Every Day Scoop

Our Best Winter Slow-Cooker Recipes

Winter and slow-cookers go together like hot chocolate and marshmallows, but with so many different comfort food recipes to choose from, picking just one can seem a little overwhelming. Luckily, we’ve rounded up our top winter slow-cooker dishes that’ll make you feel as snug as a bug in a rug. Start these dishes on a snowy morning, and by nightfall you’ll have a cozy meal that not only tastes good, but makes your whole house smell amazing.

 

Low & Slow Chipotle Maple Beef

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The Pastry School Diaries: Saying Goodbye to Gluten

Editorial Assistant Lauren Katz is enrolled in the part-time Pastry & Baking Arts program at New York City’s Institute of Culinary Education. Follow her each week as she shares her sweet experiences! 

 

As gluten intolerance and its awareness grows, I’ve become more and more grateful that my body allows me to eat whatever I want. Being so invested in food, cooking and baking, I can’t imagine the struggle that 18 million Americans go through being sensitive or intolerant to gluten. For 12 hours a week, I am completely immersed in flour, doughs, cakes and tarts—a celiac’s worst nightmare. But this week, we explored the (wider than I expected) world of gluten-free baking.
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Five Weeknight Chanukah Meals

Tonight is the first night of Chanukah, and besides latkes and doughnuts, there are plenty of other dishes to get you into the festive spirit. Whether or not you celebrate, let these delicious Mediterranean and Jewish comfort foods find a place at your dinner table this week. Happy holidays!

 

Monday, December 7

Spicy Tomato-Poached Eggs

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Our 7 Best Cookie Swap Recipes

There’s nothing better than a gathering of friends and family for an indulgent afternoon of treat trading. But you don’t have to be a professional baker or aspiring Dominique Ansel to win “most popular” at your cookie swap–no matter your baking style, taste or level of experience, we’ve got the perfect recipe for for you. Happy holidays!

 

If you’re looking to make a traditional dessert a little more exciting: Red Velvet Crinkles

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Want to Win Some Serious Dough?

Want a chance to win $2,000? Whether you’re getting ready to move or just need some extra spending money for the holidays, our friends at Trulia are giving away some serious dough to 12 lucky winners.

 

 

That’s not all–the gingerbread fun continues! Get our best gingerbread recipes, house building tips and more. See what’s in store below!

 

How to Build a Custom Holiday House

Our Best Gingerbread Recipes

Gingerbread House Do’s and Don’ts

How to Throw a Gingerbread House Decorating Party

How to Build a Marshmallow Treat Gingerbread House

Click here to enter to win $2,000 once daily.

Gingerbread House Do’s and Don’ts

Make your gingerbread house look anything but cookie-cutter—even if you’re working from a store-bought kit—with tips from beth “Ginger Betty” Veneto, owner of Ginger Betty’s Bakery in Quincy, MA., and multiyear winner at the Boston Christmas Festival’s famed Gingerbread House Competition. Read on for her delicious do’s and definite don’ts.

 

 

DO

 

Make a mischievous Rudolph by coating a marshmallow in melted chocolate, adding pretzels for antlers, red candy for a nose and paper-doll sunglasses for an—ahem—clever disguise. Place him so he’s peeping out from behind a tree, thanks to a lollipop stick or skewer.

 

Transform ice cream cones into trees (coat with green frosting, then decorate with candy ornaments or sprinkles).

 

 

Build a fence out of pretzels. You can go the straight-up rod route, as we did here, or stand a series of traditional looped pretzels upside down. Use frosting as mortar.

 

Pile and scatter shredded coconut for sweet snowdrifts.

 

Gussy up your gingerbread men (or toy figures) with fun accessories. Licorice or any other candy that comes in strips makes for a cute muffler.

 

Place Peppermint Pattie candies or cookies as “pavers” to form a pathway to your house.

 

DON’T

 

Build on a rainy day or store your house in the fridge. Under these conditions, moisture can seep in a make the walls wilt.

 

Start decorating the house too soon. The frosting that holds the structural elements together should be 100 percent dry first. Every house is different, but give yours at least eight hours to set.

 

Now that you know how to build the gingerbread house of your dreams, find out how you can win $2,000 from Trulia!

Foodie Beauty Bonanza

I love the Rachael Ray Every Day test kitchen. Dearly. Not only are the staffers tireless in their pursuit of recipe perfection, they’ll magically appear with food—like so many lunch fairies—if they even suspect you might be trapped and hungry at your desk.
 
One thing our test kitchen doesn’t have, however, is a view of Paris. So when I encountered another that did, I couldn’t help but be seduced. And I’m here to confess my fling.
 

 
It began not in the kitchen itself, but on a staircase landing I hit en route, where I fell under the hypnotic spell of a pink macaron whirligig.
 
