• Lemon Cake, Amalfi-Style
    Cakes,  Desserts,  Recipephany ingredient

    Lemon Bundt Cake, Amalfi-Style

    When we hiked mountain trails along the Amalfi Coast several years ago, we marveled at the fist-sized lemons hanging off the cliffside trees. We didn’t know at the time, but they were begging to get zested and squeezed into this ultramoist and puckery lemon cake. While this lemon-lover’s dessert comes from the region, it doesn’t require Italian lemons. The supermarket variety will do just fine. Who knows the real heritage of this cake. It has relatives all over the world. The English call it a “lemon drizzle cake.” It starts out as a classic butter cake—rich, fluffy, golden, and fairly easy to make. The jolt of flavor comes from the lemon syrup that gets…

  • Paul Hollywood's Crumpets
    Breads,  Breakfast,  Muffins,  Snacks,  Technique

    Paul Hollywood’s Crumpets

    On a recent trip to England, we fell hard for the hot, buttery crumpets served on the 10:03 train from London’s King’s Cross Station to Leeds. We’d splurged on first class with meal service—well worth it just to experience these soft, griddled treats that soaked up butter like sponges. Make these beauties for breakfast, brunch or tea, and you too will understand why Brits love their crumpets. Not English Muffins While crumpets are English and muffins, they are not English muffins. If you crossed English muffins with pancakes, you’d get something like crumpets. Crumpets start with a bubbly yeasted batter, not a dough like English muffins. The batter cooks in rings on a griddle…

  • Chocolate Hermits
    Cookies,  Desserts,  Snacks

    Chocolate Hermits

    Dick’s Hermits, my mother-in-law’s classic chewy molasses-spice cookies, pack a flavor blast of epic proportions. (See original and gluten-free versions.)  In our original post, we call her hermit “the spice equivalent of a decadent chocolate cookie.” But wait…could that “decadent chocolate cookie” also be a hermit—a chocolate hermit? Could there be a deeply flavorful, chewy chocolate cookie with the same signature cracks on top? A chocolate cookie made the same, easy way? We got a glimmer of that possibility when we received an email from Recipephany follower Frieda from Texas. The photo of Dick’s Hermits reminded her of the chocolate hermits she’d loved decades ago. So she reached out for help in finding—or creating—a…

  • Chicken Minestrone
    Chicken,  Italian,  Main Dish,  Soups,  Technique,  Vegetables

    Pressure-Cooker Chicken Minestrone

    Minestrone—that famous medley of veggies, beans and macaroni in tomato broth—means  “thick soup” in Italian. But don’t stop with veggies—switch it up with tender bites of chicken. Chicken pumps up the flavor, mellows out the tomatoes, and turns a chunky soup into even more of a meal. Pressure-Cooker Chicken Minestrone falls somewhere between stew and soup—”stoup,” if you will. We got our classic minestrone from longtime pal Elinor Lipman. Most people know her for her novels, but she’s also a clever cook and baker. Her latest success, Ms. Demeanor, is a finalist for this year’s prestigious Thurber Prize for American Humor. In it, to our delight, she spices up her usual witty dialog and…

  • Chapati
    Breads,  Indian

    Chapati, Indian Whole-Wheat Flatbread

    The people of India usually enjoy their dishes with either bread or rice—not both. We all can make rice, but how about one of those fabulous Indian flatbreads? Simple whole-wheat chapati, AKA roti, makes a nice holiday from basmati. It puffs up when griddled, then flattens into something like a tortilla. Soft and pliable, it’s perfect for scooping up curries and spreading with chutney. A staple in Indian homes for thousands of years, chapati goes from zero to the table in minutes and fits anybody’s budget. A couple things make this recipe a keeper. First, you don’t need to buy whole-wheat atta flour, the kind they use in India. You’ll get a wonderfully toasty…

  • Mea or Chicken Curry
    Beef,  Chicken,  Indian,  Lamb,  Pork,  Techniques & Ingredients,  Turkey

