April 3rd, 2014
01:00 AM ET
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America's Test Kitchen is a real 2,500 square foot test kitchen located just outside of Boston that is home to more than three dozen full¬time cooks and product testers. Our mission is simple: to develop the absolute best recipes for all of your favorite foods. To do this, we test each recipe 30, 40, sometimes as many as 70 times, until we arrive at the combination of ingredients, technique, temperature, cooking time, and equipment that yields the best, most foolproof recipe. America’s Test Kitchen's online cooking school is based on nearly 20 years of test kitchen work in our own facility, on the recipes created for Cook's Illustrated magazine, and on our two public television cooking shows.

For decades, the rule of thumb for recipes has been “serves 4 to 6,” or even more. But many families don’t fit this mold, leaving small households stuck with days of leftovers and lots of waste. Cooks can scale recipes on the fly, hoping they come out right, but kitchen math isn’t as simple as cutting ingredients in half—cooking times and temperatures need to be adjusted, and equipment has to be reconsidered.

Enter our new book, "The Complete Cooking for Two Cookbook." Part kitchen manual, part cookbook, it’s the first of its kind to engineer recipes from the ground up for the two-person household.

The test kitchen has spent more than 20 years developing bulletproof recipes for dishes like meatloaf, lasagna, mashed potatoes, and chocolate cake. Like most recipes, ours typically serve four, six, and sometimes more.

But we’ve realized that households change over time or through circumstance. Our readers started to echo this sentiment. Whether they were single parents, empty nesters, or newlyweds, they wanted recipes for the dishes we’d been developing for years, but they wanted them scaled to serve just two.
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March 3rd, 2014
10:00 AM ET
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America's Test Kitchen is a real 2,500 square foot test kitchen located just outside of Boston that is home to more than three dozen full­time cooks and product testers. Our mission is simple: to develop the absolute best recipes for all of your favorite foods. To do this, we test each recipe 30, 40, sometimes as many as 70 times, until we arrive at the combination of ingredients, technique, temperature, cooking time, and equipment that yields the best, most­ foolproof recipe. America’s Test Kitchen's online cooking school is based on nearly 20 years of test kitchen work in our own facility, on the recipes created for Cook's Illustrated magazine, and on our two public television cooking shows.

In the pantheon of cookies, chocolate chip cookies are just about everyone’s favorite. But gluten-free versions are all too often overly cakey or gritty - a far cry from the classic. We spent a year developing "The How Can It Be Gluten Free Cookbook," and what would a gluten-free cookbook be without a tried-and-true chocolate chip cookie recipe? Here’s how we made gluten-free chocolate chip cookies with a rich, buttery flavor, a crisp exterior and a tender (but not too cakey) interior. Even we had trouble tasting the difference between a traditional chocolate chip cookie and our gluten-free version.

We started the development process for our Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies by swapping in our flour blend for the all-purpose flour in a standard Toll House cookie recipe. It was no surprise that these cookies had problems: They were flat, sandy and greasy. We’d discovered during our baked goods testing that gluten-free flour blends simply can’t absorb as much fat as all-purpose flour can, so cutting back on the butter helped to minimize greasiness. Less butter, along with some xanthan gum, also helped alleviate the spread issue, so the cookies didn’t bake up so flat.
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January 22nd, 2014
03:45 PM ET
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This is the seventeenth installment of "Eat This List" - a regularly recurring list of things chefs, farmers, writers and other food experts think you ought to know about. Pictured above: supermarket shelves plundered in anticipation of a blizzard in January, 2011.

Weather outside? Frightful. Inside? As delightful as you care to craft it.

Just in case you've been huddled up in an igloo or a Tauntaun with no mobile or cable reception, massive snowfall has thwacked a big chunk of the country. Millions of people are either digging out or frozen in place, and it's it's gonna stay chilly over the next few days.

Might as well hunker down and fuel up. Here's what's on my cold weather menu. Or it would be if I were at my home, rather than snowed in an airport motel far from home.
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Filed under: Baked Goods • Bread • Cocktail Recipes • Dishes • Eat This List • Make • Recipes • Soup • Spirits


How to solve common cookie conundrums
December 13th, 2013
08:00 AM ET
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America's Test Kitchen is a real 2,500 square foot test kitchen located just outside of Boston that is home to more than three dozen full-time cooks and product testers. Our mission is simple: to develop the absolute best recipes for all of your favorite foods. To do this, we test each recipe 30, 40, sometimes as many as 70 times, until we arrive at the combination of ingredients, technique, temperature, cooking time, and equipment that yields the best, most-foolproof recipe. America’s Test Kitchen's online cooking school is based on nearly 20 years of test kitchen work in our own facility, on the recipes created for Cook’s Illustrated magazine, and on our two public television cooking shows.

Sending out a holiday cookie SOS? Here are five lifesavers.
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December 12th, 2013
01:30 PM ET
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CNN photojournalist John Bodnar is a second-generation Slavic-American whose grandparents emigrated from Eastern Slovakia, and his mother’s Carpatho-Rusyn ethnicity is the prominent influence for his cultural and family traditions. Previously, he wrote about haluski, holupki and paska.

I’ve always enjoyed the Slovak food my mother and extended family prepares. We eat these dishes at every family gathering: weddings, funerals and holiday celebrations. We eagerly approach the buffet display to find the holupki and haluski that usually occupy the first few trays, but at the end of the tables are the treats.

Cookies and cakes dominate that section, but the pastry that has always delighted my palate is the kolachi nut roll. Kolachi (sometimes spelled "kolache") is the name often given to a standard type of Slavic dough-filled pastry. Our kolachi is rolled dough filled with a walnut mixture, but other families fill theirs with a poppy seed mixture.

