These Official Recipes Bring CRITICAL ROLE to Your Holiday Feast

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‘Tis the season to have sweet treats and sprawling feasts on your mind. Whatever holiday you celebrate, it very likely involves some kind of gathering with loved ones. That probably means food—lots of food. Preparing meals for others is one way to express love and gratitude for them. And if you and your festive fellows happen to be Critical Role fans, we have a whole holiday feast menu planned for you. The pages of Exquisite Exandria: The Official Cookbook of Critical Role have piles of recipes inspired by the world of Critical Role. It’s easy to pair dishes for a spread, and we’re happy to share such a meal. This Critical Role holiday feast features Spire by Fire’s Beer-Braised Brisket, Heartmoor Harvest, High Summer Honey Polenta, and Black Moss Cupcakes.

The cover of the Critical Role cookbook features an illustration of a table overflowing with food
Random House Worlds

First up, Spire by Fire’s Beer-Braised Brisket.

Roasted brisket on platters from the Critical Role cookbook, part of a Critical Role holiday feast
Random House Worlds

Spire by Fire’s Beer-Braised Brisket


PREP TIME: 20 minutes

COOK TIME: 4 hours 30 minutes

2 tablespoons light brown sugar

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon paprika, preferably smoked

One 4-pound / 1.8kg untrimmed flat-cut beef brisket

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

1½ cups / 210g diced yellow onion (from about 1 large onion)

3 large celery ribs, cut into 1½-inch / 2.5cm chunks (about 2 cups / 150g)

2 large carrots, peeled, halved, and cut into 1-inch / 2.5cm chunks (about 2 cups / 230g)

5 garlic cloves, minced

2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary leaves (from about 2 sprigs)

2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves (from about 10 sprigs)

24 ounces / 710ml beer such as porter, stout, or pale ale (see Note)

2 cups / 475ml unsalted beef stock

One 28-ounce / 794g can crushed tomatoes

2 dried bay leaves

Crusty bread, mashed potatoes, or polenta, for serving (optional)

In a small bowl, mix together the brown sugar, 2 teaspoons of salt, 1 teaspoon of pepper, the garlic powder, and paprika. Pat the brisket dry with paper towels and rub the spice mixture evenly over the entire surface. Transfer to a large plate or baking sheet and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to overnight.

Set a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 300°F / 150°C. In a large Dutch oven or oven-safe heavy-bottomed pot with a lid, heat the vegetable oil over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Add the brisket and sear until dark brown, 4 to 6 minutes. (It’s okay if the brisket is slightly too large for the pot and the edges come up the sides; it will shrink while cooking.) Flip the brisket and sear on the other side until dark brown, 4 to 6 minutes. Transfer the brisket to a large plate and set aside.

Add the onion to the pot and continue cooking over medium-high heat, stirring often, until lightly browned and softened, 4 to 6 minutes. Add the celery, carrots, garlic, rosemary, and thyme and continue cooking, stirring often, until very fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the beer, beef stock, and crushed tomatoes and stir together while scraping the bottom of the pot to loosen any brown bits. Return the brisket to the pot, fat side up, and nestle it into the vegetables. Add the bay leaves, cover with a lid, and carefully transfer to the oven. Cook until the meat can easily be torn apart with a fork, 3 to 3½ hours. If the meat still feels tough, cook for an additional 30 minutes and check it again.

Transfer the brisket to a large cutting board and tent with foil. Strain the braising liquid through a fine-mesh strainer and discard the solids. Return the strained braising liquid to the pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce has thickened and reduced by about half, 15 to 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Thinly slice the brisket against the grain and arrange on a large serving platter. Top the brisket with a few ladles of the braising liquid and serve the remainder on the side. Serve with crusty bread, mashed potatoes, or polenta, if desired.

NOTE: Just about any beer can be used in this recipe. Pale ales will provide a brighter, more hoppy flavor, while darker beers like stouts will give the sauce a richer, more gravy-like flavor. Just avoid using any flavored beers or beers brewed with fruit.

Reprinted from Exquisite Exandria: The Official Cookbook of Critical Role. © 2023 by Gilmore’s Glorious Goods LLC. Published by Random House Worlds, an imprint of Random House, a division of Penguin Random House LLC.

Every entrée needs sides, so how about some High Summer Honey Polenta?

