real life test kitchen: dorie greenspan’s 15 minute magic chocolate amaretti torte

amaretti torte

Any recipe with the word ‘magic’ in the title has got to be good, right? And it is, it so is. I spotted this recipe last year over at Serious Eats, where baking maven Dorie Greenspan has a regular column. I was drawn to it immediately, because the recipe has no wheat ingredients (last year around this time I was on a wheat elimination diet), and because it was a perfect no-flour recipe for Passover Seder. The key to the cake is all in the cookie: amaretti, an Italian cookie made with almonds and apricot kernels. The cookies get a quick blitz in the food processor, are mixed with the chocolate and other ingredients and ready to bake in a flash — literally, you guessed it, 15 minutes. After baking, the cake is cooled and glazed with a decadent chocolate ganache and is ready to be enjoyed slice by fudgy, almond flavored slice.


When I made my version of “the Magic” last year, I couldn’t help brighten up my version of the torte with some edible pansies from my garden, a quick and impossibly simple way to decorate the spartan pastry. I never snapped a shot of the interior before serving, so thankfully, I found a treasure trove of images around the blogosphere thanks to the tireless efforts of Tuesdays with Dorie, a network of food bloggers who each week collectively bake a recipe from the pages of Dorie Greenspan’s Baking: From my Home to Yours. Apparently they’ve been working their way through the book for quite a while, so I must be living under a rock or something. — Megan B.

Wanna make a little 15 minute magic yourself? Go to Serious Eats for the recipe.

Second photo courtesy of My Baking Heart

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real life test kitchen: potato boxty with caramelized onions and cabbage


This year, instead of the typical (yet delicious) corned beef and cabbage for St. Patrick’s Day, I decided to make a less ubiquitious Irish dish, but one that should be right up there in popularity with that beautiful brisket. Potato boxty are merely Ireland’s version of a potato pancake: something in between a traditional pancake and a latke, to give you a reference point. Boxty can be served plain, or garnished with many different sweet or savory toppings. They’d be a great flexitarian centerpiece for your St. Paddy’s festivities — not to mention being incredibly cheap and easy to make. I topped this year’s boxty bounty with a mouthwatering melange of caramelized onions, ribbons of pale green cabbage, and, of course, bacon. Oh, and ’cause the Irish are known for their dairy, I threw in some cream. And a kiss of Irish whiskey, too. What are you eating on St. Patrick’s Day? — Megan B.
Click for the recipe, after the jump! (more…)

From our partners

the wait is over: pi day is back!


If you’d be so kind to oblige me and roll the clock back to grade school, we’re breaking for a moment from today’s serious science coverage to bring you this important announcement: Pi Day is back. Yes, after 364 long days, 3/14 has finally rolled around again and with it, a moment to appreciate the festivities associated with our favorite mathematical constant, pi. Last year, we brought you ThinkGeek’s Pi-tini recipe, among other things and this year fortune has smiled on us again: the ThinkGeek Pizza Pi Cutter is now on sale for a hot $12.99! (We won’t talk about how the Pi By Numbers Blanket is out of stock.) Baking pies is obviously a staple activity on Pi Day and our friends at NPR are celebrating with this delicious recipe roundup for the occasion, which includes Sweet Potato Pie, Pizza Pie, Granola Cranberry Walnut Pie, and the aptly-titled Pimp My Mince Pie. How are you observing Pi Day? Check out for ideas. –Sarah C.

Photo: Claire O’Neill for NPR

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drink up with fun and fabulous shot glasses


With St. Patrick’s Day right around the corner, my mind, like a good Irish girl, goes immediately to whiskey. Honestly, I’m more of a gin gal, but I really love these fun shot glasses nonetheless — and they’d all do fine to toast Erin Go Bragh with a shot of “top shelf” Jameson (though a purist may swear it has to be out of Mullingar pewter to count). — Megan B.

Above: Not so good at sharing? Then the Mine and Yours shot glasses will distribute the hooch between you and your guests “fairly” — $12, from Gama Go.

These Swedish shot glasses by Giarini from huset may be a splurge at $70, but oh, are they pretty. They’d make a great wedding gift, too, just sayin’.


Channel your inner Dillinger with these Mug Shots, $16.95 for a set of 6, at Neatorama. ‘Cause you know all those gangsters drank whiskey.

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Or if your tastes tend to the more literary, than combine your drinking with some light reading: Great Thinkers shot glasses, $14.95/4, at Shakespeare’s Den. And what could possibly be more Irish than toasting with a quote from The Emerald Isle’s own W.B. Yeats — “”The problem with some people is that when they’re not drunk they’re sober”. Wiser words have never been written.

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craziest, creepiest party game ever? zombie pinata


It’s a little early (or late) for Halloween, but perhaps you need a pinata for an Oscar party? (Were any zombie movies nominated?) Or maybe you just want to own this disturbingly lifelike — I mean, undeadlike — zombie pinata by Etsy seller Tom Deadstuff. I saw it on this Etsy blog post, and was stunned by how amazing Tom Deadstuff’s zombies are — and only $45! That may be a lot for something you intend to destroy, but as an art piece, that’s a shockingly low price. See all of Tom Deadstuff’s demented offerings here. (Angela, is this on your wishlist yet?) — Mary T. You know you want to see it! Click to see: (more…)

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