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  • Help! I’m Baking and I’ve Run Out of Ingredients

    It happens. You reach for self-rising flour and realize you don't have any. Send in the substitutes! We've pulled our most popular ingredient substitution questions from our Ask the Expert blog to help you navigate baking on the fly.

    What can I substitute for self-rising flour? I don't want to buy it because I use so little and I'm afraid it will go bad.
    Self-rising flour is all-purpose flour with baking powder and salt added. To make your own, combine 1 cup of all-purpose flour with 1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Baking powder will lose its potency over time, which means your baked goods won't rise as they should. Your box should be marked with a "use-by" date.

    Get Recipe: Buttermilk Biscuits

    What can I substitute for baking powder?
    Baking powder is a leavening ingredient-it helps cakes, cookies, and other baked goods to rise. When baking powder is combined with certain acidic ingredients like buttermilk or yogurt, little bubbles of carbon dioxide form.

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  • Host a Cookie Swap

    Plan a cookie swap and share a bounty of baked goodies with friends and family. Here's your guide to a foolproof party.

    Cookie Swap
    As holiday traditions go, attending or hosting a cookie swap is a great way to multitask: offering a chance to get together and exchange tokens with friends during the busy season, as well as a way to shortcut your holiday baking.

    It's an easy party to throw, especially when you follow our tips and advice.

    Party Planning

    Plan early. People are more likely to attend if you give as much advance notice as possible and schedule your party early in the season.

    Cookies for a Crowd: Chewy Chocolate-Cherry Cookies

    1 cup all-purpose flour (about 4 1/2 ounces)
    1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
    1/2 teaspoon baking powder
    1/4 teaspoon baking soda
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1 cup sugar
    1/3 cup butter, softened
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    1 large egg
    2/3 cup dried tart cherries
    3 tablespoons semisweet chocolate chips
    Cooking spray

    Preheat oven to 350°.

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  • How Do I Cook with Chocolate Instead of Just Eating It?

    From melting to substitutions, we've pulled our most popular chocolate questions from our Ask the Expert blog to help you navigate baking with chocolate.

    How can I prevent chocolate from burning when I melt it?
    The secret to not burning the chocolate is to take it away from the heat before it's completely melted, and keep stirring until it is. When you melt chocolate on the stovetop, place it evenly over the bottom surface of a heavy saucepan over low heat. Again, remove the pan from the heat before the chocolate is completely melted and stir: in less then a minute, the chocolate will be smooth and silky.

    More often than not, I melt chocolate in my microwave. Place the chocolate in a microwave-safe shallow dish (Microwave-proof pie plates are ideal) and microwave at 50% power (medium heat) for 2 to 3 minutes or until it's soft enough to stir smooth. To be on the safe side, start checking at about 11/2 minutes.

    Get Recipe: Fudge Sauce

    What is the gray coating on the surface of my

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  • Microwave Mythbusters

    The microwave: a cherished time-saver in the kitchen. But what can you really microwave? We've pulled our top 3 microwave questions from our Ask the Expert blog to set the record straight.

    Can you make baked potatoes in the microwave?
    You can certainly cook whole potatoes in the microwave for a fast "baked" potato. The texture won't be quite the same (the skin will be less crisp, and the flesh slightly more dense), but that doesn't stop me from occasionally using this much faster method. Prick the potatoes in several places (both top and bottom surfaces) with a folk. The fewer potatoes you cook in the microwave at once, the shorter the cooking time. Place up to five or six (depending on the size of your microwave) on paper towels in a spoke pattern and cook for between 6 and 14 minutes, turning them over about halfway through the cooking. The length of time will depend on the number of potatoes you cook at once and the strength of your microwave.

    Caramelized Onion-Stuffed Baked

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  • Thanksgiving 911

    When Thanksgiving dinner is on the line, head to our collection of the 23 most frequently asked holiday questions for help. Whether the gravy is lumpy, the planning is daunting, or you forgot to buy the right flour, we've got the solution for all your holiday dinner nightmare moments. Relax and enjoy-we've got you covered. Help! My turkey has not thawed yet. What can I do?
    If you need to cook your turkey in the next 24 hours and it's not thawed yet, your best bet is probably to thaw it in the microwave oven. Check your owner's manual for the size turkey that will fit in your microwave oven, the minutes per pound, and power level to use for thawing. Remove all outside wrapping from the turkey and place on a microwave-safe dish to catch any juices that may leak. Cook your turkey immediately after thawing it in the microwave. Do not refreeze or refrigerate it before you cook it.

    Orange Bourbon Turkey

    1 (12-pound) fresh or frozen whole turkey, thawed
    2 cups fresh orange juice (about

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  • Keep Your Cake from Sinking

    Tis the season to bake a cake! We've pulled our most popular cake question from our Ask the Expert blog so your cakes are show-stoppers this holiday season.