Three bowls of high summer polenta from a Critical Role holiday feast
Random House Worlds

Highsummer Honey Polenta


PREP TIME: 15 minutes

COOK TIME: 1 hour 15 minutes

4 ears fresh yellow corn, shucked

4 cups / 950ml water

One 14-ounce / 403ml can unsweetened coconut milk

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

4 tablespoons / 55g unsalted butter

1 cup / 175g coarsely ground yellow polenta

1 large shallot, finely chopped

3 garlic cloves, minced

Spicy Citrus Honey (recipe follows), for drizzling

2 green onions, thinly sliced

Cut the kernels away from the corn cobs (about 4 cups / 600g) and set the kernels aside. Use a spoon or the back of a butter knife to scrape the “corn milk” off of the cobs and into a large saucepan. Break the scraped cobs in half and place in the saucepan along with the water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then lower to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes. Remove the cobs and discard. Measure out the corn stock; you should have 2½ cups / 590ml. If you have less, add water to get to that amount; if you have more, ladle out the extra stock and reserve to thin out the polenta later (if needed).

Return the corn stock to the saucepan and stir in the coconut milk, 2 teaspoons salt, and several large grinds of black pepper. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, whisking occasionally so the coconut milk doesn’t scorch. Slowly whisk in the polenta, then lower the heat slightly to maintain a gentle simmer. Cook, whisking frequently, until the polenta is tender and thick, about 20 minutes. If the polenta gets too thick before it is tender, whisk in a little bit of hot water (or extra corn stock if you have it). Whisk in 2 tablespoons of the butter, then remove from the heat. Cover the saucepan with a lid to keep the polenta warm and set aside.

In a large skillet set over just below medium-high heat, melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter. Add the shallot and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until softened, about 2 minutes. Stir in the reserved corn kernels, season with salt and pepper, and increase the heat to medium-high. Cook, stirring frequently, until the corn is crisp-tender, 5 to 7 minutes.

Stir half of the sautéed corn into the hot polenta and season with additional salt and pepper. If needed, adjust the consistency of the polenta with additional hot water (or corn stock if you have it). It should be thick but pourable. Divide the polenta among four to six bowls, then top with the remaining sautéed corn, drizzle with some Spicy Citrus Honey, and garnish with the scallions. Serve immediately.



PREP TIME: 5 minutes

COOK TIME: 20 minutes

1 to 3 (depending on your spice preference) Fresno chiles, thinly sliced

3 long strips of orange rind (4 to 5 inches / 10 to 13cm long)

¾ cup / 175ml clover honey

In a small saucepan over low heat, combine the chiles, orange rind, and honey and slowly bring almost to a simmer, swirling the saucepan occasionally. This should take close to 20 minutes (if not longer, depending on your stovetop). Once it comes to almost a simmer, immediately remove from the heat and cool the infused honey completely in the saucepan at room temperature. Transfer to a small jar with a tight-fitting lid and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 months.

Reprinted from Exquisite Exandria: The Official Cookbook of Critical Role. © 2023 by Gilmore’s Glorious Goods LLC. Published by Random House Worlds, an imprint of Random House, a division of Penguin Random House LLC.

Let’s not forget our greens!

A top down picture of a green salad in a white bowl, the Heartmoor Harvest salad from Equisite Exandria
Random House Worlds

Heartmoor Harvest


PREP TIME: 25 minutes

COOK TIME: 25 minutes

1½ pounds / 680g small blue potatoes, scrubbed (see Notes)

½ cup / 120ml extra-virgin olive oil

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

3 cups / 480g multicolored cherry tomatoes, halved

⅓ cup / 80ml white wine vinegar

1 small bunch radishes with nice green leafy tops (see Notes)

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

2 teaspoons honey

 ½ cup / 10g fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, lightly packed

1 cup / 15g torn fresh dill

1 ounce / 30g shaved Parmesan cheese (about ¾ cup)

2 cups / 40g baby arugula, lightly packed

Preheat the oven to 425°F / 220°C.

In a large bowl, combine the blue potatoes and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Season with salt and pepper, then spread the potatoes out on a small rimmed baking sheet (reserve the bowl). Roast in the oven until the potatoes are fork-tender, 20 to 25 minutes, stirring the potatoes once halfway through the cooking time. Let the potatoes cool slightly.

Meanwhile, in the same bowl that you used to season the potatoes, combine the cherry tomatoes, 2 tablespoons of the vinegar, and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Let marinate at room temperature while the potatoes roast, about 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Cut away the green tops from the radishes. Hand-tear the leaves into large pieces and set aside. Thinly slice half of the radishes and cut the other half into small wedges. Set aside, keeping the green tops and cut radishes separate.

Use a slotted spoon to scoop the marinated tomatoes into a medium bowl, then pour the marinade into a blender. Add one-fourth of the marinated tomatoes and the mustard, honey, and remaining 3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon of white wine vinegar. Season with salt and pepper and blend until smooth. Remove the cap from the blender lid and with the blender running at low speed, slowly drizzle in the remaining 5 tablespoons of olive oil. The dressing should have the consistency of a creamy vinaigrette that drizzles easily off the back of a spoon. If it is too thick, add a splash or two of water and blend it again.

