Category Archives: How-To’s and Tips

How to keep a pie crust from shrinking

Imperfect Pie Crust

When you put the effort into making a homemade pie crust for a Caramel Banana Cream Pie or other recipe that calls for a prebaked crust, it can be very disappointing if the crust that you worked so hard to make shrinks and gives your pie a less-than-perfect presentation. There are two ways that pie crusts can shrink and a couple of things that you ... Read More »

How to make a Flaky Pie Crust

Pie crust is typically made with just a few ingredients: flour, water, salt and fat. The fat is usually butter or shortening, and occasionally a little bit of sugar or cinnamon makes its way into the crust for flavor. It’s a simple recipe and it should be simple to make, but the reality is that it can be tricky to make a perfectly flaky pie ... Read More »

How to make Vampire Cupcakes (video)

Nicole's Vampire Cupcakes

A few years ago, I published a recipe for Vampire Cupcakes. I absolutely love these cupcakes as a Halloween treat and I make them every year. They’ve also been a big hit with Twilight fans, True Blood fans and anyone who likes vampires in general. They also inspired me to create other vampire treats for Halloween, like Vampire Cookies and even Vampire Pancakes. Nothing beats ... Read More »

What is white whole wheat flour?

White Whole Wheat Flour

White whole wheat flour almost sounds like a misnomer. Whole grain flours, and baked goods made with them, are supposed to be brown and noticeably darker than baked goods made with processed white flour, right? White whole wheat flour has been becoming steadily more popular over the past few years as interest in whole grains and whole grain baking continues to rise. It has gone ... Read More »

How to use fresh ginger

Fresh ginger

Fresh ginger is not as friendly looking as powdered ginger, which comes in a neat little canister along with all of the other dried spices. It goes into baked goods along with dry ingredients and requires no prep time. Fresh ginger, on the other hand, looks a little alien by comparison. The bulbous root is firm and it’s not obvious how to use it – ... Read More »

How to make brownie pops

Me with a brownie pop

One of the many culinary activities that I took part in during my trip to the Betty Crocker test kitchens was making brownie pops. Brownie pops are simple to make, lots of fun to decorate and – of course – lots of fun to eat. Kids love these, so it’s a good activity for them to help with and a big batch is sure to ... Read More »

What is coarse salt?

Maldon sea salt

There are lots of recipes that call for coarse salt these days. Coarse salt refers to sea salt or kosher salt, salt that has a much larger grain to it than common table salt – hence the name “coarse” salt. The reason that coarse salt is so popular is not that it is saltier or more flavorful than regular salt, but because it has a ... Read More »

How to bake without eggs

The majority of baking recipes, apart from breads, involve eggs in addition to ingredients like flour, sugar, butter and leavening. Eggs are crucial parts of many recipes, but with the big egg recall going on, you might want to consider some options for egg free baking. Cooking eggs thoroughly and washing your hands when handling eggs should drastically reduce your odds of having a food ... Read More »

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