    Classic Indian Curry with Meat or Chicken

    Call it “Curry 101.” This recipe taught us how to blend aromatics and spices into a savory paste—the secret to a classic Indian curry. This paste can flavor meat or chicken, and makes a bright sauce with chopped tomatoes or a smooth and tangy sauce with yogurt. No matter which variation—whether red or golden brown—this curry rivals authentic Indian take-away. We say “take-away” because that’s what they do in the UK, the source of this recipe. Brits love Indian food (some say chicken tikka masala outsells fish ‘n chips) and this recipe comes from Cooking the Indian Way published in London in 1962. And as much as we idolize Madhur Jaffrey, the Godmother of…

  • Molten Chocolate Lava Cake
    Cakes,  Desserts

    Molten Chocolate Lava Cakes

    Molten Chocolate Lava Cakes perform a marvelous trick. Dig into a moist, rich cake and out flows warm dark chocolate. Restaurants serve these elegant little desserts to oohs and aahs. And with our recipe, you can bring the same chocolate drama right to your table in almost no time and with no fuss. The secret is what you do ahead of time, behind the scenes. Whisk up the batter before dinner, or even a day or more ahead. It only takes a few minutes. Then pour the batter into silicone molds or ramekins and store them in the fridge or the freezer. All that’s left is the baking—or should we say, the underbaking. And…

  • Elvis's Favorite Pound Cake
    Cakes,  Desserts

    Elvis’s Favorite Pound Cake

    When I told my brother Mitchell that I’d baked Elvis’s Presley’s Favorite Pound Cake, he sang, “You ate nothin’ but a pound cake.” Not just any pound cake, but the King of Pound Cakes. Moist and tender, this golden cake owes its richness and height to heavy cream, butter and lots of eggs. Cake flour makes it light and silky. Of course, you would guess that Elvis’s cake would be over-the-top luxurious. You can’t help falling in love with it. This hint-of-lemon adaptation comes from Leah Greenwald, Recipephany’s Celebrity Cake Consultant and baking inspiration. She compared this to Sara Lee’s packaged pound cake—a favorite in my household when I was growing up. “It has…

  • Cake Goop
    Other,  Technique,  Techniques & Ingredients

    Cake Goop for Worry-Free Nonstick Baking

    Your baking pan may say “nonstick,” but don’t believe it. When it comes to bundt pans, intricate cake pans, and cookie molds with nooks and crannies, even nonstick coatings need a little help. And cooking oil sprays won’t do it. Use our easy and cheap homemade Cake Goop and your lovely cake will slide easily out of the pan, keeping a showstopper from turning into a heartbreaker. Recipephany’s Cake Release Technology Consultant, Leah Greenwald, recommends Baker’s Joy spray to keep bundt cakes beautifully whole when turned out of the pan. But wouldn’t you know, our Stop and Shop stopped carrying it. Apparently, their target market no longer includes joyful bakers. Fortunately, baking friend Kathy…

  • Curried Butternut Squash Soup
    Soups,  Vegan,  Vegetables,  Vegetarian

    Curried Butternut Squash Soup

    Nothing celebrates the fall harvest like Curried Butternut Squash Soup. Its velvety blend of sweet squash and orchard-fresh apples makes us feel so cozy. And the bright Indian spice adds just a touch of extra warmth. Serve it as a show-stopper opener for your holiday event, or just curl up with a bowl and some crusty bread for a comfy weeknight dinner. And all that rich, complex flavor comes from an easy-to-prepare vegetarian (or vegan) soup. Roasting the squash adds a syrupy caramelization—and simplifies prep. Cook the squash ahead, then store it in the fridge until you’re ready to make the soup.  We based this Curried Butternut Squash Soup on a recipe by Sheila…

