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3 Super Easy Apps For Your Next Girls' Night In

Plus, one fab recipe for a cozy winter drink.

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Making Cranberry Brie Toast Bites easy appetizer for a girls night in
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It’s winter. Thanksgiving seems like it was forever ago, and yet there’s no spring light at the end of the tunnel. It’s the perfect time for a GNOI — a girls’ night out, in. It can also be an opportunity to host a book club meeting.

Invite some girlfriends over and serve the drinks and nibbles below. Dress code: PJ casual.


4 cups salted Marcona almonds in oil (drained)

3 teaspoons paprika

¼ teaspoon cayenne (add less or more depending on taste; beware — cayenne is very strong)

Pinch of Maldon sea salt

Combine all ingredients in a serving bowl.

Makes about 12 servings

Credit: Kibbitznest Books, Brews & Blarney, Wi-Fi-free book bar in Chicago


2 (8 ounce each) wheels of Brie

½ cup Justin’s Classic Almond Butter

1 cup cranberry sauce

Rosemary sprigs (for garnish)

Crackers or baguettes for dipping

Note: This recipe requires four 4-inch ramekins

Preheat oven to 350°F. Carefully slice the rind off the tops and bottoms of the Brie. Cut each wheel in half and place each in its own ramekin. Spoon two tablespoons of almond butter over the top of Brie in each ramekin. Bake 7 to 9 minutes, or until cheese is melted. Remove from oven and top each ramekin with ¼ cup cranberry sauce. Garnish with rosemary. Serve immediately with crackers or bread.

Makes about 8 servings

Credit: Justin’s


2¼ cups heat-treated all-purpose flour (instructions below)

2¼ teaspoons cornstarch

1 teaspoon baking soda

¾ teaspoon salt

1½ sticks (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature

¼ cup granulated sugar

1 cup brown sugar

⅓ cup pasteurized egg whites, at room temperature

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

In a bowl, whisk together the heat-treated flour, cornstarch, baking soda and salt. Set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed until smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes.

Add both sugars and mix on medium until light and fluffy — about 4 minutes. Use a rubber spatula to scrape the bowl. Add the egg whites and vanilla and mix until fully incorporated, about 2 minutes.

Now, add half of the flour mixture, mixing on low just until the powdery texture of the flour disappears, about 15 seconds. Immediately add the remaining flour mixture and mix until combined. Scrape the bowl and mix a final 15 seconds. Remove bowl from mixer and use a rubber spatula to fold in the chocolate chips.

For a fun presentation, serve in the bowl with a cookie scooper as the serving utensil.

Heat-treated flour

Cookie dough gets a bad rap thanks to E. coli, which many people think comes from the raw eggs. But raw flour is risky. Thankfully, it’s easy to kill any lingering bacteria with heat. You can purchase heat-treated flour at Or do it at home with the following method — you’ll need a large microwave-safe bowl, a spatula and an instant-read thermometer:

Carefully empty a bag of all-purpose flour into the bowl. Microwave on high for 30 seconds at a time, stirring well between each interval. Stir well to make sure none of the ingredient burns. Use the thermometer to test the flour in several places to make sure it has reached 165°F throughout. If you get a lower reading in one area, just stir and heat for an additional 30 seconds until it’s all ready.

Makes about 30 scoops

Credit: Kristen Tomlan, founder of DŌ, Cookie Dough Confections and author of Hello, Cookie Dough: 110 DOUGHLICIOUS CONFECTIONS to Eat, Bake & Share

And last but not least, here is a cozy winter drink that’s perfect for couch-sipping with your GFs!


2 chai teabags

4 teaspoons honey

Juice of ½ lemon

2 ounces whiskey

24 ounces boiling water

Combine all ingredients in a small teapot; gently stir. Let tea bag steep for 3 to 5 minutes before removing and pouring.

Serves 2

Credit: Kibbitznest Books, Brews & Blarney