That Sally? She’s all about cauliflower and macarons. Hopeless. Since my reputation is already in shambles, I will share yet another recipe for macarons designed to kick a Poltergeist-ish year into the past and embrace 2021 as a light in the end of a very dark tunnel. Vaccines in sight, we just need to hang in there and keep doing all we can to avoid the virus while it still lingers unchecked out there. A single recipe, a single filling, and two designs. A dressed-up version to enjoy at at New Year’s Eve, and a playful take perfect pretty much anytime in January.

(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

For the shells:
200g Icing/powdered sugar
115 g almond flour
115 g egg whites at room temperature (approx. 4 eggs)
1/8 tsp of cream of tartar (optional)
100 g granulated sugar
¼ tsp vanilla paste or extract
white food gel color
toothpick drop of purple gel color

For filling:
160g powdered sugar  
57g unsalted butter, softened (4 tablespoons)  
1/2 to 1 teaspoon peppermint extract  (depends on your taste and the extract you are using)
pinch of salt 
heavy cream or milk to adjust consistency, if needed

Line 3 heavy baking sheets with parchment/baking paper or Silpat mats. Layer the powdered/icing sugar and ground almonds/almond meal in a food processor. Pulse until the mixture looks like fine meal, about 12 pulses. Pass through a sieve and transfer to a small bowl or to a sheet of parchment/baking paper. Set aside.

Place the egg whites and cream of tartar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Make sure that the bowl and the whisk are impeccably clean. Starting on medium speed, whip the whites with the cream of tartar until they look like light foam. The whites should not appear liquid. The foam will be light and should not have any structure.

Slowly rain in the granulated sugar in five additions, trying to aim the stream between the whisk and the side of the bowl. Turn the speed up to high. Continue to whip the meringue until it is soft and shiny. It should look like marshmallow creme (marshmallow fluff). Add the vanilla and food colors. Whip the egg whites until the mixture begins to dull and the lines of the whisk are visible on the surface of the meringue. Check the peak. It should be firm. Transfer the whites to a medium bowl.

Fold in the ground almond/almond meal mixture in two increments. Paint the mixture halfway up the side of the bowl, using the flat side of a spatula. Scrape the mixture down to the center of the bowl. Repeat two or three times, then check to see if the mixture slides slowly down the side of the bowl. Put the mixture in a piping bag fitted with your choice of piping tip (round, ¼ or ½ inch in diameter or 6 – 12 mm). If you don’t have a macaron mat, draw circles on baking/parchment paper about 2inches/5cm in diameter & turn the paper over before placing on the baking sheets. Pipe shells, I like to count numbers in my head and use the same count for each shell so they end up similar in size. If making snowmen, make a template with two circles joined together to form head and body, and pipe each section.

Slam each sheet hard four to six times on the counter/worktop. Let the unbaked macarons dry until they look dull but not overly dry. Drying time depends on humidity. In a dry climate, the macarons can dry in 15 to 20 minutes; in a humid climate, it can take 35 to 40 minutes.

While the macarons are drying, heat the oven to 300 F (150 C/130C Fan oven/Gas Mark 2). Bake one sheet at a time on the middle rack. Check in 11 minutes. If the tops slide or move (independently of the ‘feet’ when you gently twist the top), then bake for 2 to 3 more minutes. Check one or two. If they move when gently touched, put them back in the oven for 1 to 2 more minutes until they don’t move when touched. Let the macaroons cool for 10 minutes before removing from the pan. The macarons should release without sticking.

For the filling, use a hand-held electric mixer and whisk the butter until creamy. Add the powdered sugar, peppermint extract and salt. Whisk in low-speed at first, the increase speed and whisk until creamy and smooth. If needed, add a very small amount of milk or heavy cream. Pipe the filling in shells, close them, and leave in fridge overnight to mature. 

Assemble the macarons: find two macarons similar in size and add a good amount of filling to the bottom of one of them. Place the other on top and squeeze gently to take the filling all the way to the edge. Store in the fridge for 24 hours for perfect texture.

