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Baking


Articles

How to Soften Butter Quickly

Have you ever headed to the kitchen to get started baking and realize the recipe calls for softened butter? But your butter is still in the fridge and you don’t want to wait 1-2 hours for it to sit out to reach room temperature. Is it really that important? Is there a way to quickly soften the butter?

The Journey to Pavlova

Want to know what goes into recipe testing? Sometimes, it's 17 tries to get something just right! Here's the journey to pavlova – plus key tips and tricks to making the perfect pavlova every time.

Baking Soda vs. Baking Powder: What’s The Difference?

Have you ever had a baking disaster like an overflowing quick bread, or a cratered cake? It’s happened to experienced and amateur bakers alike, and the most likely culprit: mixing up the baking soda and baking powder. It’s easy to do, they’re both types of chemical leaveners They also look similar and have similar names. But that’s where the similarity ends. So, what is the difference between them?

All About Meringue: French vs. Swiss vs. Italian Meringue

While all meringues are featherweight and ethereal, they’re not all created equally. Originating from different European traditions, we’re exploring the similarities and differences of all three types — French, Swiss, and Italian meringues. Plus, we have tips and tricks to making perfect meringues every time.

How to Make Better Biscuits

Here in the Test Kitchen, I’m known as the go-to girl for biscuits. It’s because biscuits have always been one of my favorite comfort foods. Warm from the oven simply slathered with butter, or covered with sausage gravy, there’s no wrong way to eat a biscuit. Growing up, my Mom made Bisquick biscuits, and I’ve eaten my share of canned biscuits too, but once I learned how easy biscuits are to make, there was no going back. So welcome to Biscuits 101.

Baking With Kids: Rainbow Sprinkle Cookie Edition

If you’re like me and trying to find new ways to keep the kids busy, I have the perfect baking project for you - Rainbow Sprinkle Cookies. Even if you don’t have kids and just need a little pick me up while being cooped up at home, baking with sprinkles has a way to bring a smile to anyone’s face.

The Secrets to the Best Chocolate Chip Cookies

Want to know the secrets to making the best chocolate chip cookies? We're spilling everything, from if you should use butter or shortening to which kind of chocolate chips to use. Plus, grab our recipe for the best chocolate chip cookies.


Tips

Spray the Flavor

Here's a simple tip to ensure even distribution of flavored liquids like coffee or liqueurs when making desserts like tiramisu or charlottes.

Company-Ready Freezer Muffins

Nothing is more welcoming to houseguests than having a batch of freshly baked muffins at the ready. Use this simple tip and you'll always be ready for company!

Pre-Made Muffin Mixes

No need to panic when unexpected guests call to stop by! This simple make-ahead muffin mix can save those moments — or lazy mornings when you can't be bothered to measure!

How to Make a Cake Collar for Decorating

Frosting a cake can be hard enough without having to clean the serving plate afterwards! To keep your cake plate clean while frosting, use this simple trick with parchment paper.

Berry Barrier for Pie Baking

Fresh berries in pies can make the bottom crust soggy. Here's a simple trick to keep the crust crisp and sliceable for your fruit pies.

Club Soda Pancakes

Here's a simple replacement to make the lightest, fluffiest pancakes—plus it works in just about any recipe! And you can use it in your favorite waffle recipe, too.

Save Money When Cooking or Baking with Alcohol

Alcohol can be an indispensable ingredient to have in your cooking repertoire, but keeping several different full-sized bottles on hand for infrequent use is both expensive and a space-waster! Here's a quick tip on how to save money (and space) when baking or cooking with alcohol.

How to Keep Parchment Paper from Sliding

Does your parchment paper curl up or slip and slide all over your baking sheets when you're preparing a recipe? Here's a simple trick to keep your parchment in place.

Use Dough as a Dough Tamper

No need to buy a dough tamper to press pie/tart dough into pans! With this simple tip, you will have perfect, smooth crusts every time.

How to Make Chocolate Leaves

Here's a simple way to make chocolate leaves. Buying fresh roses every time you make chocolate leaves is costly so try our cost-effective (and reusuable) way to make these decorative leaves that elevate the presentation of your desserts.


How-To's

How To Make Perfect Flaky Pie Crust

Making Perfect Flaky Pie Crust really is as easy as pie. Armed with just a few tips in this simple, step-by-step guide, you’ll be an expert in how to make flaky, tender, and crisp pie crust in no time — you'll wonder why you ever bothered with purchased pie dough in the first place.


Recipes

Sour Cream Old-Fashioned Doughnuts

Old-fashioned doughnuts are a rare treat, and once you take a bite into one of these fresh ones, you may never be able to eat store-bought doughnuts again. And because old-fashioned doughnuts are fried at a lower temperature than regular cake doughnuts, or their fluffy yeast cousins, their tops crack, resulting in doughnuts with crunchy outsides and soft, cakey insides. Because this dough can chill overnight, all you have to do in the morning is roll it out, cut the doughnuts, fry, and glaze them.

