Now’s the time for homemade gnocchi and four-layer sprinkle cake

The Perfect Cooking and Baking Projects for a Three-Day Weekend

Thomas J. Story

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Photo: Leigh Beisch; Styling: Dan Becker

This Long Weekend Is for Making Gnocchi and Braising Pork Butts

After the flurry of Valentine’s is over and the sugar rush has ended, there’s a three-day weekend waiting in the wings. It’s a great opportunity to eat out every meal, if that’s how you’re feeling, or it’s the ideal time to undertake a cooking project. I think we all know which way I lean—now’s the right time to make onion focaccia that requires a day to rise, braise a pork butt, knead some pasta, or put up a whole batch of kimchi. One of my favorite things to make is gnocchi, which really isn’t all that complicated—you just have to have the time and inclination. This recipe for butternut squash gnocchi is on my radar, showered with salty cheese. My favorite trick is to cook the pillowy little dumplings as recommended in boiling water, then pat dry and crisp in a hot pan filled with brown butter. It’s cozy, it’s fun, and you’ve got the time. Now, cook!

—Ellen Fort, food editor

Maya’s Corner

Thomas J. Story

The Case for Using This Three-Day Weekend to Make Rainbow Sprinkle Cake

Chocolates may say “I love you,” but a four-layer rainbow sprinkle cake with pink buttercream? That says, “I cherish you enough to spend two days in the kitchen perfecting this celebration-worthy dessert.” That trumps cocoa-dusted truffles in my book. This long weekend belongs to the cooking projects you never seem to have time to make, or recipes you would definitely cook if only you had an extra day. I’ll be dedicating my three-day weekend to baking something for two special people’s birthdays, and I am hard pressed to find a more appropriate project than this dessert, which you can split into a two-day process. Day One: Bake the sprinkle-filled cakes and let them cool completely. Day Two: Make the most fantastic pink buttercream frosting and assemble the cake. Frost it evenly, meticulously, and efficiently using a rotating cake stand. Finish it off with more sprinkles (hey, it’s a celebration!) and let the birthday festivities begin.

—Maya Wong, assistant editor

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Annabelle Breakey

More to read this week:

  • If you’re looking for a quick but impressive dessert to make for a last minute Valentine’s Day party, try these easy-to-make V-Day treats. (Tip: pink and red sprinkles go a long way.)

Looking for more inspiration? Head over to Sunset Recipes for our winter cooking highlights.