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This Molasses Cookie Recipe Restored My Faith in Holiday Confections

Welcome to Never Fail, a weekly column where we wax poetic about the recipes that never, ever let us down.

Here’s the thing about holiday cookies that people miss: Most of them are bad. Like, moisture-sapping, gritty, too-sweet mounds of sadness bad. Nobody wants that, no matter how cutely those pucks are decorated or how festively they’re packaged. I’m over it! I want a cookie that tastes good, first and foremost. Which is why I’m forever a devotee of the OG (original glitter–bomb): Chewy Molasses Cookies.

Chewy Molasses Cookies: All You Ever Wanted

Sure, I love cookies that make a visual impact. Raspberry rugelach that shine like Christmas tree ornaments? Great! Zebra cookies with a dazzling collar of ruby–red sugar? Nice! But there’s a simple beauty in this molasses cookie recipe, a throwback from when BA contributor Alison Roman worked in our test kitchen. (Yep: The same person who brought the world The Cookies.) They dazzle quietly, showing up without needing too much attention. Plus, they make your house smell more festive than a holiday candle store, and are a whole lot less complicated to make than any of the disappointing, look-better-than-they-taste “showstoppers” that are bound to turn up at the cookie swap. What more could you ask for?

Here’s how to get started. Bump your oven racks to the lower and upper thirds of the oven and preheat it to 375º. Whisk together those dry ingredients and wet ingredients in separate bowls, per usual. Then, combine the mixtures—no special equipment necessary!—until well incorporated. Nothing fancy, folks!

salted butter and chocolate chunk shortbread

Okay, you should probably make these Salted Butter and Chocolate Chunk Shortbread Cookies too…

Throw some sanding sugar into a separate shallow bowl. Scoop out dough by the tablespoonful (cookie scoops encouraged) and form into balls and roll in the sanding sugar. Plop ‘em onto two cookie sheets lined with parchment paper and toss them into the oven. After 8–10 minutes, rotating the cookies halfway through, they’re done and ready to relieve you from bad sugar cookie–tyranny.

Just like that, you’ve made a batch of beautiful, pillowy cookies that twinkle ever so slightly from that sugar bath you gave them earlier. They’re so much more complex tasting than they seem like they should be, with punchy hits of cinnamon, a kiss of cardamom, and just the right about of zing from ginger, all backed up by that just-the-right-amount-of-bitter molasses. They basically capture the feeling of hygge better than any cozy log cabin in Aspen. And after weeks of force-feeding yourself bland cookies, you could use a little rest.

The molasses cookie recipe in question:

chewy-molasses-cookies

https://www.bonappetit.com/story/never-fail-chewy-molasses-cookie-recipe

56 Recipe Projects to Tackle During Your Holiday Break

If paella escaped from Spain, sailed to China, and did some soul-searching along the way, you’d have the namesake dish at Chicago’s Fat Rice. The generous pot of aromatic rice, curry-scented chicken, and (much) more can be traced back to Macau, the former Portuguese colony in China, where it’s almost always served at home. Chefs Abraham Conlon and Adrienne Lo took inspiration from foreign-language cookbooks; their version is a blend of Portuguese and Chinese cooking that Conlon calls “the original fusion.”

https://www.bonappetit.com/recipes/slideshow/recipes-to-make-on-day-off

The Roast Beef Sandwich Recipe That Makes the Best Holiday Feast

I remember feeling very confused as a child—most of the time, all of the time—but especially at the end of How the Grinch Stole Christmas!, when the Grinch turns his attitude around and serves every Who in Whoville a slice of “roast beast.” The cartoon roast looked delicious, with its browned edges and pink inside. But how would it feed all the Whos? I wondered. What is roast beast? I wondered. Then I dreamed, as little girls do, about a fat slice of roast beast being handed to me by a smug man with four furry fingers.

grinch roast beast

I assumed it was roast beef, for obvious reasons, but on closer inspection, it’s gotta be a ham or a roast goose. Food director Carla Lalli Music confirms the goose theories. Well that’s not gonna feed all the Whos in Whoville (a.k.a. the eight people I call my friends)! To recreate this scene properly, and to feed a crowd this holiday, the best meat for the job is really a huge hunk of roast beef. Specifically, this garlic-rosemary slow roast beef by Chris Morocco.

grinch roast beast 3

You start with a 4-lb. New York strip roast, which I picked up from a butcher who had the gall to charge me $130 for it. “But it’s Christmassss!” I said with a Cindy Lou pout. “No shit,” he replied with a bloody thwack to the cutting board. “Ok-ay.” I swiped that credit card.

