• Cookies,  Desserts

    Tiny Hazelnut-Chocolate Sandwich Cookies (Baci di Dama)

    In our last post, we wallowed in the chocolately pleasure of Whoopie Pies, perhaps the world’s largest sandwich cookies. Now we indulge in the delicate chocolate-filled confection called baci di dama, probably the world’s teeniest-tiniest sandwich cookies. Diminutive bites of melt-away hazelnut shortbread and bittersweet chocolate, baci di dama embody the classic Italian love affair of nocciola with its soul mate, cioccolato (yeah, hazelnuts and chocolate, but it sounds so much sexier in Italian). Baci di dama, also known as Italian Hazelnut Cookies, date back to the early 1800s in the Piedmont region of Italy, when chefs devised creative ways to promote the bounty of locally-gown hazelnuts. The name means “lady’s kisses,” maybe because…

  • Prize-Winning Whoopie Pies
    Cookies,  Desserts,  Pies,  Sandwich,  Snacks

    Allen’s Prize-Winning Whoopie Pies

    Born in Pennsylvania Dutch country and named in Roxbury, Massachusetts, the Whoopie Pie has fans all over the country. But no state loves it more than Maine. Mainers went all out and declared it their Official Maine State Treat in 2011. And why not? This sensational sandwich of black chocolate cake filled with fluffy vanilla creme plays havoc with our self-control. And now, thanks to our friend Allen’s authentic recipe, we can whip up the real deal, the divine Maine Whoopie Pie, in the comfort of our own kitchens. How did Allen unlock the secret to the ultimate Whoopie Pie? He started with the master recipe his sister-in-law developed when she was a student…

  • Brookline Beef Knishes
    Beef,  Main Dish,  Other,  Pastries,  Sandwich,  Side Dishes,  Snacks

    Claire’s Beef Knishes, Butcherie Style

    If wishes were knishes…they’d all taste delicious.—Variation of old Scottish rhyme Little pastries stuffed with meat, potatoes, and other savory fillings, knishes immigrated to the US with Russian, Polish and Ukrainian Jews in the early 1900s. They soon dominated delis, knisheries and food carts in New York City. This inexpensive snack/meal spread to Kosher delis and restaurants across the country—so what’s not to like?   But as Jewish delis have dwindled, so have knishes. Our local Stop and Shop no longer carries them in the deli case. But we don’t kvetch. Thanks to our daughter Claire, we have the best recipe for this nosh that you can find anywhere. Using Science and Laboratory Superpowers, she…

  • Molasses Oatmeal Bread
    Breads,  Vegetarian

    Kathleen’s Oatmeal Molasses Bread, AKA Maritime Oatmeal Bread

    This high-rising oatmeal bread features a smack of molasses for a deep color and bright flavor. Who’d guess that a multi-grain loaf could be this fluffy and taste so luscious? It dresses up a sandwich, makes gorgeous toast, and feels like an indulgence when spread with butter.  We snapped up the recipe from our friend Julie’s mom, Kathleen, when we visited her decades ago in the historic seaside town of St. Andrews, New Brunswick. We always figured this bread was just another of Kathleen’s many specialties. Now we learn it’s a traditional bread from Canada’s Maritime region, often called Maritime Oatmeal Bread or Oatmeal Brown Bread. Rich in molasses and often eaten at Saturday…

  • Apple Chutney
    Indian,  Jams and Condiments,  Vegan,  Vegetarian

    Apple-Raisin Chutney

    We love that sweet and sour zip that a good mango chutney brings to curry. But with the high cost of a small jar, wouldn’t a homemade alternative make sense? When Adam Jaffe (of Double Chocolate Sorbet fame) served a lively apple chutney, we realized our orchard-picked Cortlands, simmered with pantry and fridge basics, could do the job. Wouldn’t you know that Adam, an economist, would offer this thrifty solution? We don’t feel so bad forsaking mango chutney, anyway, since we no longer can find our favorite brand. The original Major Grey’s Chutney, invented by Merwanjee Poonjiajee & Sons Pvt. Ltd. and sold under the “Sun Brand” label, has disappeared from the shelves. As…

