This is the time of year that gets my baking motor running! I love to bake, especially when the temperature is a little cooler and windows are open. In preparation for Thanksgiving I mull over new recipes and old favorites deciding which to make. One of my favorites is brioche. This bread is so light, buttery, and full of slightly salty sweetness. It takes a bit of time to make and rise so I usually spend a day or two making batches and batches of it so I can freeze the little rolls and have them handy for dinners or breakfast. I found a great recipe for Brioche on epicurious from Rose Levy Beranbaum’s, The Bread Bible, 2009. But the best recipe I’ve tried is from Columbia City Bakery and you can find it at
Here’s a cookie recipe from Victoria magazine that were quick and simple to make and a big hit at my Christmas party!
Orange Mexican Christmas Balls:
2/3 cup confectioners’ sugar
2 cups of butter, unsalted
4 Tablespoons orange zest
4 1/2 cup of AP flour
1/2 tsp salt
Additional confectioners’ sugar for dusting
In a mixer combine the butter and sugar and beat until creamy. Add the flour, salt, and zest, beating after each addition. If working in a warm environment, chill the dough in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes. While preheating the oven to 350 degrees, grease a baking sheet with butter or use parchment paper to line. Roll the dough into 1″ diameter balls and space 1″ apart on the baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes until they appear set (the color of butter cookies-which is basically what these are) being careful they don’t brown. Roll the cookies while warm in confectioners’ sugar.
They have a bright orange and smooth sugary finish! yum!
Mexican orange cookies
This is the classic recipe for duck adapted for a lighter less greasy meat-chicken. It is robust enough for Sunday dinner and easy enough to prepare the day before:
two to four chicken breast with skin on
1 large red pepper, chopped
1 large orange
1 large onion, chopped
1 cup of chicken stock (enough to cover the breast while marinating)
2 large chopped garlic cloves
1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar
1. Score the chicken breast skin in cross hatch fashion
2. Place the breast in a large bowl
3. cover with chicken stock
4. add the red pepper, peppercorns, garlic, and onion
5. zest the orange skin into the marinade.
6. remove the pithe of the orange and add the sections to the marinade.
7. Add the vinegar and salt
Place the mixture in the refrigerator overnight. When ready to prepare your meal. Remove the chicken from the marinade, set the marinade aside to make sauce, and place the chicken, skin side up in a baking dish, salt and pepper each side, and bake covered at 325 degrees for 45 minutes. Remove the cover and broil, crisping the skin for about 10 minutes. Watch so it does not burn.
Remove the solids from the marinade and reduce by 3/4 over a medium heat. Add butter and whisk until smooth. Taste for seasoning and add salt or pepper if needed.
Serve over a platter of fresh greens and add your favorite side- et voila!
It’s harvest time. This is the time of year that brings a lightness of foot. The heady feel of oppressive heat is a distant memory, and there’s a snap of cool in the air. Apples are ripening on the trees, late corn is harvested with squash and pumpkins, and you smell the beginnings of wood burning fire.
This brings to mind a party I once had in my home outside of Philadelphia. It was a harvest moon party. The food, well good, but so long ago I don’t remember what I cooked. I do, however, remember the cool almost downright cold weather outside that evening, a bright full moon, and the warmth of a drink called “boilo”. Now I had heard of this drink growing up but always thought it was something that was special to coal mining towns of Northeastern Pa. (my family origins) and not what you might serve to city folk. But reviewing the recipe it seemed as appetizing as any English cold weather infused drink so I decided to make it for the party. At once, I began to call every long-lost cousin who might know how exactly to make it and get pointers. Combining three very close recipes I concluded this to be the best one:
2 liters ginger ale
1 lb. honey
1/5 of 4 Queens whiskey
1 large orange sliced
1 lemon sliced
3 cinnamon sticks
Bring all the ingredients (except the whiskey) to a low boil over the stove until the honey is melted, then turn down heat to a simmer, and add the whiskey and keep warm.
As I recall, the “boilo” simmering over the open-hearth, guests ladled the warm sweet tonic into their cups on this cold fall night and the conversation became very lively. I personally prefer boilo to any mulled wine recipe, but this is probably just my Irish talking. Combine it with a substantial meat and potato combo and a few marshmallows to toast afterwards, and you have a simple easy way to get jolly with your friends on a fall harvest night. Enjoy this treasured recipe, it is a rare one, and I hope you don’t have to get up early to plow the field tomorrow!