Wishing you and yours a very happy holiday! A large cheese and charcuterie platter is one of my favorite appetizers for a crowd. You can chuck it full of cheese, nuts, fruit, meats, olives… the list goes on. I wrote a blog post a while back that outlines what I like to add to mine and how I get variation. Cheers!
This is my go-to, tried-and-true classic chocolate chip cookie recipe. There are a few key things that make these chocolate chip cookies extra delicious– the addition of sea salt, setting the dough overnight, and giving the cookies a good fall on the stovetop mid-bake. Let me know how yours turn out!
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
dash of cinnamon
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted + 1/2 cup (1 stick) salted butter, room temperature
2 eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla
12 ounces dark chocolate chips
Sea salt (to sprinkle on top)
Whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in a small bowl and set aside.
Beat butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, and vanilla until combined.
Slowly beat in dry ingredients.
Stir in chocolate chips.
Refrigerate dough overnight
Bake at 375 degrees until light golden brown, about 10 minutes. Midway through baking, give the sheet pan a good drop on the stovetop to flatten them.
Sprinkle sea salt on top, let sit on sheet pan for a minute or two, and then transfer to a cookie rack.
Spring is officially here and I could not be more excited! I love hosting this time of year– in addition to the abundance of beautiful blossoms, there are so many fun entertaining pieces to use for a fresh spring table. I also love that recipes are light, fresh and colorful. Below are some of my favorite tableware pieces for spring as well as some delicious seasonal recipes. Happy brunching!
classic french toast with fresh berries
pickled deviled eggs
spring orzo salad
beet hummus with crudités
farmers market salad
spring pea farro salad
When life gives you lemons… make this maple bourbon cocktail. My mom got me hooked on this fresh cocktail after finding some homegrown, insanely juicy lemons in the neighborhood.
3 shots bourbon
2 shots fresh lemon juice
1/2 tablespoon maple syrup
Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake vigorously and strain into a rocks glass containing large ice cubes. Makes 2 cocktails.
I’ve had this easy jam recipe on repeat lately. It’s jam-packed (had to!) with nutrients and a great addition to your morning toast, oatmeal or yogurt. It’s even delicious on ice cream for dessert. I’ve started giving it to Henry, too, and he loves it. Win for the whole family! This homemade version is far better than store-bought, despite having no added sugar. You can also try blueberries, blackberries or strawberries in addition to or instead of the raspberries.
3 cups fresh or frozen berries
juice of 1/2 an orange + some zest
1 teaspoon vanilla (I love this alcohol free powder)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
3 tablespoons chia seeds
*optional 1-2 tablespoons of honey or maple syrup
Warm the berries in a saucepan over medium heat with a splash of water. Mash the berries as they begin to heat up, until they are fully softened and juicy. Let simmer for 15 minutes until the berries have thickened. Add orange juice and zest. If this mixture still isn’t sweet enough for you, add honey or maple syrup and stir. Remove from heat and add vanilla, cinnamon and chia seeds. Stir until completely combined. Let rest for about 30 minutes– the jam will start to thicken as the chia seeds absorb liquid.
Once cooled, store in an airtight container and keep in the fridge for up to one week.
Cheese boards have been quite the craze recently, but I think they’re a classic addition to any party. Here are some of my tips and tricks for making a delicious (and beautiful!) cheese board.
1. Buy soft and hard cheeses
Make sure to get a selection of soft and hard cheeses so that the board has variation. Some of my favorites include: Saint Andre, Toscana Black Pepper, Mt Tam, Aged Gouda, Port Salut, Goat Cheese with Honey, and Humbolt Fog.
2. Cut as much as you can
One of the great things about a cheese board is that it’s easy to grab a bite size piece quickly. Try to cut the cheeses into pieces as much as possible so that this is doable. You will need to keep some of the soft cheeses as is (a log of goat cheese, for example).
3. Color, color, color!
I’m normally not into much color, but this is essential when it comes to a beautiful cheese board. Depending on the time of year, I like to add pomegranates, whole oranges with leaves, grapes, figs, dried orange slices, strawberries, the list goes on…
4. Mix in fruits, nuts and olives
This one goes without saying! Try to mix in delicious fruits to both pair with your cheeses and to eat on their own. I often will slice up a pear or a green apple, or cut figs in half so that guests can create their own bites with different cheeses. Don’t forget to have small piles or containers of nuts (I love marcona almonds) and olives.
5. Add some toppings
This one isn’t a necessity, but it’s nice to have some small containers of a relish, jam, or honey to spread onto your bite of choice.
6. Keep the bread on the side
You’ll see in my photo that I don’t have a ton of crackers shown. This is because it would have taken too much room on the board! Just don’t forget to not skimp on various crackers and sliced bread so that there are a lot of options for your guests.
’tis the season for saltine cracker toffee! My family has been making this every holiday season since before I can remember. It’s always a hit and it’s so, so simple to make!
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 bag dark chocolate chips
Heat oven to 400 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with foil, and then line saltine crackers over the entire cookie sheet. Melt butter and brown sugar together over medium heat and stir until it boils. Let boil for 3 minutes, and then pour mixture over the saltine crackers. Bake for 5 minutes. Let cool for 3 minutes and then pour chocolate chips over the crackers and toffee. Let sit for a minute or so, and then start spreading the chocolate lightly with the back of a spoon. The chocolate should start to melt and become easy to spread. Once chocolate is spread smoothly, top with sea salt (and/or crushed peppermint candies – anything goes here!). Cool in refrigerator for about 2 hours. Once hardened, peel off the tin foil from the bottom and cut into pieces. I recommend keeping these in the freezer until you are going to serve them.
‘Tis the season for persimmons and pomegranate seeds! I love these fruits this time of year, not only for their flavor but also because they add such vibrant color to salads. This salad is hearty, colorful and delicious. A perfect lunch on it’s own, or make as a side salad with your holiday dinner.
green leaf lettuce
To make the crispy quinoa, prepare quinoa as you normally would on the stovetop. Refrigerate overnight so the quinoa gets dry enough to crisp up. Place a thin layer on a baking sheet, spray lightly with olive oil and add a dash of salt and pepper. Bake at 400 degrees until quinoa gets crispy.
I’m generally a very healthy eater, but I definitely have a sweet tooth. So, I made up this recipe for “healthy” chocolate chip cookies to satisfy that craving for something sweet. It has minimal sugar, lots of protein and good fat, is free of gluten, and is vegan! Plus, they’re incredibly easy to make. If you don’t compare these to cookies to ones from Levain Bakery, then I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised (and won’t feel guilty afterwards)!
1 cup almond flour
1/4 cup coconut sugar (you can use more if you want yours sweeter)
1 scoop vanilla collagen *optional
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup nut butter (I usually use almond butter, but used TJ’s mixed nut butter for these)
1/2 cup lily’s dark chocolate chips
Mix together the almond flour, coconut sugar, collagen, cinnamon, salt and baking powder. Add the vanilla and nut butter and mix until well incorporated. If it’s still too dry, mix in a tablespoon of water (or an egg white). Stir in chocolate chips. Use a cookie scoop to drop rounded tablespoons onto a baking sheet. Flatten the balls with your fingers (these won’t spread like normal cookies) and sprinkle some more sea salt on top. Bake at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes. Makes 12 cookies.
I store mine in the freezer (I’m odd and think all cookies with chocolate in them taste better frozen!)