  • Homemade Playdough
    Other

    Homemade Playdough Supreme

    You can’t make Legos at home, but you can mix up a batch of soft, colorful playdough in just a few minutes with ingredients you have on hand. Homemade Playdough Supreme feels silky smooth and comes out bright and vibrant. It costs little to make and brings hours of squishy fun. Homemade playdough goes back to the Pleistocene—or is it Plasticine?—Age. We have carbon-dated the handwritten index card to back when our kids were actual kids. So we don’t remember which clever parent gave it to us. Or where it got the name “Supreme.” But we’re grateful it still works like a dream. So we’re always ready to roll out a little fun with…

  • Chocolate Shell for Ice Cream
    Desserts,  Snacks,  Vegan,  Vegetarian

    Chocolate Shell for Ice Cream

    What would a Klondike bar, a Dove bar, or any self-respecting ice-cream-bar-on-a-stick be without a chocolate coating? Just everyday ice cream. In fact, it’s those little melt-in-your-mouth shards of chocolate that turn it into a treat. So why not punch up your favorite ice cream with a crisp, ready-to-crack chocolate shell? This chocolate sauce mimics Smucker’s popular “Magic Shell,” hardening seconds after it hits the ice cream. And yet—not surprisingly—this homemade shell has a deeper, richer flavor than the commercial squeeze-on topping. It comes together in no time with only two ingredients: chocolate and coconut oil. Virgin coconut oil (which solidifies at room temperature, so it looks more like shortening than oil) makes the…

  • 16 Bean Soup
    Beans,  Gluten-free,  Soups,  Vegan,  Vegetables,  Vegetarian

    16 Bean Soup in the Pressure Cooker

    Creamy chickpeas. Glistening black beans. Buttery limas, nutty black-eyed peas, earthy lentils, and plenty more. They all swirl together into one big pot of delicious, hearty 16 bean soup. And it’s easy and lightning-fast in your pressure cooker or Instant Pot. Just start with a bag of colorful 16 bean soup mix from the dried bean aisle at the supermarket. And what a bargain—it costs little more than any bag of dried beans. Then dress it up with a few extras to make a spectacular multibean soup. Yes, a bag of 16 bean soup mix contains at least 16 different varieties of dried beans. The bean types can vary from brand to brand, bag…

  • Pecan Praline Cookies
    Cookies,  Desserts,  Snacks

    Pecan Praline Cookies

    Pecan Praline Cookies have become an instant favorite here. Chewy inside, crispy around the edges. Buttery caramel flavor. Toasty, tasty pecans. Complex in taste, yet simple to prep. I asked Dan why, with all the cookie cookbooks I’ve obsessed over, I’d never run into this irresistible cookie until now. “You travel in the wrong circles,” he replied. Well, maybe in the past. But luckily now I travel in the same baking circle as Joanne Hofmann Sexeny. She really knows her cookies. So when she recently recommended this winner, I knew enough to stop everything and try it. She called it “one of the best cookies to bake.” Yes, and to eat. But before you…

  • Soho Globs Chocolate Cookies
    Cookies,  Desserts

    Soho Globs

    Testing out these Soho Globs warm from the oven, Dan called the first one “more of an event than a cookie,” and his second “a challenge.” These fudgy cookies may look like brownies, with their deep color and crinkly shiny crust. But watch out. They pack an intense, bittersweet triple-chocolate punch that can send you spinning if you don’t brace yourself. If you’re from around Boston, you may recognize these objects of desire from the display case at the iconic Rosie’s Bakery. With its happy pink sign outside and sweet indulgences inside, Rosie’s spread the joys of butter, sugar and especially chocolate from its Cambridge, Boston and Chestnut Hill stores. After a run of…

