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Strawberry oatmeal muffins

This time of year, I just can’t get enough fruit. I like eating it fresh most of all, but I also find it impossible to pass on delicious, fruity baked goods. Last week, I came across a killer deal on strawberries at the market, so I was inspired to use some of my stash to make this super summery strawberry muffin recipe. These strawberry oatmeal muffins have tons of texture thanks to the quick-cook oatmeal. And the brown sugar gives just enough sweetness. You’ll love these for breakfast, brunch, or an anytime snack. Since strawberries can sink to the bottom of batter, coating them in flour first will help them float throughout. It also helps distribute their moisture throughout the muffin leaving you with something tender and tasty. Strawberry Oatmeal Muffins Ingredients 1 cup quick-cooking oats, uncooked 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed 1 cup Greek yogurt 1/3 cup vegetable oil…

15 fun ways to take S’mores beyond the campfire

S’mores are delicious. If you disagree, we’ll, we’re no longer digital food world friends. Now, if you say they’re a pain to eat, they’re messy, and they leave you wondering if your face is covered in melted chocolate, gooey marshmallow, graham cracker crumbs, or all three — now I can relate. S’mores are seriously one of the most perfect trio combinations. Give me tomato, basil, and mozzarella caprese salad for dinner and a s’more for dessert, and I’ll be in a sort of summertime seventh heaven. But I do agree they are a serious mess. Most of the time the whole s’more doesn’t even make it into my mouth. The chocolate will ooze out, or a giant piece of cracker will fall into the fire. Thankfully, s’mores ingredients are insanely versatile and you can get super creative with them. From milkshakes to cheesecakes, here are 15 fun ways to enjoy…

Lovely lime squares bring just enough zing

If you’re a fan of all things citrus, you’re going to love these tart little lime squares. Just 5 ingredients give you a bright and cheery dessert that goes great washed down with hot tea or ice cold milk. I could pretty much commit to only eating desserts that incorporate citrus. I crave that light, refreshing, tongue twisting flavor. These lime bars aren’t overly zingy, but they have just enough pizazz to make them memorable. If you need to cut down, a small dollop of fresh whipped cream always does the trick. Make a batch for Mom on Mother’s Day or serve them in the winter when you need a cheery pick-me-up. They’re good any time you can find fresh limes at the market. Lime Squares Serves 9-16 Ingredients, Crust 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 6 tbsp sugar 12 tbsp cold butter, cut in small chunks Ingredients, Lime filling 1/4 cup…

An easy trick to bring butter and eggs to room temperature for baking

Baking happens. Sometimes it’s planned days ahead, and sometimes you get the urge for something sweet out of nowhere. But, if you find yourself up for a little impromptu baking session, you might run into a few problems. Recipes regularly call for room temperature eggs, butter, and even milk — that means setting them out ahead of time to warm up. So what’s an impulsive baker to do? While a perfect planner would have had these ingredients resting on the countertop for an hour ahead of time, you just pulled them from your fridge and need them ready now. The microwave looks tempting, but you know that’s seriously hit or miss — and usually makes a mess. Don’t fear. Here a few hacks so you can bake your cookies without waiting until 10 p.m. to start. How to bring butter to room temperature If you’ve ever tried to microwave butter…

How to make a buttermilk substitute at home

Buttermilk is one of those annoying ingredients you either have too much of, or you don’t have at all. It’s usually sold in cartons larger than you need, so leftovers sit in the fridge for weeks. By the time you need it again, the milk will have gone bad. If you’re tired of this endless bad buttermilk cycle, do not fret. There is a solution! Make your own. A bit about buttermilk Buttermilk is an acid, so recipes that call for it won’t turn out right if you just use plain milk. You need a substitute with the same acidity as buttermilk. This acid is usually required to create a reaction with baking soda or other leavening agent in the recipe. Regular milk just isn’t acidic enough. Substituting with plain milk will also produce drier, less flavorful baked goods and can reduce the rise on your muffin tops, biscuits or other…