The only thing elaborate about Chris’s recipe is the quality of that hunk of meat, the sheer size of the lad. The rest is pretty simple. A day before roasting, I seasoned it with salt and pep and rubbed it with a garlic-rosemary-oil mixture that made my kitchen smell incredible. The next day, the beast went into the oven at a mere 200° for almost three hours. Low and slow is the name of the game. During that time I made a nice salad dressing, bought some Martin’s potato buns, whipped up the horseradish sour cream, and read a novel’s worth of cheesecake recipe reviews by strangers on the internet, searching for truth. (I landed on Craig Claiborne’s, if you’re curious. It came out rich and dense; you could carve “David” from it.)

By the time the was beef was resting, my friends had arrived for cocktails and a little activity we call Lookit The Meat!, where you stand around the kitchen looking at that huge roast. Mingle mingle, kris and kringle, and then when it was about time to feast, I browned the roast in the biggest Dutch oven I own (Lodge’s 7.5 quart), a couple minutes per side.

DINNER TIME. Cue the Grinch-style slicing at the cutting board. Big knife, big grin, but thin slices, ideally. It was just like the cartoon, it has to be said: The beef was bright pink inside, and a general joy to behold, and the rosemary-garlic crust was deeply browned and crispy. Around the table, we loaded the sliced beef on soft buns with a slathering of horseradish cream, some mustard, and cornichons. Unlike Thanksgiving or other roast beast feasts, this isn’t a “pass the mashed potatoes, papa,” formal dinner. It’s a construction zone. Spoons stuck in mustard pots, rolls flying across the table. You get to be yourself. Load up the sandwich with four cornichons, sliced perfectly in half.

The luxury of the roast beef still makes it a special occasion, but a festive one. And you eat with your hands! There’s no other way. The assembly of a roast beef sandwich is like trimming your best friend’s show-offy 8-foot tree, or holding the rickety ladder as your awkward step-brother outlines the house in lights, or sloppily decorating sugar cookies with your 14 cousins. It’s about forced interaction with those you love—even if it gets a little messy sometimes.

Get the recipe:

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https://www.bonappetit.com/story/roast-beef-sandwich-spread

This Roasted Broccoli Recipe Tastes Kinda Like Doritos

When temperatures drop and our feeds start to fill with other people’s beach vacation photos, we need a little convincing to eat our vegetables. Take roasted broccoli: It’s one of our go-to winter staples, but it definitely needs some zhuzhing to take our attention away from, say, baked pasta.

Luckily, senior food editor Chris Morocco developed a roasted broccoli recipe that’s going to keep our attention all season long. The weeknight-friendly recipe dunks blanched broccoli in a vibrant yogurt marinade fortified with warm spices like hot paprika, coriander, and turmeric. The yogurt tenderizes the tough broccoli florets while they cook, and, thanks to the dairy and spice-combo, the broccoli develops a delicious, almost cheese-like crust. It’s not not reminiscent of a nacho cheese Dorito, and it’s much more delicious than broccoli is normally allowed to be.

The first secret to creating craveable broccoli is blanching the florets. This process isn’t totally mandatory, but it helps break down the fibrous vegetables so that they’ll roast faster and become more tender. Just blanch the broccoli in a small pot of boiling salted water until its bright green (which should only take 30 seconds or so). Trust us, you’ll be glad you did.

The other key is to create layers of flavor in your yogurt marinade. Morocco opted for a base of hot paprika, ground coriander, and ground turmeric, then added a finely grated garlic clove and a few dashes of hot sauce for a hint of heat. Feel free to experiment with other additions like garam masala or fresh ginger. No matter your flavor profile, be sure to thoroughly toss the broccoli in the yogurt marinade to ensure an even coating. Then roast on a foil-lined baking sheet to save yourself some cleanup. Nobody likes scrubbing roasted yogurt off a sheet tray.

Once the broccoli is browned and the stalks are tender, it’s time to serve. I used my broccoli to top a chickpea-quinoa grain bowl, adding a generous dusting of nutritional yeast to double down on the cheesy flavor. After a week of holiday parties (and holiday cookies), it felt good to eat something green. And two helpings of broccoli later, my rugelach equilibrium was rebalanced.

