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Oh, what a wonderful hostess will I be

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Roast Turkey. Chocolate walnut cookies + more flourless desserts. These cookies are crispy at the edges, chewy at the center and will filled your apartment with the most intense chocolate aroma.

chocolate walnut cookies + more flourless desserts

The first time I made these cookies (in 2008), mine flattened out a lot; it was not a good look, while for others, these were the puffed, crackly things you see in the current pictures (updated March 2018). In hindsight, I think I used too few walnuts, or got a little yolk mixed up in my egg whites. I’ve also found one more trick for extra height: if you scoop your cookies out on your tray and wait 30 minutes (up to an hour, if you have it, but 30 is fine) to bake them, they dome better.

This is a technique used when making macarons, and I was delighted to find it works well here too. If you bake them right away, this too is fine, they just come out a little more flat (see here). If you strictly follow the rules of Passover, you might not use regularly powdered sugar because it has cornstarch in it. Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Confetti party cake. This is written for the one-layer plus one-swoosh-of-frosting version of the confetti cake, the one you might make for someone’s birthday or party or just because you want cake and therefore you should have cake — the recipe is one bowl, bakes very quickly, and should you slide the cooling rack into the freezer, you’ll be able to frost it in 10 to 15 minutes, meaning that you could, once all of your butter softened and ready to go, have this done in just about an hour.

confetti party cake

Seriously. For the sheet cake version of this, see notes at the end. Pear cranberry and gingersnap crumble. In my defense, I resisted this crumble for possibly even a single hour before going to the kitchen to assemble the ingredients.

pear cranberry and gingersnap crumble

A whole hour, an hour in which we could have had a buttery, spiced gingersnap and brown sugar crumbled lid atop a glurp-ing puddle of soft, sweet pears and slumped, tart cranberries, bubbling through cracks in the rubbled surface. An hour in which I instead thought there were better things to do, like pretending to clean the kitchen while staring into space and imagining how good the crumble could be. Best chocolate pudding. All I wanted to give you for Valentine’s Day was some chocolate pudding.

best chocolate pudding

My logic was simple: decadent meals and rich desserts are dreamy things but, in my mind, not inherently romantic. More often than not, after such an evening I find myself too full for even a nightcap, quite tired and, while we are being honest, like I need to spend an hour on the treadmill. And I hate the treadmill. But chocolate pudding is none of these things. The perfect recipe–the one I sifted through dozens and dozens to find–would be chocolaty but not overly heavy, indulgent but not too rich. This turned out to be a surprisingly complicated feat. Bakery-style butter cookies. Today my second cookbook, five years in the making, Smitten Kitchen Every Day: Triumphant & Unfussy New Favorites, at last leaves my noisy, messy kitchen and, perhaps, makes its way into yours.

bakery-style butter cookies

I am, as ever, a nervous wreck. I hope you love it. Potato and leek gratin. Note: You can watch an Instagram Story demo of this recipe over here. 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for pan2 1/2 pounds yukon gold potatoes, unpeeled, scrubbed, thinly sliced1 thick or 2 slimmer leeks, halved, washed, cut into 1-inch segments2 cups heavy creamKosher salt and freshly ground black pepper2 garlic cloves, mincedLeaves from 3 sprigs fresh thyme1/2 cup plain breadcrumbs (panko or homemade are great here)3/4 cup coarsely grated gruyère, comte, or baby swiss cheese Heat oven to 350 degrees F.

potato and leek gratin

Generously butter an 8×12-inch or 3-quart baking dish. Arrange small stacks of sliced potatoes on an angle, slightly fanned, in different directions filling the pan loosely. Corn pudding. Note: You can watch an Instagram Story demo of this recipe over here.

corn pudding

If you prefer a softer/looser corn pudding, you could add an additional egg and a few minutes of baking time. 2 cups corn kernels, frozen (from a 10-ounce or 283-gram bag; no need to defrost) or fresh8 tablespoons (1/2 cup, 4 ounces, or 115 grams) unsalted butter1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste3/4 cup (180 grams) sour cream2 large eggs1 1/2 tablespoons (20 grams) granulated sugar2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder7 tablespoons (55 grams) all-purpose flour6 tablespoons (55 grams) cornmeal Heat oven to 350°F. Coat a 5- to 6-cup baking dish (I’m using this ruffly 10″ quiche pan) with butter or nonstick cooking spray.

Gingerbread yule log. Make the sugared cranberries: Bring 1 cup the sugar and 1 cup water to a simmer on the stove, stirring until sugar dissolves.

gingerbread yule log

Remove from heat and add cranberries. Let syrupy cranberries chill in fridge overnight, if you have time, or an hour or two, while you prepare the rest of the cake. [I left mine outside at 34°F for an hour.] Drain cranberries (you can reserve syrup for sweetening drinks). Place remaining 1/3 cup sugar in a bowl and roll cranberries in it. Small-batch eggnog. I use half brandy and half bourbon here, but any combination or single type will work.

small-batch eggnog

I’m usually a purist about eggnog (no vanilla or cinnamon, just nutmeg) but added a both here, just for a little extra festive aroma. I prefer my ‘nog barely sweet, but feel free to add up to another tablespoon if you wish. Note: This recipe contains a raw egg! Ideally you want to buy pasteurized eggs for this, or do so very easily at home. Baked brie with balsamic red onions. No need to remove the brie rind before baking; it’s fully edible and helps the cheese to hold its shape over the baking time.

