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Cognac Punch Swizzle

If you think of cognac only as that bottle gathering dust in the back of your liquor cabinet, it’s time to reconsider. This spirit’s depth and complexity make it the ideal base for a warming winter cocktail, as in this fruity, peppery punch swizzle from cocktail expert Shyretha Sheats. Where a traditional punch recipe might call for orgeat (almond syrup), Sheats substitutes a creamy condensed milk and pineapple syrup for a tropical vibe. The syrup’s yield is party-size (about 2 cups): Scale up the rest of the ingredients for 12 servings, then batch the drink into a punch bowl, or make just a couple of servings and save the extra syrup for drizzling over ice cream or pound cake. Sheats loves Pierre Ferrand cognac, particularly the Ambré or the 1840 Original Formula, for its quality and price point.

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Champurrado

Champurrado is a type of atole, a hot Mexican drink thickened with masa. Chocolaty and spiced (with cinnamon and just a pinch of cayenne), it’s the perfect way to warm up on a cold day, and a little cup goes a long way. This recipe comes from Yewande Komolafe in the Waffles + Mochi cookbook. (Read more from the creators of the children’s food show here.)

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Crispy Olives With Calabrian Chile Sauce

How to take olives from snack to PARTY snack? Buy pre-stuffed olives, then coat them in panko, fry until deep golden brown, and serve with Calabrian chile sauce. Pre-stuffed olives—we like them with garlic or cheese—make this appetizer easier, but feel free to switch up the type of olive you use and experiment with different stuffings of your own.

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Curried Egg Tartines

While we would happily eat a plain slice of crispy fried bread, one piled with a creamy curried egg salad and herbs is way more exciting. This egg salad is ultra-lush thanks to Kewpie mayonnaise, which is made with egg yolks only (traditional mayo uses whole eggs). It’s offset with fragrant, earthy curry powder, fresh mixed herbs, and the crunch of fried bread. We like Madras curry powder because it has a bit of extra heat, but you can use regular curry powder and cayenne pepper to your taste if you prefer.

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Creamy French Onion Dip

Think of this crowd-pleaser as the love child of French onion soup and French onion dip: an ooey-gooey, salty, tangy Gruyère-filled dip with jammy caramelized onions. Gruyère is classic for that French onion soup flavor, but any fairly firm cheese like cheddar or Gouda will work—you can even mix and match if you’d like.

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Mamá Rosa’s Lasagna de Carne

Cooking the annual New Year’s Eve lasagna de carne “was always Mami’s territory—until the year I had no choice but to take over,” writes author Elizabeth Acevedo in this essay. In a time of uncertainty in her family, she learned to make the lasagna to “grasp onto a bit of comfort and routine.” This Dominican lasagna packs a wallop of flavor from herby sofrito, which cooks with the ground beef until toasty and caramelized. Stick to regular dried lasagna noodles; they offer a toothsome texture that no-boil noodles can’t match.

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Cranberry Rum Punch

Since this fall-flavored rum punch is so simple to throw together, go the extra mile and make festive cranberry-studded ice, which serves as a garnish and temperature control in one. A mix of whole and thinly sliced berries looks best—any ice tray will work. Depending on the sweetness of your ginger ale and hard cider, you might not need the simple syrup, but it will be worth making to have on hand for other cocktails (a pre-feast Whiskey Smash? An NYE French 75? We could go on).

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Galletitas de Cebada Tostada y Mermelada

These jam-filled cookies from food stylist Mariana Velásquez’s new book, Colombiana, are inspired by linzer cookies, which are popular in the Colombian town of Tinjacá. This version gets a distinctive nutty depth from toasted barley flour, which is local to the region. Barley flour is widely available online, but you can substitute oat, sorghum, or millet flour in a pinch. Velásquez likes to sandwich her cookies with apricot or bitter orange jam, but any jam—from raspberry or strawberry to more tropical flavors like mango, uchuva (husk cherry), passion fruit, or guava—will work. 