Get ready to marinate:

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Your roasted broccoli recipe could use an upgrade. Yogurt isn’t just for marinating proteins; it’s also a great vehicle for vegetables that could use a little help.

SEE RECIPE

https://www.bonappetit.com/story/this-roasted-broccoli-recipe-tastes-kinda-like-doritos

This Lemon Bar Recipe Does One Better: It Adds Grapefruit

My mom’s lemon bars are legendary. They’re from The Joy of Cooking, and I and others in my family have been known to request them in lieu of cake on birthdays and pretty much any other occasion. So when I heard about this new grapefruit bar recipe and realized that they were essentially lemon bars, add the grapefruit, I was curious, skeptical, and ready for a citrus-bar showdown.

In truly dimwitted fashion, I scheduled the bake-off for the weekend after my parents moved, and I could hardly find the oven amid the boxes. Now was clearly not the time to challenge my mom to a head-to-head baking battle (she would’ve cried). Instead, I unearthed the measuring cups and embarked on a grapefruit-bar journey alone…while my parents fretted over closet space upstairs.

I’m so glad I did. These bars are nothing like the ones I grew up eating, which involve simply pouring a mixture of sugar, cornstarch, lemon, and egg over a shortbread crust and baking it. These bars have magic, and that magic is CURD. As I learned from a crash course with the recipe’s mastermind, Chris Morocco, curd means you cook it, i.e. you heat the lemon mixture (sometimes over a double boiler; in this case, right in the saucepan) until it simmers, then you whisk in butter gradually. All these years I thought I was curd-ing but I was really just mixing stuff together! As it turns out, the extra work yields an unbelievably soft, pillowy, creamy-bright filling that makes other lemon bars look kind of sad and deflated in comparison. Sorry, Mom!

Making the shortbread crust was simple thanks to my best friend the food processor. My dough never became dough, exactly, more like loose sand, but I just pressed it into the pan while my parents rearranged furniture in the next room, and, after 25 minutes in the oven, it had become a perfectly golden-brown crust.

While that was baking, I candied the grapefruit peel—another cooking thing I’d never done before! It was pretty easy, but try to avoid the pith (the white stuff under the peel), because even a half cup of sugar can’t mask that much bitterness. Also, the recipe says to discard the sugar syrup after simmering the grapefruit, but let me suggest you save it for cocktails: It’s like an Aperol simple syrup, and who wouldn’t love that?

Then it was time for the curd. I’ll admit that there was a brief moment—okay, about eight minutes of constant whisking—when I hated the curd. Sweating, arm cramping, a handyman drilling holes in a wall somewhere: It all felt like torture…until, thank the Lord, the creamy, pale yellow, just-thick-enough mixture was done, along with all of my grip strength.

I poured it over the shortbread, topped it with the candied grapefruit, and sent it into the oven for a final bake. Then I chilled the bars in the fridge for a few hours while I located a few boxes of Christmas decorations and went to town. I suggest letting these bars chill for as long as possible, overnight if you can stand it, because the curd will be easier to cut and the shortbread will have absorbed some of the delicious, citrusy goo (a very good thing). I only gave them three hours because I had a train to catch, so my bars got a little sloppy, but the flavor was unreal—pops of citrus and cream balanced by the buttery richness of the crust—and the ones I left in my parents’ fridge received rave reviews for appearance and taste.

Am I a total curd convert? Will I never ask my mom for her lemon bars again? I won’t make any promises, but I will make you some curd—as soon as my strength returns.

Get the recipe:

grapefruit-bars-with-candied-zest.jpg

https://www.bonappetit.com/story/grapefruit-lemon-bars

This Wedding Cookie Recipe Is the Only Married Thing About Me

About seven years into my partnered unmarried life, I made these brown butter wedding cookies. It’s the closest I’ll ever get to a Zola registry, and for that, I’m relieved. I like to keep my distance. From institutions, not cookies! I like to be close to cookies. Very close.

In the powdered sugar-strewn timeline of desserts, there have been many variations on these cookies: Mexican wedding cakes, Italian wedding cookies, butterballs, Russian tea cakes…Regina Schrambling at the Los Angeles Times traces the buttery trail here. But the common link is this: a melt-in-your-mouth cookie made with a shocking amount of butter, powdered sugar, nuts, flour, and vanilla. A double layer of powdered sugar gives them a velvet coating that dissolves on the tongue like a freshly fallen snowflake. Scenic much?

