Heather Hales, What Are You Baking?

heather hales.jpg
courtesy of Heather Hales
Even if your oven sits cold all year, chances are you're considering firing it up, right about now. As a holiday twist on our
"What Are You Eating?" feature on Chow Bella and "What Are You Wearing?" on Jackalope Ranch, this holiday season we brought you "What Are You Baking?" Complete with a recipe, so you can DIY. This is the last installment, but you can check the archives, which include baking moments with holiday revelers like Laurie Notaro.

Today Heather Hales shares her recipe for Moment's Notice Cinnamon Rolls. Hales is a personal chef to three little people and a grown man; she enjoys baking and has a bit of a cake problem. She's also a self-taught freelance designer -- you might have enjoyed her sweet work in the graphics she does for CenPho shops Frances and Smeeks. Oh, and she blogs

What are you baking for the holidays this year?

We're going to my Dad's house for Christmas, so thankfully I can be a guest and avoid a lot of the baking this year! Christmas Day is also my birthday, so people usually avoid asking me to do too much! The only thing I am planning on baking are a few batches of sugar cookies to give away.

Favorite holiday treats?

Bacon wrapped water chestnuts; we eat them every year on Christmas Eve.

Get the recipe for speedy cinnamon rolls after the jump.


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Michelle Martinez, What Are You Baking?

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courtesy of Michele Martinez
Even if your oven sits cold all year, chances are you're considering firing it up, right about now. As a holiday twist on our
"What Are You Eating?" feature on Chow Bella and "What Are You Wearing?" on Jackalope Ranch, this holiday season we brought you "What Are You Baking?" Complete with a recipe, so you can DIY.

michelle martinez.jpg
courtesy of Michelle Martinez
Today Michelle Martinez shares her recipe for stained glass cookies.
Michelle writes, teaches, cooks, bakes, and lives in Tempe.

What are you baking for the holidays this year?

Every year we invite the "cul-de-sac" kids over to the house to decorate cookies. Now that my daughter is in junior high, the cookies have gotten more complicated. This year we are making "stained glass cookies". For our family, as for many this year, funds are sparse, so we are making these cookies to give to our dozens of cousins as ornaments. We are also making chocolate chip cookies, peanut butter cookies, buckeyes, sugar cookies, and peanut butter based dog biscuits. Yes, dog biscuits. Our canine friends like Christmas too.

I have recently discovered an heirloom recipe for sugar cream pie and have been experimenting with it. When I followed the original it came out like glue, so I am I trying my best to update to the 21st century. We are also cranking out some bread, apple/date/craisin pie (with the help of the pie bird), empanadas, and homemade peppermint ice cream. I am lucky that I have some elves to help me with all of this.

Favorite holiday treats?

My tia's tamales!! Of course my family's tamales are the best. I do understand that you think your mom's, or your nana's, or your tia's, or even your own could possibly better than my Tia Toni's or my tTa Vicky's. You have to think that. I totally get it. And that's OK, because you haven't tried my tia's tamales anyway.

My mother-in-law's pasteles. A pastel is not a cake in Puerto Rico. (A torta is. You order a torta in PR and you better want some dessert and not a sandwich) It is a bundle of deliciousness similar to a tamal in structure with plaintain or yucca root inside, instead of corn masa, and wrapped in banana leaf or parchment with a Puerto Rican flavor profile with savory pork and pimento stuffed green olive inside. and lots of coquito.

Coquito!! Coconut based egg nog, heavy on the rum. This will definitely put you in the holiday spirit. Christmas in a bottle!! I save the latch top bottles from that yummy French Lemonade all summer to store the coquito in during the holidays. (Ikea sells those bottles for $3 a piece, but that's about what the lemonade costs, so I feel as if drinking the lemonade makes it a better bargain) I make a few batches of it every year. It makes a great gift to people you REALLY like.

Find out how to make stained glass cookies after the jump.

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Grace Ellis, What Are You Baking?

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courtesy of Grace Ellis
​Even if your oven sits cold all year, chances are you're considering firing it up, right about now. As a holiday twist on our "What Are You Eating?" feature on Chow Bella and "What Are You Wearing?" on Jackalope Ranch, for the next few weeks we'll be bringing you "What Are You Baking?" Complete with a recipe, so you can DIY.

On the baking sheet today: J. Grace Ellis' family sugar cookies. Ellis, former owner of Capitol Coffee Company, is now co-owner of Galileo Project, a consulting firm for environmental projects in Tempe. She and her sisters -- Donna Hall and Karen Richard -- "have finally found holiday baking as a healthy outlet for their compulsive perfectionism," she writes.

What are you baking for the holidays this year?
Ellis Family Sugar Cookies with Grapefruit Cello Icing.

Favorite holiday treats?

Eggnog crème Brule, candy canes, fruit cake, and baked brie with cranberries.

The Ellis sisters graciously share their recipe after the jump.