  • butter-bran bread
    Breads,  Breakfast,  Other

    Butter-Bran Bread from Uncle John’s Original Bread Book

    Braué’s Butter-Bran Bread. Say that three times fast. A bit tough to say, but easy—and rewarding—to make. Tender-crusted and fluffy, this no-knead loaf dates back to Prussia in the 1800s, according to the late actor/baker/author John Rahn Braué, AKA Uncle John. Bread-Bakers’ Gold Braué came from a long line of German master bread bakers. He wrote Uncle John’s Original Bread Book (published in 1961) to pass on “priceless recipes…handed down family to family, baker to baker, friend to friend, tested and retested by my father and thousands of unknowns.” I stumbled upon Uncle John’s book in the cookbook room of the legendary New England Mobile Book Fair discount bookstore, a now-closed Boston institution. What…

  • Apple Pie
    Desserts,  Pastries,  Pies

    Classic Apple Pie with Screwdriver Crust

    Here it is…the perfect “as-American-as,” best-in-its-class dessert. Years ago we posted our favorite apple pie filling (Pi Day 2015: 10 Digits of Pi) to celebrate the rarest Pi Day we’ll ever see. More recently we raved about our crisp, flaky, never-fail Screwdriver Pie Crust. And now here they are, joined in this lightly spiced, sweet-tart Classic Apple Pie. Two recipes for one great pie. Together at last. One-stop baking. Do you love apple picking, but then wonder what you’ll do with that half-bushel? Make ready-to-use apple pie fillings. Peel and slice apples and toss them in a bowl with seasonings, just as you would for a fresh pie. (But hold off on the cornstarch,…

  • Steamed pork buns
    Appetizers,  Asian,  Breads,  Chicken,  Chinese,  Main Dish,  Pork,  Sandwich,  Side Dishes,  Snacks

    Steamed Chinese Buns (Bao) with Chicken or Char Shu Pork

    Our friends Joanne and David made these pillowy Steamed Chinese Buns long before the term “bao” (short for “baozi”) became fashionable.  Fluffy and full of flavor, these buns rival those you’d get at any restaurant. The secret is the soft, enriched dough which puffs up high and airy in the steamer. Stuff it with Char Shu Pork or David’s Garlic-Ginger Chicken and you’ll be in bao heaven. Joanne started making this lighter-than-air dough using a recipe she found in the 1986 issue of Better Homes and Gardens. David, who knows his way around a wok, created this luscious Garlic-Ginger Chicken filling to go with it.  We’ve also tacked on a sweet and salty Char…

  • Anchovy Bread
    Appetizers,  Breads,  Fish,  Italian,  Side Dishes

    Anchovy Bread (Sfogliata)

    A tiny grenade of umami, the humble anchovy gives chefs a secret weapon for deepening the flavor and richness of sauces and stews. It melts away as it cooks, leaving only salt and a savory meatiness. But Italians take anchovies out from behind the curtain, celebrating them in the dish bagna càuda, in robust pasta sauces, and as a classic pizza topping. And this Italian Anchovy Bread (aka Sfogliata), sliced into colorful little pinwheels with luscious paprika-spiced filling, further proves how anchovies can command center stage. We first learned about this easy and elegant bread from Ruth Reichl’s book, My Kitchen Year. Ruth, the longtime Editor-in-Chief of Gourmet and acclaimed food critic at the…

  • Oatmeal cookies
    Cookies,  Desserts,  Technique,  Vegetarian

    Classic Chewy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

    Like cozy jammies and a binge-worthy TV show, these Classic Chewy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies (CCORCs, for short) take us right to our happy place. Satisfyingly delicious oats and raisins, with a spark of cinnamon and molasses, make us feel good all over. And with this recipe, we have finally achieved that crisp-on-the-outside and chewy-on-the-inside texture that has eluded the Recipephany Culinary Research Institute for so many years. The very first oatmeal cookie recipe appeared in 1896 in the Fannie Farmer Cookbook (then called The Boston Cooking-School Cook Book by Fannie Merritt Farmer). Quaker Oats put a version on its cardboard cannister and called it “Vanishing Oatmeal Raisin Cookies.” It’s now the home baker’s gold standard—and…

  • Puff Pastry Chocolate Croissants
    Appetizers,  Breakfast,  Cookies,  Desserts,  Pastries,  Snacks,  Technique

