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Brown Butter & Vanilla Pear Pie

Brown butter is a cook’s best friend—it adds richness and depth of flavor to any food it touches. And, thankfully, it’s easy to make. Simply melt butter over medium heat until it smells nutty, and well, delicious. What you’re actually doing is toasting the milk solids that are inside butter, and those are what give brown butter its name. Here, tossed with pears, apples, and vanilla, you get something wonderfully sophisticated and not overly sweet—perfect for impressing guests. If you want to go the extra mile, serve with creme fraiche or lightly-sweetened mascarpone.

Coconut-Cashew Pie

This pie may be white on brown on beige, but what it lacks in color it makes up for in complex, rich flavors. Think of it as a classic pecan pie with a little Hawaiin twist. Laid along the bottom of the crust is a generous lining of cashews, topped with a brown-sugar filling and coconut chips on top. For easy transit from countertop to oven and back, set the pie shell on a rimmed baking sheet—it’s easier to grab than a hot, bubbling pie. Shopping tip: If you can’t find wide, flat coconut chips, unsweetened flaked coconut will work as well.

Pork With Golden Raisin Relish

Pork is often served with apples or applesauce. Here, golden raisins bring similar sweetness, but they’re mixed in a complex, flavorful sauce. Castelvetranos add briny saltiness, parsley brightens the dish, and vinegar cuts through the rich brown butter and pork. Brown butter might sound intimidating to make, but it actually lets you know when it’s ready. The bubbling sounds a little slower and the foam subsides, showing you the toasted milk solids beneath (what makes it “brown” butter). Bonus: This sauce is surprisingly versatile. Try it with grilled chicken, or stir it into whole grains like barley or farro.

Cinnamon-Raisin Schmear

Sweet and spiced cream cheese dotted with nuts and raisins is addictively delicious. Plus, it turns any bagel into a cinnamon-raisin bagel. The key is to soften the cream cheese before beating it with a hand mixer, otherwise it won’t get fully smooth. Store any leftovers in the fridge, but make sure to bring to room temperature before serving. Out of bagels? Try this on toast or English muffins.

Capellini With Sausage, Spinach, and Jalapeño

If you’ve been on the hunt for a quick, full-flavored pasta sauce, look no further. This riff on classic meat sauce swaps in Italian sausage for ground beef and jalapeños for green peppers, and gets finished with baby spinach to keep the dish tasting fresh. Thanks to its bold, warming flavors, it’s the perfect fall supper, and any leftovers can be reheated the next day. Just be sure to save some of the water used to cook the pasta—the starchy liquid can be used to loosen the sauce as it re-heats. Serve with a side salad, and a crusty baguette.

Meow-lomars

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.

Seared Hanger Steak and Warm Cabbage Wedges

Meet a modern version of a steak house iceberg wedge. A half head of green cabbage gets cut into wedges and charred in the same skillet you used to sear the steak. We recommend using a cast iron skillet, which gets hot and stays hot for even browning and a steak with a beautiful brown crust. The warm tender cabbage is served with creamy buttermilk dressing (which can be made up to 3 days ahead) and shallots. The salad, which includes charred tomatoes too, is a refreshing counterpart to the juicy steak.

Glazed Cake Donuts

What a treat! These cake donuts are lightly sweetened and mildly spiced with nutmeg. It’s a fun recipe that makes just the right amount, and so simple to pull off. Take note that while you might be tempted to re-roll the scraps, you’ll end up with a layered donut of sorts (not that bad if you want to try your hand at a possible cronut). Instead, fry the scraps separately for donut-hole like bites. Go wild with the unlimited types of sprinkles, or enjoy with just the glaze. Either way, you can have these for breakfast or dessert, paired with a hot cup of coffee.

Classic Cannoli

If you're in need of a weekend project, let this cannoli recipe take center stage. Yes, it’s a labor of love, but the light, crispy, pleasantly sweet shell bursting with creamy ricotta is simply irresistible—and worth every step. Mini chocolate chips and pistachios add texture to each bite. Splurge on a nicer batch of ricotta to avoid a runny filling and achieve a luscious result. And here's another tip: be sure to roll the dough tightly around the mold before you fry it holds its shape. The light dusting of powdered sugar is the only finishing touch you need.

Churros with Chocolate Sauce

Making your own churros is easier and faster than you think. These are perfectly crunchy and delightfully sweet, and the cinnamon-sugar dusting really hits the spot. Wait until you dip it in the rich chocolate sauce—you’re in for a treat! (But if you’re more of a caramel fan, that works wonderfully, too). Impress guests or kids alike with a platter of this simple yet satisfying dessert. Make it a party and serve with ice cream, or go the untraditional route and add a pinch of allspice to the cinnamon-sugar mixture. The recipe calls for easy-to-find ingredients, so you have no excuse not to make this fried-dough pastry ASAP.