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Meghan Olesen, What Are You Baking?

meghan olesen.jpg
courtesy of Meghan Olesen
Even if your oven sits cold all year, chances are you're considering firing it up, right about now. As a holiday twist on our
"What Are You Eating?" feature on Chow Bella and "What Are You Wearing?" on Jackalope Ranch, for the next few weeks we'll be bringing you "What Are You Baking?" Complete with a recipe, so you can DIY.

Today's temptation: Meghan Olesen's Pineapple Jerk Cheesecake. Meghan is a life-long Phoenician who dreams of pie and believes food is her soul. She blogs at 729sqft.com.

What are you baking for the holidays this year?
Pineapple Jerk Cheesecake

Favorite holiday treats?

My Mom's Million Dollar Fudge, Yum.

Least favorite holiday foods?

Fruit Cake, although I'm starting to wonder if I have just not had a good one... Perhaps I must explore this.

Get Meghan's cheesecake recipe after the jump.

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Jennifer Woods, What Are You Baking?

jen woods.jpg
courtesy of Jennifer Woods

 

Even if your oven sits cold all year, chances are you're considering firing it up, right about now. As a holiday twist on our "What Are You Eating?" feature on Chow Bella and "What Are You Wearing?" on Jackalope Ranch, for the next few weeks we'll be bringing you "What Are You Baking?" Complete with a recipe, so you can DIY.

Today's treat: Jennifer Woods' orange, allspice and vanilla individual cheesecakes. Woods is busy with two kids at home and a part-time gig with Crooked Sky Farm, a local CSA farm. She blogs at croissantsandrootbeer.blogspot.com. 

What are you baking for the holidays this year?
I'm baking a lot less this year since I'm not hosting a cookie exchange. I always need to make my aunt Bonnie's divine Sour Cream Cookies with browned butter frosting. My husband is the biggest sugar monster so I'll be making him fudge or something with peanut butter. On a more healthful note, I'm baking greens chips from all our great local greens and frying (then baking) some great root vegetable chips too.

Favorite holiday treats?
I think my favorite holiday treats are those with orange and vanilla flavors. My grandmother used to make orange flavored pecans for her candy dish and my family always makes what we call an Orange Fizz for Christmas morning. I did some research and I'm assuming that they used to make a version of the cocktail Ramos Fizz but since I and my brother came around, it has turned into basically an orange milkshake with orange flower water added. I've been into minimalist cooking lately and have adapted a Stone Soup recipe for individual cheesecakes with my favorite holiday flavors of orange, allspice and vanilla (see below).

Get the cheesecake recipe and learn more about Woods after the jump.


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Laurie Notaro, What Are You Baking?

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courtesy of Laurie Notaro
Thankfully this photo was not taken in Laurie Notaro's kitchen.
Even if your oven sits cold all year, chances are you're considering firing it up, right about now. As a holiday twist on our "What Are You Eating?" feature on Chow Bella and "What Are You Wearing?" on Jackalope Ranch, for the next few weeks we'll be bringing you "What Are You Baking?" Complete with a recipe, so you can DIY.

Today, Laurie Notaro shares her recipe for Rustic Tuscan Bread.

So technically, Laurie Notaro doesn't live here any more. She split for Eugene, Oregon years ago. But she remains one of Phoenix's literary stars and haunts her favorite Valley restaurants when she's in town. Plus, she bakes year-round. So we asked Notaro -- whose latest book, a non-fiction collection called It Looked Different on the Model will be released in May -- to whip something up and tell us about it. Boy, did she.

What are you baking for the holidays this year?
Absolutely nothing except this bread. My mother does all the baking, which
she does in mid December, and we were never allowed to sneak any cookies,
plus she hid them (I believe in her closet next to her shoes). By the time
Christmas rolled around, they were always pretty...firm. Like they had been
baking on a mud plain in the Sudan for a season. I had no idea soft
chocolate chip cookies came in a "soft" (ie: fresh) version until Paradise
Valley Mall opened and I discovered cookies actually came out of the oven
warm and gooey. Even this didn't deter her; she stuck to the plan, and
considering the genetic dental map, I can't believe anyone tries to still
eat them without softening them up in the food processor. I think we have
five real teeth left between us.

Favorite holiday treats?

I'd eat fudge if I found it on the sidewalk. I'd check it first, but I really love fudge. It hurts my real tooth, though.

Get Notaro's adapted recipe for Rustic Tuscan bread after the jump.

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Genevieve Rice, What Are You Baking?

 

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courtesy of Genevieve Rice

Even if your oven sits cold all year, chances are you're considering firing it up, right about now. As a holiday twist on our "What Are You Eating" feature on Chow Bella and "What Are You Wearing?" on Jackalope Ranch, for the next few weeks we'll be asking, "What Are You Baking?" Complete with a recipe, so you can DIY.

Today: cardamon-curry cookies from comic Genevieve Rice.

Genevieve Rice is a writer, stand-up comedian and producer of the Snark Show, which features stand-up comedy in a roast format. The next Snark Show is tonight, December 15, at the Ice House Tavern (3855 E. Thomas) and will feature comedians such as Will Novak, Cierra Miranda, Kon Stamadianos, Matt Anderson, Jeffrey Wiles, Teddy Bearskovich, Sean McCarthy, Anthony Desamito, Justin Phillips and Nate Klaer

What are you baking for the holidays this year?

