First, we hope you'll join us in congratulating all of our bakers who made the Cover-to-Cover Holiday Cookies Project such an amazing success. More than 500 bakers signed up to make 25 cookie recipes. That, friends, is a lot of cookies.
You can explore all the cookies by clicking the photos above (or the links below), but before you do that, let's give a few Cover-to-Cover Holiday Cookies Project Awards.
All the bakers. Seriously -- we didn't give you a lot of time to complete this challenge, and hundreds of you rose to the occasion. Thank you so much for participating! We loved seeing how your cookies turned out.
Bakers who bought special equipment. This is above and beyond. A number of bakers shared that they purchased cookie presses and other equipment in order to make their assigned recipes. That is some serious dedication.
A winning cookie? We'd love to name a sure-fire hit among this crop of cookies. There's a lot to love -- and many bakers loved their cookies, but there doesn't seem to be a resounding hit with all the bakers. Can you pick a winner?
THE BAD AND THE UGLY
We made some mistakes! First, we sent the wrong Lebkuchenrecipe to the bakers who were making that cookie.Then we realized late in the game that the cookie we assigned from Saveur -- Sarah Bernhardt Cookies -- was in fact the wrong cookie and not in their December issue. Instead, we should have assigned these Icelandic Chocolate Cornflake Cookies. Maybe they're the hit cookie we've all been waiting for....
The Worst Recipe: We're going with Food & Wine's Gingersnap Sandwich Cookies. The accidental omission of 3 cups of flour in the online recipe gave our bakes big batches of goo. But hey, mistakes happen (see above). And it turns out that if you make them with the flour, they're a hit.
Taylor Swift, Kristin Stewart and former Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown walk into a cookie shop...
Okay, we don't know what the punchline is. But here's the point: When we prompted readers to join us in this Cover-to-Cover Holiday Cookie Project, we challenged you to be creative. To tell us about your cookie in just a couple sentences, but feel free to have fun with it. What might you eat with this cookie, we wondered? If your cookie were a celebrity, who would it be?
Boy, did you guys deliver! We have loved all your creative and pithy writeups about the cookies you made.
Today -- the fifth and final day of our weeklong Cover-to-Cover Holiday Cookie Project -- is no exception. The writeups for these five cookies include the aforementioned comparisons to Taylor, Kristin and Sen. Brown, along with cookies likened to "a Bollywood movie," "a French diva," and "a Nordic noir thriller."
We could not possibly have said it any better ourselves.
Earlier this week, one of our commentors referred to herself and her friends -- and all the other folks involved in this Cover-to-Cover cookie project -- as the "Bitten Bakers."
How great is that?! We love the idea of a whole army of Bitten Bakers out there, making cookies and reporting back.
Well the Bitten Bakers were in full force for this, Day 4 of our weeklong cookie event. Today we've got some surprising peppermints, spendy pignolis, middle-of-the-road shortbread, rage-inducing pinwheels and a rugelach that is just ... well, you'll have to read for yourself.
But today -- Day 3 of our Cover-to-Cover Holiday Cookie Project -- we've got a group of tasty treats without the word "cookie" in sight.
We've got sandies and tassies aplenty.
We've got sandwiches and florentines galore.
You want noel balls? We've got plenty.
But who cares? No big deal.
We want mooooooorrrreee...
Okay, sorry for that brief interlude.
Anyway, today's crop of cookies-by-another-name includes some hits, some misses, and one recipe that turned into a greasy, messy disaster for everyone who tried it. (More than one reader used the words "disaster" and "nightmare.")
We have a confession to make: We breathe a little sigh of relief when our six-month CSA season ends every November.
Don't get us wrong, we love our CSA and the weekly joy of getting fresh, organic and truly wonderful vegetables. But after six months of pick-ups, we're ready for a break. It's awesome getting armfuls of greens and vegetables every week, but figuring out how to make use of all of it can be overwhelming.
Our CSA ended just before Thanksgiving. The shares at the end were predictably wintery: squash, some hearty greens, the remainder of the garlic. You get the picture.
But the season also ended with sunchokes. Lots and lots of sunchokes. By the end of the share, we had stowed at least 4 pounds of them in our crisper drawer.
So it was a forgone conclusion that we'd make Food & Wine's Salad of the Month: Roasted Sunchokes with Brown Butter-Cider Vinaigrette.
We were flipping through the December food magazines when we spotted this version from Bon Appétit. Then a few minutes later, we were in Cook's Illustrated, and there, again, was the same dish, this time called "Crispy Salt and Pepper Shrimp."
This is a totally new dish to us, but not to tons of other folks. Since reading about the dish, we've learned that you can sometimes find it at authentic Chinese restaurants (though we didn't find it after scouring the online menus for our go-to Chinese restaurants in D.C.). Way back in 2011, Mark Bittman profiled Danny Bowien/Mission Chinese Food's take on the dish.
So why would this dish suddenly show up in two different food magazines? We have no idea. (Do you have any theories?) But we're sure glad it did.
We've received dozens and dozens of notes from readers about your Thanksgiving experiences: what you cooked, what you loved, what'd you make again. It's been the highlight of our past week, as we've read through your menus and notes.
While it's still somewhat visible in the rearview mirror, we wanted to give our own Thanksgiving report. Initially (and a little shamefully), we hadn't planned to cook anything, having gotten our fill of turkey at Fakesgiving. But as the holiday approached, and our friends Drew and Ralph decided to stay in town, we planned a small Thanksgiving. They hosted and Drew had one requirement: We would all fry a turkey.
We were totally on board. Though we're all four from the South, none of us had ever fried a turkey. Drew ordered a kit online; we picked up a turkey and waited for the big day.
Drew and Ralph made a frozen cranberry salad (Ralph's grandmother used to always serve them); a stuffing whose base was made of saltine crackers, and much better than the cracker dressing we made this year; and an Atlantic Beach Pie, which we absolutely loved (it's like a sweet-but-also-salty key lime pie).