Chef Gina Makes Classic Cheesecake
With the new year just a few days away, there is nothing more celebratory (and let’s be honest we all want to celebrate the end of 2020), than a creamy, dreamy cheesecake. With possible resolutions right around the corner (think diets), this is one last decadent send-off; a chance to indulge and feel a little fancy.
Every year as my family gathers to celebrate the holidays, there are always a few traditional staples I look forward to the most. As an Italian-American growing up in the U.S., my mom’s Tiramisù recipe is a portal back to our family roots in Italy. Always a great pick-me-up after a long day of holiday celebrations – and the caffeine-filled sleepless nights are well worth each bite!
Butter Cake with Plums
Nothing is more comforting on a cold winter morning than a breakfast cake with a mug of coffee or tea. In my Italian-American household, it’s tradition to make a breakfast butter cake with fresh fruit. Around the holidays, we tend to use plums because of the beautiful pinkish-red color that contrast with the browned butter cake crust. It is a relatively simple recipe that will turn any ordinary breakfast into one you will look forward to.
Chef Gina Makes Gourmet Marshmallows, 3 ways
Though many cranberry juice mixers are upwards of 90 percent apple juice, cranberries are a dynamic ingredient for cocktails and cordials due to their cheek-squeezing tartness and bold flavor.
Bûche de Noël
I come from a Francophile home with French-Belgian grandparents. This was most noticeable around the holidays with a heavy influence on food. The menu was French cuisine, and the holidays were a celebration of our heritage along with scrumptious French cooking.
I grew up eating these scones as a picky child who only wanted to eat chicken nuggets, pizza, and scones. They were a constant staple of my birthday breakfast and now as an adult, I enjoy them as a late-night snack. Just the sight of cocoa powder makes my mouth water for the chocolate taste and soft texture of this baked deliciousness.
For as long as I have holiday memories, I can see the wax paper lining the kitchen table, scattered with palm-sized clusters of chocolate and peanuts. As a kid, they were never a dessert I looked forward to eating, but I loved making them. Scoop, plop. “Like that?” Scoop, plop. “Looks good!”
Gingerbread Houses in America
Almost everyone harbors fond memories of piping royal icing smiles onto little gingerbread men and women or shaking a powdered sugar blizzard over their own tiny gingerbread house. Whether it’s served hard or soft, warm or cold, iced or plain, gingerbread is an integral part of most holiday traditions.
Peppermint Bark Is The New Cookie
Good eggnog is nothing to fight over, it’s a simple warming cocktail, and it Peppermint Bark is a quintessential holiday treat, ideal for snacking, gatherings, topping ice cream, or even just on display (throw it on a Christmas tree serving platter, and you will be halfway to the Food Network!). In addition to its outstanding aesthetics, this delicious treat is easy to make and only requires a handful of ingredients and kitchen utensils.
One Christmas season about a decade ago, a new tradition in our household was born. Like many years past, my mother attended a cookie exchange with a gaggle of girlfriends, bringing home a sampling of every kind of Christmas confection imaginable. After sorting through the standard sugar cookies, chocolate chips, and thumbprints, I came across a small, unassuming baggie of crispy candy that would change the way my heart and stomach craved the holidays forever.
Chef Sean Brennan Presents: Snowed Cranberries
As an avowed chocoholic, it’s strange to me that this is one of my favorite holiday treats. I started making these when I was living on Cape Cod and was looking for something local that would be an edible decoration at a large dinner event. These are fresh, bright, not too sweet, and a cinch to throw together at the last minute. I keep these in a bowl on the coffee table (and in the kitchen) when entertaining, and they’re inevitably gone very quickly. These work as a snack, dessert, decor, and garnish (they look amazing on top of a cake!)