Every Friday morning, Bon Appétit senior staff writer Alex Beggs shares weekly highlights from the BA offices, from awesome new recipes to office drama to restaurant recs, with some weird (food!) stuff she saw on the internet thrown in. It gets better: If you sign up for our newsletter, you'll get this letter before everyone else.
Grinch de Noël
Claire Saffitz was wearing a bright red sweatsuit and a green puffy coat. “I’m really not in the holiday spirit,” she said.
She was sleep-deprived, past her cookbook deadline, and exhausted from a day of filming. But even when Claire is feeling Grinchy she is kind and generous with her time. And I wanted to know: Why in the world would anyone ever want to make a bûche de noël?
“In their right mind?” she said, “I’m not sure why.” The labor intensive, showstopping rolled cake requires a minimum of three components: a sponge cake, a filling, and a frosting. It’s a project with a capital P. Claire developed a maximalist bûche for Bon Appétit in 2015. It looks like a birch log plucked from a Christmas card. It has a bittersweet espresso ganache. Mascarpone filling. It has BRANCHES. “I went for it with the decorations with that one,” she said. “I wanted it to look like an actual log. A decomposing log.” A classic Claire shrug. “I do like making the meringue mushrooms! But if you’re in a hurry, you shouldn’t be making bûche de noël.”
If you’re not up for a bûche, Claire suggests making gingerbread or her stunning sticky toffee bundt cake from October 2015. “No one cannot like it,” she said. “We have enough stress around the holidays to worry about meringue mushrooms.”
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What I’m cooking this weekend
Basically’s Winter Greens Gratin With All the Cheese. Do I need to explain why? LOOK AT IT.
In stable condition
I’m deeply invested in the niche drama that is Martha Stewart’s comment on Queer Eye’s Antoni Porowski’s Instagram from her horse stables in Connecticut (ha). What can I say, I’m a news junkie. Martha wrote:
“Dear antoni: this is @marthastewart48 You did not tag me on this photo of my stable nor the photo of my beautiful dogs Han, Qin , bete noir and creme brulee We are bummed about that because you have so many followers and you are my Christmas cookies!!! You were nice not to post the forbidden scenes and we thank you!!!”
WHAT ARE THE FORBIDDEN SCENES, MARTHA??? Otherwise, I’ll just assume they got wasted on CBD hot cocoa and decorated anatomically correct gingerbread men.
Need a last minute holiday gift? Find Martha Stewart’s latest book, Martha Stewart’s Cookie Perfection, here. Sweeten the gift with this fancy amazing vanilla paste and my favorite unbleached parchment paper sheets. Ho, ho, ho. What do you know, we might make an affiliate commission off your purchases.
Trader Joe’s: Year in Review
The five best things I reviewed from Trader Joe’s in 2019:
- Mac and Cheese Bites
- Pancake Bread
- Super Sour Scandinavian Swimmers
- Mochi Cake Mix
- Organic Elote Corn Chip Dippers
- Freeze Dried Red Seedless Grape Slices
- Cashew Cream Fiesta Dip
- Cauliflower Butternut Squash Risotto
Unnecessary food meme of the week
Unnecessary food feud of the week
Basically editor Sarah Jampel was working on a brownie recipe that divided the staff into two opposing parties: those who prefer a dense, fudgy brownie versus a chewy, soft brownie.
Team fudge was...a party of one. Jampel. She defines a fudgy brownie as one normally made with melted chocolate, or a mix of melted chocolate and cocoa powder. “The fat and sugar in melted chocolate give them a creamy, luscious texture with fewer air pockets, less crumbs. They’re dense,” said Jampel. “I want a brownie to melt in my mouth—no chew.”
Andy Baraghani is here for chewy: “When I take a bite of a fudgy brownie, and then another bite, I don’t want anymore. It sticks to the roof of your mouth,” he said. Meryl Rothstein pointed to Alice Medrich’s fudgy brownies (recipe below), which she makes sans walnuts—another feud for another time. In between slicing what appeared to be 50 pounds of mortadella, Brad Leone groaned, “Gahhhhhh not a brownie guy. But if I’m having one, I don’t want the brownie to be rawr inside.” “Rawr” is Bradspeak for “raw,” which means underbaked, which wasn’t even the question. But okay. Thanks for the mortadella slice, Brad!
Claire Saffitz wants chew, “otherwise it’s too rich,” she said. Chris Morocco weighs in: “I want some chew, not a chocolate brick, not some Desserts by David Glass confection. Look it up, Beggs, it was a thing in the ‘90s.” Fine!
Sohla El-Waylly is “chewy all the way. I grew up on the Ghiradelli dark chocolate box mix, that’s my reference point.” She tried Jampel’s fudgy brownies, though, and declared them “excellent” and “high-caliber.” Stay tuned for that recipe—the result will surprise you!
Meanwhile, get the recipe: Alice Medrich’s Cocoa Brownies with Browned Butter and Walnuts
Originally Appeared on Bon Appétit