A Trove of Treats
Easy Holiday Sugar Cookies
Our holiday roll-and-cut sugar cookies taste as great as they are easy to make. For a crisp and sturdy texture with no hint of graininess, we made superfine sugar by grinding granulated sugar briefly in the food processor, and we added small amounts of baking powder and baking soda to the dough. We skipped creaming softened butter and sugar in favor of whizzing cold butter with sugar in the food processor, which let the dough come together in just minutes. The just-made dough was cold enough to be rolled out immediately. We then chilled it after rolling. For an even, golden color; minimal browning; and a crisp, crunchy texture from edge to edge, we baked the cookies at a gentle 300 degrees on a rimless cookie sheet on the oven’s lower-middle rack.
Roast with the Most
Tuscan-Style Roast Pork with Garlic and Rosemary (Arista)
The Tuscan roast pork dish known as arista promises to turn lean, mild pork loin into a juicy roast flavored with plenty of garlic and rosemary and featuring a deeply browned crust. Yet most versions turn out dry and bland. To boost both flavor and juiciness, we salted the meat for 1 hour before cooking, using a double-butterfly technique to expose plenty of surface area and then salting both sides and rolling it back up. This technique also allowed us to maximize the distribution of the garlic and rosemary. Briefly simmering the herb-garlic mixture before spreading it over the pork tempered any raw flavors, and using plenty of oil (which we then strained off) and a nonstick skillet kept the garlic from browning, for a fresher garlic flavor.
Like an Extra-Virgin?
by Lisa McManus
The supermarket extra-virgin olive oils we tasted seven years ago were wan facsimiles of the good stuff. Most were either as bland as vegetable oil or, worse, funky, overpowering, and stale. We learned that Americans were literally getting the bottom of the barrel, and a number of more recent articles and books have pointed out a big reason why: With no meaningful U.S. standards for olive oil, lower-quality oils found a ready market here. Since then, the U.S. olive oil industry has taken steps to be more stringent.