As we begin another week, here’s a thought to perk up your Monday: It’s National Chocolate Cake Day! Between the pumpkin pies, cookie swaps and juice cleanses, you may have forgotten about this old friend, but we’re here to give chocolate cake new life in 2014. Whether you want a classic recipe that looks right out of Matilda, or you’re interested in a chocolate cake remix, here are some ideas to get you started.
The Classic: Chocolate Layer Cake
The Sweet Piece of Nostalgia: S’mores Lava Cakes
The Most Indulgent: Hot Fudge Sundae Cake
The No-Sharing-Necessary Dessert Fix: Black-Bottom Cupcakes
Did you know the fourth week of January is considered to be Irish Coffee Week? Neither did we. But now that we do, we no longer need an excuse to make and drink one of our favorite seasonal cocktails every day for the next 7 days. In order to keep it interesting, though, we’ve gathered some recipes with unique takes on the classic drink, including fun ingredients like peppermint and chocolate. So grab your Baileys and get to it!
Cheers to January!
Besides being the ultimate movie theater munchie, popcorn is a great snack that provides a blank canvas for flavor combinations. Salty or sweet; spicy or cheesy; mixed with nuts or straight up; the possibilities are endless. While throwing a bag in the microwave and pressing that “popcorn” button is as easy as it gets, think outside the bag tomorrow, on National Popcorn Day, and whip up something delicious and impressive. We’ve compiled our top 5 most popular popcorn recipes that cover all your flavor combo bases, so you’re sure to find one that speaks to your taste buds. Happy snacking!
Last week, we asked our Facebook fans if and how they’ll be celebrating “Thanksgivukkah,” the hybrid holiday of Thanksgiving and Hanukkah. Many of you said you WILL be taking advantage of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, since the next time the two holidays will overlap won’t be for almost 78,000 years! You gave us some really creative and tasty ideas, but if you’re still looking for that perfect Thanksgivukkah dish, consider this our gift to you: Three side dish recipes that perfectly pair Thanksgiving food with traditional Jewish fare.
Potato latkes are a Hanukkah staple. Rather than topping sweet potatoes with marshmallows, sub them in to Sweet Potato-Apple Latkes with Cranberry Sauce, your Turkey’s favorite condiment!
No Thanksgiving table is complete without stuffing. Make a sweet version using Challah, a traditional Jewish bread, for Fruited Brioche Stuffing.
And because every holiday party needs a great appetizer, make these Smoked Salmon Bagel Bites, a finger food-version of a typical Sunday morning Hanukkah breakfast.
There’s never a wrong time to enjoy a decadent ice cream sundae. But if you were to enjoy one just one day of the year, let it be today: National Sundae Day. Creamy, sweet ice cream and piping hot sauce with plenty of crunchy toppings — what’s not to love? So, to make your Monday feel a little bit more like Sunday/e, here are three of our favorite recipes:
The weather outside might be getting frightful, but these sundaes will keep you feeling sooo delightful.
Cheese lovers beware: A new cheese is on the market that may just blow your mind. It’s called Parrano, and it’s a Dutch cheese with the texture of a creamy Gouda and the nutty, buttery flavor of a Parmigiano-Reggiano. Parrano will be featured at the New York City Wine and Food Festival tonight in a Buffalo Chicken Mac & Cheese dish created and prepared by S’MAC founder, Sarita Ekya. Therefore, the cheese has proclaimed October 18th as National Buffalo Mac & Cheese Day.
The staff of Every Day with Rachael Ray got a preview of this mac and cheese yesterday, and we were truly impressed by how one dish could so perfectly represent both traditional macaroni and cheese and buffalo chicken. The mac and cheese had the perfect amount of heat, creaminess and plenty of chicken to make for a truly special, sinfully delicious lunch.
We also learned some valuable mac & cheese cooking tips that we’re definitely going to use in our own kitchens, such as:
1. Keep your pasta al dente! Removing the pasta about two minutes before suggested cooking time on the package allows the pasta to soak up the cheesy sauce and finish cooking to a perfect texture. Don’t forget to generously salt the pasta water to crank up the flavor!
2. Perfectly portion your mac & cheese by making individual servings in ramekin dishes. Plus, no more fighting over the crispy top layer (everyone’s favorite part)!
Speaking of the crispy top layer…
3. There’s more to a crunchy crust than just toasted breadcrumbs. Add some grated cheese such as Parmigiano-Reggiano, Pecorino or aged cheddar for added cheesiness. Adventurous? Top your mac & cheese with crispy fried onions or fried chicken skins.
How do you like to remix your mac and cheese?
Today is Homemade Cookie Day, and we couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate than by baking some treats of our own. But before we get out the butter, sugar and cookie cutters, there are some tips, tricks and pointers that every baker should know.
Best Baking Tools
Start with a baking sheet and for rolled cookies, a rolling pin. Nonstick silicone baking mats are great because you don’t need to grease a cookie sheet or roll out parchment paper. They’re super easy to clean and double as work surfaces. For a uniform cookie size and shape, use a melon baller or cookie scoop, and you’ll have perfect dollops every time.
Follow the Recipe
Unlike cooking, baking is more of a science, and requires you to follow the recipe down to that tiny 1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg. Don’t use glass liquid-measuring cups for dry ingredients. Dry measuring cup sets allow you to scoop up dry goods and then level them using a straightedge, such as the back of a butter knife. Cool your hot cookie sheets in between batches, or else baking times and cookie shapes will be affected.
To make your cookies last, cool them completely before storing, or else they’ll turn soggy. You can freeze baked cookies in an airtight container up to three months, and you can freeze cookie dough in wax paper up to one month. Wanna send someone some edible TLC? Pack the cookies in cellophane bags, which will help keep their texture. Stack small, flat cookies in cupcake baking liners before packing in a tin, and always remember to follow up with your loved one to make sure your cookies aren’t sitting in a mailbox for too long!
Happy Labor Day! An end-of-summer celebration means lots of time by the grill, and what better way to include your vegetarian guests than by grilling something so savory and delicious, no one will miss the meat? Here’s your life-saver: The Big, Beefy Mushroom Cheddar Melt. Although this dish has the word “beef” in its name, the only meatiness you’ll find is from the flavor-packed Portobello mushrooms.
For more meatless main’s, including these awesome Vegetarian Chickpea Burgers, click here.
Previous Meatless Monday Posts
There’s no such thing as an easier or more satisfying snack than trial mix. Which is why we’re so excited to celebrate our favorite on-the-go goodie for National Trail Mix Day by sharing our most popular mixes.
Get more snack recipes!
Toasted marshmallows are a cookout staple. The cripsy, browned outside and suuuper ooey gooey inside is irresistible in the summertime. And guess what: You don’t have to have a roaring fire to achieve this summer treat! No campfire? No problem! We’ve shared our favorite ‘mallow desserts for you to cook up in honor of National Toasted Marshmallow Day. Be prepared to get your hands a little sticky!
Get S’more marshmallow ideas: