ALMOND CROISSANT RECIPE || the best possible way to end, or start a year

photo by Yunhee Kim

On the morning we brought Greta home from the hospital, November 4, 2010, we went straight to our neighborhood bakery, Astor Bake Shop. I know, lots of mothers don't leave the house with their newborns until they are solidly three months old, but I was not only very hungry, but way too excited to sit at home (don't worry, she's as healthy as an ox).  

I remember everything about that day: how teeny Greta was, all 7 pounds of her, in her fleecy white coat, curled into my chest; the way everyone at the bakery pointed and stared (look, a brand newborn); the way the air felt, cool and sweet and full of possibility; and, every enormously delicious morsel of my almond croissant – the first real food I had eaten for nearly 48 hours. 

If you've never had the pleasure of enjoying an almond croissant, here's what you should know: they’re like manna from heaven. Though almond croissants are generally a pastry chef's trick to make day-old-croissants new again (split the croissant, spread it with almond crème and bake until golden brown and intoxicatingly fragrant), they're always my number one pick in a pastry counter. I can think of no greater food with which to end, or start, a brand new year.

A good or even amazing almond croissant is easy to come by in Paris or New York, but elsewhere, say, in the tiny upstate New York town where we're spending our New Years, you have to make your own. Believe me, it is well worth the tiny effort.

Here’s my recipe, bar none one of my favorites from Feast (p.s. if you don't have croissants, this works on day-old bread, too).


1 recipe almond cream (see below)
6 day-old croissants, halved crosswise
Skin-on sliced almonds, for sprinkling
Powdered sugar, for serving

Preheat the oven to 375°F/190°C. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Divide all but 1/3 cup/75 ml of the almond cream over the bottom halves of the croissants. Cover with the top halves, using your hand to flatten the croissants just slightly. Spread more almond cream over the top of the croissants with an offset spatula, leaving some of the edges bare. Sprinkle with almonds. 

Bake on the prepared baking sheet until the cream is cooked through and the top is golden brown, about 20 minutes, covering the top with foil if needed to prevent overbrowning. Dust generously with powdered sugar. Serve warm or at room temperature.

ALMOND CREAM | aka frangipane 

Almond cream, or frangipane, is a sweetened ground-almond or almond flour base for desserts, pies, tarts, and more.

1/2 cup unsalted room-temperature butter
1/2 cup unbleached sugar 
1 cup ground almonds or almond flour
1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons oat flour or all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt 

Cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add ground almonds or almond flour and beat together. Add in the egg and egg yolk, one at a time, and then the vanilla extract. Stir in the flour and sea salt, scraping the bottom for any dry or unmixed bits, until the mixture is evenly fluffy and smooth. 

Store in a container with an airtight lid in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. (Makes enough for 6 croissants or 6 almond toasts)

REPRINTED WITH PERMISSION FROM Feast: Generous Vegetarian Meals for Any Eater and Every Appetite 


Sundays || Swedish Pancakes

Let’s get one thing out of the way first: Is there anything cuter than a toddler in long johns? Where we’ve been for the last week or so—in upstate New York and then in my hometown, Rockford, IL, it’s snowed for days on end, so Greta has practically lived in hers (you can buy these cute polka dot numbers here). As useful as long johns are under snow pants, paired with an apron, they also make a great post-snow-romp pancake-making uniform. 

These days in our house, there's only one kind of pancake: Swedish pancakes. In Rockford, where every third person is a Johnson, Swanson or Larson, Swedish pancakes are near-obligatory weekend fare. We ate them every Sunday after church for as long as I can remember, tucked into a booth at Stockholm Inn where my dad would make the rounds from table to table, visiting all his patients (mostly Johnsons, Swansons and Larsson) while we waited for our short stacks served with ligonberries, hash browns and a side of poached eggs. 

Back in New York, where we are today, there is no Stockholm Inn. Since András Swedish pancake devotion treads on dissidence (after all, Hungarians have their own beloved palicsinta), Greta and I rely on the recipe Paul Norman contributed to my third-grade-class cookbook many moons ago (thank you Paul, wherever you are). A slightly tweaked version appeared in my new cookbook, Feast, and has inspired our post snow-romp, pre-church Swedish pancake fever three weeks running. We can’t stop. 

Expect more reasons to don long johns and aprons yourself later this week (hint: almond croissants), but for now, happy Sunday.  


2 cups/480 ml milk
3 eggs
5 tablespoons/75 ml melted butter, plus for cooking
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Pinch fine sea salt
1 cup/125 g sifted all purpose flour

Combine milk, eggs, melted butter, vanilla and salt in a blender and pulse until smooth. Add the flour, a little at a time and blend to a smooth batter, about the consistency of heavy cream.

