Lemonade Pies: A Luscious Summertime Treat

Celebrate summer with these luscious lemonade pies. This is a type of pie, not just a recipe. It started out as a pink lemonade pie, made with pink lemonade fruit juice concentrate from your grocer’s shelf. But it soon evolved into pies made with any fruit juice concentrate. Since there is an amazing array of fruit drink concentrates, you can make an amazing array of desserts. Lemonade Pies: The Best Dessert of the Summer They’re luscious. We serve these in the store often. They’re always a hit. The contrast of sweet and tart from the concentrate is delightful. They’re cool …

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How to Make Your Own Homemade Playdough

“This is the best!!! My lil girl loves it and plays with it every day. We use cookie cutters and my stamping up stamps to add to the fun.”—Peggy F Playdough is every child’s best friend growing up as they experience the joys of creativity, bright colors, and developing fine motor skills. That’s why we love homemade playdough.  This article will give you two recipes for homemade playdough—cooked and uncooked. Safe for curious mouths! Whether it’s cooked or uncooked, homemade playdough is non-toxic and perfectly edible. No more panicking when your little one stuffs a handful into their curious, little …

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Tips for Great Brownies

Choose One Free Brownie or Snickerdoodle Mix! Add it to cart and use code “Z333” at checkout. Even if you’ve never made brownies before, you can bake brownies like a pro. Don’t know how to prepare the pan, how long to cool the brownies, how to properly cut them, or how to store them? No problem. Follow these seven helpful tips, and you’ll get the best brownies— ooey-gooey and super chocolatey— every time. How Do You Prepare the Pan for Brownies? For the best brownies, we usually line our pan with parchment paper or foil. Here’s how you do it: …

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Mixing Methods Commonly Used in Recipes

(Updated from May 10, 2014) Try out Your New Mixing Skills with a Free Brownie or Snickerdoodle Mix. Choose one, add it to cart, and use code “Z333” at checkout. Want to become a better baker and feel like a pro in the kitchen when you can recognize exactly which method of mixing will be used just by looking at the recipe? This article will help you to do just that. While there are scores of mixing methods used in baking, many recipes for cakes, muffins, cookies, and more utilize one of two methods: the muffin method or the creaming …

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How to Bake Brownies to the Perfect Temperature

Choose One! Get a FREE Brownie or Snickerdoodle Mix! Add it to cart and use code “Z333” at checkout. Everyone loves a gooey, chocolatey brownie fresh from the oven, but it can be pretty hard to get the internal temperature of a brownie just right every time. Take your brownies out of the oven a minute too soon, and they’re too gooey to cut; leave them in for too long, and your brownie will be overcooked. We’ve found that checking the internal temperature of your brownies with a thermometer is the key, and we’ll tell you just how to do …

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How to Cook Burgers on a Rack in the Oven

(Updated From May 10, 2014) Get a FREE brownie or snickerdoodle mix! Add it to cart and use code “Z333” at checkout. What if it rains this weekend, and I can’t make burgers on the grill? Don’t worry; I found just the trick. Making burgers in the oven means you can cook them rain or shine. When you cook your burgers on a rack in the oven, you don’t have to turn your food. The air circulates under the food and cooks the food from above and below. Cooking times are reduced. Without turning, your burgers are incredibly juicy. There …

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Ten Ways to Fancy Up Your Brownies (or Other Desserts)

Caramel Brownies

(Updated from May 12, 2014) Choose One! Get a FREE Brownie or Snickerdoodle Mix! Add it to cart and use code “Z333” at checkout. The decadent taste of ooey-gooey chocolate in a freshly baked brownie is amazing on its own, but have you ever considered serving your brownie with a little extra like ice cream, fudge sauce, or fresh fruit on top? Brownie toppings are all you need to make a delightful brownie dessert, and this article will tell you just what to do. Best Brownie Toppings Here are ten great ideas to transform your brownies into fancy desserts that …

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How to Make Fry Bread

fry bread topped with strawberries

Get a FREE Buttermilk Bread Mix Now! Add it to cart and use code “ZYUM” at checkout. Bite down into a deep-fried, crispy outer shell and taste a deliciously light and fluffy center. What could get better than that? Referred to as scones in the Inter-mountain West, this fry bread recipe is a somewhat healthier take on fried dough and doughnuts with a crispy outer layer locking in the doughy goodness in the middle. What is Fry Bread? It’s one of the easiest recipes you’ll ever make. All you have to do is prepare your favorite bread mix, let the …

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Brownie Sundaes in Ice Cream Cones

An example of brownies baked in ice cream cones and then topped with ice cream. These have added chocolate fudge sauce.

Want More Fun? Get a free ooey, gooey caramel popcorn kit. Plus get free recipes for pigs in a blanket, homemade playdough, painted cookies, corn dogs, and peanut butter brownies in an ice cream cone. Tell us where to send it! Brownies and Ice Cream — The Perfect Marriage You can buy ice cream with brownie chunks. Or you can pile ice cream on top of a brownie–a brownie sundae. But you probably haven’t thought of baking the brownies inside ice cream cones. One of our readers wrote and asked if the peanut butter brownie cupcake recipe could be baked …

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Cheesecake Brownies Recipe

You can add a cream cheese filling to any brownie mix.  There are two ways to do this: either swirling the cream cheese filling through the brownie batter or putting a cream cheese layer over the brownie batter to make a layered dessert.  We’ll describe both ways. Swirled Cream Cheese Brownies 1 brownie mix 2 8-ounce packages of cream cheese 1/2 cup granulated sugar 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 4 large egg yolks Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Lightly grease a 9 x 13-inch baking pan. Dust with flour or line with parchment paper. Mix the brownie batter according to …

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How Much Chocolate is Too Much Chocolate in a Brownie?

