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Giada De Laurentiis Shares Her Go-To Holiday Baking Recipes
Emmy Award-winning chef and television personality Giada De Laurentiis loves the intoxicating, sweet scent of fresh baked treats just like the rest of us -- but she also believes in kicking things up a notch. De Laurentiis stresses that presentation, as well as variety, are key to satisfying the masses, making the most out of any recipe. READ: Giada De Laurentiis Share Diet Secrets “Store-bought cupcakes and three different versions of chocolate chip cookies won’t have people flocking to your table the same way a spread boasting different shapes, colors, and flavors will,” says De Laurentiis. “Go beyond cookies for a pretty mix of sliced quick breads, bar cookies, even cakes and pies. And why not display everything creatively, using cake stands and pretty platters rather than paper plates or plastic storage containers?” Best of all, creating a beautiful presentation doesn’t have to be a one-person job. De Laurentiis encourages getting family and friends, especially little ones, involved in making hand-lettered signs for your dishes. But no matter the occasion, make sure your guests know exactly what they’ll be savoring. READ: America's Top Pastry Chefs Share Their Favorite Cookie Recipes “Families have concerns about food allergies and other dietary restrictions, so be as descriptive as you can when creating signage,” she explains. “Pecan chocolate chunk cookies, rather than chocolate globs, let’s everyone know there are nuts included. Likewise, calling out the liqueur in espresso amaretto cookies says these are for grownups only. And don’t mix different kinds of cookies on the same plate to keep traces of nuts or other ingredients from transferring to another baked good.” And here's one to jot down for next December: De Laurentiis suggests making those mouthwatering treats for a good cause as well as for family and friends. READ: Sanra-Worthy Cookie Recipes “Why not throw a couple of extra batches in the oven and host a bake sale at your church, children’s school, or for local charity?” she suggests. “It’s a time-honored way to raise money that everyone enjoys, and at this time of the year just about any organization would appreciate having a little extra cash in its coffers.” Feeling inspired (or just plain hungry?) In a recent issue of Giada: A Digital Weekly, De Laurentiis shares some recipe ideas for a local bake sale and her 5-year-old daughter Jade couldn’t get enough of them. And in the season of giving, she’s sharing them with FOX News Magazine. READ: 10 Outrageous Cookies So, what are you waiting for? Get rolling!
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Giada's Daughter Jade and a Friend

(Courtesy of Giada De Laurentiis.)

Lemon Angel Food Cupcake with Lemon Curd and Mascarpone Frosting

Lemon Curd Ingredients 3 egg yolks, at room temperature zest of 2 lemons 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice, from 2 large lemons 1/3 cup sugar 1/8 teaspoon fine salt 4 tablespoons butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes Cupcakes Ingredients 1 (1 lb.) box angel food cake mix 1 cup water zest of 2 lemons 1/4 cup lemon juice Mascarpone Frosting Ingredients 2 cups powdered sugar 6 Tbsps. mascarpone, at room temperature 2 Tbsps. milk, chilled 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract silver or pastel dragees, Jordon almonds, or yellow sanding sugar to decorate Preparation For the curd: Whisk together the yolks, lemon zest, juice, sugar and salt in a medium saucepan.  Place the saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon or spatula, making sure to scrape the sides and bottom of the pan.  Cook until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of the spoon or spatula, about 3 to 5 minutes.  Remove from the heat and add the butter, one piece at a time, stirring until the constitency of the curd is smooth.  Tranfer the curd to a heat-proof bowl and cover the surface of the curd with plastic wrap to avoid a skin from forming.  Refrigerate the curd until firm and chilled, about 1 hour. For the cupcakes:  Place two racks in the upper and lower thirds of  the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Line 2 muffin pans with cupcake liners. In the bowl of an electric mixer combine the cake mix, water, lemon zest and juice.  Beat the mixture on low speed to for 30 seconds to incorporate the ingredients then increase the speed to medium for 1 minute until the mixture is light and fluffy.  Use a scoop or spoon to fill the liners 3/4 full with the batter.  Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until the cupcakes are golden brown and the cracks on top feel dry.  Cool the cupcakes completely before filling and frosting, about 30 minutes. For the glaze: Whisk together the powdered sugar, mascarpone, milk, and vanilla until smooth and shiny.   To fill the cupcakes, use a small spoon to push a shallow hole in the center of each cupcake.  Fill the center with 1 teaspoon of the lemon curd. Drizzle the cupcake with some of the glaze to cover the top. Sprinkle with the decoration of your choice. Allow the cupcakes to set, in the refrigerator, for at least 30 minutes. Yield: 24 cupcakes Prep Time: 10 minutes Cook Time: 20 minutes Inactive Time:  20 minutes
(Courtesy of Giada De Laurentiis.)