Making these doughnuts with sour cream and cake flour keeps them tender, while mace brings some warmth. And if you’re a chocolate fan, we’ve got you covered — with the glaze and icing, too.

After frying, dip the hot doughnuts in the glaze — this keeps them fresher longer. Of course, icing is here too, and is just as good. And lastly, be sure to fry the doughnut holes — kids love them!

Toasted Pecan Sticky Rolls

If we had to pick a favorite sweet roll in the Test Kitchen, this pecan sticky rolls would be it. The caramel sauce makes these rolls too sticky and gooey to resist. And have patience when turning these babies out of the pan — they need to rest 5 minutes before serving them.

Chocolate Monkey Bread

How do you make monkey bread even better? Stuff it with chocolate! The hardest part is waiting for it to cool down enough to eat.

Frosted Cinnamon Rolls with Sticky Syrup

Buttery flaky rolls, filled with cinnamon sugar, a gooey syrup bottom, and frosting on top, this homemade cinnamon roll recipe will have you saying “oh my goodness”!

Pâte à Choux

Pâte à choux [paht-uh-SHOO], in cooking terms, is a thick and sticky French pastry dough that’s baked to make several types of desserts. The dough is typically made from just four ingredients — flour, butter, eggs, and water — and resembles a paste. Looser than other pastry doughs, it can’t be rolled out. Instead, the dough is piped into shapes and baked. Once it’s piped and baked, depending on the shape, it takes on a new name and identity, such as éclairs and cream puffs.

Choux pastry works because of steam. There’s no leavener, like baking powder, to give the dough lift, only eggs and heat. Flour provides the structure for the paste. The moisture from the eggs evaporates in the hot oven creating steam. Like a steam engine, the steam is energy which creates power to push. In this case, the steam is pushing against the pastry walls, creating shells that are hollow — prime real estate for pastry cream, whipped cream, or even ice cream.

Tropical Hummingbird Cake with Whipped Cream Cheese & Rum Frosting

Thought to have been created in Jamaica, hummingbird cake is a Southern favorite. Far from delicate, this downright hefty cake is packed with tropical fruit and flavors. At its most simple, it’s a banana cake scented with warm island spices, namely cinnamon. We added a little allspice and nutmeg, because can it really be considered Caribbean-inspired without them?! Crushed pineapple is typical, coconut isn’t unheard of, and we insisted on rum, too. Again, not only is it in keeping with the island theme, but rum-flavored desserts are quite in vogue, not to mention decidedly delicious. And since it’s an oil-based cake (with lots of mashed bananas), this is an incredibly moist (and dense) cake that keeps well. Adorned with the most luscious, and not too sweet, cream cheese frosting you’ll ever taste, this cake is in a class all its own. But make sure to store the cake in the refrigerator because of the heavy cream and cream cheese in the frosting.

Peanut Butter Banana Bread with Chocolate Chips

For all the banana bread lovers out there, these peanut butter banana quick breads are for you. Adding crunchy peanut butter and chocolate chips makes them incredibly moist and delicious. Plus they’re easy — a food processor does most of the work. For the most intense banana flavor, the bananas must be really ripe — you should be able to smell their sweet fragrance.

Panettone

Panettone is an Italian sweet bread served at Christmastime. The brioche-like dough is infused with lemon and vanilla and studded with dried fruits and nuts. This recipe makes three loaves, perfect for gifting and serving to guests. You can use leftover panettone in French toast and bread puddings for a delicious twist on the classics.

This recipe is reprinted from Holiday and Celebration Bread in Five Minutes a Day by Zoë Francois & Jeff Herzberg, M.D.

Applesauce Bundt Cake with Apple Cider Glaze

This cake, full of applesauce and dripping with an apple cider glaze, is the perfect way to enjoy the holidays and cool weather season. To control the amount of sugar, and because sugar content may vary from one brand to another, choose unsweetened applesauce. A hearty helping of applesauce, along with honey, aid in keeping this cake as moist as can be, while delivering subtly sweet apple flavor. But this cake just isn’t complete without the creamy, sweet-tart apple cider glaze. Reduce the cider to intensify the flavor, then add cream for body and brandy for punch. All in all, this is one amazing cake.

Anzac Biscuits with dried cranberries

A favorite from Down Under, Anzac biscuits have been connected to Australia and New Zealand since their first iteration during World War I. You might notice eggs are missing from the recipe — this traces back to their scarcity during the war. Omitting eggs in these biscuits gives them a longer shelf life, making them perfect for sending to a friend or loved one. And since the base of this cookie is so basic and quick, raise the bar and add a couple extra mix-ins. Golden raisins or cranberries provide a burst of sweet flavor and give this cookie a chewy bite. Whether you send these cookies off for someone else to cherish or enjoy them in your own kitchen, they’re sure to satisfy any sweet tooth.

Salted Caramel Cream Pie

Make room on the stove and space in the fridge for this Salted Caramel Cream Pie — a dessert that’s worthy of any season. It's topped with a fluffy marshmallow meringue that even meringue naysayers can't resist. From crunchy to creamy, and salty to sweet, this pie has got it going on.