My aunt Eleanor was always celebrated as the one whose recipe held the quality edge over the other family members'. Obviously, this unofficial title has been disputed, but I concede that hers had a slight advantage in my childhood memories.

But Eleanor’s health eventually left her unable to make the delicious kolachi. As her health was failing, she insisted that her daughter Renee learn her kolachi recipe and carry on the tradition and her legacy. My cousin Renee embraced her mother’s challenge, and carries, in my mind, the title for making the best kolachi nut roll.
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Filed under: Baked Goods • Christmas • Cookies • Cooking • Cultural Identity • Culture • Family Recipe Index • Holidays • Make • Recipes • Step-by-Step


October 31st, 2013
10:45 AM ET
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Editor's Note: America's Test Kitchen is a real 2,500 square foot test kitchen located just outside of Boston that is home to more than three dozen full-time cooks and product testers. Our mission is simple: to develop the absolute best recipes for all of your favorite foods. To do this, we test each recipe 30, 40, sometimes as many as 70 times, until we arrive at the combination of ingredients, technique, temperature, cooking time, and equipment that yields the best, most-foolproof recipe. America’s Test Kitchen's online cooking school is based on nearly 20 years of test kitchen work in our own facility, on the recipes created for Cook’s Illustrated magazine, and on our two public television cooking shows.

A crumb crust is a classic choice in many single-crust pies. It’s more durable than classic pie dough, making it the right choice for the moist custard-based fillings in recipes like Key Lime Pie (recipe below).

Graham crackers are the classic choice. For chocolate cookie crusts, we prefer Oreos. While buying a store-bought ready-to-go crust is a tempting shortcut, these are always stale and bland. Making your own is incredibly easy and well worth it for a fresh-tasting crust with a crisp texture and balanced sweetness to do your homemade pie filling justice.
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Filed under: America's Test Kitchen • Baked Goods • Content Partner • How To • Make • Pie • Recipes • Techniques & Tips


October 24th, 2013
08:00 AM ET
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Editor's Note: America's Test Kitchen is a real 2,500 square foot test kitchen located just outside of Boston that is home to more than three dozen full-time cooks and product testers. Our mission is simple: to develop the absolute best recipes for all of your favorite foods. To do this, we test each recipe 30, 40, sometimes as many as 70 times, until we arrive at the combination of ingredients, technique, temperature, cooking time, and equipment that yields the best, most-foolproof recipe. America’s Test Kitchen's online cooking school is based on nearly 20 years of test kitchen work in our own facility, on the recipes created for Cook’s Illustrated magazine, and on our two public television cooking shows.

Introduced in the 1950s, the Bundt pan has been used by inspired bakers to create cakes that look like mountains, cathedrals, flowers, and, yes, pumpkins. For this cake, you stack two Bundt cakes, making sure that the flat sides are sandwiched together and the ridges are aligned. Orange buttercream frosting and a cupcake "stem" are the finishing touches.

We wanted a Pumpkin Patch Cake recipe that looked like a convincing, life-sized pumpkin - but tasted like a cake. We used a bread knife to even out the bottoms of the Bundt cakes, ensuring a more even cake after assembly. And we colored our frosting with only a couple of drops each of yellow and red food coloring, adding more if necessary. We found that too much food coloring created an undesirable, dark orange color.
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October 17th, 2013
10:00 AM ET
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No one takes as much ghoulish glee in Halloween as the staff at Martha Stewart Living. Their signature blend of sweet, cute and just a touch spooky is irresistible to treat lovers of all ages and skill levels.

Take a peek at this gallery of creepy treats, and your guests will soon be gobblin' up their favorites.

Skull Pop
To make a skeleton head, you'll need two regular marshmallows. With scissors, cut one marshmallow widthwise to expose stickiness and make pieces for the head and jaw. Poke holes with a toothpick to make sticky spots for the eyes, teeth and nose. Poke white candy-coated licorice pastels into the jaw for teeth, and press in black licorice drops for the eyes.

Snip a piece of black licorice twist into a small triangle for the nose, and press into place. Poke the marshmallows a few times with the toothpick to make a large hole for a candy stick. Push the candy stick into the hole, through the jaw, and into the skull. Wrap in a cellophane bag if desired.
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Filed under: Baked Goods • Cooking • Halloween • Halloween • Holiday • Make • Recipes


Paska for Easter - a loaf of love
March 29th, 2013
03:00 PM ET
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CNN photojournalist John Bodnar is a second-generation Slavic-American whose grandparents emigrated from Eastern Slovakia, and his mother’s Carpatho-Rusyn ethnicity is the prominent influence for his cultural and family traditions. Previously, he wrote about haluski.

I’d like to introduce you to the Easter bread that we called Paska. It is a two dough bread that incorporates cheese and raisins, and the arduous process that can take up to SIX hours to prepare. There in no wonder that this bread was made only once a year. I can’t imaging how my grandmother, who had 10 children, could find time for anything, let alone spending so much time for baking bread, plus the rest of the meal preparation.

It will always be one of my favorite foods. I will occasionally make a small loaf, but it is never as good as Mom’s. When I visit her, frozen Paska is always “forced” upon me and I take it home with me. Outside the Easter tradition, it is amazing when toasted and covered with butter. Oh yes, did I mention Paska with a hot cup of coffee?

Get John's family recipe - Slovak soul food: Paska for Easter

More on Easter foods and traditions

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Filed under: Baked Goods • Family Recipe Index • Make • Recipes


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