Snack by Design

The Best Panettone in the World

No! I do not like bread that is naturally sweet or bread with candied anything, nuts or fruit. There, I said the blasphemous no word torward a beloved holiday food like, well, panettone. 

For those who don’t know what panettone is I’ll give you a little information.  It’s a traditional Italian sweet bread that originated in Milan.  It’s made with any number of candied fruit, citron, raisins and citrus zest; namely lemon or orange.  It’s tall, light and in some instances extremely fluffy.  What’s not to like?  

And that’s where Williams-Sonoma comes into my story. 

Now I’m not one to overly exclaim how much I like a certain space, but I really do love Williams-Sonoma (and don’t forget the s at the end of Williams).  I’ve had a lot of firsts there like; teaching a cooking class, buying my first box of Maldon salt and most importantly having my very first taste of a sweet bread called panettone.

This is your first look at the best panettone in the world! 


I must have been going through a weird, I want to try everything chestnut stage, during holiday shopping one year.  I stepped into the store and they had samples out for a taste.  And I did just that.  OMG!  I went back for more. Then bought not one but two cannisters of this delectible sweet bread.  Then I walked out of the store and told everyone I knew about it. 

Now, it’s my go-to holiday party, house, family and just because gift. 

According to the labeling on the cannister that carries the panettone it is made by, Pasticceria Scarpato.  However, don’t go tryin’ to “get it a little cheaper” by going to the source (Ok, true confession: I’ve tried.) Because you won’t find it easily accessible as it’s made exclusively for Williams-Sonama.  

Here’s my advice: buy it ON-LINE.  Or if you really love the holiday mall shopping experience, RUN to a retail store. Don’t dwadle because they do sell-out.

Like I said, I’ve always been a no person to a sweet bread.  Let’s just say that this panettone has given me a new perspective on the tradition of a holiday sweet bread.

The scent is what first hits you when you open the red cannister; lightly toasted caramel.  The bread is soft and feathery with copious amounts of glazed chestnuts sprinkled throughout.  It’s THE delectible holiday treat.  And why I think it’s the best panettone in the world.  

Thank you Williams-Sonoma.


Friday Food Find: A (My) Perfect PB&J & Dad's Lunches

There’s no denying it.  I love a peanut butter and jelly sammich!  And if I’m going to indulge it better be pretty darn close to perfect. 

I’m not sure when my little  pb&j love affair began.  But it’s safe to say that it probably all started around the time when my Dad began making lunches for my sisters and me. 

While my Mom worked the daytime shift as an RN at the hospital, Dad was going to graduate school and taking care of us kids.  And did he have a lunchtime repertoire.  It went like this: 1/2 peanut butter and jelly sandwich (grape jelly), cottage cheese and a 1/4 pickle.  Sometimes he’d shake it up a bit and we’d have fruit, cheese or even a fried egg sandwhich w/ mayo.  

Dad would bring our small plates of food out to the living room. And we’d have a picinic while watching “Let’s Make a Deal”.

Now that’s a food memory. 

So, today I find myself thinking about that memory all the while making one of my favorite sandwiches: a (well, my) perfect PB&J.  It’s all about perception and taste - right? And for me a craving of a delish flavor dynamic & texture that can’t be beat.  Here it is.


2 pieces of your favorite bread (I used a sprouted wheat bread. A nod to healthy eating.)
2Tbls of your favorite peanut butter (I use only Peter Pan)
1 1/2Tbls of jelly or jam ( I use only Smuckers Grape)

Process & Pictures

Place one of your two pieces of bread on a plate.  Slather your peanut butter side to side & edge to edge; like icing a cake.  On top of the peanut butter spoon jelly or jam in the center.  With a knife or small off-set spatula begin spreading the jelly as you did the peanut butter while gently bring the two ingredients slightly together.  Lick the knife or spatula of remaining pb&j, set aside and place second piece of bread over the first.  Align all sides.  Cut down the center for two even halves.  Eat immediately with abandon & joy! 

p.s. I’ve published this blog on Thursday because of the ACL Music Festival this weekend. Mike (hubby) are there all 3 days.  OMG!

Fall = Oranges & Chocolate

My friends from Salazon Chocolate Co. asked me to write a recipe for them. When I said YES (notice the caps) they sent me some chocolate.

