (60 ml) neutral-flavored oil
1⁄4 cup (60 ml) vegan milk, more if needed

Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C, or gas mark 5). Lightly coat an 8-inch (20 cm) square pan with cooking spray.

To Make the Filling: Combine all the ingredients in a medium-size saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring, for 5 minutes, until bubbly and thickened to a jam consistency. Set aside while making the crust. The tapioca will still be visible, but will disappear when the bars are cool.

To Make the Crust: Put the almonds in a food processor and process until powdered. Add the flours, cornmeal, sugars, flax meal, and salt. Process until well combined. Drizzle in the oil and process the mixture into crumbs.

Drizzle in the milk, as needed, to make a cohesive crust that can be pinched together. Process until the crust forms a ball and clears the sides of the food processor bowl. Remove a generous 1⁄2 cup (145 g) of dough.

Lightly flour a work surface and roll the dough into a 5 x 9-inch (13 x 23 cm) rectangle. Use a rotary cookie cutter with a scalloped edge to cut the rectangle into 5 strips measuring 1-inch (2.5 cm) wide and 9-inches (23 cm) long.

Press the remaining dough thinly and evenly into the prepared pan. Press the dough up the sides of the pan about 1⁄2 inch (1.3 cm). Spread the cherry filling evenly over the dough.

Top with the strips, laying 3 strips evenly across the dough, then laying the remaining 2 strips perpendicular. Lightly press the ends of the strips onto the rimmed edge of the dough on the bottom layer.

Bake for 20 to 23 minutes, until golden brown. Let cool for 30 minutes before cutting into 12 bars 2 x 22⁄3 inches (5 x 6.8 cm).

Yield: 12 bars

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Don't forget to download our SPOON recipe card template and get cracking on some great recipes.




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Whole Grain Vegan Baking

Have Your Cake and Feel Good About It Too!

Do whole grain flours intimidate you? Does amaranth flour sound fascinating but perhaps a little too froufrou? Do you love the chocolate cherry scones at your local coffee shop, but feel way too scared to attempt them on your own?

Fears begone! You are now in the safe (albeit floury) hands of Celine Steen and Tamasin Noyes, two vegan ladies who know their way around the oven—and barley and buckwheat flour too. Expect to see not an ounce of white flour, refined white sugar, or powdered egg replacer in this book. Instead, indulge in wholesome breads, muffins, pies, pancakes, and other treats that draw on the nutty depth of flavor and enhanced taste of ingredients like whole grain flours and natural sweeteners.

All you need is a bowl, a spoon, and a little “can-do!” attitude to whip up treats like Caramel Nut Barley Squares, Potato and Walnut Wheat Bread, and Chocolate Raspberry Tart. With more than 100 recipes to choose from, the hardest thing you’ll have to do is pick out what to bake first!

Your taste buds will love you, your friends will adore you, your waist will thank you, and the planet will be singing your praises with Whole Grain Vegan Baking. You’re just a whisk away!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Holiday Cocktails: The German Relaxation

'Tis the season for snowstorms. We had a big one this weekend and it ended up canceling all of our holiday parties. Tucked inside the house watching the snow fall outside, we decided there was nothing better to do than watch holiday favorites like National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation and sip homemade hot chocolate with homemade marshmallows. We're cool like that.


Had we had our copy of Apothecary Cocktails at home, I would have made these drinks in an instant. I even love the mugs in the picture. The best part of this warming, soothing cocktail is that it is designed to help you sleep. So go ahead and keep those holiday movies rolling... even after you've drifted off to sleep. We'll do the dishes.

German Relaxation
Excerpted from Apothecary Cocktails by Warren Bobrow



We all know that restful sleep doesn’t come easy, especially when you really need it. So it’s no surprise that nearly every country in the world has developed its own remedies for wakefulness. In Germany, a teaspoon of distilled Alpine herbs suspended in a tonic made with wildflower honey and then added to a cup of hot water or tea is known to ease stress and to set tired eyelids fluttering. Made with dozens of herbs and spices—don’t ask which ones, since the recipes for these tonics are usually guarded like state secrets. Today,  any of these liqueurs are widely available outside of Deutschland, so they should be relatively easy to find. This simple recipe is just the ticket when it comes to combating restlessness and inducing relaxation.

3 ounces (90 ml) Alpine herbal elixir (such as J├Ągermeister)
6 ounces (175 ml) boiling water
1 ounce (30 ml) honey simple syrup (see below)

Preheat a mug by filling it with boiling water; discard the water after a few seconds. Add the Alpine
herbal elixir to the mug and top with more boiling water. Sweeten with the honey simple syrup and you’ll drift off to sleep dreaming of little goats frolicking on Alpine mountaintops.

Honey Simple Syrup

Add 1 cup (235 ml) of boiling water to 1 cup (340 g) of honey and mix until honey has dissolved. Let the mixture cool. Keep refrigerated in an airtight container for up to a month.


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Apothecary Cocktails Restorative Drinks from Yesterday and Today

At the turn of the century, pharmacies in Europe and America prepared homemade tinctures, bitters, and herbal remedies mixed with alcohol for curative benefit for everything from poor digestion to the common cold. Today, trendy urban bars such as Apothke in New York, Apo Bar & Lounge in Philadelphia, and 1022 South in Tacoma, as well as "vintage" and "homegrown" cocktail aficionados, find inspiration in apothecary cocktails of old.

Now you can too!

Apothecary Cocktails features 75 traditional and newly created recipes for medicinally-themed cocktails. Learn the history of the top ten apothecary liqueurs, bitters, and tonics that are enjoying resurgence at trendy bars and restaurants, including Peychaud's Bitters, Chartreuse, and Vermouth. Find out how healing herbs, flowers, and spices are being given center stage in cocktail recipes and traditional apothecary recipes and ingredients are being resurrected for taste and the faint promise of a cure. Once you’ve mastered the history, you can try your hand at reviving your favorites: restoratives, sedatives and toddys, digestifs, and more.

Whether you’re interested in the history, the recipes, or both, you’ll love flipping through this beautifully presented book that delves into the world of apothecary cocktails.