Decorate with Royal icing and sprinkles, if so desired.


to print the recipe, click here

Comments: For the dressed-up version, I added white Royal icing to make abstract swirls, and immediately sprayed the shells with Diamond Dust, a product I will feature very soon in my next In My Kitchen post. Love it.

For the playful version, I piped the shells as two circles, baked them, and decorated the shells with Royal icing dyed orange and green, leftover from sugar cookies projects. The details of eyes, mouth, and buttons were made with a very fine tip edible marker. I am still not confident enough to pipe extremely fine lines with Royal icing, need more practice to get to that point.

Making white shells is a bit of a challenge, they tend to get some color in the oven in the final stages of baking. To help things a bit, you can add a tiny amount of purple food gel, that counteracts the yellow tone as it bakes. But you might get a little bit of browning anyway. That’s where the Diamond dust comes nicely into play. That stuff is amazing.

ONE YEAR AGO: Episode 6, Cookies in The Great American Baking Show

TWO YEARS AGO: Brazilian Chicken and Heart of Palm Pie

THREE YEARS AGO: Roasted Butternut Squash with Walnuts and Tahini Sauce

FOUR YEARS AGO: The Complicit Conspiracy of Alcohol

FIVE YEARS AGO: Candy Cane Cookies

SIX YEARS AGO: Macarons: Much better with a friend

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Our Mexican Holiday Dinner 

EIGHT YEARS AGO: The Ultimate Cranberry Sauce



ELEVEN YEARS AGO: Beef Wellington on a Special Night


This will certainly break all the records as far as taking my sweet time goes. I first heard of this amazing recipe in the show Taste hosted by David Rosengarten from 1994 to 2001. Those were truly the golden years of FoodTV, before it became centered on cooking competitions. I was fascinated by the recipe and always considered trying it. However, we never wanted to take a risk making this quite unusual recipe for guests, not knowing if it would work as expected. But, if there is one year that calls for all craziness to come out and play, 2020 is it. Big time. Plus, being just the two of us, we could always laugh at the disaster and chalk it to experience. Without further ado, I share the strangest, and most convoluted recipe I’ve ever made.

To see the big reveal, click here

(adapted from David Rosengarten)

1 turkey, 16-22 pounds, with giblets
For basting:
5 ½ cups water
Salt, freshly ground pepper, vegetable oil
1 large bay leaf
1 teaspoon each: paprika, salt
½ teaspoon ground coriander
1 qt apple cider (hard cider if you prefer)

for stuffing:
1 Granny Smith apple, cored, unpeeled, diced
1 medium orange, diced
1 can (20 ounces) crushed pineapple, undrained
zest of 1 lemon
1 can (8 ounces) water chestnuts, sliced, drained
6 ribs celery, minced
2 Vidalia onions, minced
1 red bell pepper, seeded, chopped
¼ cup minced fresh parsley
1 tablespoon celery seed
2 tsp dried sage
2 tsp dried thyme
2 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp each dry mustard (Coleman’s)
2 tsp caraway seeds
2 tsp poppy seeds
1 tsp sesame seeds
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
½ tsp turmeric
½ tsp dry summer savory
2 dashes hot red pepper sauce (I used Sriracha)
2 + 1/2 cups bread crumbs
1 pound ground pork
1 stick (½ cup) butter, softened

for paste:
8 egg yolks
1 tablespoon dry mustard
1 tablespoon onion juice
1 tablespoon lemon juice, or more as needed
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground red pepper
1/3 to ½ cup flour

Rub turkey inside and out with salt and pepper. Spray turkey skin thoroughly with vegetable oil. Set liver aside. Chop gizzard, neck and heart; put in saucepan with 5 cups of the water, bay leaf, garlic, paprika, salt and coriander. Simmer, uncovered, about 1 hour, while proceeding with rest of recipe.

For stuffing, combine apple, orange, pineapple, lemon zest, and water chestnuts in medium bowl; set aside. Mix celery, onions, cloves, bell pepper, parsley, celery seed, oregano, dry mustard, caraway seeds, poppy seeds, sesame seeds, black pepper, turmeric, summer savory, and hot red pepper sauce in another bowl; set aside. In a third (very large) bowl, mix bread crumbs, pork, and butter; incorporate them well. Add contents of the other two bowls; mix by kneading well.

