roasted chestnuts + a very merry day to be alive

the world didn't end today. In fact instead, my happy things happened. People flew home to see their families. My parents celebrated their 44th wedding anniversary. Lots of little babes sat on Santa's lap and others sang Christmas carols in the choir, their cherub voices drowning out the noise of hate or loss. To celebrate, we're lighting a fire and roasting a batch of chestnuts, and getting right into the Christmas mood. I was about to tell you how, but Bon Appetit covered that for me this month {see their recipe here} which means more time to quiet my mind and enjoy being here....

In the days ahead, I hope you have the chance to really live, to be in every moment with every one you dearly love. Merry, merry Christmas.



Fig, Oatmeal and Chocolate Cookies + Lingonberry Thumbprints

This November, in the weeks and days before I started my new job at Real Simple, I clung to the things I knew Id no longer be able to do on a whim in the middle of the week: take my baby girl to toddler Yoga, linger with my camera and the dreamy light that hits our studio kitchen before noon, and bake anything I fancied at a given moment, like these cookies—holiday cookies I banked in the form of dough in my fridge so that on these busy first days of December I could still treat friends and neighbors to an oozy hot oatmeal chocolate fig cookie if they happened to stop by.

We still have 6 solid days left to bake before Christmas, and another week to indulge before the New Year, so I suggest you do. Bake these two beauties {Fig, Oatmeal and Chocolate Cookies and Lingonberry Thumbprints} in generous batches to have at the ready for the days ahead. Theyre worth it. 

Warm Fig, Oatmeal and Chocolate Cookies

Characteristics: Chewy, subtly sweet, chunky, chocolaty
In A Word: A Mouthful
Origins: A pantry-based baking frenzy during hurricane Sandy

1 cup thinly sliced dried figs 
2 sticks butter, softened
¾ cup dark brown sugar
1/3 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/3 cup natural applesauce
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 ½ cups whole wheat white flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
3 cups old fashioned rolled oats or barley
1 cup chopped bittersweet chocolate or chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees, on convection setting if available. Pour 1/2 cup boiling water over the figs, cover and set aside to plump, 15 minutes. Drain. 

Meanwhile, beat together the butter and sugars in the bowl of an electric mixer on medium high until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, and the applesauce and vanilla. Beat.

In a separate bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Stir into the dough until just combined. Stir in the oats, plumped figs and chocolate pieces with a wooden spoon.

Scoop the dough in 1-heaping tablespoon sized portions.* Arrange onto cookie sheets leaving plenty of space between cookies.

Bake until just cooked through and golden brown on the outside, 8 to 10 minutes, depending on your oven. Serve warm, or cool completely and store in an airtight container for up to three days.

makes 2 to 3 dozen cookies


Buttery Lingonberry Thumbprints

Inspired By: Swedish Pancakes with Lingonberries
Most Lovable Quality: Butter
The Big Surprise: Shortbread is nutty and still addictive when made with part whole-wheat flour

1 cup cake flour
3/4 cups whole wheat white flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup organic sugar
1 large egg
1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
1/3 cup lingonberry jam

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Beat together the butter and sugars in the bowl of an electric mixer on medium high until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla bean seeds. Beat. In a separate bowl, stir together the flours, baking powder and salt. Stir into the dough until just combined.

Scoop the dough in 1 tablespoon sized portions and roll into a ball.* Arrange onto parchment-lined cookie sheets leaving plenty of space between cookies. Press your thumb into the center of each to make a well and fill with a heaping ½ teaspoon of lingonberry jam.

Bake until just cooked through and pale golden around the edges, about 15 minutes, depending on your oven. Remove and cool completely. Serve or store in an airtight container for up to three days. 

makes 2 1/2 dozen cookies

*these doughs can be made, portioned, wrapped tightly and refrigerated for up to 5 days or frozen for 2 weeks. Bring to room temperature before baking.  

Photos and Recipes © Sarah Copeland 2013
Please credit source when using on Pinterest. All other uses require permission via email.


one splendid squash + a prayer for peace

I've always said, never underestimate the ability of a humble squash to feed a family. Growing up, one of my favorite meals was mom's baked squash, stuffed with sweet and spicy sausage and a sprinkling of brown sugar. We'd each get an oozing warm half, or a quarter (for the littler ones) drizzled with the buttery brown-sugar goodness that had collected in the bottom of the roasting pan. It was steady and sure, both the meal and the feeling I had after eating it, surrounded by my siblings and parents at the family table.

I intended to write you about this habit I have of buying a pretty squash on every trip to the market, particularly when I know we'll be going away. It keeps well on the counter, and waits for our return, a promised sure-thing dinner when we return from a weekend or even a week away. I planned to write to you about the style of simple sure-thing cooking I've come to rely on the last two weeks, working outside the house again as Food Director at Real Simple magazine. I thought I might convince you of the splendor such simple foods can translate into when you give them a little love and care. But right now, squash doesn't seem to be quite enough of a steady and sure thing for the times we're living in.

Tonight, far, far too many families are sitting around a table with an enormous part of their world and their hearts missing. I can't express enough sorrow or sadness, can't begin to comprehend the future for these families. All I can offer is prayer, and a wish that each of us take every opportunity to continue to love, cherish and nurture the beloved ones we have the great privilege of sitting among tonight.

God bless and keep us, every one.


{inspired by....} persimmon

I've always been fascinated by persimmons, perhaps because I didn't grow up with them. I love their fleshy, floral vibe but I still haven't quite mastered how to make them shine. Have you? Do share, please?
My photo
New York City, United States
Sarah Copeland is a food and lifestyle expert, and the author of Feast: Generous Vegetarian Meals for Any Eater and Every Appetite, and The Newlywed Cookbook. She is the Food Director at Real Simple magazine, and has appeared in numerous national publications including Saveur, Health, Fitness, Shape, Martha Stewart Living and Food & Wine magazines. As a passionate gardener, Sarah's Edible Living philosophy aims to inspire good living through growing, cooking and enjoying delicious, irresistible whole foods. She thrives on homegrown veggies, stinky cheese and chocolate cake. Sarah lives in New York with her husband and their young daughter.