2016 Holiday Gift Guide

As lovers of all things cooking and baking, we each have a list of dream gifts we would love to receive for our kitchens! This week, our team tells you about their most coveted gift in the store, without budget limitations. (For our 2016 picks under $50, see last week’s blog post here.)

Finex 12” Covered Skilletbm2016
$269.99

This beautiful piece of artisan cookware is put together by hand in Portland, OR. The attention to quality detail makes this piece stand out from other cast iron cookware. The smoothly machined surface resists sticking and is easy to clean. The heaviness of the skillet allows for even heating, and its coil handle stays cool to the touch while cooking. A must have piece for the artisan foodie in your life!

Brian

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Italian Peach Cakes

Italian Peach CakeItalian Peach Cakes are light and sweet desserts reserved for special occasions. They present beautifully and are fairly easy to bake and construct, if you have the right tools. The cake and custard are simple and flavored with Peach Brandy.

Our Fante’s recipe was developed by Jeanne Fante. In this post, we included a different method of decorating that involves a little less work and a little more liqueur! “Decorating” the peach cakes is done with Alkermes liqueur, granulated sugar and a peach leaf. You, too, can make beautiful and delicious peach cakes to impress guests at your next special event!

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Torta Pasqualina – Easter Pizza

Chef Fritz BlankChef de Cuisine Frederick Carl (Fritz) Blank Jr
Easter, April 2010

For the first time in about almost 16 years, this spring I have not made “Easter Pitz” (as my Sicilian mentor “Old Man Tony Amato” back in the late-1950’s/early-1960’s called these wonderful seasonal Italian culinary hallmarks). The recipe I use today (when I do make them) is the same one that he taught me way back then. I have never forgotten his instructions and techniques, and it stands as one of the very best renditions I’ve ever sampled (of course I am prejudiced).

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Carnevale! Carnevale! Ogni Scherzo Vale!

Finished CrostoliThis phrase is indicative of Carnivale – “Fat Tuesday, a day when every prank is allowed,” a final day of celebration before the start of the Lenten season. My family hails from a pastoral area of Friuli and Carnevale means something delicious in our home – Crostoli.

Friuli, a region of Northeastern Italy is famous for its wine, cheese, San Daniele prosciutto and a language that is unrecognizable as an iteration of Italian. Picture this: my summer vacations consisted of playing at our aunt’s house in the country, chasing the rabbits, collecting eggs from the chicken coop and helping to wash clothes in the stream in front of the house. In the middle of all this, my five foot tall mother wanders out into the fields wielding a scythe to expertly cut grass to feed the rabbits.

Crostoli is made from items found in most kitchens. They are easy and inexpensive to make, and result in a crisp and not overly sweet bite of heaven. They are, in fact, known in other parts of Italy as “Angel Wings.” It is a fun family project, as the dough is fragile and timing critical in the recipe.
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2015 Holiday Staff Picks – Anything Goes

Gift BoxLast week, we brought you Part 1 of our two part Holiday Staff Picks. From silicone baking mat sets to personalized serving boards, we chose the must-have items that we think any cook or baker would absolutely love to receive this holiday season – all for under $50.

But for those who prefer to go all-out with their gifting, we’ve rounded up a list of our most coveted kitchen tools that are sure to wow that special person in your life.
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2015 Holiday Staff Picks – Under $50

Gift BoxThe holidays are just around the corner, and we’re back with our fourth annual two-part Holiday Staff Picks!

This week, for part one, we asked our staff what tools under $50 they think would be the perfect gift to give or receive this holiday. Here’s what they told us:
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How to Choose the Pizzelle Iron That’s Right For You

Making pizzelle with the Palmer Model 1000While perusing our shelves full of beautiful and intricately designed pizzelle irons, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. “Which one do I want? Which one is the best?” are common questions we encounter – and the answers to these questions will vary based on your preferences.

The most important questions you need to ask when choosing an iron are these:

“Do I prefer an uncoated cast aluminum finish or a nonstick coating?” and “Do I like my pizzelle paper thin, or a little thicker?”

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