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This is not a recipe; this is the blueprint for a new business.  On a recent wander up and down

Montreal's famed St. Denis Street I stumbled into Babette’s Feast, a little tea and pastry room that is like a time warp to 1950's rural France. It is like an old-time French general store, replete with tins of tea, fine chocolates, Brittany cookies and a nod-to-French-Canada in these amazing truffles. These are not them exactly but as the original were thin white chocolate truffle coating, hiding a center of molten maple cream, and the whole thing was coated in crushed maple sugar. What a sensation. This is what they mean when they say: ambrosial. My version is easier but totally wonderful. I features a maple cream center, white chocolate exterior and if you want, a coating of crushed pecan/brown sugar and maple heaven.

What’s more inviting that spice and warmth in a cup? This is a seasonal perk that will make your espresso pot beam. If you have a steamer for the milk, that’s super. If not, simmer the milk and half and half to simmering, so that is shivers with foam. The pumpkin puree is canned. Best to use most of it in pie, muffins or pumpkin bread and ‘borrow’ ½ cup or so that you can keep refrigerated or in half ice-cubes (frozen) and use it as you need for this marvelous potion. For a less rich drink, use all milk.

This is fabulous challah, perfect for Friday Night, or Rosh Hashanah or anytime you want a great whole-wheat bread that is moist, and slightly sweet. I use stone-ground whole-wheat flour or white wholewheat flour (that I get from King Arthur Flour). White whole-wheat flour is sweeter but just as nutritious. If you want to up the whole-wheat flour, go ahead and make it all whole-wheat (no white flour).  Just make sure you let the dough rest more, to allow the bran and germ in the whole-wheat flour to absorb the moisture in the dough.

The combination of cranberries and apples makes this an extraordinary strudel. Not only does it taste delicious, look spectacular, but the pectin in the cranberries does amazing things with the filling. With its halo of confectioners’ sugar, over a crimson interior, this strudel evokes a Nutcracker Suite spirit - just in time for the holidays. Use the easy Use the Sour Cream Mock Pastry Dough here or filo dough. The Sour Cream dough is also ideal for hors d’oeuvres, potato knishes, quiche, pies or tarts. It freezes like a dream and you can made a few batches in a food processor in minutes. It is crisp, tender, buttery dough that is a bit like puff pastry but low tech. But it is the filling that really shines in this recipe and whether you use this dough, store-bought puff pastry, your own real strudel dough (or mine), or even filo - this is an amazing strudel. 

There are Wonka Bars and there are Mars Bars and Twix Bars and now, there are Benka Bars. Named by my son Gideon, in salute to his brother Benjamin's newest culinary coup: a quick square that was inspired by the Wonka Bar from the movie Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory which recently re-debuted. Wonka Bars feature a bit of graham chunks in a milk chocolate setting, Benka Bars take this neat concept up a notch. A big notch. A super recipe for the holidays for the kids to try but we warn you, adults will find these addictive. The Lindt chocolate is essential or you can use Callebut, Ghiradelli, or Vahlrona - you get the (quality) picture.

Easy to make, lovely for presentation.

For years, my mother-in-law made a deep dish apple cake. She gave me the recipe and although I followed it to the letter, my cake, while good, never looked like hers. I finally overhauled it –and voila – I got the apple cake of my dreams. (Her original cake is in our Archives under Shirley's Apple Cake). This apple cake is bigger, a touch less sweet and fatty – but so, so good! It takes an impossibly large amount of apples –they should almost overflow the pan. It also takes ages to bake through – like, 90 minutes (but just bake it and let it brown nicely – keeping an eye on it) This is outrageous- packed with apples, old-fashioned, and easy.

 

Yes, they're just as good at home and you can tune in the game and cheer for who you like. Nothing beats a big, fat, soft, crusty pretzel and a dish of yellow mustard to dunk it in. Use coarse sea salt or coarse kosher salt (the white type vs. the clear type) or even large grain, fleur de sels. These are, like bagels, easily done in a bread machine. These can be baked or boiled or try some one way and some, the other. Offer in squares of wax paper for that street vendor/stadium feel.

These are not quite scones, not quite rolls but quick and easy deeply cheddared buns. They are best fresh but incredible toasted.

These are ‘spa’ cookies because they are healthy, lower-fat, appetite zapping, good carbs. They are even on my diet because one of these cookies negates 500 extra nibble calories I would have had without one of these gems. I call them O List because it is the sort of cookie I would love to see in Oprah magazine but so far, no bites. Make these with an Omega rich egg for added heart healthy nutrition.

 

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