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Spiced Blood Orange Shrub

Warm spices and winter citrus come together to make this punchy spiced blood orange shrub with a soft, festive hue. You probably won’t even miss the alcohol, but if you do, spike each drink with about 1½ oz. vodka or whiskey. And if you can’t get your hands on blood oranges, use orange zest and blood orange juice or a mix of 3 oranges and 1 lemon to mimic the sweet and slightly tangy flavor of blood oranges.

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Cocoa-Coffee Almond Cookies

These cocoa-coffee almond cookies from Italian American, a new book by Angie Rito and Scott Tacinelli, chef-owners of NYC’s Don Angie, crack dramatically as they bake to reveal a deeply fudgy interior. Almond paste makes the cookies extra chewy and coffee adds, as the cookbook notes, “a savory note that complements the chocolate and nut flavors.”

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Shrimp and Crispy Rice With Citrus

Here’s an idea inspired by tahdig, socarrat, and other forms of crispy, crusty scorched rice prized ’round the world: use a hot, oil-slicked pan to impart a delightful crunch to a fresh pot of rice—or skip step 1 and use a few cups of leftover rice straight from the fridge! Here, that rice is paired with rounds of juicy citrus, sliced avocado, and tender sautéed shrimp. For the most striking presentation (and the widest range of sweet to tart flavors), choose a mix of fruits, like blood oranges, grapefruits, and Cara Caras. Tinned tuna dressed in olive oil is an easy swap for shrimp.

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Maple-Za’atar Kettle Corn

Kettle corn is undeniably delicious, so there’s no reason to mess with it—unless the alternative is utterly showstopping. Enter this maple-za’atar kettle corn, which is sweet and salty, yes, but also, thanks to the za’atar, earthy, toasty, herby, and punched up in all the best ways.

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Charred Cabbage and Carrots

Actor and cookbook author Ayesha Curry is on a mission to get cabbage the credit it deserves, starting by braising it in a sweet-tangy-hot mixture of allspice, lime juice, maple syrup, and crushed red pepper flakes.

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Coconut-Peanut Mochi Balls

“I could eat these snowball-like confections by the handful,” writes author Kristina Cho in her new cookbook, Mooncakes and Milk Bread. Cho likens these crave-inducing coconut-peanut mochi balls to sweet dumplings, stuffed to the brim with crunchy roasted peanuts mixed with creamy peanut butter, honey, and a generous pinch of salt. “It’s the satisfying amalgamation of chewy and crunchy that makes the treats so popular,” she writes. Coconut milk keeps the mochi skins soft for days, while the rich peanutty filling bounces between sweet and salty.

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Candy Cane Ice Cream in a Bag

No ice cream maker, no problem. With this technique, you can whip up a bowl of ice cream all by yourself using just two zip-top bags, rock salt, and a bunch of ice. Shaking the bag for a full 10 minutes, which is longer than you might think, is critical! Wear gloves and shake outdoors or over a sink to catch any drips.

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Prime Rib Roast With Habanero Crema

This festive recipe is inspired by the braised oxtails that actor and cookbook author Ayesha Curry’s mom served at Sunday dinners: It has all the same flavors but repackaged into a prime rib roast. Be sure to rest the meat before slicing for maximum juiciness and tenderness.

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Rum Cake With Sticky Maple Glaze and Coconut

Rum cakes are classic across the Caribbean. Inspired by the cakes she grew up with at the holidays, this version from cookbook author Ayesha Curry gets its cheery flavor from two kinds of rum: spiced rum in the cake batter and dark rum in the maple glaze that finishes it off. The glaze is sticky enough to help toasted coconut flakes adhere for a final touch of texture, but still soaks into the cake to make it moist and delicious.

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Thandai Shortbread Cookies

Think of thandai—a popular drink at Holi celebrations in northern India—as a lightly floral spiced milk punch. In this recipe from her book Mumbai Modern, author Amisha Dodhia Gurbani mixes some of the rosy, nutty masala used for thandai into tender-crisp butter cookies, where its flavor blooms in the heat of the oven. Use leftover thandai masala to flavor hot chocolate, eggnog, or apple pie, or to sprinkle over your morning oatmeal or yogurt.

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