In the same large bowl that the tomatoes were marinated in, combine the roasted potatoes, radish slices and wedges, and the remaining marinated tomatoes. Toss gently to combine. Reserve a bit of the parsley, dill, and Parmesan cheese to use for a garnish, then add the rest to the bowl along with the baby arugula and radish greens. Season with salt and pepper and gently toss to combine. Transfer half of the salad to a large platter and drizzle with some of the tomato vinaigrette. Top with the remaining salad and drizzle with more of the tomato vinaigrette. Garnish with the reserved parsley, dill, and Parmesan. Serve immediately with any extra vinaigrette on the side.

NOTES: Small blue potatoes work well in this salad because they resemble small stones, but you can substitute red-skinned or baby Yukon Gold potatoes if needed. If your potatoes are on the larger side, slice them in half before you roast them.

If your radishes do not have nice green leafy tops, you can substitute 11/2 cups / 30g of additional baby arugula instead.

If you have any leftover vinaigrette, transfer it to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Reprinted from Exquisite Exandria: The Official Cookbook of Critical Role. © 2023 by Gilmore’s Glorious Goods LLC. Published by Random House Worlds, an imprint of Random House, a division of Penguin Random House LLC.

Last but not least, it’s time for dessert!

Black Moss Cupcakes (chocolate cupcakes) on a display surrounded by moss
Random House Worlds

Black Moss Cupcakes


PREP TIME: 30 minutes

COOK TIME: 20 minutes

Dark Chocolate Cupcakes

1 cup / 140g all-purpose flour

¾ cup / 150g granulated sugar

⅓ cup / 25g unsweetened natural cocoa powder

¾ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon kosher salt

1 large egg

⅔ cup / 80ml whole milk

⅓ cup / 80g sour cream

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 or 3 drops black food coloring (optional)

Chocolate-Matcha Frosting

4 tablespoons / 55g unsalted butter, softened

2 ounces / 55g full-fat cream cheese, at room temperature

1⅓ cups / 160g confectioners’ sugar

¼ cup / 20g unsweetened natural cocoa powder

½ teaspoon matcha powder

1 tablespoon whole milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Pinch of kosher salt

Moss Cookie Crunchies

¾ cup / 40g vanilla wafer cookies such as Nilla Wafers

1½ teaspoons light brown sugar

1½ teaspoons matcha powder

1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly

To make the dark chocolate cupcakes: Set a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 325°F / 165°C. Line the cups of a 12-cup standard muffin tin with paper cupcake liners.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In a second large mixing bowl, whisk together the egg, milk, sour cream, vegetable oil, vanilla extract, and black food coloring (if using) until no streaks of egg yolk remain. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix with a rubber spatula just until a smooth batter forms and no pockets of dry flour remain.

Fill each cupcake liner about two-thirds full. Bake, rotating the pan front to back halfway through baking, 16 to 19 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out with just a few moist crumbs attached. Let cool slightly, then transfer the cupcakes onto a cooling rack and let cool completely.

To make the chocolate-matcha frosting: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter, cream cheese, confectioners’ sugar, cocoa powder, matcha powder, milk, vanilla, and salt. (Alternatively, use a large mixing bowl and electric handheld mixer.) Mix on low speed just until the ingredients are combined, then increase the speed to medium-high and beat until the frosting is light and fluffy, 1½ to 2½ minutes. Transfer the frosting into a large piping bag fitted with a straight tip, or a zip-top bag with one corner snipped off.

To make the moss cookie crunchies: Place the vanilla wafer cookies in the bowl of a food processor and process until they are the texture of fine sand, 15 to 25 seconds. (Alternatively, place the cookies in a large zip top bag and smash with a rolling pin or skillet.) Transfer the crushed cookies to a large mixing bowl and add the brown sugar and matcha powder. Toss until the cookie crumbs are evenly coated in the matcha powder. Add the melted butter and mix, using your hands, until the crumbs are evenly moistened. Frost the cupcakes by piping an even, generous layer of frosting on top of each. Working with one cupcake at a time, invert the cupcake and gently press the frosted top into the bowl of cookie crunchies, rotating so the moss sticks to the sides of the frosting, until the top is evenly coated. Repeat this process with the remaining cupcakes.

Adapted from Exquisite Exandria: The Official Cookbook of Critical Role. © 2023 by Gilmore’s Glorious Goods LLC. Published by Random House Worlds, an imprint of Random House, a division of Penguin Random House LLC.

Make this feast and many others inspired by the world of Critical Role. Exquisite Exandria: The Official Cookbook of Critical Role is available now from wherever you buy books.

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