  • Tante Marie's Sorrel Soup
    Soups,  Vegetable,  Vegetarian

    Tante Marie’s French Sorrel Soup from Charlotte Turgeon

    If you could cross baby spinach with lemon, you’d get something like sorrel. It brightens salads, sauces and omelets, but best of all makes a marvel of a soup. And nothing captures the flavor and simple pleasures of the French countryside like this dish: French Sorrel Soup. Remarkably fast and easy to make, this elegant, tangy soup goes from zero to the table in less than 15 minutes. No potatoes, no aromatics, no cream. An egg yolk swirled in at the end adds a bit of richness, and some toasted bread served in the bowl gives it depth. The hardest part might be finding the main ingredient. Popular throughout Europe, sorrel is rarely seen…

  • Susan's Biscuits
    Biscuits,  Breads,  Snacks,  Vegetarian

    Emily Adair’s Best Biscuits from Sue Aldrich

    For as long as we’ve known Sue Aldrich—from way back in the Dark Ages—we’ve loved her light, flaky biscuits. They’re simply the best. She credits Emily Adair, her great-grandmother and namesake—middle name—for this classic recipe. As Sue tells it, “My paternal grandmother, Ora McKim, was a teenager in Michigan when her father came home with a new wife—Emily—after a brief trip to the city. The ‘city’ was probably Cass City, Michigan, population around 1,200 in 1915.” Emily raised Ora and her sister Cecil, who were barely younger than their new mother. “I’m sure everyone loved Emily—except of course Ora, who saw her as competition,” says Sue. She adds that Ora turned into a bit…

  • Basic Yeasted Flatbread
    Appetizers,  Breads,  Indian,  Middle Eastern,  Snacks,  Vegan,  Vegetarian

    Basic Yeasted Flatbread

    Is it Indian? Israeli? Italian? All of the above. With a dough this universal, Basic Yeasted Flatbread passes for all sorts of nationalities. It scoops up curry just like naan, dips into hummus like pita, and doubles as perfect pizza dough. Soft, chewy and heavenly when served warm from the griddle, it reminds us why we love our daily bread. This recipephany came from Mollie Katzen, a hero ever since her 1977 Moosewood Cookbook. In Sunlight Cafe: Breakfast Served All Day, she confessed her special relationship with this flatbread. She always had dough in the fridge, and made flatbreads all hours of the day. And we can see why—it has proved itself a loyal friend…

  • Gluten-free, Vegan Hermits
    Cookies,  Desserts,  Gluten-free,  Snacks,  Vegan,  Vegetarian

    Gluten-Free, Vegan Hermits

    To get a really great gluten-free vegan cookie, start with a really great cookie. One that plays well with gluten-free flour and won’t miss the eggs. In this case, it’s Dick’s Hermits. Crisp on the outside, soft and chewy on the inside, these classic New England molasses-spice cookies make the mouth tingle with delight. My mother-in-law Dorothy, nicknamed “Dick,” (see Dick’s Coffee Cake for that story) spoiled her kids with these cookies. With a little culinary sleight of hand, we now can spoil just about everybody. It doesn’t take much—just gluten-free “1-1” flour (from Trader Joe’s or King Arthur Baking Company, for example) and a little ground flaxseed. The flour swaps cup-for-cup for all-purpose…

  • Chickpea Vegetable Tagine
    Beans,  Gluten-free,  Indian,  Middle Eastern,  Moroccan,  Side Dishes,  Vegan,  Vegetables,  Vegetarian

    Chickpea and Vegetable Tagine

    Like “casserole,” “tagine” refers to both a type of cookware and the meal you make in it. Tagine gets its name from a Moroccan pot that looks like an oversized piece from the Sorry! game. But you don’t need an authentic tagine to make this warmly spiced chickpea and vegetable stew. A dutch oven or large frying pan will do the trick. We call it a tagine, but with all the Indian spices it tastes like a curry. In fact, we suggest optional curry powder for an extra blast of flavor and heat. Let’s just say that this falls into the “dishes without borders” category. So you can serve it with couscous, basmati rice,…