    Quick Puff Pastry and a Starter Recipe (Puff Pastry Mini Chocolate Croissants)

    Classic puff pastry calls for lots of rolling and folding to create zillions of those celebrated flaky layers. For bakers who don’t care for all that work, store-bought frozen puff pastry has long been their secret to everything from turnovers to tarts, pigs-in-blanket to Beef Wellington. But now, with our easy Quick Puff Pastry recipe, we no longer need to rely on Big Pastry for our supply. This quick and easy version rises into maybe a half zillion light, buttery layers. And the dough keeps beautifully in the freezer, ready for whenever the urge for la pâtisserie overtakes you.    And if you need more convincing, compare ingredients. Quick Puff Pastry has only three: flour,…

  • Microwaved-Steamed Brocolli
    Technique,  Vegan,  Vegetables,  Vegetarian

    Steamed Broccoli in the Microwave

    For perfectly tender yet brilliantly green broccoli, nothing beats the microwave. And while it may seem obvious to some, microwave-steamed broccoli has not made it onto our radar (pun intended) until recently. We’ve always used a stovetop steamer with haphazard results, finding it hard to catch that moment of exact doneness. Yet with the microwave, we can reach that moment as quickly as 3 minutes after pressing “start.” Miraculous. We picked up this tip from our son-in-law Gordy Stephenson. Now, he creates deliciously spicy and saucy dishes that take simmering and care, including the world’s best saag paneer (curried greens with cheese). But when our little grandsons clamor for dinner, he delights them with…

  • Dan's Marinated Grilled Shrimp
    Appetizers,  Fish,  Italian,  Seafood and Fish

    Dan’s Marinated Grilled Shrimp

    Dan, Recipephany’s grillmaster, can make just about anything tender, juicy and deliciously smoky on his (t)rusty old Grill Master barbecue. Usually he just plays it by ear, mixing up rubs and sauces with seemingly random herbs and spices. He knows when something’s done by using common methods like an instant-read thermometer, and by being “open to vibrations in the ether.” But for his Marinated Grilled Shrimp, he sticks pretty closely to this recipe—although he rarely uses a measuring cup. And every time it comes out tangy, luscious and with a slight Italian accent. The secret is the simple marinade. The fact that I often request Dan’s Marinated Grilled Shrimp attests to its magnificence. After…

  • Beet-Dyed Deviled Eggs
    Appetizers,  Breakfast,  Egg dishes,  Gluten-free,  Side Dishes,  Vegetarian

    Beet-Dyed Deviled Eggs

    It’s fun to color hard-boiled Easter eggs. But why not punch up the insides, too? Here’s an easy way to turn the whites a lovely magenta by simply soaking the peeled eggs in juice from canned beets. Beet-dyed deviled eggs turn a classic crowd-pleaser into a centerpiece. As they say, we eat with our eyes. Beet-dyed deviled eggs first bowled us over at Lulu’s, a cozy restaurant in Allston, Massachusetts known for draft beers and comfort food. They turned the humble deviled egg downright seductive, with the vibrant color and a caper-studded sweet-and-tangy filling. And to add to the allure, Lulu’s presented the eggs on a kind of porcelain pedestal. They cut eggs crosswise—so…

  • Fish,  Seafood and Fish

    Baked Cod Fish Cakes

    Fish and potatoes. Perfect mates. And when you can taste both in one bite of a fish cake, what could be better? Especially when it’s cod, the Mighty White Fish that made New England famous. These easy baked fish cakes let the sweet flavor of the cod shine through. Plus you get the crunch of a spicy crumb topping studded with bacon bits. If you can’t find the world-renowned North Atlantic cod, or it’s way too expensive, substitute your favorite white fish or something local recommended by an expert at the fish counter. These cakes will still taste delicious. Got frozen fish fillets you wish you could cook right away? Turn those rock-hard slabs…