Sure, we could have made our own chocolate-dipped marshmallow and graham cookies for these pretty kitties, but we were too busy counting our candy. Instead, we started with Mallomars, one of our all time favorite cookies, and simply dressed them up as fraidy cats using a bit of royal icing and some chocolate chips. If you’re new to working with royal icing, it’s a good idea to practice on a plate or a piece of parchment before you attack the cookies. This will also help you determine if your icing is the right thickness. Halloween won’t get any cuter than this.
Squash and Greens Bread Pudding
If you’re looking for comfort food that doesn’t leave you feeling completely decadent, then this bread pudding is for you. There’s the standard base of bread, milk, eggs, and cheese, but with healthy veggies to bulk the pudding up. There’s sautéed swiss chard, onions, and butternut squash layered into each bite. Using pre-sliced bread instead of cutting a loaf into cubes is a great shortcut for quick assembly. Buttering the foil before covering the dish ensures the top of the pudding gets nice and golden—not to mention it bastes the bread in delicious buttery flavor.
Hasselback Challah French Toast
Perfectly crisp and drenched in maple syrup, French toast is a pretty perfect breakfast—for two. Attempting French toast for a larger crowd is a much bigger feat, what with trying to keep the first batch warm as you work on the rest. Our new take on the delicious brunch favorite is almost entirely hands-off, and everyone can dig in at once when you pull it out of the oven. The hasselback technique turns the loaf into pull-apart bread, meaning no plates necessary—just grab a piece and dunk it in syrup. The dusting of powdered sugar makes for a truly showstopping presentation.
Coconut-Cashew Granola With Mango & Pistachios
Coconut and mango are a match made in Hawaii heaven. Most granolas call for olive oil or butter, but here, coconut oil adds extra coconutty intensity. If you can’t find pre-toasted coconut chips, you can make them yourself. Heat oven to 350° F and spread the coconut on a rimmed baking sheet and toast, tossing occasionally, until golden, 6 to 8 minutes; let cool then proceed with the recipe as written. If you want to go totally coco-crazy, serve with dairy-free coconut yogurt. Brands like Anita’s, So Delicious, or Silk are available in the refrigerated section of your supermarket.
First unicorn food was all the rage, and then it evolved into another, equally magnificent mythical creature: mermaid food. Mermaid food is just as fanciful—it has the same sprinkles and sparkles—only it’s blue-green instead of pastel-rainbow. This bark is a quick, fun way to jump on the trend. Resist the urge to use white chocolate chips, which are much trickier to melt and are prone to scorching. If you don’t own an offset spatula, you can also use a wide flat metal spatula to spread out the melted chocolate. Use long strokes to distribute the chocolate into a smooth even layer. Finally, don’t be afraid to get creative with your gummy sea creatures; we used gummy sharks, lobsters, and florescent blue and pink minnows.
Slow-Cooker Puttanesca With Roasted Broccolini
Want to know one place where a slow cooker really shines? With long-simmered sauces like puttanesca. Usually homemade tomato sauce needs to be stirred frequently, but there’s no need with a slow cooker. Just stir together the ingredients and they’ll slowly gel into a rich and tangy sauce, leaving you time to roast crispy broccolini and boil pasta. Pappardelle noodles are wide and flat, making it easier for the sausage and tomato bits to stick to each strand. The roasted broccolini is served alongside, but you could serve any leftovers chopped up and mixed in with the pasta.
Crispy Salmon With Farro and Pecan Gremolata
Cooking skin-on salmon can seem intimidating, but this method for cooking the fillets ensures crispy, golden skin. Leave enough room between the fillets and make sure the oil is good and hot before you slide the fillets in. Pro tip: When you place the salmon in the pan, start with one end close to you and lay the rest of the fillet down away from you. This means that if any hot oil splatters it won’t hit you. Farro is a whole grain that’s similar to barley. It has a distinctive nutty flavor, perfect for pairing with the pecan and parsley gremolata.
Make It Yourself: Slow-Roasted Lemon & Herb Chicken
Slow-roasting is the key to a foolproof, juicy chicken. Because the chicken cooks for a long time at a low temperature, you don’t risk overcooking it. In fact, that’s the point! The chicken is done when you can easily pull a leg off—perfect for anyone who’s nervous about carving. And, slow-roasting works for more than just meat. Throw a separate pan of fingerling potatoes, whole carrots, or zucchini into the oven with the chicken. Just toss your pick with olive oil and season with salt and pepper and roast for a truly simple side dish.