Why the installation? It signals that you’re on the doorstep of the macaron maestro himself: one Pierre Hermé, also known as Paris’s “Picasso of Pastry” and general dessert deity about town.

 

Baussan, left; Hermé, right 

 
Among Hermé’s biggest fans is L’Occitane founder Olivier Baussan. And their new holiday collaboration is the reason I—and several other reporters—wound up in that test kitchen. Where better, thought Hermé and Baussan, to celebrate some of the foodiest beauty products in history? (I should note that the November attacks hadn’t yet happened, so everyone was feeling more festive.)
 

 
As Hermé’s staffers gave us macaron-making lessons—don’t overmix your batter, or it’ll be too runny to hold a nice shape—we talked ingredient combos that work as well on your skin as in patisserie. Take rhubarb, clove, nutmeg and grapefruit—a super-fresh foursome you’ll find in the Pamplemousse Rhubarbe Body Lotion, among other products. Or honey-crystallized mandarin, which scents the heavenly Miel Mandarine Hand Cream.
 

 
Then there was bitter orange blossom, jasmine and Immortelle flower—a trio I couldn’t get enough of, whether in perfume or pastry form. (Hermé makes tons of floral desserts, as I’d already discovered through careful recon at one of his ice cream outposts.)
 

Violet-flavored ice cream and candy mixed with other deliciousness 

 
“Many of the ingredients in L’Occitane’s holiday collection have appeared in my pastry,” he noted during the launch. “But while I normally work with my mouth, this time I was working with my nose.” (Lest you miss the pâtissier’s imprint on each scent, the perfume bottles are even shaped like abstract macarons.)
 
After a bit more chitchat, my dalliance with the dessert demigod ended.
 
I’ve since returned to the loving embrace of our own test kitchen—with the bonus pounds to prove it (I came back just in time for holiday treat testing). Still, monsieur Hermé, we’ll always have Paris.

5 Winter Weeknight Meals that Won’t Weigh You Down

Prepping meals in between the holidays can be a bit of a struggle. On one hand, you don’t want to make anything too elaborate because this is your one chance to lighten your kitchen load. On the other hand, you still want to make something delicious for your family that feels healthier than those hefty holiday meals. This week worth of dinners is here to save the day: They’re lighter than your typical winter fare but still have that wintery vibe down pat. After eating some of these, you’ll feel like the holidays never even happened!

 

Monday, November 30

Red & Green Salad with Roasted Squash

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6 Ways to Use Up Thanksgiving Leftovers

While you may be busy ironing out the final details of your Thanksgiving menu, we’re already thinking about the days after: what are we going to do with all those leftovers?! The tricky part about Thanksgiving leftovers is using them in a creative and new way that requires minimal work (because let’s be honest, no one wants to cook on the days after Thanksgiving). These 6 recipes are simple, fun and require minimal extra ingredients. Your leftovers couldn’t disappear quicker!

 

Potato and Turkey Soup with Parmesan Stuffing Dumplings

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The Pastry School Diaries: A Sweet Snack Attack

Editorial Assistant Lauren Katz is enrolled in the part-time Pastry & Baking Arts program at New York City’s Institute of Culinary Education. Follow her each week as she shares her sweet experiences! 

 

After spending five rigorous days mixing, folding, rolling, shaping and baking puff pastry, it’s safe to say I’m very relieved that this section of the curriculum is over. Puff pastry is incredibly versatile in how you flavor and shape it, and although there are plenty of written recipes and formulas to make items such as palmiers, mille feuille and—my favorite—cheese straws, the dough lends itself to the imagination very well.

 

My favorite part, however, about experimenting with a slew of ingredients, spices and herbs is a little unexpected for a pastry program: snack time!

 

In culinary programs, the students are surrounded by scraps and plates of food that are actually edible: some chopped vegetable here, a chicken entree there–you get the idea. However in pastry, we are mostly working with raw ingredients that can’t be consumed, like sugar, flour, eggs and butter. This was the case for our entire bread unit and during most days of my intro unit, until the final product was out of the oven. But I’ve found a way to wrangle all of the ingredients going into our dough creations and turn them into a delicious mid-class snack. I’ve also discovered some awesome flavor combinations on the way! For example:

I dipped fresh fruit into extra lemon curd from our fruit tartlets. I also took a container of the curd home and added a spoonful into Greek yogurt. It adds the perfect amount of sweet-tartness to my breakfast or snack!

 

To make apple tarts, we peel and thinly slice multiple apples. Since the apples add to the aesthetic of the tart, we only use the prettiest slices. Can you guess where the ugly ones end up?

These puff pastry braids were coated in parmesan cheese and paprika. The extra shards of parmesan make for a delicious pairing with my apple slices!

 

Finally, I’ve found my new favorite garnish or flavor profile for any sweet dough: a mixture of sugar, cinnamon, cardamom and ginger went into these palmiers. I am calling them “a chai’s best friend.”

Check back next week for more sweet tips!