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BraveTart: Make Your Own Magic Middles

Writing about Magic Middles, making a recipe for them, makes me feel like that person at the Police Department that sketches a criminal's portrait while listening to the victim's account. You see, I have never tasted a Magic Middle or seen one in the wild. But based on eye witness reports and video footage, I've taken on the role of a forensic chef in the hunt for America's Most Wanted Cookie. More

BraveTart: Oatmeal Creme Pies

Oatmeal Creme Pies have mastered consistency in every sense of the word. It starts with the unparalleled consistency of both the cookies and the so-called creme. Together they are yielding yet substantial and neither squishy nor firm. Their flavor and texture remain consistent from edge to edge, from box to box, from decade to decade. More

BraveTart: Make Your Own Fruit Roll-Ups

Scarfing down a sugary snack without preamble definitely gets the job done, but a little delayed gratification really amps up the satisfaction of certain sweets. These sweets seem to demand a little ritual and thought: Twisting and licking an Oreo, wearing a Fudge Stripe like an edible ring, punching out the middle of a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup, or folding and nibbling a Fruit Roll-Up into a fruity snowflake. More

Hangover Helper: Oyakodon

I'd like to think of myself as a qualified hangover expert. I grew up in Kentucky, a stone's throw from the Woodford Reserve distillery. I minored in OMG Too Much Booze at culinary school (emphasis on minored; I graduated at 20) and have worked my entire adult life in the hard-drinking realm of restaurant kitchens. More

BraveTart: Make Your Own Brown Sugar Cinnamon Pop-Tarts

Writing a nostalgia-fueled column about childhood junk foods has some occupational hazards. Trips to the grocery now involve huge chunks of time spent roaming the center aisles ("Chips Ahoy or Famous Amos? Oh, hello Pecan Sandies..."), my notebook at work has more pages devoted to Little Debbie than Petite Syrah, and my coworkers get irate when subjected to taste-testing the same thing twelve too many times ("Soft Batch, again?"). More

BraveTart: Make Your Own Chocolate Sprinkles

Last year, Robyn taught us about a magical place called the Netherlands where people enjoy life so much that they crown even the most mundane food, buttered bread, with hagelslag (chocolate sprinkles). I don't know how this practice began, but I'd like to think that the people of the Netherlands have a sweeter constitution and dessert in the evening alone can't sustain them. To survive the long, dangerous hours between breakfast and dessert, they take chocolate vitamins to tide them over. More

BraveTart: Make Your Own Jell-O Style Chocolate Pudding

What made Jell-O pudding in the little plastic cup so exceptional compared to the instant variety, or even homemade, related directly to its texture. It had a slick silkiness that made all other puddings seem as thick and heavy as paste. You could suck up a spoonful through closed teeth, letting it flood your mouth with creamy chocolate wonder. And what can compare to the exquisite pleasure of licking clean the chocolate stained tinfoil lid? More

BraveTart: How to Make Your Own Nilla Wafers

Like loose change lurking in couch cushions, half eaten boxes of Nilla Wafers populate our cupboards; buried treasure lost amid the Seven Cs (cookies, crackers, chocolate, cereal, candy, chips, and cola). No Pantry Pirate ever sets out to find Nilla Wafers, instead, Nilla Wafers reveal themselves with the time is right. Just as despair sets in, the weary snacker sets eyes on their golden shores. More

BraveTart: Holiday Fauxreos

The mere sight of an Oreo stirs up feelings in me disturbingly like love. Not, of course, a torrid, star crossed love. Or even a simple storybook love. No, Oreos give you the kind of love only found in a long term relationship. They're familiar, comforting and pretty good in bed. (Oh, like you never eat cookies in bed?) More

BraveTart: Little Debbie-Style Christmas Tree Cakes

What I can't give you: the sound. The crisp, glassine crinkle of Little Debbie's cello wrap crumpling between your fingers. The delicate, mournful song the wadded-up wrapper sings as it slowly unfurls in the trash bin, discarded after faithfully protecting your snack for so long. What I can give you: fluffy yellow cake, silky whipped filling, and a coating of chocolate resilient enough to let you carry the whole thing around in the palm of your hand. More

BraveTart: Make Your Own Milanos

Santa and Milanos have equally substantiated merits. Santa supposedly rewards children for their behavior and Milanos ostensibly taste good. Both claims remain scientifically impossible to prove, but even so, people continue to believe in them because both point to something beautiful. More

BraveTart: Make Your Own Fig Newtons

Most of my childhood memories center around food and one of the earliest involves Fig Newtons. Before my brother had the audacity to be born on my fourth birthday, I was a painfully shy only child. So when my aunt and cousin drove in from out of town for a visit, I felt slightly terrified. My cousin was a bone fide Big Kid who could ride a bike and stuff. Don't those Big Kids pick on the Little Ones? I didn't plan on sticking around to find out. More

BraveTart: Make Your Own Keebler Fudge Stripe Cookies

Not all 1980s era spokes-creatures suffered at the hands of human children as Lucky the Leprechaun did. Chester Cheetah and Tony the Tiger enjoyed an open dialogue with kids that, while perhaps overstepping the bounds of traditional customer-service interactions, symbolized a new era of peaceful human-mascot relations. But none worked harder to maintain this lasting peace than diminutive Ernest J. Keebler. More

BraveTart: Make Your Own 3 Musketeers

Urban legend has it that some industrial candy snafu botched the names of 3 Musketeers and Milky Way. The tale has a certain logic. 3 Musketeers doesn't have three ingredients but Milky Way does. And the very name Milky Way recalls the smooth, uninterrupted creaminess found in 3 Musketeers. Those kinds of wonky urban legends ran amok in the eighties, but we have the internet now, so let's clear this stuff up. It's not a tasty tabloid tale of "Switched at Birth!" but rather "Murder, She Wrote." More

BraveTart: Peanut Butter Jelly Time

One of my favorite parts of snuggling up to the latest issue of any given food magazine is catching up on restaurant news in cities across America. New York. Boston. San Francisco. Chicago. Lexington. "Wait, Lexington...What state is that even in?" I can hear you asking. More

Bravetart: How To Make Crunchy Nutella at Home

After using my culinary time machine to rip a hole in the fabric of the kitchen space-time continuum, I visited an alternate universe where I discovered Brown Butter Soft Batch Cookies. The responsible time/dimensional traveler would have turned back; patched up the rift and come home straight away. And I promise, I'll do just that. But as long as we're here, I want one more souvenir. You see, I discovered the alternate-universe's Nutella, like peanut butter, comes in both crunchy and creamy. More

Bravetart: How To Make Lucky Charms Marshmallows At Home

@moo102, absolutely! I chose the corn to enhance the cereal flavor, but anything would suit so long as you used the same basic ratio.

Strawberry 'Pop Tarts'

@cteavin, thanks so much! Yeah, corn syrup is very crucial to an authentic Pop Tart flavor. It simultaneously sweetens and hydrates the dough, making the final crust soft, barely sweet and slightly mealy. With sugar and water, the dough spreads more as it bakes, resulting in a crisp crust that browns around the edges, like a butter cookie.

Point/Counterpoint: On Dairy Queen Coming to Manhattan

Well, of course the Blizzard is flavorless. The soft serve's primary function is to simply provide a cold/sweet/creamy counterpoint to candy. It is a canvas, or perhaps an elixir. The medium in which bits of Butterfinger are held in stasis, waiting to be revived in the warmth of our mouths. It is the snow globe in which flakes of Oreo swirl slowly, and the tide which carries a Heath Bar to the shores of our tongue. It is the Warp Core, which transforms Dilithium crystals into a rift in the space-time conti...wait, what am I talking about again?

A Day in the Life: Robyn Lee, Staff Photographer and Editor, A Hamburger Today

I have been to the Serious Eats office a number of times, and I gotta say, this sounds suuuuper more exciting than the time I just sat in that red chair for 4 hours to charge my laptop.

Homemade Fig Newtons

Hi Annaray! Ahh, I'm so happy something so American could wind up doing double duty for something so Brazilian! I'll have to give guava a try, it sounds awesome. What are those little cookies called?

Cookie Dough-Filled Reese's Cups

@flourplanet: they are a pure fantasy, to my knowledge no such candy exists!

From The Pastry Dungeon: Banana Oatmeal Bread

@ilovebroccoli, another pastry chef chiming in here!! If anything, Anna puts a great "keep calm and carry on" spin on the situation, because if I had to describe all of the above (all situations I've have actually dealt with) I would have had thrown in a looooooot more expletives. Most of the fun pastry world people see comes from tv, but for people like me and Anna (who are pastry foot soldiers without minions to help us) it's a one woman battle all day every day. Having this job, for me, is like one of those dramatic relationships where two people fight all the time but have amazing chemistry.

Homemade Animal Crackers

Hi Rebecca! Ah, I'm so glad finally a cracker appreciator has come along! :) I think you could definitely go the savory route with herbs and salt, I'm sure they'd be fabulous!

Homemade 'Reese's Cups'

Hi @jmholsin! I'm still here. :) I've made it both ways, with salted and unsalted, and it really depends on how much of that salty-sweet edge you're looking for. Let your taste buds guide you. Regular peanut butter works best as natural has a tendency to separate. Hope you enjoy!

Fauxreos

Hi Rachael, what a *genius* idea! I'll have to start telling people about it, sounds like the perfect compromise to put something on the cookies, but without having to bust out a piping bag. Well played.