One day in the test kitchen, we started adding the chocolate to brownie recipes–mostly cocoa–to see how much was too much.  We doubled and tripled until we had a ridiculous amount of chocolate.  We took a several batches to a cooking class that night. “How many think these are too chocolaty?”  Three hands came up “How many think not chocolaty enough?”  For or five came up.  The rest of the class thought they were just right. The Ultimate Chocolate Brownies We recommend Ramstadt Breda Rich Dark Cocoa or Belcolade Dark Cocoa.  Be sure that your cocoa has a high cocoa …

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Beyond the Bone Store

Quiet Country Drives The Bone Store sits in Bone, Idaho, 17 miles down the Bone Road.  (Yes, there was a Mr. Bone, Mr. Orion Bone the town founder in the early 1900’s.) Bone is in the boonies. It was the last town in Idaho to receive telephone service.  In 2006, it had a year around population of 2.  It has probably doubled in population since then. I hear the Bone Store serves dinner weekend evenings. We had never been to Gray’s Lake.  There is a national wildlife refuge there and it’s not too far from where we live so we …

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Ask the Baker: Answers to Popular Questions

I’ve been writing articles about food and baking for over ten years—I’m guessing several thousand articles. Sometimes the well just seems to run dry.  But for a magazine that we published, I wrote a question and answer column called “Ask the Baker.”  I hope you find this answers helpful. Q: How can I when my bread is done?  My mother used to thump the loaf to see if it sounds hollow.  That doesn’t seem very accurate.  A: The color of the loaf, how brown it is, in an indicator but not very reliable.  The sugar in the loaf caramelizes and …

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Six Decadent Brownies You Can Make with a Mix

We’ve made dozens of brownie variations from a mix.  I started digging through our old recipes to find my favorites.  Here are my top six. The cheesecake brownies above.  Make a simple cream cheese filling and swirl it through the mix. Nutella brownies.  These are incredible.  Add Nutella to the brownies to make them smooth and rich, unlike any other brownies.  Then the coarsely chopped snacking nuts area a killer. Brownie pizza. There’s two ways to go here: bake a pizza in a pizza pan then top it with sweets like candy, nuts and caramel topping or go with fruit …

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Look What You Can Make With a Brownie Mix!

Christmas day was a blizzard.  When I ventured to look out, the drifts were two feet deep in my driveway.  The county posted that they were only going to dispatch snowplows for emergencies.  The roads were closed.  It was Sunday, Christmas Sunday, but the churches cancelled service. The next day, Monday, we had a partial staff.  Our test kitchen was open.  So, we looked for a fun project.  Everyone likes brownies.  We decided to create new brownies by adding goodies to existing brownie mixes. That’s not a new idea.  On our shelves, we already have raspberry brownies, peanut butter brownies, …

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How to Make Your Brownies Look Like They Came from a Bakery

Choose your brownies and make them so that they cut neat and square.  Our New York Dessert Brownies were designed for that.  If you want a gooey brownie, choose Uncle Bob’s Extra Moist Brownies but freeze them for an hour to make them firm before cutting. STEP 1: Line your pan with parchment paper.  Spread shortening in the pan to hold the paper in place.  Don’t worry; the fat will be outside the paper, not on your brownies. STEP 2: After removing the pan from the oven, grab the edges of the paper and lift the cake from the pan. STEP 3: Using two cooling …

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Very Simple, Very Good Brownie Pops

We were making blondies, batch after batch, testing mixes and making blondies faster than customers in the store could eat them.  These were fancy blondies: Peanut Butter Cup, Raspberry Sour Cream, and Caramel Nut Blondies. At the end of the day, we had batches left over.  Rather than throw them out, we looked for something to make with them.  I remembered seeing a picture on a calendar of square brownie pops on a stick.  They had cut brownies into rectangles and then dipped them in frosting.  That seemed like a good idea.  We cut the blondies into squares, stuck popsicle …

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How to Make Back-to-School Brownies

Every kid (and big person) loves brownies and there is not much easier on a busy day than a brownie mix. But brownies can be messy with crumbs on the floor and sticky fingers too. So why not put them in a paper cup like with a muffin? No more mess, easy to pack, and you can decorate them too. Stick them in a school lunch, use them as an after school snack, or just anytime. Neat idea. But baking brownies in paper liners is different that baking cupcakes in paper liners. Baking times and temperatures may be different, maybe …

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The Blondies and the Baking Lessons

What You can Learn from a Blondie? These blondies are really good, so good that a major company commissioned us to make them a blondie mix.  The original Chocolate Caramel Pecan Pie Blondies are thick and moist and chewy, loaded with chocolate.  They’re made in a dark, nonstick 9 x 9-inch baking pan. These good folks wanted a blondie that would work in 9 x 9-inch and 8 x 8-inch pans and in both glass and metal pans.  Now that would take some doing. See what you can learn from our journey. Different Size Pans Require Different Baking Times It’s …

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How much chocolate is too much chocolate?

“How much chocolate can you put in a brownie before it’s too much chocolate?” We asked ourselves that question years ago—and then went to work to solve it.  Batch after batch, we added more chocolate until we had a ridiculous amount of chocolate—over 3/4 pound.  We were using really good chocolate. The brownies still tasted good to us, even great.  But then, we’re chocoholics. We had a cooking class that night so we passed the brownies around the class. “How many feel these brownies have too much chocolate?” we asked.  Three or four hands went up. “How many think they …

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