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Sparkling Drinks to Celebrate the New Year

Cranberry Kir Royales

Pop! The sound of a bottle of bubbly getting uncorked is a sure sign it’s time to celebrate. Think beyond basic bubbly and craft one of these cocktails for your New Year’s Eve party or New Year’s Day brunch.

French 75: Gin, lemon and sparkling wine are the notes in this classic cocktail.

Cranberry Kir Royale: This beautiful pink drink (pictured up top) looks as special as it tastes.

Pink SHAMpagne: Who says bubbly needs alcohol? This flavorful, festive drink gets fizz from sparkling apple cider and raspberry seltzer.

Blood Orange Campari Prosecco Cocktail: Fresh blood orange juice and campari give this drink a brilliant orange hue.

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Beat the Wheat: Gluten-Free Pasta Bolognese

Gluten-Free Pasta Bolognese
AKA It’s Like You’re in Big Night and You’re Cooler Than Stanley Tucci

I’m kind of obsessed with the movie Big Night. I’ve loved it since before I began writing about food and thinking about the role food plays in our lives. All the cooking, all the rushing around, the loud mouths and big stomachs, and that huge meal at the end that rendered everyone nearly unconscious: I’ve always wanted to host a dinner like that. The closest I’ve ever gotten is with pasta and Bolognese (I’ll save the timpano and the other 40 courses for another day).

Continue Reading Beat the Wheat: Gluten-Free Pasta Bolognese

31 Days of Cookies: Irish Cream and Coffee Cookies

This edible version of the Irish coffee drink might just keep you buzzing throughout the entire 30th day of cookies. Both ground coffee and coffee extract infuse the sugar cookie dough with flavor and color. Pipe the delicate buttercream frosting — which contains additional coffee extract and Irish cream liqueur — into a frothy topping to make these cookies look just like their mugged moniker.

Click here for the Irish Cream and Coffee Cookies recipe.

More cookies:
Cooking Channel’s All-Star Cookie Swap
50 All-Star Holiday Cookies
Unique Cookie Recipes
Food Network’s 12 Days of Cookies

31 Days of Cookies: Layer Bars with Almond Butter and Strawberry Jam

Recover from holiday festivities on the 29th day of cookies with these nutty layer bars — they’re like your favorite peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich, compacted into a cookie and jazzed up a bit with sliced almonds and a crumble top.

Click here for the Layer Bars with Almond Butter and Strawberry Jam recipe.

More cookies:
Cooking Channel’s All-Star Cookie Swap
50 All-Star Holiday Cookies
Unique Cookie Recipes
Food Network’s 12 Days of Cookies

31 Days of Cookies: Warm Chewy Macadamia White Chocolate Cookies

How did the nut of Australian origin and Hawaiian proliferation come to marry the cocoa-free chocolate as a high-profile flavor combo? We’re not certain, but we’re not complaining. Partake in the 28th day of cookies with this tender, chewy take on the sweet, nutty cookies.

Click here for the Warm Chewy Macadamia White Chocolate Cookies recipe.

More cookies:
Cooking Channel’s All-Star Cookie Swap
50 All-Star Holiday Cookies
Unique Cookie Recipes
Food Network’s 12 Days of Cookies

31 Days of Cookies: Gluten-Free Spiked Chocolate Decadence Cookies

On the 27th day of cookies, our guest blogger proves that gluten-free cookies can hold their own in the dessert spread.

The inspiration for my Spiked Chocolate Decadence Cookies was the holiday spirit — or spirits — so present throughout the season. And while cocktails abound, booze goes a long way toward successful holiday baking too. Vodka renders pie crusts impossibly flaky; brandy or rum gives cakes a crumb so moist and heady that dessert lovers may need a designated driver; and a tablespoon of any liquor will forever transform the way you look at cookies. (Because we’re talking about gluten-free baking here, just make sure to grab a gluten-free vodka or brandy in lieu of the traditional 40 proof.)

I was inspired by my grandmother’s hazelnut bacci when I started developing these gluten-free Spiked Chocolate Decadence Cookies. I used whole eggs and eliminated any trace of nuts by using my gluten-free cookie flour blend. I added a tablespoon of vodka to the dough and refrigerated it overnight so the sugars could absorb all the liquid. The end result? A chocolate cookie with a crunchy outer rim and a soft, supple center. Sandwich two with the chocolate ganache filling for a very seasonally appropriate splurge.

Click here for the Spiked Chocolate Decadence Cookies recipe.

