Delicious Cookies for the Holiday Season

Although I don’t bake cookies often during the year, once December arrives I take out my baking sheets, search for favorite recipes, and set up a mini-bakery in my kitchen. I love to give holiday gifts of homemade food, and cookies are perennial favorites among my friends.

This year I culled my files and found the directions for Walnut and Chocolate Chip Meringue Cookies. The recipe for these delicious nibbles was inspired by a visit to the Dordogne in the southwestern area of France quite a few years ago. In the medieval town of Sarlat I bought some walnut meringues in an outdoor market and was dazzled by the assertive taste of ground walnuts that had been baked into the crispy, golden cookies. Back home on this side of the Atlantic, I spent several days trying to duplicate them.

For my version, I beat egg whites with granulated sugar, then folded in ground walnuts, powdered sugar, and flour. Then I tossed in some coarsely chopped chocolate chips adding yet another dimension of flavor to the mix. Although most meringues are baked in a very low oven for a long time, these need only 20 to 25 minutes in a 300 F-degree oven.

These meringues would make a thoughtful holiday present packed in metal tins wrapped in ribbons or in clear cellophane bags tied with bows and a bit of greenery. They store well for up to a week (if they last that long).  I also plan to keep these light crunchy cookies on hand to dip into cups of steaming hot coffee or tea when friends stop by for impromptu visits during the holidays.




A Classic Pumpkin Pie with a Twist for Thanksgiving

If I had to guess, I’d bet that in the week before Thanksgiving, more home cooks will pull out rolling pins and pie plates for baking than at any other time of the year. Pumpkin, pecan, apple, pear, cranberry… the choices are endless. Our family might indulge in a pecan tart or a cherry galette every now and then, but our quintessential favorite, always on the menu, is the classic pumpkin pie. This year I pulled out a recipe I created quite a few years ago and updated it with a few changes. Continue reading

An Old Recipe Becomes New Again

Almost 20 years ago, during one of my and my husband’s working trips to Paris, a neighbor  arrived at our apartment door around noon one day with a warm Camembert and potato tart for us to sample. An excellent cook, she loved sharing her creations with others. The tart was delicious so I quickly asked for the recipe. Soon after I featured the luscious creation in one of my syndicated columns and included it in several of my cooking classes. But as Continue reading

When Leftovers Inspire a New Soup Recipe

Recently, after testing a recipe for roasted butternut squash with mascarpone and honey, I had a generous baking dish of leftovers. The recipe yielded 6 to 8 servings, but we are a household of empty nesters. Looking at the mound of cooked butternut squash in my fridge, I reasoned that I could easily turn this dish into a soup. And, that’s exactly what I did by adding some chicken stock and extra spices to the mixture. Voilà, a Continue reading

Enhancing a Grilled Cheese Sandwich with Fall Apple Chutney

Recently, searching for a quintessential autumn dish to demo for my monthly cooking segment on “Mass Appeal,” a weekday show airing on our local NBC affiliate, I found a recipe for apple chutney in my cookbook, Sunday Roasts. In a heartbeat, I knew that this simple condiment would be perfect for my October cooking spot. Although it makes a delicious counterpoint to roast pork or chicken, and complements grilled kielbasa or turkey burgers well, I decided to use it to embellish my favorite grilled cheese sandwiches. Continue reading

Perfect Little Roasted Grape and Goat Cheese Toasts for Autumn Gatherings

Fall finally seems to be touching down in New England with the arrival of cooler weather and shorter days. Since I love to cook seasonally, I’ve been adding autumn staples to my grocery cart. Grapes, apples, and pears from the produce aisles and local kielbasa sausages and fresh pork roasts from the meat counter have been frequent choices. I also love to stock up on delicious cider from nearby farms.

An appetizer of roasted grapes and goat cheese on toasted baguette slices is a dish I’ve prepared and served three times during these early days of the Continue reading

A Scrumptious Plum Tart for a Labor Day Get Together

Since we live in a college town (there are 3 colleges in Amherst and two more in neighboring communities!), many of our friends are away during the summer when school is out. Labor Day is the magical date by which everyone has returned, so this year my husband and I have invited two couples we have not seen in months for a casual supper during this holiday weekend.

Our farmers’ market is at its peak right now so planning the menu was a dream. For openers I’m making golden corn cakes topped with swirls of Continue reading

The Star of the Season—Fresh Local Corn

In the small New England town where we live local corn is everyone’s favorite vegetable in late summer. You can find it at our Saturday farmers’ market, pick your ears at roadside stands, or add them to your cart at supermarkets. I can’t remember a time these past few weeks that there hasn’t been a bag of corn in my fridge. Over the years I’ve used corn for Continue reading

Savoring France: Paris, Lyon, Provence Aug 13-22, 2024

Bonjour tout le monde Hello everyone,

We’re using our French because we have some exciting news to share! Next August (2024), The Baker’s Pin is moving for 10 days to France where we’ll be taking a fabulous Tauck river boat cruise. Called “Savoring France: Paris, Lyon, and Provence,” this trip is tailor-made for foodies who love France. It begins with two days in Paris, and continues in Lyon, considered one of France’s premier food cities, where we’ll board a luxurious riverboat to travel down the Rhône to Arles, Avignon, and the Camargue in Provence. (Click here and tap the download button at the bottom of the page to see the full brochure of this trip.)

What makes this trip so special are the many culinary events Tauck has included. In Paris, you’ll have reserved places for a private pastry class at the Cordon Bleu (where Julia Child did her studies) and enjoy a welcome Continue reading

Winning Grilled Salmon to Please My Husband

My spouse, who loves shellfish, often orders oysters on the half shell, splurges on Maine lobster, and savors clams in creamy chowders. But other popular fish—think salmon, cod, and haddock, for example—are not among his favorites. To entice him to try these fin fish, I typically serve them cooked with robust seasonings as in the following recipe for Grilled Salmon Continue reading