  • Meringue-a-tangs
    Cookies,  Gluten-free,  Other,  Passover,  Snacks

    Muriel Brody’s Meringue-a-Tangs

    Tap this crispy, weightless meringue cookie and it sounds hollow. But take a bite and the outside shatters, melts, then gives way to the chew of chocolate chips and nutty bits. More a confection than cookie, it is sweet, crunchy air. These treats whip up easily and bake all by themselves. Put them into a hot oven, switch it off, and forget them. Do not disturb them for hours—preferably overnight. Slow drying crisps them up. My mom, Muriel, of Olympic Seoul Chicken fame, wouldn’t settle for plain-old boring meringues. So she folded in chocolate and nuts. My two older brothers named them Meringue-a-Tangs—as fun to say as to eat. We thank our family dog,…

  • Julia Child's Madeleines
    Cookies,  Desserts,  Other,  Snacks

    Julia Child’s Madeleines

    In the early 1900s, author Marcel Proust wrote 1,267,069 words in his seven-volume masterpiece In Search of Lost Time. And yet “madeleine” is the word that made him famous. Madeleines, little tea cakes baked in scallop molds, have been delighting the French since the 18th Century. And it was Proust who made them popular worldwide. She [my mother] sent out for one of those short, plump little cakes called ‘petites madeleines,’ which look as though they had been moulded in the fluted scallop of a pilgrim’s shell….And once I had recognized the taste of the crumb of madeleine soaked in her decoction of lime-flowers which my aunt used to give me…the whole of Combray…

  • Quesabeanas
    Appetizers,  Beans,  Cheese dishes,  Main Dish,  Mexican,  Side Dishes,  Vegetable,  Vegetables,  Vegetarian

    Raegan’s “Quesabeanas,” Refried-Bean Quesadillas

    Recipephany Test Kitchen’s Chief Taster, Dan, likes to call these “Yummy Chongas” or “Tacodilla Grandes.” But their developer, Raegan Sales (also known for the best No-Knead Focaccia), calls them “Quesabeanas,” and that sums them up pretty well. Refried beans sweetened with caramelized aromatics and spiked with hot sauce bulk up the humble quesadilla. A soft bean filling fuses with melted cheese so when you bite into the toasty flour tortilla, you taste nothing but delicious squishiness inside. And while it masquerades as fun food, the Quesabeana—especially with lots of toppings—includes all manner of healthy food groups. While Raegan came up with the Quesabeana, her husband, our son Andrew, inspired the crispy cheese crust. “He…

  • Meringue Cradle Cake
    Breakfast,  Cakes,  Desserts,  Pastries,  Snacks

    Meringue Cradle Cake

    Fit for a celebration, Meringue Cradle Cake evokes all the drama of a layered pastry, yet it comes together as if by magic. A crust of chocolate-flecked meringue covers a luxurious golden cake. It looks complicated, but the heavenly contrast of crispy and tender springs from the simple alchemy of separating egg whites and yolks. Rarely have eggs performed so many tricks in one cake. Yolks pump up the flavor, moisten the crumb, and deepen the color. Whites whip into a brilliant built-in meringue topping. Everything gets used, so there’s no need for egg-white omelets later. Contrary to what others report, this recipe has nothing to do with the Baby Jesus. We discovered it…

  • Appetizers,  Breakfast,  Cheese dishes,  Egg dishes,  Main Dish,  Side Dishes,  Snacks,  Vegetable,  Vegetables,  Vegetarian

    Spinach Squares

    We could say that good old-fashioned Spinach Squares are staging a comeback, but they never actually went away. Also called “spinach brownies,”—no, there’s no chocolate—these squares bring to the savory portion of a meal what fudgy brownies bring to dessert. Cheesy-rich and luscious, they invite you to have just one—and then one more. Stir these up in minutes as an easy alternative to Spanakopita (Greek Spinach Pie). An appetizer, snack, side dish or even main attraction, Spinach Squares freeze and reheat well. The recipe makes a big batch, so you can serve some and still have enough for another occasion. And they make great finger food, even sneaked cold from the fridge. Surprisingly, Spinach…

