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Apple and Cranberry Galette

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This beautiful open-faced pastry, with scarlet cranberries nestled among golden apple slices, is a gorgeous finale for a holiday meal. Because the fruit filling has been simmered before it goes into the oven, the galette bakes quickly and evenly. This recipe makes 2 galettes—each one will serve 5 or 6 people.

Apple and Cranberry Galette

For the pastry:

1 3/4 cups (9 oz./280 g.) all-purpose flour

6 Tbs. (2 oz./60 g.) white cornmeal

2 tsp. sugar

3/4 tsp. salt

12 Tbs. (1 1/2 sticks or 6 oz./185 g.) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch (12-mm.) chunks

6 Tbs. (3 oz./90 g.) sour cream

1/2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml.) ice-cold water

 

For the filling:

1/2 cup (4 oz./125 g.) sugar

1/2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml.) water

3 Tbs. honey

3 Tbs. fresh lemon juice

1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

8 large Granny Smith apples, about 4 lb. (2 kg.) total, peeled, cored and sliced

1 1/2 cups (6 oz./185 g.) fresh cranberries

2 Tbs. unsalted butter, cut into thin slices

 

Sugar for dusting (optional)

Crème fraîche for serving (optional)

 

To make the pastry, in a food processor, combine the flour, cornmeal, sugar and salt. Scatter the chunks of butter over the top and pulse for a few seconds until the butter pieces are the size of small peas. In a small bowl, whisk together the sour cream and ice water. Drizzle the mixture over the dough and pulse until the dough is smooth and clings together. Pat the dough into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 20 minutes.

 

Meanwhile, to make the filling, in a large fry pan over medium heat, combine the sugar, water, honey, lemon juice and cinnamon and cook, stirring, until the sugar dissolves. Stir in the apple slices and simmer until the apples begin to soften, 5 to 7 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the apple slices to a bowl.

 

Add the cranberries to the liquid in the fry pan and simmer until they start to pop, about 2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the cranberries to the bowl with the apples. Increase the heat to medium-high and boil the liquid until reduced slightly, then spoon over the fruit.

 

Position 2 racks in the middle of an oven and preheat to 400°F (200°C).

 

Divide the dough in half. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out each half into a round about 12 inches (30 cm.) in diameter and transfer to separate baking sheets. Divide the fruit filling equally between the pastry rounds and spread it in an even layer, leaving a 1 1/2-inch (4-cm.) border uncovered. Fold the border over the fruit, pleating the edges to form a rim. Lay the butter slices over the exposed fruit. Dust the pastry rims with sugar.

 

Bake the galettes, rotating them 180 degrees at the midway point, until the pastry is golden brown and the apples are tender, 35 to 40 minutes. Transfer the pans to wire racks and let the galettes cool completely on the pans. Serve with crème fraîche. Makes two 9-inch galettes; serves 10 to 12.

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Dark and Sticky Gingerbread

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This dark, spicy and ultramoist cake is never more delicious than it is during the holidays. Its warm flavors are perfect for a wintry day — and even better when paired with a frothy pint of Guinness.

Dark and Sticky Gingerbread

1 cup (8 fl. oz./250 ml.) brewed espresso or very strong coffee

3/4 cup (6 oz./185 g.) firmly packed dark brown sugar

1 cup (11 oz./345 g.) molasses

3/4 cup (6 fl. oz./180 ml.) canola oil

3 large eggs, lightly beaten

2 Tbs. peeled and grated fresh ginger

2 cups (10 oz./315 g.) all-purpose flour

2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. baking soda

2 Tbs. ground ginger

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg

Pinch of ground white pepper

1/2 tsp. kosher salt

Heaping 1/4 cup (1 1/2 oz./45 g.) chopped crystallized ginger

Whipped cream for serving

 

Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350°F (180°C). Butter the bottom and sides of a 9-inch (23-cm.) springform pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper and butter the parchment. Put the pan on a rimmed baking sheet.

In a bowl, whisk together the espresso, brown sugar, molasses, oil, eggs and fresh ginger. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, ground ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, pepper and salt. Add the wet ingredients along with the crystallized ginger, and stir to combine. The batter will be quite loose.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 50-60 minutes. Let cool for about 10 minutes, then remove the pan sides and slide the gingerbread onto a serving plate. Serve warm with heaps of whipped cream. Makes one 9-inch (23-cm.) gingerbread.

Baker’s Note: Make the gingerbread into a dessert fit for company by serving slices topped with poached pears and cream whipped with a big pinch of ground ginger.

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Bake a Layer Cake

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A towering, decadent, showstopping cake is the best way to celebrate a special occasion, whether it’s Easter Sunday or a spring birthday. Here are our best tips for pulling off your most memorable dessert yet!

Our Celebration Layer Cake Pans

make it easy to bake each layer, and with their pretty scalloped edges, you don’t even need to frost the sides before serving! Our Test Kitchen cooks love these pans because they work with almost any batter: our mixes, other prepared mixes or a scratch white or chocolate cake. Whether you’re using the layer cake pans or a regular cake pan, be sure to brush the pans with melted butter and dust with flour before baking, then cool them on a wire rack before frosting.

Slice into layers

If you’re using a standard cake pan, you’ll need to slice it in half horizontally. Hold a ruler up to the side of the cake base and, using toothpicks, mark the midpoint at regular intervals around the cake. Using a long, thin serrated bread knife, split the cake horizontally into even layers. Put one layer, cut side up, on a cardboard circle. Place the other layer, cut side down, on a sheet of plastic wrap.

Fill the cake.

 When filling a layer cake, jams should be spread thinly, while rich fillings, such as curd, pastry cream or buttercream, should be thicker. Lighter fillings like mousse should be thick, but never thicker than the cake layer. Mound the filling in the center of the layer and, using an icing spatula, spread it to the edge. Flip the other layer over onto the filling, cut side up. Gently push the layer evenly into place. Repeat with remaining layers (remember, you can make as many as you want)!

Frost and finish.

Before you start frosting, you need to make a crumb coat — a thin layer of frosting that sticks to the crumbs so they don’t mess up the surface. Place the filled cake on a work surface and put a small amount of frosting on top. Using an icing spatula, smooth a thin layer of frosting over the cake. The crumb coating should be thin and even, covering the entire surface of the cake. Refrigerate until firm, 15 to 20 minutes, before frosting.

To frost, mound the frosting in the center of the cake and use an icing spatula to smooth it gently and evenly over the top. Smooth down the frosting with broad strokes; be sure not to touch the spatula to the cake without icing on it, or you could pick up crumbs.

Dip the spatula in warm water and wipe clean with a damp kitchen towel as needed. The top of the cake should be flat. Whether you frost the sides is up to you — leaving them bare gives you a more casual dessert, while frosting them looks a little fancier.

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Devil’s Food Layer cake

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Happy National Chocolate Cake Day! The secret behind this moist, rich chocolate cake is mixing the cocoa powder—use natural, not Dutch process—with boiling water, which allows the chocolate flavor to blossom and adds extra moisture to the crumb. This time-honored favorite, layered with velvety chocolate frosting, makes the ultimate birthday cake.

Devil’s Food Layer Cake

For the cake:
1 cup (8 fl. oz./250 ml) boiling water
3/4 cup (2 1/2 oz./75 g) unsweetened natural cocoa powder
1 3/4 cups (9 oz./280 g) all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. fine sea salt
2 cups (1 lb./500 g) sugar
8 Tbs. (1 stick) (4 oz./125 g) plus 2 Tbs. unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups (10 fl. oz./310 ml) buttermilk

For the frosting:
3 3/4 cups (15 oz./470 g) confectioners’ sugar
1 cup (3 oz./90 g) unsweetened natural cocoa powder
8 Tbs. (1 stick) (4 oz./125 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla extract
About 1 cup (8 fl. oz./250 ml) heavy cream

To make the cake, preheat an oven to 350°F (180°C). Lightly butter two 9-inch (23-cm) round cake pans. Line the bottom of each pan with a round of parchment paper. Dust the pans with flour, tapping out the excess.

In a small heatproof bowl, whisk together the boiling water and cocoa until smooth. Let cool completely. In a bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda and salt. In a large bowl, using a handheld mixer on medium-high speed, beat together the sugar and butter until the mixture is light in color and texture, about 3 minutes. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then beat in the vanilla and the cooled cocoa mixture. Reduce the speed to low and add the flour mixture in 3 additions alternately with the buttermilk in 2 additions, beginning and ending with the flour mixture and stopping to scrape down the bowl as needed, beating until smooth.

Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans and smooth the tops. Bake the cakes until they begin to pull away from the sides of the pans, 35 to 40 minutes. Transfer to wire racks and let cool in the pans for 15 minutes. Run a knife around the inside of each pan to release the cake. Invert the pans onto the racks, lift off the pans, and peel off the parchment paper. Turn each cake right side up and let cool completely.

