Jeanne Ambrose and Lindsey Ambrose are a mother-daughter seasoned food-writing team who, between 'em, have done a lot of eating around.
     Jeanne creates, edits, and writes food, nutrition, and health features. Lindsey is a small-space gardener extraordinaire with a penchant for cooking fresh and local. She goes for full-flavored, somewhat-spicy cuisine with a flair for ethnic-fusion feasts. Read More >>


Change-Your-Fortune Cookies

fortune cookies

Kinda proud of these nice-and-spicy cookies. Look good. Taste fantastic. But homemade always does, doesn’t it? Just in time for Chinese New Year. Write your own fortune for the future. Then take action to make it come true. Or just make the cookies and eat them.  (Yes, you may have seen this recipe, from our cookbook Heartbreak Recovery Kitchen on Leite’s Culinaria.)

Change-Your-Fortune Cookies

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus more for baking sheets
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger, or 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Dash ground cloves
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup chopped bittersweet, dark, or semisweet chocolate
  • Chopped peanuts, sprinkles, minced candied ginger, or other little sweet or spicy things

1. Preheat oven to 375° F. Line 2 baking sheets with a silicone nonstick baking mat or parchment paper. If using parchment, lightly coat the paper with nonstick cooking spray or butter. Have a couple of muffin tins at the ready.
2. Write fortunes on long strips of sturdy paper. (The paper can be fancy or plain, it matters little. Best stick with strips that are 3 1/2 to 4 inches long and no more than 1/2 inch or so wide.)
3. Stir together the butter, ginger, vanilla, cinnamon, and cloves.
4. Beat egg whites and sugar with an electric mixer on medium speed for about 1 minute. Reduce the speed to low, add about half of the flour, and beat just until combined. Switch to a spatula and fold in the butter mixture. Add the remaining flour and beat  until combined.
5. Drop 1 tablespoon of the batter onto baking sheet and use the back of a spoon to spread the batter evenly and very thinly into a 3 1/2-inch circle. Repeat to make 3 or 4 cookies on each baking sheet.
6. Bake for 6 to 8 minutes, until the fortune cookies begin to brown around the edges. Let cookies cool on the baking sheet for about 30 seconds. Then, working quickly, transfer the cookies from the baking sheet and place them on a clean dish towel. Place a fortune just above the center of each cookie and fold the cookie in half, pinching the top of the curved portion to seal. Gently bend the ends of the fortune cookie together to form a fortune cookie shape. (Fold the cookie over a chopstick to help form the bend in the center.) Place each cookie in the muffin tin, to help it retain its shape while it cools. Repeat with the remaining cookies. Hurry!)
7. Melt the chocolate in a glass bowl or measuring cup. Dip half of each fortune cookie in the melted chocolate. If desired, sprinkle with chopped peanuts or candied sprinkles.

Easy Cranberry Cake Pie

cranberry cake

 

If you haven’t used up all of the fresh (or frozen) cranberries from Thanksgiving, here’s what you do. Pour a couple of cups of cranberries into the bottom of a buttered pie tin (or 9-inch round cake pan), sprinkle with sugar, add walnuts if you like and whip up a buttery cake batter to pour on top. Bake. Cool. Share.

I can’t take credit for this recipe. It’s got history. And it’s everywhere. I made so many for Christmas gifts one year that I memorized the recipe. It’s that easy.

There’s a version called Nantucket Cranberry Pie in an old cookbook called “More Home Cooking” by the late Laurie Colwin (many credit her for the recipe). The King Arthur Flour site calls it Nantucket Cranberry Cake. Ina Garten does a variation with apples and brown sugar and sour cream and calls it Easy Cranberry and Apple Cake.

Next time I might add a little orange peel and cinnamon to the batter. For Christmas gifts I bake them in foil pie plates and add a note that says they easily freeze. They’re great served at brunch. Or dessert with ice cream. Or whenever.

Easy Cranberry Cake Pie

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Put 2 cups cranberries and 1/2 cup chopped walnuts in a buttered 10-inch pie plate. Top with 1/2 cup sugar.
2. Combine 2 eggs; 3/4 cup butter, melted; 1 cup sugar; 1 cup flour1 teaspoon vanilla extract and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Spread evenly over cranberry mixture. Bake  for 35-40 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean.
  • Music Beats
    the Blues

    What kind of music makes you happy? Any kind, say Penn State researchers. Study subjects felt better after listening to whatever music they liked best—from Jason Mraz to Bruno Mars to Yo Yo Ma to Mozart.

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Heart Break Recovery Kitchen
Everyone has good reasons to throw a pity party and the Heartbreak Recovery Kitchen shows you how to wallow with flair and flavor. Authors Jeanne and Lindsey Ambrose share enough comfort food and chocolate recipes in this cookbook to coax happy sighs from just about any misery-burdened soul.

In addition to 85 recipes including Deep Blue Funk Cocktail, Huevos Divorciados, Total Satisfaction Salad, Change Your Fortune Cookies, and Walnut-Studded Dark Chocolate Brownies, the book includes tips for bouncing back from the blues. There also are essays by writers around the country who share their stories of how they found happiness after heartbreak.

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Heart Break Recovery Kitchen



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