The holidays are upon us whether we are ready or not. Isn’t it strange how they sneak up on us so quickly? With the holidays comes entertaining, both our own parties and invitations from friends and family. To aid us in this wealth of festivities, Meredith Steele has put together a collection of “80 recipes that will impress your guests without stress,” including these fragrant nutty orange cardamom cookies.
Effortless Entertaining Cookbook, is Meredith’s debut book, with a guide to planning menus for every season. Each menu also includes notes on advance preparations to keep us on track – a timeline of which tasks can be done ahead or when you should begin each step in the menu, suggested wine, beer and cocktail pairings and more. The bonus is that many of these recipes can be easily be taken to a party or potluck when we are asked to bring a dish to share.
Meredith begins with Spring, sharing guides for Brunch, Easter, a Sunset Garden Party and Dinner with Friends. Offerings in this season include Overnight Croissant French Toast Bake with Coffee Rum Sauce, Apricot Curry Chicken Sandwiches, and Carrot Ginger Soup with Mint Cashew Pesto. Those all sound like elegant dishes and may seem like too much work in a book entitled “effortless.” Trust me, these dishes aren’t complicated at all. The directions are simple and approachable and the ingredients are easy to procure. Those Apricot Curry Chicken Sandwiches will soon be on my menu here at the tail end of Fall.
Warming up to Summer, where the menus are highlighted for a Backyard Seafood Boil, Fiesta Taco Bar, Summer Soiree, and Indian Summer Cookout. Meredith’s recipes for summer include these tasty dishes: Chorizo Gougéres, Grilled Flat Iron with Pineapple-Avocado Salsa and Chipotle Roasted Potatoes.
The Fall shares warm comforting menus for a Farmer’s Market Brunch, Autumn Beer Dinner, Thanksgiving with Friends and Game Day for Food Snobs – Porter-Braised Short Rib Nachos or Whisky Caramel Brownies, anyone? There isn’t any reason why these meals couldn’t be for a weeknight or Sunday Supper as well.
We end up in Winter where the hearty and super festive menus begin: Wine and Dine, Winter Harvest, The Big Holiday Gathering and Cocktails and Conversation are set out with recipes for Easy Duck Confit with Orange Honey Glaze, Make-Ahead Parmesan Risotto, and Bourbon Pecan Pie Shortbread. Beautiful photographs, serving amounts, prep time and cooking times are included for each recipe.
I made the Orange Cardamom Cookies and the only problem was the recipe only made 24 cookies which magically disappeared. The cookies were so quick to pull together and so delicious – I think I have a new favorite cookie. I ended up sprinkling mine with pistachio dust because all I had on hand was red sanding sugar – but I think they turned out lovely.
I checked with Meredith and asked her if this dough could be (1) doubled and (2) frozen after rolling it into a log – and she said absolutely. These cookies are going on my holiday list and I love that I can make the dough in advance. I’m thinking a lovely hostess gift would be a copy of this book and a log of this cookie dough or finished plate of cookies!
- 1 ¼ cups (156 g) all-purpose flour
- ¾ tsp ground cardamom
- Zest from 1 large orange, grated
- ¼ tsp salt
- ½ cup (1 stick [114 g]) unsalted butter, softened
- ½ cup (95 g) granulated sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 tsp (5 ml) almond extract
- ⅓ cup (56 g) shelled pistachios, chopped
- 1 cup (130 g) confectioner’s sugar
- 1 to 3 tbsp (15 to 45 ml) milk
- Decorating sugar
- In a medium bowl, combine flour, cardamom, orange zest and salt; set aside.
- Using a stand mixer with a paddle attachment or hand mixer on a medium-high setting, cream together butter and sugar until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add egg and almond extract and mix until combined. With the mixer on medium-low, add the flour mixture and mix until just combined, then fold in the pistachios. Place dough on a sheet of plastic wrap, shape into a 2 x 12-inch (5 x 30-cm) log and wrap with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 30 minutes until firm.
- Preheat oven to 350ºF (175ºC) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Remove the plastic wrap from the dough and slice into ⅓-inch (8-mm) thick slices. Place slices onto the baking sheet and bake for 13 to 15 minutes until slightly golden on the edges. Transfer to a cooling rack and cool.
- Combine confectioner’s sugar and milk, 1 tablespoon (15 ml) at a time until slightly fluid. Dip cookies, face side down until covered in icing, then top with decorating sugar. Allow to set, then store in an airtight container until ready to serve.
Editor’s note: This recipe is printed courtesy of the publisher. The author of this review received a copy of Effortless Entertaining Cookbook: 80 Recipes That Will Impress Your Guests Without Stress. No other compensation was received from the publisher. Links to the cookbook are affiliate links.
Many thanks to the publisher Page Street who is sponsoring one copy of this wonderful cookbook for a giveaway, open to US residents only. Please check out the book on Amazon and leave a comment on the post – Which recipe from Effortless Entertaining would you try first? – to enter. The rafflecopter has several options for earning more chances to win! The more you do, the better your chances. No purchase necessary. The winner will be notified by email. If the winner does not respond in 48 hours, an alternate winner will be selected.
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Weekday Supper recipes are great for when life gets busy! It’s easy to find them. Search the #WeekdaySupper hashtag across social media or click here for more on our Sunday Supper website. Also check out the Weekday Supper Pinterest board for plenty more ideas and inspiration.