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Master Class

Chefanie's Stephanie Nass on Holiday Cooking & Entertaining

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What do you get when you combine a love of all things culinary and serious cooking know-how with entrepreneurial mettle, plus a dash of ambition and creative drive? You're looking at her. 

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Meet New Yorker Stephanie Nass, a.k.a. Chefanie. Since bursting onto the scene in 2014 with the launch of Victory Club, a modern supper club of sorts for young professionals, Nass has expanded her business to include everything from full-service catering to a shop of fun kitchen and entertaining accessories, all under the umbrella name Chefanie, which—fun fact—is a childhood nickname given to her by her brother. We’re talking embroidered cocktail napkins, printed ceramic straws, sculptural candles, pretty linens, patterned aprons, even blini- and farfalle-shaped earrings. And then there’s her brilliant line of Chefanie Sheets, decorative edible "sheets" for pastry making—picture chic wrapping paper but for cakes and other sweets. We think of it as the ultimate dessert hack. 

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Here, we chat one-on-one with Nass, who shares her tips for the holiday season—and a recipe too. And to shop her Chefanie collection head on over to our gift guide… 

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The List

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Top Hostess Hacks

1. Define a Color palette
This will create cohesion from the invitation to the table to the menu to the dessert.

2. Use Candlelight
Candles at different heights across the table make your guests look their best, and they add a sense of occasion.

3. Personalize Elements for Each Guest
So they know how much they were thought of and how much their presence means. This could be as simple as a handwritten place card or as unusual as a embroidered napkin.

Must-Serve Dishes (a.k.a. The Guaranteed Crowd Pleasers)

1. Cheeseboard—a smattering of cheeses, meats, nuts, fruits, dried fruits, and chocolates from which guests can snack. In the golden olden days (pre-Covid), we would create enormous, colorful grazing tables. Now, when catering, we serve individual cheese plates or jars to be Covid-safe.

2. Patterned cakes to match the tablecloth, wallpaper, etc.

3. Geode cookies (recipe below!)

Above: Chefanie's Red Poppy tablecloth and napkins, available at the in-store VB Holiday Bazaar; top: candles, ceramic straws, glassware and earrings, available at Chefanie.com

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Must-Read Cookbooks

1. Cooking 1-2-3 by Rozanne Gold
Rozanne is a James Beard-award winning chef, who, in her early thirties, cooked at Windows on the World and Gracie Mansion. This book makes things extra simple with only three ingredients in each recipe.

2. The Food Lab by Kenji Lopez-Alt
Kenji takes a methodical approach to testing recipes (he tried over 100 experiments to get to his perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe), and the proof is in the pudding. I reference this cookbook often—the recipes are great, and he outlines the chemistry of temperatures, times, and ingredients.

3. The Book of Jewish Food by Claudia Roden
Claudia is the most cosmopolitan, Cairo-born cookbook writer. When I first read this book, I learned about history, language, and cooking. The orange cake is so succulent—definitely my favorite.

4. Anything by Ottolenghi
All the recipes I've tried in Ottolenghi's books are delicious.

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Stephanie's Must-Give Gifts

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1. Merino Donna Shearling Gloves — for my mother!
2. Our Yiddish Cocktail Napkins — for my grandfather! My zeyde…
3. Gillian Slide Slipper — for my best friend
4. Dear Annabelle Tags — to attach on all the gifts

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Recipe: Geode Cookies

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Nass' geode cookies and Oy Vey Yiddish cocktail napkins

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Ingredients

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For the dough:
1 3/4 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
14 tbsp unsalted butter
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar (moist)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 large egg plus 1 large yolk
1 1/4 cups semisweet chocolate chips or chunks

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For the buttercream frosting:
4 cup confectioner's sugar
1 stick softened butter
1/2 cup heavy cream

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Directions

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1. To make the chocolate chip dough, head to my tried-and-true recipe here.
2. Place chunks of that chocolate chip dough on a lined baking sheet in the freezer.
3. When the chunks are cold and firm, bake in oven at 400° F until golden brown.
Once baked, let cool.
4. Frost the cookies entirely with white buttercream frosting (mixture of 4 c confectioner's sugar, 1 stick softened butter, and 1/2 c heavy cream).
5. Spray the edges of the frosted cookies with an edible gold spray.
6. In the center of the cookie, place some colored rock candy, and around the colored rock candy, place clear rock candy. Leave the golden edges visible.
7. In the center of the colored rock candy, drip some drops of food coloring (in the same color as the colored rock candy).
8. Enjoy with a Chefanie cocktail napkin.

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Shop the Looks

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Discover More on VB Edit

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