Eat, Drink & Be Merry!— Best Apps for Holiday Cooking

This article originally appeared in iPhone Life magazine. Subscribe for a print or digital subscription at iPhoneLife.com/subscribe.

There’s a good chance that when Andy Williams crooned, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year,” he wasn’t the one in charge of all of the cooking and baking. The weeks between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve are full of family dinners, cocktail parties, and a not-insignificant amount of stress. This year, leave your cookbooks on the shelf—these apps couple all the recipes you need for your favorite holiday treats with sanity-saving extras like built-in shopping lists and preparation tips.

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The mobile version of Mark Bittman’s best-selling cookbook offers plenty of recipes for holiday staples such as pumpkin pie, sweet potatoes, and dressing, but it’s more than just a cookbook. For novices, the Kitchen Basics section is like having a culinary instructor in the palm of your hand, with extensive instructions on how to roast a turkey and make gravy. The integrated grocery-list manager is also handy; with a tap, you can add all of the ingredients from the recipes you’ve chosen to a single shopping list.
 
If all you want is a classic Turkey Day menu with simple, straightforward instructions, look no further. This app doesn’t overwhelm you with a million variations on green bean casserole. Instead, it offers exactly nine recipes, with easy-to-follow directions that do everything but hold your hand. You’ll find all of your familiar comfort-food staples here: roasted turkey, apple and sage stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce, green beans, roasted sweet potatoes, and pumpkin pie, along with a brandy-and-apple punch to keep everyone in a merry mood.
 
Santa knows what’s up—when the weather outside is frightful, what’s really delightful is a plate of warm cookies and a glass of milk. This app brings together Country Living magazine’s 50 best holiday cookie recipes in one sweet collection. If you’re not a master baker, have no fear; the app also includes baking tips and decorating tricks to guide you.
 
Sweet treats are a big part of the holiday season, but for people who are gluten intolerant or have food allergies, those cakes and pies are sadly off limits. With the BabyCakes app in the palm of your hand, it doesn’t have to be that way. BabyCakes, produced by the famous New York bakery of the same name, features recipes that are gluten-free and vegan, meaning that they’re totally safe for people who avoid gluten, dairy, wheat, and eggs. In addition to recipes, the app includes videos, music, shopping lists, and a notes field for your own variations.
 
With more than a hundred recipes, this app is all you need for a delicious Hanukkah feast. It offers up traditional favorites such as latkes (both potato and Hungarian cheese varieties), rugelach, honey cake, and sweet kugel, along with preparation tips to help you create a meal to make your Bubbe proud.
 
Mixology (Free)
From warm, spiced cider to champagne punch, alcoholic drinks are an essential part of the holidays for many. With thousands of recipes to choose from, you’ll find enough seasonally inspired drinks in this free app to keep the party going from Thanksgiving to New Year’s. The nifty Liquor Cabinet feature allows you to enter all of the liquors and mixers you currently have on hand and generate a list of drinks you can make from them.


 

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Jacqui is the author of "Getting Started With The Roku for Cable Refugees" and "Turning Your PC Into a Media Server." She's a contributing expert for eHow Tech on social media and mobile technology and her work has also appeared on Salon.com and the websites of the <a href="http://www.chron.com/">Houston Chronicle</a> and <a href="http://www.sfgate.com/">The San Francisco Chronicle</a>.