  • Breakfast,  Cakes,  Snacks

    Lemon Blueberry Swirl Cake

    We love lemon. (Ooh, Ma’s Lemon Sponge Pie, with its tart curd and divine fluff.) And we love blueberries. (Ahh, Jordan Marsh Blueberry Muffin Cake, all juicy and sugar-crusty on top.) So it’s no wonder we love this moist Lemon Blueberry Swirl Cake. Sweet and tangy, it balances the two flavors just right. It makes a perfect snack cake or dessert. But its real secret to success?  No need for fresh or even frozen berries. You’ll need lemons of course—but that’s easy, since you may have lemons in your fridge right now. We always keep a stash for lemon pasta, fish, scallopini, hummus…you name it. So we can toss together a lemon dessert just…

  • Spiced Pecans
    Appetizers,  Candy,  Desserts,  Passover,  Vegan

    Spiced Pecans

    Except for those with nut allergies (apologies to one of our nieces) or those who avoid cinnamon (apologies to one of our nephews), just about everybody loves pecans with a sugar-spice crunch. The coating elevates the nuts to a luxurious treat—in just a few minutes and with the simplest ingredients. We like to give these away at Christmas, but they also make a perfect sweet for Passover. What’s more, they qualify as vegan and gluten-free without even trying. This recipephany came from The Boston Globe’s Confidential Chat (or informally, “Chatters”). An early form of social media, the column connected readers who mailed in recipe requests, recipes, and good-ole-fashioned kitchen advice. The Globe retired this…

  • Vegetable Pulao
    Gluten-free,  Indian,  Rice,  Side Dishes,  Vegan,  Vegetables

    Basmati Rice with Peas and Carrots (Mixed Vegetable Pulao)

    Peas and carrots—that humble yet dynamic duo—add just the right sweetness and color to this Indian-spiced rice. The pared-down ingredient list may tempt you to throw in aromatics and sexier veggies, but don’t bother. This easy dish tastes authentic, cooks in a flash, and can either go with a curry or dress up a simple meal with its fragrant, warm spices. This recipephany came from the back of a bag of basmati rice, more proof that we get the best recipes right off the packages. Unfortunately, we didn’t note the brand, so we can’t give it credit. Maybe it’s just as well we don’t remember the brand. The rice producer would probably be upset…

  • Chocolate Cups With Chocolate Mascarpone
    Candy,  Desserts,  Gluten-free,  Pudding,  Snacks

    Chocolate Whipped Mascarpone in Dark Chocolate Mini Cups

    Our daughter once gave us a box of imported chocolate mini cups, which made any filling an instant dessert. Turns out, if you can melt chocolate you can make them yourself. Paint the inside of small paper baking cups with melted bittersweet chocolate, let harden, then strip off the paper. The crisp accordion pleats make these cups look so much like paper liners, your guests will try to peel them off. It’s such fun—the opposite of fake food. It’s both a craft project and a dessert. Better yet, fill these petite cups with mascarpone chocolate cream and you get a dreamy, deep chocolate that melts away with each heavenly bite. Mascarpone—the milder and creamier…

  • Punched Potatoes from Richard Nasser
    Gluten-free,  Other,  Potatoes,  Side Dishes,  Vegan,  Vegetable,  Vegetables

    Punched Potatoes from Richard Nasser

    Our friend Richard Nasser served these heavenly punched potatoes and they made us think of what makes a great french fry: crispy outsides with soft, creamy insides. Our daughter, when she was little, nailed it when she said her favorite fries have “a lot of filling.” Yes, we want them crisp, but the real potato punch is in the “filling.” “Punched potatoes” apparently come from Portugal, creating some nice English alliteration. They are also known as ”smashed potatoes.” As both names imply, the idea is to flatten them. As our guest contributor, Richard shares his technique for creating the optimal “flesh/skin ratio” that make these potatoes totally irresistible. “I don’t know the national provenance…

  • Breakfast,  Cakes,  Desserts,  Muffins,  Other,  Snacks

    Tibetan Bon Bons (Baked “Donuts”)

