Just ask Holly Peterson. The New York Times bestselling author and avid hostess has thrown countless gatherings at her Water Mill, New York backyard and likes to keeping the cooking outside.
“Entertaining outside is my favorite way to have people to my home. It brings me such joy,” says Peterson, whose casual yet chic cookouts inspired her new book Smoke & Fire—which includes recipes from famous chefs and friends like Katie Lee, Ali Wentworth and Tom Kukoly. (All proceeds from the sale of the book go to Feeding America, the largest hunger-relief charity in the country.)
So the one thing that she swears by is the grill – for appetizers, dinner and dessert. “It’s really great if you can have a designated griller,” says Peterson, below with friend Ashley McDermott (left) . “Give that responsibility to someone who loves it, so, as the hostess, you are free to do other things to make sure your guests have what they need.”
One such dessert Peterson likes to serve at her soiree’s are skillet chocolate chip cookies that you can make over a grill or a fire pit (read: no hot oven needed!). Not only is a delicious way to enjoy the classic dessert, it’s fun for the whole group. Get her easy recipe below!
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Flame-Baked Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 cup (8 oz.) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
3 cups (about 12 ¾ oz.) all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1. Preheat grill to medium (350°F to 400°F) with an area cleared of coals to make an indirect heat area. Stir together butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar in a large bowl until blended and smooth. Stir in eggs. Combine flour and baking powder in a separate bowl; add gradually to butter mixture, stirring until fully incorporated. Stir in chocolate chips.
2. Divide dough evenly among 8 greased 4-inch miniature cast-iron skillets (or place dough in 1 greased 8-inch cast-iron skillet). Pat dough evenly in skillets.
3. Place skillets over indirect heat; cover and grill until cookies are cooked through and browned, 15 to 20 minutes. (Cookies can also be baked in oven at 325° about 30 minutes.)
Active time: 15 minutes
Total time: 45 minutes