Preheat a crepe pan or a flat griddle pan over medium heat. (When the water dropped onto the griddle sizzles, it is ready). Brush the griddle lightly with butter.

Pour the batter into thin pancakes, twirling a crepe pan to coat with a thin layer of batter (or, if you’re using a griddle pan, use an offset spatula to quickly smooth into a thin, even layer). Cook until the batter turns dull and slightly brown on one side, about 3 minutes. Use a fork or the offset spatula to roll each pancake into a cylinder and transfer to the plate to hold. (if you prefer, let the rolled pancakes sit on the griddle to brown slightly on both sides before removing to a plate). Serve warm with butter and maple syrup, or lingonberry jam.

Swedish pancakes can be round, if you have a non-stick or cast-iron crepe pan with a thin lip, or square, if you’re using a flat grill pan. What’s important is to use a well-seasoned, non stick pan since these tear easily (unlike French crepes, which can often be flipped without tearing).


Feast || Roasted Kale, Broccolini and Chickpea Salad with Ricotta

photo by karen mordechai
If you really want to make a friend, go to someone's house and eat with him. the people who give you their food given you their heart. | Cesar Chavez. 

Whenever people learn that I'm a professionally-trained cook, the first thing they ask, almost always, is "what's your specialty?" Until fairly recently, I might have said something like healthful, indulgent, French-Italian-inspired farm-to-table fare. But probably my biggest specialty of all is fast. And, easy. Because life is always full to the brim, there's very little time for fussy technique in my kitchen, even, or perhaps especially when I'm entertaining, when fussy cooking would be too big a distraction from the wonderful people around me. 

Enter this salad: crispy broiled chickpeas, kale and broccolini (the skinny, fast-cooking cousin of broccoli) topped with luscious dollops of ricotta. It's both easy and inspiring, and a befitting  starting point to a meal celebrating my new book, at Sunday Suppers, the beautiful dinner (and photography!) studio of my friend Karen Mordechai

Because all the magic happens in the oven under the broiler, this is a salad you can make while talking, pouring wine, setting the table or, say, making friends with the 20 wonderful, gracious guests we had Sunday night. I hope to see them all again. In the meantime, here's the salad recipe, for your next feast. 


1 bunch broccolini, or broccoli, cut into long florets
1 bunch Tuscan or Lacinato kale, stemmed (if large) and torn
1½ cups/240 g cooked chickpeas (see below) or canned, drained
1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
¼ cup/60 ml extra-virgin olive oil, plus for drizzling
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
pinch red pepper flakes
1 lemon, cut into wedges
8 oz/250 g fresh ricotta cheese

Preheat the broiler to high. Toss the broccolini, kale, chickpeas, and garlic with the olive oil. Season lightly with sea salt, pepper and a pinch of red pepper flakes and divide between two rimmed baking sheets. Broil each sheet, tossing halfway through cooking, until the kale is crispy and the broccoli just tender and charred but still bright green, about 5 minutes, rotating the trays top to bottom if two don’t fit side by side in your oven. Squeeze the juice from two lemon wedges all over the top and toss together.

Divide between two to four small plates and top each with a dollop of ricotta. Sprinkle the ricotta with black pepper and drizzle each plate with oil. Serve warm or at room temperature.


Start with one 1-lb/455-g bag dried chickpeas and soak them in water overnight in a medium soup pan or saucepan. The next day, bring them to a boil and skim off the white foam after 5 minutes of cooking. Drain, rinse, and return them to the pot. Cover with 4 cups/960 ml fresh water and throw in carrot, celery, onion, parsnip, thyme and bay leaf for extra flavor. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce to a simmer, add ¾ tsp salt, and cook until completely tender, about 45 minutes. Drain, reserv­ing 1 cup/240 ml of the cooking liquid for prepa­rations like Hummus. You should have about 6 cups/985 g of cooked chickpeas. 

REPRINTED WITH PERMISSION FROM Feast: Generous Vegetarian Meals for Any Eater and Every Appetite 

p.s. the Chavez quote, above,  appears on a beautiful screen-printed banner in the Sunday Suppers studio, which you can buy for yourself, here.


a sunday supper feast

i spent this past sunday back at one of my favorite places in all of nyc, the sunday supper studio
cooking a vegetarian feast from my new book
we started with my favorite ever easy, elegant salad: 
Roasted Broccolini, Chickpea and Kale Salad with Ricotta 
(recipe coming)
see our whole menu, here

the beautiful table + floral installation by fox fodder farm

gorgeous rainbow chard from good eggs  

i added carrot, celery, onion (hidden under the pile of chickpeas), 
parsnips + bay leaf 
to chickpeas before cooking them. 
those parsnips were so delicious.

karen welcomed guests with fat, soft 
pretzels from pelzers pretzels (of philadelphia fame) + mustard. 
i can't stop thinking about these. 