More cookies:
Cooking Channel’s All-Star Cookie Swap
50 All-Star Holiday Cookies
Unique Cookie Recipes
Food Network’s 12 Days of Cookies

Karen Morgan is the founder of the beloved gluten-free Blackbird Bakery in Austin, Texas, and is the author of two cookbooks on matter:  Blackbird Bakery Gluten-Free and The Everyday Art of Gluten-Free, which feature her new line of gluten-free flour blends.

25 Ways to Use Soy Sauce

A standard addition to stir fry and Chinese take-out, soy sauce is a great way to bring umami to the table. A little bit of soy sauce goes a long way in flavoring marinades, brines and all sorts of dipping sauces.

Soy sauce is a condiment that has been used since about 300 A.D. The standard bottle of soy sauce you’ll usually find in the international section of the grocery store is a Japanese “dark” soy sauce. Mirin, a sweet rice wine, is added to soy sauce to create a “light” variety which is slightly sweeter. There are also “light” and “dark” Chinese varieties of soy sauce that can be found in some specialty Asian markets.

Most soy sauce is made with wheat in addition to soybeans, but tamari is made with little to no wheat, and many brands offer completely gluten-free tamari. A gluten- and soy-free soy sauce substitute is coconut aminos, which tastes similarly to soy sauce but is made from coconut tree sap.

Store unopened soy sauce in a cool, dark place. Once opened, store soy sauce in the refrigerator. Because soy sauce (even the reduced sodium kind) contains so much salt, go easy on seasoning when you use it and make sure to taste it as you cook to avoid a salt overload.

Instead of ordering in this week get soy-sauce savvy with these 25 recipes.

  1. Try making your Chinese food craving at home. It’s healthier than ordering in and fun to experiment with new ingredients in the kitchen. General Tso’s Chicken, crispy and coated in a sweet sauce, is a great place to start.
  2. Soy sauce balances out a sweet BBQ sauce in Kelsey Nixon’s Roasted Pork Loin with Peach BBQ Sauce. Use fresh or frozen peaches depending on the season.
  3. Add tons of flavor to weeknight classic Tuna Noodle Casserole (pictured) by cooking mushrooms and onions with sherry and soy sauce, which brighten up a sometimes-flavorless dish.
  4. Eat delicious, fall-off-the-bone BBQ ribs any time of year with the help of your slow cooker. After the Slow Cooker Asian BBQ Ribs come out of the slow cooker, crisp them up underneath the broiler or on the grill.
  5. Crunchy and slightly sweet, Coconut Shrimp with Peanut Sauce is irresistible. Use canola or peanut oil for deep frying, as they have higher smoke points than other oil like olive oil.

    Continue Reading 25 Ways to Use Soy Sauce

31 Days of Cookies: Meyer Lemon Cardamom Crinkle Cookies

Much a we complain that nothing is in season during brutal winter months, that isn’t the case at all. Citrus, including perky meyer lemon, is best in chilly months. So for the 26th day of cookies, we’re celebrating vitamin C with 5-star meyer lemon cookies, spiced with cardamom and ideal for a calm post-party tea session.

Click here for the Meyer Lemon Cardamom Crinkle Cookies recipe.

More cookies:
Cooking Channel’s All-Star Cookie Swap
50 All-Star Holiday Cookies
Unique Cookie Recipes
Food Network’s 12 Days of Cookies

31 Days of Cookies: Spritz Cookies

Merry Christmas from Cooking Channel! There’s no better way to celebrate the 25th day of cookies than with these classic, simple Christmas treats of German origin. Almond paste imbues the cookies with a subtle nutty flavor and makes the dough smoother — ideal for creating festive shapes in a spritz press. Sprinkle them with colored sugars to dress the plain cookies up for the holiday.

Click here for the Spritz Cookies recipe.

More cookies:
Cooking Channel’s All-Star Cookie Swap
50 All-Star Holiday Cookies
Unique Cookie Recipes
Food Network’s 12 Days of Cookies

31 Days of Cookies: The Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookies

When Santa sneaks down the chimney tonight on the 24th day of cookies, he’ll be looking for a plate of something classic and perfected. Surprise him with this five-star recipe for soft-and-chewy chocolate chip cookies to ensure your stockings remain coal-free.

Click here for Kelsey Nixon’s Chocolate Chip Cookies recipe.

More cookies:
Cooking Channel’s All-Star Cookie Swap
50 All-Star Holiday Cookies
Unique Cookie Recipes
Food Network’s 12 Days of Cookies

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