(Thompson advised: “Mix it with your hands. Mix it until your forearms and wrists ache. Then mix it some more. Now toss it enough so that it isn’t any longer a doughy mess.”)

Remove battery from smoke detector. Heat oven to 500 degrees. Lightly fill turkey body and neck cavities with stuffing. Skewer closed. (Place remaining stuffing in a 3-quart greased casserole; cover. Refrigerate; bake later at 325 degrees until it registers 165 degrees on a thermometer, about 1 hour.) Place turkey, breast down, on rack in large roasting pan. Cook about 15 minutes. Remove; turn breast-side up. Cook 15 minutes. Meanwhile for paste, combine egg yolks, mustard, onion juice, 1 tablespoon of the lemon juice, salt and red pepper. Add enough of the flour to make a paste.

Turn oven down to 325 F. Paint turkey all over with the paste, using a kitchen brush. Return turkey to oven 3-5 minutes, until paste sets. Paint again; return to oven. Repeat this painting every 3-5 minutes, adding lemon juice to the paste as necessary to keep from drying out, until paste is used up. Meanwhile, add the reserved turkey liver and 1 cup of the cider to the simmering basting liquid. Cook until liver is no longer pink, about 30 minutes; remove liver. Pass liquid through a sieve, discard giblets. Keep liquid on simmer.

Roast turkey, basting every 15 minutes and adding more cider to basting liquid as needed, until a meat thermometer reads 180 degrees in the thigh, 170 degrees in the breast, about 4 hours. Let turkey stand at room temperature 30 minutes before carving. Remove blackened paste coating from turkey using a spatula or tweezers. Remove stuffing to serving bowl. Carve turkey; serve.


to print the recipe, click here

Comments: If you want to know more about Thompson’s Turkey, I suggest this article. Essentially, you make a stuffing that requires using every single spice available in a well-stocked pantry, and proceed to paint the bird with a paste that will turn absolutely black and hard once roasting is over. By the time you remove it from the oven, you will be sure it’s not fit for consumption. But then, you break that crust and reveal the most beautiful roasted bird, with a dark copper tone in the skin, and a stuffing that is out of this world delicious. To see the big reveal, click here

The best part of the turkey for me was the stuffing. The pineapple comes through as the most prominent taste, but then it gets all complex on you, and different from any stuffed turkey I’ve ever enjoyed for Thanksgiving. It made our Christmas Day meal quite special and festive.

Breaking the crust is quite exciting! I read a few articles written by those who attempted this culinary marathon, and some said that the crust can glue to the skin and get it removed with it, which is a shame. The way to avoid that is to oil the skin before applying the paste, and I incorporated that in the recipe. Also some methods tell you to keep turning the bird breast-up then down as you paint it and place it in the oven to set for a few minutes. Don’t do it, it is not necessary and it is a messy job. The only thing I missed about the turkey was gravy. Husband is the gravy maker and he did not think the juices accumulated in the bottom of the roasting pan were particularly fit for it. I might have allowed it to get a bit too burned, so maybe next time I can plan accordingly.

So, if you want to have a very unusual and exciting meal for your next big celebration, consider making this one. It is very labor-intensive, but also a lot of fun to bring to the table. I would definitely serve it for guests, knowing now that there is a nice bird underneath that darkness…

ONE YEAR AGO: Episode 5 of GABS, Citrus Tart, Napoleons and a Personal Nightmare

TWO YEARS AGO: Brazilian Chicken and Heart of Palm Pie

THREE YEARS AGO: Roasted Butternut Squash with Walnuts and Tahini Sauce

FOUR YEARS AGO: The Complicit Conspiracy of Alcohol

FIVE YEARS AGO: Candy Cane Cookies

SIX YEARS AGO: Macarons: Much better with a friend

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Our Mexican Holiday Dinner 

EIGHT YEARS AGO: The Ultimate Cranberry Sauce



ELEVEN YEARS AGO: Beef Wellington on a Special Night


I cannot think of a better dessert for Christmas or New Year’s Eve. Cranberries and white chocolate go very well together, as the former is so tart and the latter is often accused of excessive sweetness. Join to this pair a crust made from what is essentially a gingerbread cookie, and as you savor it, all thoughts of pandemics and politics and whatever else troubled 2020 will vanish in thin air. I promise you.

