From the Magazine: Last-Minute Picks

Small Cups of a Beige Substance in Miniature Glasses at Ted Allens Party

Life as a Food Network extern certainly has its perks...a big one being the chance to taste some of the delicious food that the test kitchens put out on a (several-times) daily basis.

But here at Chelsea Market, recipe testing for the magazine's December issue took place back in August, while I was still chopping away in culinary school. Since I missed out on the cookie madness—50 recipes made the cut; dozens more were tested—I'm psyched to bake some of recipe developer Sarah Copeland's treats for friends and family over the holidays.

Don't let the culinary degree fool you...I'm always looking for quick, no-fuss recipes to make in my miniature NYC kitchen. We don't have room for a dining table, so finger-friendly appetizers and desserts are always my friends.

To snack on during impromptu holiday get-togethers, right now I'm thinking about making Ted Allen's White Bean Soup Shooters with Bacon and Crostini with Thyme-Roasted Tomatoes. Ted's appetizers are great for grazing and look restaurant-style impressive, but the recipes are straightforward as can be.

For libations, I'll stir up a pair of cocktails in festive Christmas colors, both super-simple: the cucumber-infused Mama's Little Helper and a strawberry-cranberry concoction called the Wally World.

I’m also intrigued by the Lightened-Up Eggnog; it too may make an appearance this week.

Chocolate chip cookies are non-negotiable—I'm leaning toward the Chip Chubbies with big chunks of good chocolate—and for the chocolate-haters in my life (they're crazy!) I'll make Sarah's addictive Butterscotch Blondie variation. Two batches, minimal work—and the best part? Most of the ingredients are already in my (very small) pantry.

--Sara Levine
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