some of our guests and now, new friends. 
my favorite quote of the night: 
"i have never eaten a plateful of vegetables so fast!" 

karen had a few quince on the countertop, which we added to our grand finale: 
my pear frangipane tarts. 
(recipe coming, so, so good.)

the end. 

more photos, details and recipes coming tomorrow! 


pastry shop almond chocolate chip cookies

Photo by Yunhee Kim 

It’s never good to lie to your children. But, when you have an 11-pound box of chocolate pistoles and a three-year-old in the same room, you better be prepared to fudge the truth a little. When Greta asked me what the not-so-inconspicuous (okay, enormous) glass jar on the counter was filled with, I said buttons. Which wasn’t entirely false.

Pistoles are the chocolate disks that pastry chefs rely on as a quick melting chocolate. They really do look like buttons, and at the time of my tiny untruth, I might have actually believed that pistoles meant button in French (Google has since set me straight: button is bouton). 

Pistoles' uniform size and shape help them to melt consistently, eliminating the need for chopping chocolate from bars and blocks. I got hooked on them during my restaurant days; they sustained me on the afternoons when I couldn’t stomach, say, tripe stew another day for staff lunch. Once I discovered you could buy them online and keep them at home, too, I never looked back. I do sometimes use them as melting chocolate, but I think they’re best employed as the ultimate chocolate chip.

I’ve said many times before there are a lot of bad cookies out there. There’s no reason for it. Cookies are easy. Cookies are your moment to shine, no matter how unaccomplished you deem yourself to be at baking. They're your opportunity to play like a pastry chef and make something really worthy of the beautiful glass cases that lure us through pastry shop windows. That is the inspiration behind this, my latest chocolate chip cookie endeavor (here’s my former one): a chunky, chubby chocolate-laced mouthful.

So about that little fib: András, a more righteous soul than I, caught me in the lie, confessed the truth to Greta, and she’s been asking for “one chocolate button” in her lunchbox ever since. But here’s the good news: one chocolate pistoles is pretty harmless—a perfect little treat, a treasure, a token easily given without much backlash.  And, even better news: when they’re right there on the counter every day (all 11 pounds of them), they do kind of loose their tempting charm. Except, of course, in these cookies, when they are oozy and mysterious. They are the kind of thing that cause you to pause and say “what is that chocolate chip?” That’s your cue to explain, it’s not a chip at all, but a button—a lush, decadent little buton chocolat.

Pst. Here’s where I buy mine.


¹⁄₃ cup/45 g skin-on almonds (see Cook’s Note, below)
2¼ cups/280 g whole-wheat white flour
¾ tsp baking soda
¾ tsp fine sea salt
1 cup/225 g unsalted butter, at room temperature
¾ cup/155 g firmly packed dark brown sugar
¾ cup/155 g unbleached raw sugar
4 egg yolks, at room temperature, plus 1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
9 oz/255 g high-quality bittersweet chocolate pistoles, chopped bittersweet chocolate, or large chips

Preheat the oven to 375°F/190°C/gas 5. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.

Pulse the almonds in a food processor, stopping when the almonds are still coarse, with some powdery bits.

Whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. Beat together the butter and both sugars in a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in the egg yolks, two at a time, followed by the vanilla. Add the flour mixture and beat until it just comes together, scraping down the bowl as needed to make sure the butter is evenly incorporated. Give the dough a final mix with a mixer or by hand.

Divide the dough in half in the bowl (like splitting the Red Sea). Pour in half of the chocolate and half of the ground almonds and give the dough a few strokes with a wooden spoon to marble and streak the almonds and chocolate in. Add the remaining chocolate and all but 2 to 3 tbsp of the ground almonds. Fold in loosely, but don’t mix in completely, so that visible streaks of ground almonds remain throughout the dough.

Scoop a heaping 1 tbsp of dough and place on a prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining dough, leaving about 3 in/7.5 cm between cookies, until both baking sheets are full. Brush each cookie with beaten egg, then sprinkle with ground almonds. Bake until the cookies are set and golden around the edges, but still soft in the center, about 10 minutes, switching the baking sheets between the top and bottom racks halfway through cooking.

Let the cookies cool slightly on the baking sheet, about 2 minutes. Transfer the cookies with a thin spatula to a wire rack to cool, or just slide the parchment paper with the cookies directly onto the wire rack. Let the baking sheets cool completely before using to bake the remaining dough, lining with more parchment paper if needed. Serve while the oozing chocolate layers are still warm. Store in an airtight container for up to 2 days.
COOK’S NOTE. You can buy almond meal or almond flour in specialty stores, but to add tex­ture to this cookie, I like to make my own chunkier version from ground skin-on almonds.

photo by Yunhee Kim

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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.