(recipe published with permission from Chef Eve)

for gingerbread crust:
178g all-purpose flour
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
113g cold, cubed, unsalted butter (1 stick)
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1⁄4 tsp. ground allspice
A pinch ground cloves
1⁄2 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. molasses
1⁄2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 Tbsp cold water

for white chocolate ganache:
340g white chocolate
170g (3/4 cup) heavy cream
2 tbsp. room-temperature unsalted butter, cubed
pinch of salt

for cranberry jelly:
3 cups (340g) whole cranberries, washed and picked through
1 medium-sized apple, peeled and grated
200g granulated sugar
1/2 cup water
pinch of salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract
shaved white chocolate and sprinkles for decoration (optional)

for a 9-inch tart pan

Mix dry ingredients together in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle. Add in cold, cubed butter and ginger, and mix until crumbly, and butter is no larger than pea-sized. Mix together cold water, molasses, and vanilla, then stream into pie dough and mix just until dough starts to come together and no dry flour remains in the bottom of the bowl. Do not overmix. Chill the dough for 30 minutes, then roll into a 1⁄8-inch thick round. Use the tart pan to make sure the dough is big enough to come up the sides of the pan with a little overhand. Chill 30 minutes more (the dough is very soft, it needs the extra time in the fridge), then line the tart mold. Chill in the freezer for 10 minutes, then trim the edges of the pie dough using a paring knife. Reserve dough scraps in case you need to patch any cracks that form as the tart bakes.

Line the tart crust with a sheet of parchment paper (or plastic wrap, which is what I do) and fill with baking weights that come up to the edge of the tart. If using a plastic wrap, make sure to fold it over the top of the beans, so that the plastic won’t touch the metal pan. Bake at 350°F for 15 minutes, then carefully remove the pie weights and bake another 10-15 minutes, until the crust is golden brown at the edges, and the center of the tart dough is completely baked. Cool to room temperature.

Make the chocolate ganache. Bring cream to a simmer. Put chocolate and salt in a food processor and pulse to break up into small pieces. When cream simmers, pour over chocolate and let sit one minute to start melting the chocolate. Pulse until smooth. When the chocolate is fully melted, add in butter cubes, and blend to incorporate. Pour into the cooled pie crust. Chill in the freezer to set for about 1 hour as you make the jelly. Make sure the tart is sitting nicely leveled.

Make the cranberry jelly. Put all ingredients except vanilla in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer. Cook until all of the cranberries explode, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat, add vanilla, and press through a mesh strainer. Cool for 30 minutes at room temperature, then carefully pour over the very cold from the freezer white chocolate layer. Chill at least 30 minutes in the fridge for the layer to set.

Optional decoration: shave some white chocolate on half of the surface, add sprinkles and sugared cranberries on top.


to print the recipe, click here

Comments: As some of you may have already noticed, this year there won’t be a Great American Baking Show. They could not make it happen with all the restrictions due to the pandemics. It was tough enough to produce the British show, but the American production had to be canceled. The producers decided that this month they would feature on their Instagram page holiday-inspired bakes from contestants of previous seasons. This was my contribution. You can browse through all the entries from other tent-bakers clicking here. Be ready to be amazed…

Back to the tart .The combination of cranberry jelly and chocolate ganache is superb but not the only thing I loved about this dessert. The crust is just perfect and quite different from any other tart I’ve ever made. Lastly, for my taste the proportion of crust and topping also hit the jackpot. When I make it again, I might use some gelatin to get the top layer a little more set, so that the sliced piece would have more defined layers, but it’s more a cosmetic point, not really that big a deal.

Chef Eve, thank you so much for allowing me to share your delicious recipe!