baked brie with balsamic red onions

Make the pastry: Combine the flour, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl. Sprinkle butter over dough and using a pastry blender or your fingertips, work it into the flour until the butter resembles small peas. Sprinkle sour cream and 2 tablespoons of the water over mixture and stir/mash it together to combine; it should form large clumps; add last 1 tablespoon water if it does not. Drunken Chocolate Covered Strawberries. Chocolate Pecan Pie. Easy Grilled Lobster Tails with garlic butter. Roast Turkey. Crunchy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies - Jaja Bakes - Crunchy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies are super crunchy and crumbly cookies that are loaded with lots of oats and raisins. These are perfect for those who crave that satisfying crunchy chew in a cookie.

There are so many types of cookies in this world. Soft, chewy, gooey, anything you name it. I have done a lot of soft cookies in Jaja Bakes and my friend asked me to make a super crunchy oatmeal cookie for once. I believe that most Indonesians can relate that they prefer crunchy cookies than soft cookies. Southwest Sweet Potato Black Bean Dip. This is one of my favorite recipes from our cookbook, made better (and simpler) with a few small improvements. It’s one of those dishes you likely always have the ingredients on hand for, making it a great appetizer or side, especially alongside other Mexican-inspired dishes.

Or, if you’re just craving carbs, plop down with a bowl of this dip and some plantain chips and go to town. Happy dinner indeed! This dish comes together in 30 minutes with simple methods. Beef and Potato Croquettes - Korokke - Pickled Plum Food And Drinks. *This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclaimer here. beef croquettes My husband calls them ‘the Japanese version of shepherd’s pie’ and it’s easy to see why as the croquettes are made of beef and mashed potatoes. Tofu Edamame 'Fish' Cakes - Pickled Plum Food And Drinks. Whoever said tofu was boring and tasteless has surely never tasted these tofu edamame cakes! Crispy on the outside and silky on the inside, these cakes are also filled with a little ham and cheese.

Matcha Madeleines - Jaja Bakes - Nutella Brownies - Jaja Bakes - If you are a fan of all things about chocolate and hazelnut, then these Nutella Brownies are sure to entice. Nutella is added to the batter and swirled on the top, providing each bite with a taste of your favorite hazelnut spread. When it comes to spreads, nobody does it like Nutella. This creamy, chocolaty hazelnut spread has been winning over the hearts of people.

It is so good that I could eat Nutella straight out of the jar. In addition, I believe that adding Nutella to baked goods elevates everything. About Nutella Brownies. Lemon and Thyme Yogurt Bundt Cake - Jaja Bakes - Today I am happily sharing this Lemon and Thyme Yogurt Bundt Cake. The cake is a perfect combination of both sweet lemon and minty-earthy thyme. This time, I add freshly chopped thyme straight into the cake batter, making the thyme flavor shine through everything. Cream Cheese Swirl Brownies - Jaja Bakes - Who would have guessed that the combination of cheesecake and brownies could come together to create such a scrumptious flavor combination? These Cream Cheese Swirl Brownies are exactly what happens when those two wildly different tastes comes together into one dish. This is a basic brownie recipe which is layered with a cream cheese batter, and then marbled to create those beautiful swirls on top.

The bottom is rich and fudgy chocolate brownie topped with a layer of sweet and tangy cream cheese. Strawberry Cheesecake Ice Cream Cake - Jaja Bakes - There is nothing that can compare to a scoop of ice cream when you are either happy or sad. It is no secret that I love making my own ice cream. Yup, that is one of the advantages of having ice cream maker at home. I simply enjoy the process of making my own custom ice cream, playing around with endless flavor possibilities. This time, I am going to take ice cream to the next level, which is ice cream cake. With strawberries in season and cream cheese on sale, I decided to make Strawberry Cheesecake Ice Cream Cake.

No-Bake Tiramisu Cake - Jaja Bakes - Matcha Tiramisu - Jaja Bakes - Strawberry Matcha Brownies with White Chocolate - Jaja Bakes - Not your classic brownies, these homemade gourmet Strawberry Matcha Brownies with White Chocolate will blow your mind. No-Bake Chocolate-Crust Thai Tea Cheesecake - Jaja Bakes. Thai iced tea is getting popular in my place as it is a perfect beverage to drink in hot weather. I decided to buy a pound of Thai tea mix without much thought when I set my eyes on that white and red package at local supermarket. There is only one brand of Thai tea mix available here, which is Number One Brand.

Simple Puff Pastry Egg Tart - Jaja Bakes - Egg tart is one of dim sum dishes that usually offered at Chinese bakeries or dim sum restaurants. The Egg Tart or Dan Tat (蛋挞) is an egg custard based flaky crust pastry. Matcha White Chocolate Brownies - Jaja Bakes - I have never been one to go crazy over brownies because I found them too sweet or chocolaty to my liking. Patê de Atum. Jewelled Pomegranate Rice.

A little turmeric gives this spiced pomegranate rice its pretty yellow hue that will brighten up any plate.