This is the difference between evaporated milk and condensed milk

Sometimes two foods are so similar we mistake them for one another — yams and sweet potatoes, baking powder and baking soda, and cilantro and parsley, to name a few. They’re all different foods that could never be used interchangeably. The other day I ran into another example as I was baking a pie that required condensed milk, but in a hurry, I had purchased evaporated milk. Yikes! I wondered if I had to go back to the store, or could I substitute one for the other? They both contain a shelf-stable concentrated canned milk substance, but in my research, I learned that there are clear differences. Let’s explore. Condensed milk Condensed milk is often referred to as sweetened condensed milk, and the name gives a hint at what makes it different. This shelf-stable milk concentrate has had about 60 percent of its water removed and loads of sugar added…

How to tell if your edible glitter is actually safe to eat

This time of year, we’re up to our elbows in cookie dough. While decorating the finished product has always been the most fun part of baking, the Food and Drug Administration has warned that some products we use to decorate our holiday cookies aren’t actually edible. It turns out that the dust and glitters you find at the store — yes, even in the food aisles — aren’t always edible. So if you’re shopping for sparkles for your Christmas cupcakes or shimmer powder for your NYE disco ball cookies, you’ll want to take a closer look at the packaging. Luckily, it’s pretty easy to figure out what’s edible and what’s purely aesthetic once you know what to look for. Companies that make edible decorations including glitter and twinkle dust are regulated by the FDA and, just like any other food, are required by law to list the ingredients on the…

Apricot Pinwheel Cookies

It just wouldn’t be Christmas without these dainty, bright orange apricot-filled cookies brightening up the table. The melt-in-your-mouth cream cheese pastry dough and light fresh, apricot filling are too good not to share this holiday season. I remember my grandmother saying these cookies were an Italian tradition, yet, much like the handful of Italian slang words she spoke, I’m not sure how much validity there is to that claim. I’ve found links to similar Hungarian and Polish recipes, and even a few from Finland. Regardless of their origins, this cookie has become a Christmas classic. You’ll often see similar cookies on mixed catered cookie trays in a basic roll shape —but those cookies don’t even compare to the perfection of these little wonders. Plus, the pinwheel shape adds some extra fun for the season. My aunt (who has literally made our family thousands of these little time consuming cookies in her…

Avoid these 10 common baking mistakes for better baked goods

Sometimes that fun afternoon in the kitchen turns into a stressful battle with baked goods. There are some mistakes that even seasoned bakers continue to make. Here are a few easily avoidable mistakes that can help you correct your process, and return baking to a productive, enjoyable activity. 1. You check your oven too often. Naturally, you want to see the reward of your hard work, so you open the oven to take a peek. But know that opening the oven, even a tiny crack, released enough hot air to change the temperature in the oven. This can mean an undercooked or unevenly baked cake. If you must check, use the little light switch on your oven — that’s what it’s there for. 2. You don’t really read the recipe. If you’re guilty of jumping right into a recipe, you’re setting yourself up for some major mistakes later. Read through…

Chocolate Pumpkin muffins

These dense and chocolatey muffins hit the just right spot for fall. The pumpkin keeps them super moist and adds just a hint of a fall flavor. Devour them as dessert, breakfast, or as a snack along with your tea or coffee. Note that this recipe makes two dozen muffins because 12 disappear way too fast! Chocolate Pumpkin muffins Makes 24 muffins (2 pans of 12) Ingredients 3-3/4 cups all purpose flour 3 1/2 cups sugar 1 cup baking cocoa powder 1-1/2 tsp baking powder 1-1/4 tsp baking soda 1-1/2 tsp salt 1-1/4 tsp ground cloves 1/2 tsp nutmeg 3 large eggs 2 cans (15 ounce) pumpkin puree 1-1/4 cups canola oil 1-1/2 tsp vanilla extract 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips 1/2 cup pepitas Directions Preheat over to 350ºF. Spray 12-count muffin pan with cooking spray. Set aside. In a large bowl, whisk to combine the dry ingredients — flour,…