I said yes because I really love chocolate and I’m a sucker for a new brand. So, while walking through Whole Foods Market their bars caught my eye.

It’s marketed to the outdoors person such as a hiker or backpacker; someone who needs a little extra energy after a long journey. There are several to choose from like 72% Organic Dark Chocolate with Sea Salt & Organic Cayenne and the one I’m using for this recipe:

Organic Dark Chocolate with Sea Salt & Organic Turbinado Cane Sugar. 

This recipe is one that I’ve been using for years. One which came out of my love for Spain and tapas. It combines traditional Spanish flavors and makes for a light snack or dessert after a Fall meal.

Here’s the recipe:


1 large orange, seedless
1 Tbls of cinnamon
1 bar, Salazon Chocolate (Dark Chocolate w/Sea Salt & Organic Turbinado Cane Sugar) 


Slice orange in half between stem & bottom. 
Slice each half. You now have 4 quarters.
Slice each quarter into ¼- ½” slices.
Arrange orange slices on a platter. Sprinkle cinnamon down the center of each orange slice. Break off pieces of the chocolate bar. Serve immediately.

Yields up to 4 servings; 2 oranges slices per person & several pieces of chocolate.

Superbowl Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

In my senior year of high school I got this wild baking idea: I would make chocolate chip cookies for the varsity football team during their playing season.

Every Thursday evening after our family’s supper I would gather all my ingredients in preparation for an evening of baking.  Then I’d painstakingly cream butter and sugar together, add the eggs and vanilla, sift dry ingredients then combine all these ingredients together - by hand.  Gently I would drop spoonfuls of dough onto baking sheets and spend what seemed like hours baking.  After they came out of the oven I would set them on racks to cool. Then I would count them out by the dozen placing them in perfectly even rows.  

Not one family member was to touch them until I knew the end count.  

Finally, I would  dole them out into bags.  When Friday morning arrived I’d proudly take those bags to school and hand them out to “my” team.  

My well intentioned weekly project got the better of me when finally after several games one of the guys came up to me and said, “Beth, we love you and the cookies you make for us but we can’t eat them before or after the game because it might make us sick.”

So, with a bittersweet memory and the craving for sugar and chocolate I give you a fail safe recipe for the best Super Bowl Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie.

Here’s to the end of football season but not my cookie making pleasure! 


1 stick + 6 Tbls of unsalted butter, soften to room temperature
3/4 C Turbinado or Raw Cane sugar
1/2 C granulated sugar
3 large eggs - whole
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 C all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
1/2 tsp ginger powder
3/4 tsp kosher salt
3 C old fashioned oats
2 C chocolate chips


Pre-heat oven 350F

Cream butter and sugar together in a large bowl.

Add eggs, vanilla and stir to incorporate all ingredients. It does not have to be perfectly smooth. However, I used a whisk which helps break up the bigger pieces of butter and or sugar.

In a separate bowl sift together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger and salt. Then gently add into liquid mixture and stir to combine.

With a spatula scrape the inside of the bowl to incorporate all the flour mixture into the liquid. Once thoroughly mixed add your old fashioned oats and chocolate.  Fold all ingredients into the other.

Using a 2” wide ice-cream scoop, fill it with dough and level the top off.  Place measured dough onto a parchment papered half baking sheet; 2 rows of 3.

Place into the preheated oven, center of the middle shelf and bake for 12 minutes.  Open oven, rotate sheet once (back to front), close oven and bake for 5 minutes.  Take cookies out of oven, set aside to cool.  Repeat until the cookie dough is gone.

Eat with abandon! 

Yields 21 - 3 1/4” cookies.


*I used 60% cocoa bittersweet chocolate.  It lends a more distinctive intense chocolate flavor to the cookie itself.

*Since these chocolate chips were larger I did a quick chop to make them go further.

*Notice (see pictures above) how I used 3 different tools to mix; wooden spoon, whisk and spatula.  I DID make this batch of cookies by hand and I wanted to show you the progression of mixing tools which was contigent on how I had to mix and what would work best as the mixture progressed.  Obviously you can use a standing mixer like a KitchenAid. It does make life easier.

* I took some major liberties by adding & exchanging some ingredients.  And you can too! I did follow the basic oatmeal cookie recipe you’ll find on the inside top of the Quaker Oats Oatmeal container.