ONE YEAR AGO: I dream of Madeleines and a Tower of Cheesecakes

TWO YEARS AGO: Dominique Ansel’s Chocolate Mousse Cake

THREE YEARS AGO: Slow-Roasted Eye of the Round Beef

FOUR YEARS AGO: Steam-Roasted Indian-Spiced Cauliflower

FIVE YEARS AGO: Creamy Zucchini-Mushroom Soup

SIX YEARS AGO: Ken Forkish’s Pain au Bacon

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Carrot and Cumin Hamburger Buns

EIGHT YEARS AGO: Potato Galettes a l’Alsacienne & Book Review

NINE YEARS AGO: Caramelized Carrot Soup

TEN YEARS AGO: Miso-Grilled Shrimp



A long time ago I decided that a blog cannot have too many cauliflower recipes. Once I made peace with that decision, bringing yet another version to this virtual spot became easier and easier. So here I am. Playing with one of my favorite veggies once again.

(from thebrookcook)

14 oz can garbanzo beans, drained, rinsed, and dried
1 large head of cauliflower, cut into bite-sized florets
7 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
coarse salt or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon whole grain seeded mustard
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
4 tablespoons fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped

Set a rack in the center of the oven and heat to 400ºF, preferably on convection roast.

Toss the chickpeas and cauliflower florets together on a parchment paper lined rimmed baking sheet or in a large roasting pan with 3 tablespoons of olive oil and a big pinch of salt. Roast, stirring now and then, until everything is dark brown and the cauliflower is quite soft, about 30 to 35 minutes.

Meanwhile, whisk together the mustards, vinegar, and 4 tablespoons of olive oil. Season with a big pinch of salt and a few grinds of black pepper, or to taste. While the chickpeas and cauliflower are still warm, toss them with the mustard dressing and the parsley. Serve warm or at room temperature.


to print the recipe, click here

Comments: I bet you are wondering why two kinds of mustard, and what if you only have one kind? Use what you have. I happen to have both because we love mustard. I imagine that if you use full whole-grain it could be a bit too harsh. But whatever you choose to do, this is a real keeper of a side dish. Both chickpeas and cauliflower have that earthy, almost funky nature, and the acidity of the vinaigrette does a beautiful job tying them together. Leftovers were great two days later, barely warmed in the microwave.

Josette always shares amazing recipes in her blog, so I invite you to visit her site and browse around. I made this one just a few days after she published it, and repeated it the following week because we loved it so much.

ONE YEAR AGO: Great American Baking Show, Spice Episode (insert bucket of tears here)

TWO YEARS AGO: Pork Tenderloin Roulade with Pumpkin and Pecans

THREE YEARS AGO: White-Chocolate Peppermint Macarons

FOUR YEARS AGO: Shrubs, a fun alternative to alcoholic drinks

FIVE YEARS AGO: Date Truffles 

SIX YEARS AGO: Mascarpone Mousse from Baking Chez Moi

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Pumpkin Brigadeiros

EIGHT YEARS AGO: Pumpkin Espresso Loaf

NINE YEARS AGO: Caramelized Carrot Soup

TEN YEARS AGO: Miso-Grilled Shrimp

ELEVEN YEARS AGO: A Special Holiday Fruitcake


Springerle cookies have been around for more than 700 years, and just that thought brings me a smile. It fascinates me that after hundreds of years we still talk about them and so many bakers – particularly in Europe – preserve the tradition by baking batches and batches during the holiday season. The name translates from German as “little jumpers”. Some say that indicates the way they seem to jump in the oven when they bake. Others believe that in the beginning the images imprinted on the cookies showed men on horses, like little jumpers. We’ll probably never know for sure, but what we do know is that they are flavored with anise, leavened with a special ingredient (ammonium carbonate, aka Hartshorn), and the dough takes a large amount of eggs beaten for a long time. Back in the 1300’s, a baker not only had to make the cookies, but also carve the wooden molds they were shaped in. The reputation of a baker would rest not only on the cookies themselves, but in the complexity and beauty of the mold he had produced. Absolutely amazing. Disclaimer: I did not carve my own molds. Please don’t judge.

