Holiday how-tos: recipes for gingerbread, peppermint bark, cocktails and more
December 25th, 2012
09:15 AM ET
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Just in case you still have eggnog to spike or plums to sugar before the gang arrives, consider us Santa's little helpers.

We're sharing our time-tested Christmas tips and recipes, as well as plenty from chefs, hospitality experts, celebrities, hosts and home cooks we love. Our goal – sending you into Christmas with a jolly smile on your face, and seeing you emerge on December 26 with your sanity intact.

Here are a few helpful holiday posts that may make your holiday bright.

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Filed under: Chilled Out and Cheery • Christmas • Christmas • Feature • Holiday • Holidays • Homemade Gifts • How To • Recipes • Step-by-Step • Techniques & Tips

December 19th, 2012
08:00 AM ET
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Sugar cookies in every seasonal shape - from snowflakes to Christmas trees, stars to Santa hats, snowmen to holly leaves - overcrowd the dessert table this time of year. Even Santa is crying "Uncle!" for a little variety by the time he reaches St. Louis.

This year, try adding a little New York attitude to the traditional cookie swap with black-and-white cookies, a staple of New York bakeries and deli counters.

More cake-like than cookie-like, this oversized sweet is downsized into a fantastically festive treat by pastry chef Stephanie Teekaram of Kutsher's Tribeca in, where else, New York City.

"Seinfeld" fans might remember the baked good being forever immortalized in the episode, "The Dinner Party."

"The thing about eating the black-and-white cookie, Elaine, is you want to get some black and some white in each bite," said Seinfeld. "Nothing mixes better than vanilla and chocolate, and yet, somehow racial harmony eludes us. If people would only look to the cookie all our problems would be solved."

In this season of good tidings, peace and goodwill toward all, harmony vis-à-vis a cookie is a welcome addition.


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Filed under: Baked Goods • Christmas • Cookies • Hanukkah • Holiday • Homemade Gifts • Make • Recipes • Step-by-Step

December 19th, 2011
10:00 AM ET
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Oh come all ye Christmas carol literalists: PNC Wealth Management recently released its annual "Twelve Days of Christmas" calculation for holiday shoppers in the market for milk maids and French hens.

In 2013, springing for the whole menagerie, from twelve drummers drumming to a partridge (complete with pear tree), will set an aspiring Santa back a hefty $114,651.18.

But in case your house is already crowded enough without throwing eleven pipers into the mix, the scent of gingerbread baking is a wonderful gift - for a smidgen of the true cost of Christmas.

Cronut creator, pastry chef and bakery owner Dominique Ansel will have you run-run-running as fast as you can ... to the kitchen with his fragrantly spiced adaptation of the classic holiday treat.

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Filed under: Baked Goods • Bite • Christmas • Christmas • Holiday • Holidays • Homemade Gifts • Make • Recipes • Step-by-Step

December 13th, 2011
02:00 PM ET
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Ashley Strickland is an associate producer with She likes sharing green soup, cajoling recipes from athletes and studying up on food holidays.

There’s something addictive about that moment when you hand someone a homemade treat and their face lights up like you’ve just given them a hug. It turns baking into therapy, food into an olive branch, and those you share it with into a family.

I’ve experienced that joy for many years, by virtue of being the delivery girl every winter. I may have switched from wearing hair bows and Christmas dresses to newsboy caps and tall boots, but that feeling stays the same, and I always come bearing gifts.

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Filed under: Baked Goods • Christmas • Christmas • Dessert • Dishes • Family Recipe Index • Holiday • Holidays • Homemade Gifts • Make • Recipes • Step-by-Step

Agog over eggnog
December 16th, 2010
07:00 PM ET
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Sam Meyer is an editor at CNN and blogs about cocktails at The boy knows his 'nog. December 24 is National Eggnog Day.

The holiday season is far too often a contentious time: which set of relatives to visit, who to host, how to navigate schlepping to all the parties, white or colored lights, whether you put a star or an angel on top of the tree. For my money, one of the most divisive issues is that of eggnog.

Yes, eggnog. It can vary wildly in textures and flavors. Everyone’s familiar with the annato-colored, too-thick, pasteurized sludge sold in cartons in the grocery store. When I bought that stuff, I would cut it with milk, as I kept envisioning that goo going straight into my arteries, exactly the same consistency as it came out of the carton. It didn’t actually make it any healthier, but it wasn’t quite as gooey. We’ve heard about the history of eggnog, but what’s the best recipe for making your own as well as all the equally tasty variations?

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Filed under: Bite • Chilled Out and Cheery • Christmas • Christmas • Cocktail Recipes • Feature • Holiday • Holidays • Homemade Gifts • Make • Recipes • Sip • Spirits

Chilled out & cheery - peppermint bark
December 6th, 2010
10:00 AM ET
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As the last of the stale Halloween candy is shoved to the back of store shelves, an avalanche of red, green and white tumbles into the aisle.

The coming of the first seasonal candy cane means one thing to us: peppermint bark.

Whether you forgot to get admin Alex a gift, need nibbles for visiting wassailers or simply hankering for something spirited and sweet to munch on during the sixteenth hour of the "A Christmas Story" marathon - the solution is just 45 minutes and two ingredients away.

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