To make the frosting, in a bowl, sift together the confectioners’ sugar and cocoa. Using the mixer on low speed, mix in the butter until it is crumbly. Mix in the vanilla, and then gradually mix in enough of the cream to make a spreadable frosting.

Place 1 cake layer, bottom side up, on a cake plate. Using an icing spatula, spread the top of the layer with a generous 1/2 cup of the frosting. Place the second layer, top side down, on top of the first layer. Frost the top, then the sides, with the remaining frosting. Slice the cake into thick wedges and serve. Serves 10.

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Recipe Roundup: Pancakes!

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It’s National Pancake Day! What better excuse to treat yourself to your favorite childhood breakfast? A big stack of fluffy, comforting pancakes — complete with your favorite topping — is an easy way to please the whole family (and they’re just as good for dinner). Here are some of our favorite recipes.

 

Buttermilk Pancakes with Blueberry SyrupButtermilk Pancakes with Blueberry Syrup
Buttermilk makes these pancakes light and fluffy — you can also add fresh blueberries to the batter for double-berry flavor.
Sweet Potato Pancakes with WalnutsSweet Potato Pancakes with Walnuts
Here, vitamin-rich sweet potatoes star along with crunchy walnuts in a modern take on traditional pancakes, dense with nutrition and full of flavor.
Bacon-and-Cheddar-Cornmeal-JohnnycakesBacon-and-Cheddar Cornmeal Johnnycakes
The subtle crunch of cornmeal gives johnnycakes a bit of heft. Our version, embellished with crisp bits of bacon and sharp cheddar cheese and served with honey or syrup, makes a delicious sweet-and-salty treat.
Lemon-Ricotta Pancakes with Berry CompoteLemon-Ricotta Pancakes with Berry ompoteC
Ricotta cheese lends a delicate, airy texture to these mini pancakes, and freshly grated lemon zest adds a hint of citrus flavor. They’re served with a warm compote of fresh tart-sweet berries.
Caramelized Pear Oven PancakeCaramelized Pear Oven Pancake
This beautiful oven pancake makes an impressive presentation, but it’s actually super simple to prepare. It’s also a quick way to make pancakes for a group! Tip: you can serve the pancake as a dessert, too — just add a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Banana PancakesBanana Pancakes
This recipe features bananas in two ways: a ripe one is mashed into the batter for added texture and flavor, and slices of fresh bananas are served on top. It’s a great meal to make with kids.
Apple PancakesApple Pancakes
These apple pancakes are flavored with warm spices like ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg. Grated apple is blended into the batter, then a thin apple slice is cooked inside each pancake for a pretty presentation.
Buckwheat-Blueberry PancakesBuckwheat-Blueberry Pancakes
Buckwheat flour lends flavor and whole-grain goodness to this classic pancake recipe, while tart-sweet blueberries give the tender pancakes bursts of fruit flavor.
Sweet Potato Pancakes with Pecans and Brown Sugar SauceSweet Potato Pancakes with Pecans and Brown Sugar Sauce
These gently spiced sweet potato pancakes represent the best of Southern down-home cooking, with a topping of toasted pecans and a drizzle of buttery brown sugar sauce. They’re the perfect treat for a cozy weekend morning with family.
Oatmeal PancakesOatmeal Pancakes
These pancakes get an extra boost rolled oats and buttermilk, and you can use whatever mix of fresh and dried fruits and toasted nuts you like. Try sliced strawberries, chopped dried apples and almonds.
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Recipe Roundup: Hearty Breakfasts

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Ward off the winter chill with these rib-sticking breakfast and brunch favorites. They’re perfect for a celebratory weekend with friends and family in town!

 

Poached Eggs with White Bean-Tomato RagoutPoached Eggs with White Bean-Tomato Ragout
White beans simmered with pancetta, rosemary and fire-roasted tomatoes make an enticing base for poached eggs. Serve with thick slices of broiled country bread.
Smoked Salmon Frittata with Goat Cheese and ChivesSmoked Salmon Frittata with Goat Cheese and Chives
Fold your favorite seasonal ingredients into fluffy eggs for a meal in a skillet. Here, delicate smoked fish is combined with tangy goat cheese and fresh, oniony chives.
Spiced Pecan Pumpkin Waffles with Homemade Pecan Maple ButterSpiced Pecan Pumpkin Waffles with Homemade Pecan Maple Butter

Nothing warms up a chilly autumn morning quite like these spiced pumpkin waffles, which are easy to make using our mix. Here we top them with homemade pecan-maple butter, but you can substitute regular unsalted butter instead.