(scaled down from House on the Hill)

1/4 teaspoon baker’s ammonia (Hartshorn)
1 tablespoons milk
3 large eggs, room temperature
360g powdered sugar
57g (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened but not melted
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon of anise oil
454g sifted cake flour (I used Softasilk)
grated rind of orange

to paint the cookies (optional):
powder luster (mine are from Oh Sweet Art)
vodka or lemon extract

Make the cookies: Dissolve baker’s ammonia in milk and set aside (avoid the temptation to take a sniff, you will regret it). Beat eggs until very thick, this will take from 10 to 15 minutes. Slowly beat in the powdered sugar, then the softened butter. Add the the mixture of baker’s ammonia and milk, salt, anise oil and orange zest.

Gradually beat in as much flour as you can with the mixer, then stir in the remainder of the flour to make a stiff dough. Turn onto floured surface and knead in enough flour to make a good print without sticking. Refrigerate for one hour, but keep in mind the dough can be refrigerate the dough for up to 3 days.

On a floured surface, roll dough depending on the depth of the carving in the cookie press you are using. Shallow carvings will need to be thinner while deeper carvings will need to be thicker. Flour your cookie mold for each and every pressing. Press the mold firmly and straight down into the dough, then lift, cut with the cookie cutter of your choice, and place the formed cookie onto a flat surface to dry.

Do not cover the cookies while they dry. The goal of drying is to set the design. Let the cookies dry at least for 24 hours. It is better to leave them alone for a couple of days, so the design will be better retained during baking.

On baking day, heat the oven to 255F to 325F (depending on the size of your cookie and how white you like to have them), for 10 to 15 minutes. Let the cookies cool and paint, if you so desire.


to print the recipe, click here

Comments: I cannot lie to you, Springerle baking can be tricky. I only do it in December, because it is so deeply associated with this time of the year. In fact, it is quickly becoming a personal holiday tradition for me. First thing to keep in mind, you need the special leavening agent. It has a crystal, grainy structure and gives the cookie its unique texture. If you bake them with regular baking powder, you lose that component. Second, be patient. These cookies cannot be baked on the same day you shape them because the pattern needs to set by drying, sometimes it can take 3 days, depending on your environment. I never had to wait more than 48 hours.

most of my molds are from www.springerle.com

If they are not dry, when they go into the oven, the pattern will be quickly lost as the cookie expands. If they are fully dry but the oven a little too hot, they will form cracks and might even explode, like you can see on my first composite photo above. That brings me to my third advice: always, always, ALWAYS bake a test cookie. I normally place three, one large, one medium, one small, and see how they behave. The temperature that works best for me (for all cookie sizes, in fact) is 275F. It might be different for your oven.

Painting them is the part I enjoy the most. It is a good idea to get very fine brushes so that you can highlight details. I think pastel tones, silver, white and gold are my favorites, particularly to decorate more classic designs.

But this year I pushed the boundaries a bit and used more dramatic colors in some of my cookies…

I also used more modern shapes, that would quite likely horrify bakers from old Swabia…

These were bought from Fun Food Tools (at etsy.com). They definitely take Springerle into a totally new direction… My apologies to the purists. Since they were already such a dramatic departure, I went crazy with the colors also…

As you know, the main flavor of these cookies is anise, which not everyone is fond of. For real anise lovers, you can go one step further and bake them over a layer of anise seeds. I like the flavor, but don’t care for the texture of the seeds at the bottom, so I always skip this step.

I hope you enjoyed this final post on Holiday Cookies. Springerle baking will definitely be part of my end of the year routine. As to the other 11 months, I will practice baking molded cookies using regular baking powder and different flavors. Stay tuned!

ONE YEAR AGO: Bread – Episode 2 of Great American Baking Show

TWO YEARS AGO: Apple and Sobacha Caramel Dome Cake

THREE YEARS AGO: Cocktail Spiced Nuts

FOUR YEARS AGO: How the Mighty Have Fallen

FIVE YEARS AGO: Festive Night at Central

SIX YEARS AGO: The Perfect Boiled Egg

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Light Rye Sourdough with Cumin and Orange

EIGHT YEARS AGO: Homemade Calziones

NINE YEARS AGO: Plum-Glazed Duck Breasts

TEN YEARS AGO: Holiday Double-Decker