    Tasting just like donuts but without the mess of frying, these gems originated in the rustic hearth of the Nangzhik Monastery in Tibet. The monks offered these “righteously delicious” little cakes to pilgrims so they could keep up their strength and spirits on their strenuous hikes. The monastery subsequently became a Tibetan “Trek Stop,” welcoming travelers from around the world. One such adventurer, the famed J. Peterman, cracked the monk’s secret recipe in 1983 and named the small cakes “Tibetan Bon Bons” after Tibet’s ancient religion, Bon. He identified the secret ingredient, the key to the tender crumb and depth of flavor: finely chopped tart apples stirred into the batter. Actually, none of that…

  • Tomato with Sage Pasta Sauce
    Ingredient,  Italian,  Pasta,  Vegan,  Vegetarian

    Pasta with Fresh Tomato and Sage Sauce

    Our new favorite pasta sauce has all the earmarks of a Neopolitan classic. Quick and simple, it exemplifies the short-order-cooking style typical of great Italian food. It simmers just long enough to get saucy and tangy, then clings lovingly to the pasta of your choice, careful to let the creamy flavor of the wheat shine through. It includes the usual suspects: chunked-up tomatoes, garlic, red pepper flakes, sage…. Sage? What’s with the sage? We know how Italians season tomatoes with basil and oregano, and occasionally with rosemary and thyme. Sage goes into saltimbocca and brown butter sauce, but not red sauces. But why not? Sage belongs to the mint family, along with all those…

  • Rugelach
    Cookies,  Desserts,  Pastries,  Snacks

    Rugelach with Raspberry Jam, Pecans and Mini Chocolate Chips

    Rugelach, the little rolled-up pastries filled with all manner of jams, nuts and goodies, have gone beyond their Jewish roots into general circulation. They’ve become so mainstream that cookie maven Dorie Greenspan, who apparently had trouble with the pronunciation, tried renaming them “Friendship Cookies” in one of her books. The chutzpah! Good thing Dorie’s rebranding didn’t stick. We should preserve the Yiddish, which means “little twist,” or “little horn.” Like “bubbellah.” a pet name my parents called me, “rugelach” has some sweet affection built right in. To make it even cuter, it’s both singular and plural, like “moose” or “Red Sox.” No, this recipephany didn’t come from my strudel-baking grandmother Lena. Instead, it’s from…

  • Risotto with Butternut Squash and Sage in the Pressure Cooker
    Appetizers,  Gluten-free,  Italian,  Main Dish,  Rice,  Vegetables,  Vegetarian

    Risotto with Butternut Squash and Sage in the Pressure Cooker

    As the days get shorter, keep the sun in your life with gleaming risotto lit with golden butternut squash. Plump little Arborio rice grains turn creamy yet keep a nice al dente chew. Swirled with sweet winter squash, it’s a comfort food to rival mac and cheese. The pressure cooker (or Instant Pot) cooks it up perfetto in just about 5 minutes, without any of the watching, stirring and all-around fussing that scare cooks away from risotto. Fresh sage plays the hero here, propelling the savory flavors into the stratosphere. Dried sage can work, too, but fresh velvety leaves add the brightness of garden greens. If you don’t have a pressure cooker or its…

  • Bert Porter's Sandwich Bread Sliced
    Breads,  Breakfast,  Technique

    Easy, Fluffy, Fabulous Sandwich Bread from “Mr. King Arthur” Himself

    Baking hobbyists like to get their kicks at the King Arthur Baking Company. If you’ve seen their mail-order catalog, you know it peddles baking porn at its most seductive. Just looking at those specialty flours, secret ingredients, shiny pans and professional gadgets makes my heart go pit-a-pat. And then there are the online recipes. More than 500 breads plus tons of cakes, cookies and pastries—everything from serious sourdoughs to fake Twinkies. King Arthur used this recipe for many years as a kind of gateway drug to bread baking. Milk-enriched, it has the soft, pillowy texture you’ll find in the trendy Japanese milk bread, but without all the fuss. Two balls of dough for each…