 

Mushroom Omelette with Fontina and ThymeMushroom Omelette with Fontina and Thyme
The earthy flavors of mushroom, thyme and fontina cheese make a wonderful combination in an omelette. Serve with artisan bread, brushed with extra-virgin olive oil and toasted under the broiler.
Corn and Chili Strata with Mexican ChorizoCorn and Chili Strata with Mexican Chorizo
Strata, a casserole of eggs, bread, cheese and other ingredients, is a busy cook’s secret weapon: The dish can be assembled the night before, then baked the next morning to golden perfection. Use fresh Mexican-style chorizo, not smoked Spanish sausage links, for this Southwestern version, which is studded with mild green chilies and sweet corn.
Bacon-and-Cheddar-Cornmeal-JohnnycakesBacon-and-Cheddar Cornmeal Johnnycakes
The subtle crunch of cornmeal gives johnnycakes appealing texture and a bit of heft. This version, embellished with crisp bits of bacon and sharp cheddar cheese and served with honey or syrup, makes a delightful sweet-and-salty breakfast treat.
Breakfast Hash with Bell Pepper and Swiss ChardBreakfast Hash with Bell Pepper and Swiss Chard
Red peppers, sausage, potatoes and earthy chard combine to make this satisfying one-pot hash. Top with fried eggs, and serve fried bacon slices alongside.
Steel-Cut Oats with Honeyed Pears and Glazed PecansSteel-Cut Oats with Honeyed Pears and Glazed Pecans
Steel-cut oats result in a textured oatmeal, with a deliciously chewy yet tender bite. They do require longer simmering than regular oatmeal, but it’s worth the effort. Top with crunchy sugared pecans and cinnamon-coated pears, and you’ll be in oatmeal heaven.
Potato, Egg and Cheese Breakfast TacosPotato, Egg and Cheese Breakfast Tacos

There are so many variations on the theme of eggs and tortillas that it’s hard to pick a favorite. When you want something especially hearty, try this version, which includes panfried potatoes. The fresh salsa is essential.

 

Spiced Cider DoughnutsSpiced Cider Doughnuts
You may wonder if making your own doughnuts is worth the effort. Just one bite of these sugar-glazed deep-fried treats will prove it is. The spicy flavor is sure to bring back memories of crisp autumn mornings and relaxing breakfasts in flannel pajamas.
Broccoli Rabe, Pesto and Smoked Mozzarella StrataBroccoli Rabe, Pesto and Smoked Mozzarella Strata
Broccoli rabe has a slightly bitter taste with overtones of sweet mustard. Layer it with egg-soaked sourdough bread, pesto and Italian cheese in this gorgeous winter strata.
Pumpkin Quick BreadPumpkin Quick Bread
True to its name, this bread comes together in no time, thanks to our premium mix. And what could be more enticing than the aroma of spiced pumpkin bread studded with pecans emerging from the oven?
Pizzas with Eggs and BaconPizzas with Eggs and Bacon
A breakfast pizza is a delicious way to dress up bacon and eggs. To save time in the morning, make the dough the day before and let it rise overnight in the refrigerator.
Brussels Sprouts and Potato Hash with Fried EggsBrussels Sprouts and Potato Hash with Fried Eggs
An unexpected twist on a classic, brussels sprouts add a delicious crunch to traditional hash. Serve with a warm baguette for any meal. If you have leftover cooked brussels sprouts or potatoes, this recipe is a great way to use them up.
Cheese-and-Marmalade French Toast SandwichesCheese-and-Marmalade French Toast Sandwiches

If you grew up eating plain French toast made from generic white bread, this decadent stacked version filled with cream cheese and marmalade is a revelation. To ensure the sandwiches cook through, first brown them on the griddle and then pop them in the oven to finish.

 

Eggs Florentine with Savory Waffles and Herbed HollandaiseEggs Florentine with Savory Waffles and Herbed Hollandaise
In this delicious twist on eggs Florentine, we swap in savory waffles for the traditional English muffins. Fresh parsley lends color and flavor to the hollandaise sauce, and crispy hash browns make the perfect side.
Apple Oven PancakeApple Oven Pancake
This cross between a souffle and an omelet is oven-baked in a hot pan instead of on the stovetop. Here, we embellish it with crisp apples, but you can substitute Anjou or Red Bartlett pears, if you like.
Potato and Pepper FrittataPotato and Pepper Frittata
This hearty frittata stars potatoes and sweet bell peppers. Plump and golden, it shows how no more than a few eggs, a handful of vegetables and a sprinkling of cheese can become a simple yet hearty meal to start the day.