Candy cane chocolate chip cookies recipe by Claire Ptak | Christmas food and drink

When I was at university, I spent my summers as the baker on a Wyoming dude ranch called the HF Bar. The focus was mainly cowboy cakes and fruit pies. Every dessert was offered a la mode.

The ice-cream freezer we had housed only four large 5-gallon tubs of ice-cream so we stocked it with vanilla, chocolate, strawberry and mint choc chip, the classics. Occasionally, the mint choc chip was out of stock and they would send a peppermint stick, a peppermint ice-cream with crushed candy can be churned through, as a replacement. I loved it so much, even though it seemed like the wrong time of year to be eating it. It inspired these cookies, which are perfect for the Christmas table or for gifts. They would also make wonderful ice-cream sandwiches with peppermint sticks, mint choc chips, or even chocolate ice-cream.

make about 12 large cookies
unsalted butter 125gsoftened
caster sugar 125g
fine sea salt ½ tsp
eggs 1
peppermint extract ½ tsp
plain flour 180g
baking powder ¾ tsp
dark chocolate 150gbroken into pieces
candy canes 150gbroken into pieces
flaked sea salt 1 tspto sprinkle on top

In an electric mixer beat together the softened butter and the sugar until creamy. You don’t want it to be as light and fluffy as you do for a cake, so don’t beat it for too long. Scrape down the sides and add the fine sea salt, egg and peppermint extract. Mix again until smooth.

In

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River North restaurants cut hours more than any area in US during COVID: survey

Restaurants in River North cut their operating hours more during the COVID-19 pandemic than restaurants in any other part of the country, according to a new survey.

Some restaurants have stopped serving lunch altogether. Some restaurants are now closed several days a week to remain profitable.

On average, River North restaurants in the 60654 ZIP code cut 20.2 hours per week between October 2019 and October 2022, according to an analysis by Datassential, a Chicago-based firm.

That figure massively outpaces the national average drop of 6.4 hours per week over the same period, the analysis shows.

In terms of operating hours cut, New York City has 12 of the top 15 ZIP codes — but the River North was higher than any of them, taking the top spot.

But why were River North restaurants the most vulnerable?

Restaurant owners point to several factors: inflation, a persistent lack of workers, changing consumer habits. But the biggest issue may be workers’ sluggish return to downtown.

“River North got hit the hardest because it was so close to the financial district — but it never really brought people back to work,” said Sam Sanchez, CEO of Third Coast Hospitality.

Sanchez hasn’t held lunch service at his two River North restaurants, Tree House Chicago and Moe’s Cantina, since COVID hit.

Moe's Cantina, 155 W. Kinzie St.

Moe’s Cantina, 155 W. Kinzie St.

Sanchez said he’d go out of business if he didn’t cut those lunch hours, since labor made up so much of his operating costs. And he hasn’t seen

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Dry pet food may be more environmentally friendly than wet food

Pet owners may have a new reason to reach for the kibble.

Dry cat and dog food tends to be better for the environment than wet food, veterinary nutritionist Vivian Pedrinelli of the University of São Paulo in Brazil and colleagues report. Their analysis of more than 900 hundred pet diets shows that nearly 90 percent of the calories in wet chow come from animal sources. That’s roughly double the share of calories from animal ingredients in dry food.

The team factored in the cost of different pet food ingredients across several environmental measures. The findings, described November 17 in Scientific Reportssuggest that wet food production uses more land and water and emits more greenhouse gases than dry food.

Scientists already knew that meat-heavy human diets drive greenhouse gas emissions (SN: 5/5/22). But when it comes to environmental sustainability, “we shouldn’t ignore pet food,” says Peter Alexander, an economist at the University of Edinburgh who was not involved in the work.

Just how much various pet foods impact the environment isn’t clear, Alexander says. Commercial cat and canine fares aren’t typically made from prime cuts of meat. Instead, the ingredient lists often include animal byproducts — the gristle and bits people aren’t likely to eat anyway.

How to calculate the carbon cost of these leftovers is an ongoing debate, says Gregory Okin, an environmental scientist at the University of California, Los Angeles who was not involved with the study.

Some argue that the byproducts in pet food are

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