I came across a really intriguing recipe for curry-cardamom cookies that I'm itching to make. I really dig Indian-inspired treats, which are typically only mildly sweet and rather exotic. I'd also like to try making some kind of dessert with olive oil. Brokeass Gourmet, one of my favorite food blogs, recently featured a recipe for mini dark chocolate cakes with olive oil and Himalayan pink salt that I've been desperately looking for an occasion to try out.

Favorite holiday treats?

I guess I don't really have any old stand-by favorites. I'm obsessed with something different every year. I tend to seek out out-of-the-ordinary treats like ginger-chocolate cake. I must say that one of my favorite things about the holidays is that they tend to inspire people who normally don't cook at all to get into the kitchen, often to whip up some fabulous treat that's been in their family for generations. It really brings a tear to the eye when a typical microwave jockey proudly presents his famous candied apples or dark chocolate fudge.

Least favorite holiday foods?

I think we can all agree that fruitcake is pretty vile. Not only is fruitcake terrible, it involves quite a bit of effort to be so, so terrible. Also, I think I've reached my lifetime quota of eggnog. God, it's probably the only thing alcohol makes worse.

Get the recipe for cardamon-curry cookies and learn about Genevieve's chocolate obsession after the jump.

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Kimberly Blaess, What Are You Baking?

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Photo courtesy of Kim Blaess
Even if your oven sits cold all year, chances are you're considering firing it up, right about now. As a holiday twist on our "What Are You Eating?" feature on Chow Bella and "What Are You Wearing?" on Jackalope Ranch, for the next few weeks we'll be bringing you "What Are You Baking?" Complete with a recipe, so you can DIY.
Today we have Kim Blaess, a vegetarian and psychology graduate student who makes living the veg life look (and sound) oh so good.

What are you baking for the holidays this year?
I am most excited to make a drunken apple cake which includes a yummy rum. I am making traditional spritz cookies with a cookie press, pumpkin cranberry scones and, if I have time, a giant cherry and chocolate cupcake.

Favorite holiday treats?
While I love all sweets, it just wouldn't be Christmas without Corn Flake wreaths. It's not
technically baking, however as young girl before I was allowed to use the stove I have fond memories of making these for my family. Another favorite holiday cookie is the spritz cookie. It's so full of that delicious almond flavor and the many designs and frosting/sprinkle options always make them fun to make.

Find out more about Kim, including what she would do if she could get her hands on some starfruit and her recipe for the most simple vegan cake batter ever, after the jump.
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Gwen Ashley Walters, What Are You Baking?

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courtesy of Gwen Ashley Walters
Even if your oven sits cold all year, chances are you're considering
firing it up, right about now. As a holiday twist on our "What Are You
Eating"
feature on Chow Bella and "What Are You Wearing?" on Jackalope
Ranch, for the next few weeks we'll be bringing you "What Are You
Baking?"
Complete with a recipe, so you can DIY.

Today's treat: brioche and chocolate bread pudding from Gwen Ashley Walters -- local chef, critic and mistress of many disguises. Check her out on her blog, Pen & Fork. 

What are you baking for the holidays this year?
I'm more of a savory cook than a baker, but I developed this brioche and chocolate bread pudding recipe to go with an easy holiday menu for a cooking class, and I like it so much I think I'll bake it again for our holiday.

Favorite holiday treats?
On Christmas day, I grill a molasses marinated beef tenderloin that is out of this world. It has tons of pepper and ginger and other spices. I also love soft, chewy ginger cookies, but I like other people to bake them for me. Hello, anyone?

Least favorite holiday foods?
Fruitcake and eggnog. Ick.

Find out what kind of ham is on Walters' Christmas list, and get her pudding recipe after the jump.


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Eytan Zias, What Are You Baking?

Even if your oven sits cold all year, chances are you're considering
firing it up, right about now. As a holiday twist on our
"What Are You
Eating"
feature on Chow Bella and "What Are You Wearing?" on Jackalope
Ranch, for the next few weeks we'll be bringing you
"What Are You
Baking?"
Complete with a recipe, so you can DIY.

knifemain.jpg
Sloane Burwell
Today we're baking with Eytan Zias of the Phoenix Knife House -- an Israeli native with an affinity for Japanese knives. A former chef at restaurants from New York City to Phoenix, he's been on a baking kick. Lucky us. What are you baking for the holidays this year?
Rosemary and candied pine nut apple tart, this tart is kind of a standard of mine but I tend to change the toppings.

Favorite holiday treats?
Growing up in Israel we eat something called "sufganiot" for Hanuka, when I moved to the US I found out they were just plain old jelly filled donuts. So I'd have to say either sufganiot or just plain old latkes with apple sauce.

Find out which holiday goodie Zias would like to see outlawed -- and get his recipe for apple tart with rosemary and candied pine nuts -- after the jump.

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