[Photograph: Ben Pieper]

Brussels sprouts are a given on my Thanksgiving table, but I don't always give them much thought. Olive oil, salt, and a hot oven are my only requirements. While this method does produce pleasantly caramelized sprouts, it doesn't add much excitement to the table. This year, I'll take a cue from Tara Mataraza Desmond and toss my Brussels in brown butter and maple syrup as she does in her new cookbook, Choosing Sides.

Why I picked this recipe: Adding one step to my standard Brussels sprouts roasting method seemed like a necessary action when the result is an elevated side dish.

What worked: Desmond's maple-butter mixture is just sweet enough to accentuate the natural sugars in the roasted vegetables without making them taste like dessert.

What didn't: Nothing.

Suggested tweaks: If you're pressed for stovetop space, you can make the maple-butter mixture ahead of time and store it in the fridge. Let it come to room temperature before adding it to the Brussels sprouts.

As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have 5 (five) copies each of Choosing Sides and The Wild Chef to give away this week.

About the author: Kate Williams is a freelance writer and personal chef living in Berkeley, CA. She is a contributor to The Oxford American, KQED's Bay Area Bites, and Berkeleyside NOSH. Follow her @KateHWiliams.

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