A homemade crust can turn a good pie into an amazing one, delivering more flavor and a lighter, flakier texture than a store-bought crust can. It can be intimidating to make a pie crust from scratch when you have to do it by hand, however, and many people will opt out of homemade pie crusts just because they worry about screwing it up. If you have a food processor, you can take some of the “scary” out of making pie crust, because you can do it quickly and easily in one! I made a video demo to walk you through the process of How to Make Pie Crust in the Food Processor, but the general idea is that you pulse the butter into the flour mixture with the food processor, rather than cutting the butter in with your fingertips.
The recipe included in the video is for a single, all butter crust. It can be doubled for double crust pies. You can get a great, flaky crust with this method in very little time. I think that my crusts might be a touch flakier when I make them by hand – but when I need to make multiple crusts it definitely makes my life a lot easier to do a few batches by food processor.
There are two things that would be pie-bakers find to be intimidating: making the pie dough and then rolling it out. The technique used for making pie dough – cutting butter/shortening in to a flour mixture – is used for many types of baked goods, including scones and biscuits. The technique for rolling out pie dough is really only used for making pies. Fortunately, if you have a little flour, a flat work surface and a rolling pin, you are ready to make it happen.
I put together a demo video showing how to roll out pie dough to make a single crust pie. The demo walks you through rolling out the dough, transferring it to a pie pan and crimping the crust. When you roll out your crust properly, you’ll get a better fit in the pan and better results with your finished pie, because you’ll reduce the risk of the pie crust shrinking or pulling away from the pan during baking. Once you have your pie crust rolled out, here are a few more pie how-tos that should come in handy:
Scary monsters and horror movies are a big part of Halloween for many people. Haunted houses and corn mazes open all over the country this time of year, and creepy and gory movies always draw big crowds to the theater. I decided to take a page from the scary side of this this Halloween and make my own scary movie. Mine is food-related, of course, and my monster was partially inspired by a pumpkin that I carved recently.
Most baking recipes give a window of time in which your recipe might be done. This is because ovens can vary slightly in temperature and both the temperature of the room and your dough/batter can have an influence over baking time. So, it’s important to know how to check your baked goods for doneness to be sure they’re ready to come out and don’t need an extra minute or two. Cake is one of the most difficult things to test because it’s not always easy to tell by looking at it, or even by moving the pan.
The quickest and easiest way to check a cake for doneness is with the toothpick test. Simply take a toothpick and insert it into the center of the cake. If it comes out clean, or with only a few moist crumbs attached to it, the cake is done. If the toothpick comes out with wet batter, you are going to need to add more baking time. You can also test with the tip of your finger, by gently pressing the top of the cake to see if it springs back, but a toothpick is fast, easy and you don’t need to risk your fingertip touching a hot cake.
This quick video shows you exactly what to look for. And remember, it’s usually better to check your cake or cupcakes a minute or two before you think it will be done to avoid overbaking anything.
I think that everyone should have one go-to brownie recipe. This One Bowl Brownie recipe is mine. The recipe takes just a few minutes to put together and I typically have everything that I need to make it on hand at any given time. Brownies are a huge crowd pleaser, so they’re perfect for almost every situation when you need or want a baked good. Plus, you can put any number of spins on the basic recipe by adding nuts, chocolate chips, dried fruit, frosting or ice cream to it, which means that it never gets boring.
The brownie recipe is very straightforward, using cocoa powder and dark chocolate to give them a rich chocolate flavor. I’ve seen brownie recipes that have a lot more chocolate in them than these do, but believe me when I say that you get a lot of chocolate into every bite with these. Sometimes, I find that adding more chocolate can just make the brownies heavy and more like a block of fudge than an actual brownie. And, for those times when I am really craving chocolate, I can always stir in some chocolate chips for even more chocolate in these. There is no leavening in the recipe, which keeps the brownies dense and moist.
To me, a one bowl recipe means that everything can be measured out straight into one bowl and easily mixed together. These brownies definitely fit that definition and I frequently measure things out directly into the mixing bowl. Plus, you don’t even need a mixer for this recipe because it comes together fast with a simple whisk or spoon. In fairness, if you don’t have a microwave-safe mixing bowl, then you should melt your butter and chocolate together in a smaller microwave-safe bowl first. This adds a second bowl if you need to do it, but fortunately small bowls always seem easier to clean than the big ones, so it won’t make much of a mess.
To demonstrate just how easy to make these are, I even put together a short video that will walk you through the process: