Sweet Treats

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Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Dan Lauria and Johnny Rabe in "A Christmas Story, the Musical" (Photo credit Carol Rosegg)

On today’s show: James Beard Award-winning food writer Melissa Clark will speak with some of the winning contributors to our Holiday Cookie Recipe Swap! We’ll hear about the musical adaptation of Jean Shepherd’s “A Christmas Story” on Broadway. Robert Garnett talks about the love life of Charles Dickens, and looks at how it influenced his fiction. Plus, the revival of Clifford Odets’ classic “Golden Boy” has received rave reviews, and we’ll speak with director Bartlett Sher and two of its stars: Tony Shaloub and Seth Numrich.

Holiday Cookie Recipe Swap 2012

Melissa Clark on what to bake for your friends and family. Share your favorite holiday cookie recipe!

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A Christmas Story, the Musical

Dan Lauria, who stars in “A Christmas Story, the Musical,” and Irwin Zwilling, Jean Shepherd’s best friend who holds the rights to his work, talk about turning story from a movie classic to a Broadway musical spectacular. Set in 1940s Indiana, Ralphie has a big imagination and one wish for Christmas—a Red Ryder® BB Gun. A kooky leg lamp, outrageous pink bunny pajamas, a cranky department store Santa, and a triple-dog-dare to lick a freezing flagpole are just a few of the obstacles that stand between Ralphie and his Christmas dream. It’s playing through December 30 at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre.

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Charles Dickens in Love

Robert Garnett discusses the author Charles Dickens and the women he loved. When Charles Dickens died in 1870, the first person named in his will turned out to be an unknown woman named Ellen Ternan, whose conspicuous presence in his will was a mystery. She was not the first woman who had fired his imagination. In Charles Dickens in Love, Garnett narrates the story of the most intense romances of Dickens’s life, and shows how his novels reveal his affections and serve as memorials to the young women he loved all too well, if not always wisely.

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Golden Boy

Director Bartlett Sher discusses Lincoln Center Theater’s 75th Anniversary production of the Clifford Odets classic “Golden Boy,” along with Seth Numrich, who plays the lead, Joe Bonaparte, and Tony Shaloub, who plays Joe’s Italian uncle. “Golden Boy” is the story of Joe Bonaparte, a young, gifted violinist who is torn between pursuing a career in music and earning big money as a prize fighter. “Golden Boy” is playing at the Belasco Theater.

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Holiday Cookie Recipe Swap Favorites

Caraway Kringles "Christmas Cookies and Candies"
Submitted by Barbara Myers

Cream: 1/4 lb butter and 1 cup sugar.
Add 1 egg, 2 tsp caraway seeds

Sift 2 cups flour, 1 1/2 tsp baking powder, 1/4 tsp salt

Alternate adding flour mix and 3 tbs brandy to above butter mix.

Chill 2+ hours.

Roll 1/8 inch.

Cut, dust with confectioner’s sugar, bake at 375 degrees about 10 minutes – until lightly browned.

Notes: Important to use fresh caraway seed (homegrown is nice) or at least not old seed. Brandy can be good cognac, Drambuie (my favorite), or Irish Mist, or your choice.

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Melissa Clark's Chestnut Honey Shortbread

Time: about 45 minutes, plus cooling


1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup white rice flour

2/3 cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted, cold butter, cut into 1-inch chunks

1 tablespoon chestnut, or other dark, full-flavored honey

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

2. Pulse together the flours, sugar, and salt in a food processor. Add the butter and honey and pulse to fine crumbs. Pulse a few more times until some of the crumbs start to come together, but don’t overprocess. The dough should not be smooth.

3. Press the dough into an even layer in an ungreased 8- or 9-inch square baking pan or 9-inch pie pan. Prick the dough all over with a fork. Bake until golden brown, about 35 to 40 minutes for the 9-inch pan, 45 to 50 minutes for the 8-inch. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Cut into squares, bars, or wedges while still warm. 

Makes one 8- or 9-inch shortbread.

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