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How to make homemade Nutella

I don’t buy Nutella that often because, quite simply, I can’t control myself. That sweet, nutty, chocolatey butter spread beckons me in the middle of the night, and before I know it, I’ve eaten several slices of toast heavily smothered in the stuff. (I could easily kill this 6.6 pound bucket — just hand me the bread!) It’s not super healthy, and it is super expensive (about $5 for a tiny jar!), but when I make my own, it becomes not so bad on either front. Check out this restaurant with an entirely Nutella menu. This homemade Nutella recipe is quick and easy to pull off if you have the right equipment. You’re going to need a high-powered food processor or blender along with a microwave and an oven or a toaster oven. As for ingredients, you’re going to need hazelnuts. They might be a little harder to find than,…

Everything you need to know about freezing cookies

Nothing is better than freshly baked cookies. But during the holidays when fresh, homemade cookies matter most, we’re also needing to split our time between cooking, hosting, shopping, and celebrating the season, leaving little time to spend rolling out and filling dozens of dainty little cookies. This is when having a magical holiday depends on the magic of the freezer. Freezing cookies or cookie dough now can save you later when you’re just too busy to bake. Just follow these tips and you’ll be good to go. What types of cookies can I freeze? Lots of cookies are great candidates for the freezer. Cutout cookies, slice and bake (icebox) cookies, drop cookies, and biscotti are all excellent choices. Any cookie with a lot of butter or fat will freeze well. Try to avoid freezing cookies that are decorated, filled, or delicate — like meringues — since they would loose a…

The 6 biggest mistakes you can make when baking pumpkin pie

Pumpkin pie, with its thick, pumpkin-y custard, fragrant spices, and flaky pastry crust, is about as delicious as Thanksgiving gets. Served with a dollop of homemade whipped cream, there is no Thanksgiving dish that arrives with such anticipation. Yet, even the most seasoned bakers know a truly perfect pumpkin pie is no easy task to pull off. Here are a few mistakes you need to avoid in order to make your best pumpkin pie ever: 1. You use fresh pumpkin I can hear you now, “But such-and-such variety of pumpkin makes a delicious pie, just like my grandma made!” Well, if you have a tried-and-true family recipe that you’re used to, then nothing is going to change your mind — nostalgia looms large on Thanksgiving. But for those who want to make a truly perfect pie every time, it’s important to practice consistency. Fresh pumpkins can vary wildly in size…

The 9 best cheeses to use in mac and cheese

Instant mac and cheese might pass the test for as a college dorm room quick fix, but everyone knows that nothing beats the homemade stuff. At its best, the real deal — made from scratch — can truly transcend you to a carb-loving comfort food heaven. Whether it’s baked into a crunchy-topped casserole or scooped straight from the stove top, the creamiest mac and cheese starts with the right cheese. So what cheeses guarantee maximum creaminess? The main quality a cheese must have is meltability. It might seem obvious, but often times home cooks can lose sight of the end goal (And, admittedly, those fancy, sprawling cheese departments at the supermarket can have us wanting to experiment with all kinds of cheeses we don’t need). Plus, you want a cheese that isn’t going to separate into an oily, grainy mess. So stay on task and when you head to the…

How to store apples so they last all winter

For many people, autumn means one thing: apples. Families love heading to the orchard and loading up on bags full of apples for making devious homemade applesauce, pies, and cobblers. But don’t let your enjoyment of those tasty fall treats end earlier than it needs to. Believe it or not, some varieties of apples can last you all the way through March. They just have to be stored the right way. Also see, the best apples for eating fresh. Apples are abundant in the fall, meaning you can buy them at cheaper prices and stock up. You’ll save money by buying in bulk, and you’ll also avoid grocery store apples which can be coated in unnatural waxes or doused with chemicals used to delay their ripening. Here’s everything you need to know about storing apples for winter: What type of apple should you buy Apples come to maturity between late July…

How to pick the best butternut squash

Fall has finally arrived and winter squash are stocked on the shelves — acorn, spaghetti, and of course, butternut. Butternut squash a must-have fall vegetable that dates back nearly 10,000 years ago.  It’s true. Archaeological evidence suggests that squash was first cultivated in what is now known as the Isthmus of Panama. Squash was one of the three main crops (known as the “Three Sisters” — maize, beans, and squash) planted by Native Americans. If you’re looking for authentic North American fall foods for your Thanksgiving feast, squash certainly qualifies. (Read more at: How Americans Became so Obsess with Pumpkins) The most noticeable difference between winter squash and summer squash, like zucchini and yellow squash, is the exterior skin. Summer squash have thin, flavorful skin you leave on and eat, while winter squash have a tough, inedible outer shell. It’s because of this shell, however, that winter squash can be…

The very best way to freeze peaches

Is there anything as delicious as a fresh peach? Peaches on ice cream, peach sangria, peach barbecue sauce — my mouth is already watering. Some summers the crop is extra delicious, juicy and fragrant. It’s these flavors I want to capture and savor all year long. When you come across a crop like this, you’ll be tempted to buy the whole bushel, and that’s what I say go for it! Delicious fresh peaches make for delicious frozen peaches, too. What good are frozen peaches? Well, you can pretty much do just about anything with them that you would have done when they were fresh: savory dishes like peach topped pork chops, kebabs, cobblers, pies, jams, sangria, smoothies. Or use them as ice cubes in your iced tea or lemonade for a fruity treat when you reach the bottom of your glass. So what’s the best way to freeze peaches? The…

How to brew the perfect french press coffee

French press coffee might look intimidating, but if you can drop a plastic pod into a Keurig, you can easily brew a great cup of French press. It’s totally worth waking up a few minutes earlier to use this flavorful method and save yourself from buying those expensive machines and wasteful K-cups. Experts estimate that every year, coffee drinkers are trashing enough single serving coffee pods to circle the planet between 10 1/2 and 12 times. But your freshly ground coffee beans produce zero waste and actually work as great compost among other things. There is no wasteful paper filter involved in the process (although you can compost this paper, you probably don’t), which allows the oils in the coffee bean to stay in your cup and give you a more satisfying serving of coffee. Are you ready to make the best brew you’ve ever had? It’s as easy as spooning coffee grinds to your French…

8 Mistakes you’re making when cooking fish

Fish on the menu tonight? If you’re guilty of doing any of these 8 things, you should adapt your style before you take to the stove tonight. 1. You choose the wrong pan Most people instinctively reach for the non-stick cookware pan, but the secret to cooking fish is a hot pan. Stainless steel or cast iron help you reach the right temperature so you can create that perfectly seared salmon. The only want to achieve that delicious crust is with a high dose of heat. Plus, a lot of recipes call for a quick turn in the oven to finish off the dish, so an oven-proof pan is the only way to go. 2. You don’t dry the fish off To make sure your fish gets a crispy outer layer, dry it off first with a paper towel. This also helps seasonings, salt, or marinade stick to it. Starting…

How to pick the perfect cantaloupe

Is there anything more disappointing in the world of food than getting home from the supermarket with a bunch of fresh produce only slice it open and find you’ve literally picked a bad apple… or pineapple.. or cantaloupe. Cantaloupe can be particularly tricky because they pretty much all look the same from the outside. So how do you tell what’s happening underneath that rough, tannish-grey skin? With a few tips you can actually get a pretty good idea. Here’s what you need to know: Buy only in season You just aren’t going to get the juicy, sweet cantaloupe you crave if you’re shopping in January. In the off season, cantaloupe are shipped from South America, meaning that by the time they make it to your mouth, they’ve been off the vine for quite some time. In the U.S., cantaloupe are at their peak from June until August. So if you’re…