Very Small Anna: Animal Crackers

I'm so happy VS Anna is here!!!! I first fell in love with her over these crackers.

BraveTart: Make Your Own Biscoff Cookies

hi @ksirah2. Ahhh, there's the rub. Regular soy flour is defatted, so even if you toast it, it's a fundamentally different product from roasted soy flour (which is full fat). Even so, I had some Biscoff recently and it made me feel anxious that these cookies still aren't Biscoff-y enough. Hoping to retool and repost a better version in the future.

Brown Butter and Sage Sweet Potato Casserole

@katz1123, I PROMISE she'll forgive you after the first bite. :)

Brown Butter and Sage Sweet Potato Casserole

Hi @Phong623! Well, you can't argue with success! It can be a real risk though, because things like corn syrup weigh about 12 ounces per cup (rather than 8, like water). Sugar comes close, 7 3/4 ounce per cup. So your version may have been a little light on corn syrup, but otherwise pretty close cos it's just sugar and water from there. You may find, as it ages, it will get grainy without the extra corn syrup to keep the sugar crystals in check. But hopefully it'll behave until tomorrow! :)

Brown Butter and Sage Sweet Potato Casserole

@Meg8557, you know, I haven't roasted them myself, but I would try crankin' the oven temp to 425 F° and checking on them after 15 minutes to see if they're fork tender. But yeah, toss 'em with the maple-sage-brown butter mixture and roast. Good luck! :)

Brown Butter and Sage Sweet Potato Casserole

@Phong623, absolutely! I developed this recipe as a bit of a way to save on oven space, which is so limited during Thanksgiving with all the other sides that have to be made. If you've got the room, though, go for it!

Homemade Jell-O Style Chocolate Pudding

Hi PeterC! Milk is listed in the ingredients twice, 2 1/2 ounces for the gelatin and 12 ounces for the pudding base. Sorry for the confusion!

Homemade Fig Newtons

Hi Molawed! I'd like to think these taste way better than the storebought version, but they will definitely look homemade. As cute and Newton-esque as they look, we're not robots, so handmade things always look handmade. :) Happy baking!

BraveTart: Make Your Own Brown Sugar Cinnamon Pop-Tarts

Hi @Peter P. I'm sorry to hear you had such trouble with the Pop-Tarts! I'd wish I could help you get to the bottom of the problem. Were you able to use a scale to make the dough?

Homemade 'Reese's Cups'

Oooph, I've neglected the comments! I think my notifications were turned off for a bit there, apologies to @meatballs&milkshakes! And thank you to @Happy_Baker for answering the question. Indeed, tempered chocolate has fat crystals which will solidify at room temperature, whereas simple melted chocolate does not. It's a little bit of an art form to melt (temper) the chocolate in just the right way, but it's not hard. It just takes some practice.

@RunningBaker, well, too much chocolate never hurt a Reese's Cup! Thanks so much for reporting back on your experience, I'm thrilled you enjoyed them so much!

Homemade Fig Newtons

@DhiviK, I don't imagine that would change the shelf life dramatically. Maybe shorten it a bit because of the excess moisture making the cookies soft? If you have any concerns, just store the newtons in an airtight container, refrigerated; that should help them keep longer.

Homemade Butterfingers

@Doggieboo, I think treacle would work perfectly well. It may change the flavor a tad, but should have the right consistency otherwise. Good luck!

Vanilla Ice Cream Sandwiches

@Marinelm, a dose of hot fudge and whipped cream will fix just about anything! ;) If you ever give these a shot again, try baking the wafers for a little less time to see if that will compensate and give you nice, pliable wafers instead. So happy it tasted good, at any rate. :)

Vanilla Ice Cream Sandwiches

@Marinelm, oh no! I'm sorry to hear you had trouble. I'm wondering if your oven might be running hot; the wafer layers should be quite soft and pliable even post freezing. The only breakage I've experienced with this recipe has been when I've forgotten to set a timer and baked the wafers too long.

On those occasions, I've found the pieces patch together pretty nicely. They'll bond to the ice cream during freezing and still form a fairly cohesive sammy, especially if one of the wafer layers is intact. I hope all is not lost!

Homemade Milanos

@Meatballs&milkshakes, ohhh! I'm sorry I missed your previous comment! I'm glad you wound up finding some and reporting back! For future readers perhaps searching around, it's in most grocery stores, usually in the baking aisle in a big box. Sometimes near the Ovaltine. :) With copycat recipes, sometimes it's a game of little victories. Get the texture better, but lose the flavor or vice versa.

Video: How To Make Pillsbury Banana Cream Crescent Donuts At Home

Inspired by the Cronut craze, but don't want to wait for hours to sample the pastry? You don't have to: thanks to Pillsbury, you can make your own Crescent Donuts at home, and it couldn't be simpler. More