Nutty Browned Butter Wedding Cookies

Because this is Basically, our recipe is a pared-down, simple version that doesn’t tinker and tweak with added extracts, zests, or alt-flours. However, we do start with brown butter instead of normal butter, which adds a caramel-y, nutty flavor to the already-nutty cookie. Double nut fun! If you’ve never made brown butter, now’s your chance to learn and have a whole cookie universe opened up to you. (It’s a game-changer in chocolate chip cookies too.)

basically how to brown butter 3

Photo by Alex Lau, Food Styling by Judy Mancini

Brown butter looks like this, if ya wanna know.

Once you’ve made the brown butter (TWO STICKS, BABY!), you chill it ‘til it’s solid, then cream it with powdered sugar using an electric mixer until it’s all fluffy. After that you mix in the flour, and fold in chopped walnuts and vanilla. That’s your cookie dough—pause to lick spatula clean. After that you MUST chill the dough. Two hours-ish. This cookie dough is pretty much sugared butter and we need that fat to solidify so that when the cookie balls hit the oven, they don’t spread and lose their snowball shape.

Basically Brown Butter Wedding Cookies 01

Powdered sugar bath.

Roll the cold dough into balls, or shape them gently with your fingers (what I did because my were pretty crumbly and not so easy to roll, Play-Doh style). They bake for 20-25 minutes depending on your oven sitch, but what’s tricky is knowing when they’re done, because we don’t want them browned and golden like choc chips. Notice how doughy, soft, and sticky the raw dough looks, and then keep an eye out to see them firm up and almost look dried out. When they’re still warm, roll them in a powdered sugar bath, let them fully cool, and roll one more time before serving—or stashing, because they’re even better the next day.

My cookies came out looking less like perfect snowballs and more like prehistoric rocks, but that’s really the story of my life. The final texture was spot-on, though, with that soft sugar blanket giving way to smooth, shortbread butterballs with crunchy walnut specks. I’d take a bite of cookie, sip of coffee, bite of cookie—and then next thing you know, seven years have gone by and people have finally stopped asking me if I’m just going to marry the cookies already. Nah, we’re good. We’re very happy like this.

Get the recipe:

Basically-Brown-Butter-Wedding-Cookies-04.jpg

https://www.bonappetit.com/story/this-wedding-cookie-recipe-is-the-only-married-thing-about-me

This Roast Chicken Recipe Got Me Over My Roast Chicken Fears

Guess what? This grown-ass, 30-year-old woman had never roasted a chicken before last weekend. I know! And I’ve never smoked a cigarette, played the lottery, run a marathon, read Jane Austen, or had a baby, either! Want to talk about it?

Didn’t think so! Let’s skip ahead to the part where I make the chicken. First, I had to buy one. This was a chore I hate. Heavy-grocery shopping. Regular groceries like bags of Tostitos and blocks of store-brand cheddar are fine. Groceries that pull my reusable tote (I’M A GOOD PERSON) down on my shoulder and leave deep red marks are a reminder of my frailty. A common theme in chicken work.

FOR ME, at least it is FOR ME.

No-Fail Roast Chicken with Lemon and Garlic

In the past, my domestic partner, a big tall MAN if you must know—God, you’re nosy!—handled the meat. Blah blah blah a million years of human evolution blah man cooks the meat blah blah. I KNOW. He does the laundry too. I’d sit there, all passive and weak, drinking a martini, while I let him do all the work. What was I thinking? I should be asserting myself and cooking this bitch bird MYSELF.

So I got home and followed Basically’s no-fail roast chicken recipe, which calls for a 3-4 lb. chicken, a lemon, half a stick of butter, and a head of garlic. And kosher salt, duh. I unwrapped my Bell & Evans chicken (I was told this was the most ethical option to be had from my local crummy grocery store and bought it because I’M A GOOD PERSON) from its plasticky death condom and eww there was blood in there. My womanly fears of imminent chicken death set in and, after I tossed it, I washed my hands for the first of seven times. Say it with me now: YOU WILL CERTAINLY DIE OF SALMONELLA. (Editor’s Note: You will probably not.) Inside the chicken there was a bag of innards, which I pitched right in the trash, where my sense of self is.

I sliced the lemon and the head of garlic in half.

The rubbery, fleshy chicken was dead and cold under my soft fingertips. I hated touching it. I hated submitting to it. I hated sprinkling salt into the cavity like a deranged chicken gynecologist.

There’s this cool trick though, where you slice in between the chicken thigh and breast and the leg splays out. Later, you’ll slice into that space to check if the chicken is done. Really, a cool trick.

0317 ba basics lemon garlic roasted chicken 1

Photo by Alex Lau

Just a little slicey-slice through the skin that connects the leg and the breast.

Once the whole bird is covered in salt, into the cast iron she went, tits up, with the lemons and garlic face down. The melted butter goes all over, and I had to touch the rubbery dead flesh yet again.

425°, 45 minutes.

At this point, I needed to check to see if she was done. Ready for the ball, Cinderella? Thought you were a kitchen wench and now you’re a princess, did ya? Well look who’s roasting chickens now!!! Still not sure how I ended out on top here.

Christ almighty it was HEAVY. I hated how heavy it was and how much this continued to remind me of my weak biceps, my inability to command a room full of people with my booming voice. My memoir is going to be called The Feminine Critique and it’ll be a blueprint of my failings. The chicken though, was golden brown beautiful. She’d made it.

I sliced into that weird leg part yet again and the juices ran clean, bloodless, I was pretty sure of it. There was a lot of butter and chicken fat swimming around. Random stabbings with a Thermapen over the body gave me a range of numbers over 160°, so if anything, I’d overcooked it. $16 wasted, maybe. A life, wasted. Maybe two. But after a 15 minute rest, in which I fainted onto a chaise couch out of boredom and my weary disposition, I tore into the chicken and found her perfect. The once cold and postmortem flesh was now crispy and potato chippy.

First, I ate the chicken butt in one happy bite. Then I took my knife to the breast and attempted to carve it like I’d seen on YouTube but ended up with a Lizzie Borden hack job. The stuff inside was plump and juicy. Decidedly not overcooked. The lemon and garlic created an inadvertent pan sauce. I’d squeeze a piece of soft, roasted garlic out of its papery shell and eat it with a bite of chicken. I’d stop, sigh, and look out the window, thinking about cigarettes and lottery tickets and life’s lost opportunities. I think roast chicken is this antiquated metaphor for crossing some Serious Home Cook boundary, into the domestic zone. The ability to provide for one’s self, as well as for others. I did the damn thing. And it was delicious! But I’m still the same ol’ me.

How rewarding.

Get the recipe:

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https://www.bonappetit.com/story/her-first-roast-chicken

This Vegan Creamed Spinach Recipe Will Fool ALL the Dairy Lovers at the Table

These days, everyone comes to the Thanksgiving table with a dietary restriction. We bend over backwards trying to accommodate with gluten-free pies and vegan turkeys, all while trying to please our tradition-loving relatives too. (It’s just not Thanksgiving without mashed potatoes, we agree.) Rather than spending time and money on extra food, we think the best strategy is to make dishes that everyone can eat and love, like this creamed spinach with a secret omission: There’s no cream.

Healthyish Tofu Spinach 1

Photo by Alex Lau, Food Styling by Yekaterina Boytsova

So creamy and comforting, it could double as a blanket.

Dairy-free creamed spinach isn’t just possible. It’s rich, creamy, and packed with flavor. The secret? Homemade tofu cream. We promise it works: Purée some drained silken tofu in a blender and you’ll get a sauce that’s as smooth and silky as heavy cream. (Just skip the extra-firm stuff, which won’t break down nearly enough.) And because tofu and spinach aren’t exactly known for being packed with flavor, senior food editor Andy Baraghani adds brightness with sautéed ginger, chile, ginger, and scallions. These aromatics aren’t traditional Thanksgiving flavors, but they add just enough heat and layers of flavor.

This recipe has the best healthyish intentions, calling for a hefty two pounds of mature spinach—not baby spinach—which holds its shape well and has bigger crunchy stems. It will seem like an absurd amount of spinach but, as always, those leafy greens will dramatically shrink down. Add the tofu cream as soon as the spinach is wilted and bright green—not even Popeye wants overcooked spinach.

Once that sautéed spinach is bathed in a creamy sauce punched up with flavorful aromatics, it becomes a side totally deserving of a spot on a crowded Thanksgiving table. And unlike nearly everything else on the menu, this dish stays on the stovetop—so you can save the oven space for the bird. And if your cousin unexpectedly shows up with his vegan roommate in tow, or Uncle Jim forgets his lactose pills, you can get this from the kitchen to the table in ten minutes flat. Now that’s something to be grateful for.

Bring on the spinach:

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A Healthyish take on classic creamed spinach: Puréed silken tofu lends such a smooth, velvety consistency, your guests just might be fooled.

SEE RECIPE

https://www.bonappetit.com/story/vegan-creamed-spinach

The No-Fail Thanksgiving Turkey Recipe Is Here

In the Bon Appétit Test Kitchen, being assigned the Thanksgiving turkey is a big deal. It’s a right of passage, a responsibility earned with seniority. This year, Andy Baraghani got the call. “It’s an honor,” Andy told me, “like I’m nominated for an Oscar. It’s just an honor to be nominated. Well, in this case, I won the Oscar.” He started waving away tears (Andy watches a lot of Oscar speeches late at night.)

The Thanksgiving menu for 2018 focused on finding the best possible versions of classics; this wasn’t a moment to get kooky, but to get technical. And the bird was no exception. The assignment: Develop a foolproof, always-turns-out-right turkey recipe. Every element was considered to the nth degree. Golden, crackly skin. Juicy interior. Actual turkey flavor. In the end, we got this recipe from Andy, which I’ll break down one crucial point at a time. It’ll be fun, though—a real turkey ride on the way to optimal turkeytown. This is how you get there.

First, we dry brine

Andy’s recipe calls for a salt and sugar dry rub, massaged all over the bird 12 hours (or up to two days) before the big day. This is the key to a juicy, actually delicious turkey (and chicken too!). That’s because the salt pulls out the water from inside the turkey, creating some salty turkey juices (SORRY there’s no other way to say it) that, after some time hanging out in the fridge, soak back into the bird like the giant meat sponge that it is. The turkey loses a lot of water when it cooks in the oven, but the salt helps the muscles retain more moisture, meaning the turkey will stay moist-er by eating time. The salt also helps loosen up the stringy turkey muscles, making it possible for us to enjoy this thing. Beyond that, and if you like to throw around words like “osmosis,” I highly recommend reading the entirety of J. Kenji Lopez-Alt’s The Food Lab, or just this article on brining. Regardless of what is going on beneath the surface of the flesh, the salt and sugar are amplifying flavor, and the sugar helps with that Norman Rockwell golden amber color once it caramelizes in the oven.

dry rubbed turkey breast

Photo by Michael Graydon + Nikole Herriott, food styling by Rebecca Jurkevich, prop styling by Kalen Kaminski

Juicy turkey is possible, people. Let‘s make dreams happen.

Why dry is better than wet brine

Or maybe you enjoy filling a huge cooler or tub, Splash mermaid-bath-style, with salt water? It’s a pain, it’s a mess, and that bucket of brine takes up way too much real estate in the refrigerator. Plus, it ends up waterlogging the turkey and diluting the flavor.

Then we glaze

Thing we all want: a turkey with a cover-worthy sheen and golden color. Get it with Andy’s simple sweet-punchy-herby glaze made of vinegar, honey, Worcestershire sauce, rosemary, garlic, orange zest, and butter. (Can also be accomplished by covering it with butter and leaving it on your roof, Kramer-style??). You paint the glaze on every 30 minutes, which might only be two or three times because…

What you need to know about timing

The recipe is timed so that you go hard at the beginning, 450° for 30 minutes, to get some color on the skin, and then go down to 300° for 65-85 minutes (this is for a 12–14-lb turkey). This isn’t your wake-up-at-the-crack-of-dawn all-day turkey marathon recipe.

What you need to know about pans

Ring a bell or something! I have an announcement. This recipe calls for a rimmed baking sheet with a wire rack. Like this one. Without the high walls of a roasting pan, the turkey is able to get color ALL OVER, which we skin-stealers like. But yes, you can still totally do this in a regular roasting pan. (Especially if you’re the clumsy type—it’s a big, heavy turkey on a wire rack.)

dry rubbed roast turkey process

Photo by Michael Graydon + Nikole Herriott, food styling by Rebecca Jurkevich, prop styling by Kalen Kaminski

So yeah, we used a roasting pan in this photo shoot.

Pro tip: Add a cup of water in the bottom of the baking sheet to mix with the turkey juices (AGAIN, MY APOLOGIES). The water keeps the juices from burning and making the turkey taste burnt, even if it technically isn’t. Too much water will steam your turkey though, and while a turkey sauna sounds like some kind of Black Friday wellness deal, we DON’T WANT IT. Steam = soggy skin.