Apricot Oat Bars

Filling Ingredients 1 (13 oz.) jar apricot jam or preserves (about 1 1/4 cups) 8 dried apricots, chopped into 1/4-inch pieces (about 1/3 cup) Crust Ingredients 1 3/4 cups flour 1 packed cup light brown sugar 1 tsp. ground cinnamon 3/4 tsp. fine sea salt 3/4 tsp. baking soda 1 3/4 cup old-fashion oats 1 cup (4 oz.) coarsely chopped walnuts 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted 1 egg, at room temperature, beaten 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract Preparation Place an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a  9-by-13-by-2-inch metal baking dish with vegetable oil cooking spray. Line the bottom and sides of the pan with parchment paper. Spray the parchment paper with vegetable oil cooking spray. Set aside. For the filling: In a small bowl, mix together the jam and apricots. Set aside. For the crust: In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cinnamon, salt and baking soda. Stir in the oats and walnuts. Add the butter, egg and vanilla and stir until incorporated. Using a fork or clean fingers, lightly press half of the crust mixture onto the bottom of the prepared pan. Using a spatula, spread the filling over the crust leaving a 1/2-inch border around the edge of the pan. Cover the filling with the remaining crust mixture and gently press to flatten. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes until light golden. Cool for 1 hour. Cut into bars and store in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Yield: 24 bars Prep Time: 12 minutes Cook Time: 30 to 35 minutes Inactive Prep Time: 1 hour
(Courtesy of Giada De Laurentiis.)

Chocolate Amaretti Cookies

Ingredients 1 (7 oz.) package almond paste 1 cup sugar 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder 1/8 teaspoon fine salt 2 large egg whites 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 1 cup almond slivers, for decorating 1/4 cup white sanding sugar, for decorating Preparation Place two racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.  Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Break the almond paste into small pieces and place in the bowl of a food processer.  Add the sugar, cocoa powder and salt and process until the almond paste is very finely chopped and incorporated with the salt and sugar.  Add the egg white and vanilla and process until a smooth dough forms, about 30 seconds.  Using a small scoop or spoon, dollop 1 tablespoon of the batter for each cookie onto the baking sheet, leaving 2 inches between each cookie.  Top each cookie with a few almond slivers and sprinkle with sanding sugar. Bake the cookies for 13 to 14 minutes, rotating the baking sheets halfway through baking, until the cookies have risen and cracked slightly but are still soft in the center.  Allow the cookies to cool completely on the baking sheets.  Store the cookies in an airtight container. Yield: 24 cookies Prep Time: 5 minutes Cook Time: 14 minutes
(Courtesy of Giada De Laurentiis.)

Giada De Laurentiis Shares Her Go-To Holiday Baking Recipes

Emmy Award-winning chef and television personality Giada De Laurentiis loves the intoxicating, sweet scent of fresh baked treats just like the rest of us -- but she also believes in kicking things up a notch. De Laurentiis stresses that presentation, as well as variety, are key to satisfying the masses, making the most out of any recipe. READ: Giada De Laurentiis Share Diet Secrets “Store-bought cupcakes and three different versions of chocolate chip cookies won’t have people flocking to your table the same way a spread boasting different shapes, colors, and flavors will,” says De Laurentiis. “Go beyond cookies for a pretty mix of sliced quick breads, bar cookies, even cakes and pies. And why not display everything creatively, using cake stands and pretty platters rather than paper plates or plastic storage containers?” Best of all, creating a beautiful presentation doesn’t have to be a one-person job. De Laurentiis encourages getting family and friends, especially little ones, involved in making hand-lettered signs for your dishes. But no matter the occasion, make sure your guests know exactly what they’ll be savoring. READ: America's Top Pastry Chefs Share Their Favorite Cookie Recipes “Families have concerns about food allergies and other dietary restrictions, so be as descriptive as you can when creating signage,” she explains. “Pecan chocolate chunk cookies, rather than chocolate globs, let’s everyone know there are nuts included. Likewise, calling out the liqueur in espresso amaretto cookies says these are for grownups only. And don’t mix different kinds of cookies on the same plate to keep traces of nuts or other ingredients from transferring to another baked good.” And here's one to jot down for next December: De Laurentiis suggests making those mouthwatering treats for a good cause as well as for family and friends. READ: Sanra-Worthy Cookie Recipes “Why not throw a couple of extra batches in the oven and host a bake sale at your church, children’s school, or for local charity?” she suggests. “It’s a time-honored way to raise money that everyone enjoys, and at this time of the year just about any organization would appreciate having a little extra cash in its coffers.” Feeling inspired (or just plain hungry?) In a recent issue of Giada: A Digital Weekly, De Laurentiis shares some recipe ideas for a local bake sale and her 5-year-old daughter Jade couldn’t get enough of them. And in the season of giving, she’s sharing them with FOX News Magazine. READ: 10 Outrageous Cookies So, what are you waiting for? Get rolling!

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