    What causes my cake to sink? It looks beautiful in the oven, but then as it cools, it collapses in the middle.

    We get this question about sinking cakes all the time-so take comfort in knowing you're not alone! A cake that puffs up as it bakes and deflates as it cools has usually had air beaten into the batter too quickly or vigorously. Here are 3 tips to prevent sinking cakes.

    Tip 1: When you beat the eggs and butter together, do so on a moderate speed instead of high speed. The air bubbles you form will be more stable.

    Get Recipe: Chocolate-Gingerbread-Toffee Cake

    Tip 2: Add the eggs one at a time, beaten briefly between additions.

    Layered Peppermint Cheesecake

    Peppermint Cheesecake Layers:
    3 (8-oz.) packages cream cheese, softened
    1/2 cup sugar
    2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
    3 large eggs
    1 tablespoon all-purpose

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  • What Did the Pilgrims Really Eat on Thanksgiving?

    If you think squash casserole and pecan tassies came over on the Mayflower, think again. Take a peek at the foods from the first Thanksgiving feast. Salt-Crusted Venison with Cherry-Cabernet Sauce
    Your table may not be complete without a hearty bird for carving, but the truth is, if you wanted to eat it, you had to go out and shoot it. Most likely, the remarkable thing about this celebratory meal was that it was guaranteed to have meat. After all, it was always deer season back then.

    8 large shallots, peeled and quartered (about 1/2 pound)
    4 teaspoons olive oil, divided
    2 venison tenderloins, trimmed (about 9 ounces each)
    1 teaspoon Rosemary Salt, divided
    1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
    1 cup cabernet sauvignon or other dry red wine
    3/4 cup dried cherries
    1 1/2 cups less-sodium beef broth
    1 tablespoon water
    1 tablespoon cornstarch
    1 1/2 tablespoons chilled butter, cut into small pieces
    1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice Rosemary sprigs

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  • Get a Head Start on Holiday Cookie Baking

    Thanksgiving is in two weeks. We've pulled our most popular cookie questions from our Ask the Expert blog to help you prepare for holiday baking.

    How long can I keep cookie dough in the refrigerator before baking?
    Most cookie dough can be refrigerated, well-wrapped, for three to five days before baking. If you want to make it farther in advance, freeze the dough.

    Toffee-Chocolate Chip Shortbread

    8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
    1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    1 cup all-purpose flour
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
    1/2 cup toffee bits

    1. Preheat oven to 350ºF and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, cream together butter, confectioners' sugar and vanilla until smooth. Stir in flour and salt just until a dough forms. Fold in chocolate chips and toffee bits.

    2. Using your hands, roll dough into 1-inch balls. Place on prepared baking sheet, 1

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  • Cooking Light's ultimate roasted turkey

    This roasted turkey developed by Cooking Light Contributor Elizabeth Taliaferro is nearly perfect, having won the highest Cooking Light Test Kitchens rating.

    Cooking Light's Ultimate Roasted Turkey

    Yield: 12 servings (serving size: 6 ounces turkey and about 3 tablespoons gravy)

    3/4 cup apple cider
    5 tablespoons dark corn syrup, divided
    1 (12-pound) fresh or frozen turkey, thawed
    1 tablespoon poultry seasoning
    1 tablespoon dried rubbed sage
    1 teaspoon salt
    1/4 teaspoon black pepper
    4 garlic cloves, sliced and divided
    2 onions, quartered and divided
    2 Golden Delicious apples, cored, quartered, and divided
    Cooking spray
    1 teaspoon butter
    1 (14 1/2-ounce) can fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
    1 tablespoon cornstarch

    Preheat oven to 375°.

    Combine the cider and 4 tablespoons corn syrup in a small saucepan; bring to a boil. Remove from heat; set aside.

    Remove and reserve giblets and neck from turkey. Rinse turkey with cold water; pat dry. Trim

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  • Turkey tips: buying, thawing and cooking your turkey

    Thanksgiving is almost here. We've pulled our most popular turkey questions from our Ask the Expert blog to help you prepare for the big turkey day.

    What size turkey do I need to buy for Thanksgiving?
    When deciding what size turkey to buy, figure 1 to 1 1/2 pounds per person, depending on whether you are big eaters and how much you want left over. In my house, we have a mixed crowd when it comes to appetite, but no shortage of takers for leftovers, so I generally figure on 1 1/2 pounds per person.

    Recipe: Roast Turkey with Sage Stuffing and Gravy

    4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
    4 links Italian sweet sausage, pork or turkey (optional)
    2 medium onions, chopped (2 cups)
    2 stalks celery,chopped (2 cups)
    3 cups chicken stock, canned or homemade
    1/2 pound day-old white bread, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (5 cups)
    1/2 pound day-old multigrain bread, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (5 cups)
    1/3 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
    2 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh sage, or 2

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