What you need to know about the turkey’s internal temperature

Stab the turkey with your trusty Thermapen in the thickest part of breast near the neck, and when it registers 150°, you’re done. If that sounds low, don’t be alarmed, it’s going to keep cooking outside of the oven. It’s so big, it’s become a turkey oven itself.

Rest that turkey!!!

This might be a duh for SOME of you but we gotta repeat: Let the finished bird lie there. On the cutting board, away from prying uncles and sniffy dogs. For at least 30 minutes, to an hour. This thing is an animal. The muscles tighten while cooking, and we want to be able to slice it and shove it into our faces, as animals ourselves. Let it rest to let those muscles relax, to let the inner juices (SORRY x3) redistribute. Will it cool down in that time? NO. It retains heat like an industrial sleeping bag.

Any further questions? Ask us. Seriously. Email bonappetitfoodcast@gmail and Carla Lalli Music will be answering all Thanksgiving queries on the BA Foodcast this month.

Get the recipe:

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This Kimchi Udon Recipe Is My Desert-Island Pantry Dinner

Welcome to Never Fail, a weekly column where we wax poetic about the recipes that never, ever let us down.

I recently started watching a Korean cooking show on Netflix called Chef & My Fridge, in which Korea’s top chefs have 15 minutes to cook a dish for a celebrity guest using the contents of the celebrity’s personal refrigerator (yes, they physically transport the physical refrigerator to the film studio.) In the first episode, one chef turns a package of cinnamon cookies, a block of tofu, and a bottle of soy milk into a churros-inspired dessert of fried tofu cubes in a crunchy cinnamon coating with a sweet soy milk sauce. This got me thinking: Were the Bon Appétit Test Kitchen to have its own version of this brilliant show, the undisputed master of my fridge would be senior food editor Andy Baraghani and his Kimchi Udon with Scallions.

Kimchi Udon

These ethereally simple noodles save me on the days when I’m too lazy to cook for longer than 15 minutes and too impatient to order takeout (this is a place I often find myself.) They require just eight ingredients that are in my kitchen at all times, and have no business tasting as delicious as they do given how easy they are to make. (They also feel like Andy made these just for me, based on the contents of my home refrigerator.)

Were Andy to do a quick scan of my fridge, he’d find the following ingredients: unsalted butter, kimchi, a tub of gochujang (the spicy-sweet Korean hot pepper paste), chicken broth, eggs, and a few dying scallions he would give me a whole lotta side-eye for.

chung-jung-one-gochujang

Chung Jung One

Gochujang: Your pantry needs it and doesn’t even know it.

Next, he’d check my freezer and find the huge stash of frozen noodles I always have for bulking up a bowl of soup, toss in a quick takeout-style stir-fry, or to simply eat on their own mixed with a ton of ginger-scallion sauce. I buy the fat white udon noodles that come in three-pound bags from the freezer aisle of H-Mart, though you can also find them at other Asian supermarkets. They’re pre-cooked, which means all that stands between you and a bowl of glorious noodles is the 45 seconds you need to reheating them in some boiling water. Trust me: You want to keep frozen noodles around at all times.

Here’s the real genius of this recipe: It coaxes a handful of humble pantry staples (butter, kimchi, gochujang, and chicken broth) to produce maximum flavor in minimal time. You heat up some butter in a skillet until it’s sizzling, then throw in a handful of roughly chopped kimchi and a spoonful of gochujang. As the kimchi softens and the sugar in the gochujang caramelizes in the bubbly butter, you’re hit with an incredibly potent aroma that gets even more intense when you add some rich chicken broth. In the time it takes to bring a pot of water to a boil and flash-cook the noodles, the butter and broth mixture reduces and melds together to create a sauce that is further improved by the addition of MORE BUTTER. This may seem excessive, but that little bit of extra fat is critical to creating that velvety, perfectly emulsified crimson sauce that clings to every strand of udon. Break the egg yolk with your chopsticks or fork and mix it in there for even more glossy-saucy action (a poached or fried egg would also be great.)

In keeping with “Chef & My Fridge” rules, the whole dish takes about 15 minutes to cook, which you can easily confirm by, you know, making them. Right now. Time yourself, and thank me later.

kimchi-udon-with-scallions

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