peppermint fudge brownies

So, for a few months there this was my favorite brownie recipe. But over the weekend I revisited my old favorite brownie recipe and, well, it's back to being my favorite. Because it is truly amazing. I don't know what I was thinking.

Actually, I do know what I was thinking. That other recipe is so quick to make, and comes out more like a standard brownie box mix. No-fuss, simple plain-old brownie goodness. Something you wouldn't feel bad about scooping ice cream on top. Or layering in an ice cream cake.

THIS Peppermint Fudge Brownie, on the other hand, stands alone. With a deep cocoa flavor, fudge-like consistency, peppermint filling and laden with chocolate chips, it would border on obscene to serve it with anything else.

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St. Nicholas' day

Whenever I think about family traditions, I realize some of my strongest and most beloved center around food. Christmas and Easter strongly evoke a Polish breakfast feast (my paternal grandmother is 100%) consisting of Kielbasa, horseradish, babka, and pierogi. Christmas also brings to mind halvah, marzipan, sesame honey candies, and pepperoni sticks -- our stocking staples. On any given birthday, it was an absolute given that the celebrated person got to decide what special breakfast, dinner, and cake that they'd like. Saturdays and Sundays always began with either pancakes, waffles, or crepes. In fact, we never let a special day or occasion (sometimes, even just a hint of one) slip by without ensuring it was punctuated by suitably festive bakes and makes. 

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easiest fresh cranberry-orange relish

We've made this cranberry-orange relish every year for Thanksgiving for as far back as I can remember. It adds brightness to an otherwise heavy thanksgiving meal. Although a warmed or jellied cranberry sauce often melds better with the other elements on the plate (stuffing, gravy, mashed potatoes), there is something so superb about this fresh and zingy relish paired with a slice of turkey breast. So usually I take a bit of both -- the fresh cranberry relish and the cooked cranberry sauce -- and alternate my bites of turkey between the two. 

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Yeasted Pumpkin Rolls

With Thanksgiving right around the corner, this roll recipe is worth sharing. I first discovered this recipe last fall and loved its yeasted crumb and pumpkin flavor which is distinct, but not overwhelming. Even better, the bread can be either sweet (buttered with a sprinkling of cinnamon sugar is absolutely scrumptious) or savory (left plain, it makes a fitting accompaniment to any dinner).

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Kohlrabi with Garlic Sauce

After our first year of market gardening, we all agree that the most underrated vegetable is kohlrabi. It is delicious and full of flavor, most similar to the taste of broccoli stems (my favorite part anyways). Plus, it takes up hardly any space in the garden (a huge plus for our 1/2 acre farm). It also helps strike up a conversation, as it looks somewhat unusual, if not a bit alien.

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pumpkin sausage penne

Here's one recipe I turn to for a comfort food with an autumnal twist: Pumpkin Sausage Penne. It's pasta coated in a pumpkin cream sauce, with subtle hints of cinnamon and nutmeg, but still firmly grounded in the savory by sautéed onion, garlic, and a bay leaf. It's all rounded off with satisfying chunks of Italian sausage and a heap of freshly grated parmesan. 

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pumpkin cranberry cake with brown butter frosting

This is a recipe I discovered in a food magazine in high school, and I've been making it every fall ever since. The cake batter is so easy to mix up (no mixing aid required). It uses one full can of pumpkin puree (no leftovers to deal with). The pumpkin flavor is not overpowering, adding a subtle earthiness and a delicious moistness to the cake. The cranberries add a bit of zing, and the Brown Butter Frosting takes this treat to the next level. 

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