Troubleshooting Quick Breads

(Updated from May 22, 2014) Quick breads make for a fast and tasty treat, and they can be really easy to make. But it’s common to run into some issues along the way. The most common causes for these issues is usually over-mixing the batter or adding too much fat or sugar, but that isn’t always the case. Whether your quick bread is too crumbly, too dry, too dense, or otherwise; this troubleshooting guide should help. Common Quick Bread Problems If your quick bread has: A cracked top: A cracked top is desirable and not a fault. Tunnels and voids: …

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How to Make Fifteen Minute Pizzas

(Updated From May 12, 2014) Thin crust pizzas have become a recent favorite here at Prepared Pantry. They aren’t as rich and heavy as their thicker deep-dish counterparts, but they still taste just as great without all the guilt. We’ve also found that thin-crust pizzas are much faster to make. Debbie is the thin crust pizza queen. She’s gotten it down to a science in making three crusts out of just one pizza dough mix and pulling her famous thin crust pizzas out of the oven in just 15 minutes. In this article, we’ll tell you how to do just …

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How to Make Your Pie Crust Pretty in 3 Easy Steps

(Updated From July 9, 2015) The pie crust shouldn’t be the most intimidating part of the pie, and it doesn’t need to be when you use these three easy steps and our pie crust mix. The perfect pie has a pretty, flaky, melt-in-your-mouth kind of crust. You can make your pie crusts look and taste just like a pie from a professional bakery, and we’ll tell you how to do it in just three easy steps. The “Key Ingredient” to a Perfect Pie Crust Pie crusts made from scratch often turn out hard and tough. This is because the butter …

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How to Make a Calzone like a Pizza Shop

The Perfect Make-Ahead Freezer Meal (Updated From May 10, 2014) If you can make a pizza, you can make a calzone. Calzones are easy meals that you can even make ahead of time, freeze, and then have out of the oven in just fifteen minutes. In this article, we’ll tell you how to make a calzone with methods and tips. Calzones are closely related to pizzas, sort of a folded over pizza. Somehow though, cutting into the crisp, golden crust of a calzone to reveal a luscious filling is a different experience than eating a pizza. They’re the perfect make-ahead …

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Cinnamon Dutch Almond Refrigerator Cookies

This is an unusual refrigerator cookie and one of our favorites. We like it so much that several years ago, we determined to make a mix based on this recipe. It was one of those projects that never made it out of the gate but in so doing, we felt like we perfected the cookie. We reverse-engineered the mix to create this recipe. This is a hard, crisp cookie that is served in Europe with a beverage. It’s sort of like having biscotti at the corner café. This is an easy cookie to make. Unlike other recipes, do not underbake …

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Peach Berry Crisp with Cinnamon Spiced Whipped Cream

For the filling • 2 cups fresh or frozen berries • 2 cups fresh peaches, sliced • 2/3 cup granulated sugar • 3 tablespoons flour • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg • 1 teaspoon cassia cinnamon For the topping: • 1 cup brown sugar • 1 cup quick oats • 1 1/5 cups flour • 1 cup cold butter, cut into chunks For the whipped cream: • 1 cup whipping cream • 1/3 cup granulated sugar • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger • 1 1/2 teaspoon cassia cinnamon • 1/2 tablespoon meringue powder, optional Preheat the oven to 375 degrees 1. Mix …

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How to Make a Skillet Breakfast

Plus, how to make crispy hash browns. My oldest son and his family were in town from Minnesota. We stopped at a country diner for breakfast. Half of our party ordered omelets and the rest ordered skillet breakfasts. They were good; made of crispy hash browns with onions and bacon and then topped with scrambled eggs and cheese. Back in the test kitchen, we tried to replicate the diner’s skillet breakfast. We got close. Here’s the recipe. This will feed two or three hungry people. Ingredients 2 large russet potatoes, peeled and grated 1/2 sweet onion such as Walla Walla, …

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How to Turn Your Whipped Cream into Frosting

Whipped cream is so good you could eat it out of the tub or can, but what if I told you that you could make your own whipped cream and never have to run into an empty can or tub and out to the store again. Better yet, you can make that luxurious whipped cream into frosting. Whipped cream frosting is absolutely scrumptious —better than butter or shortening-based buttercream frosting.  And it’s easy to make fabulous whipped cream. I’ll tell you exactly how to do it. The Key Ingredients to Whipped Cream Frosting The main ingredient in a whipped cream …

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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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A Baker’s Cookie Guide

Ingredients Cookies are wonderful concoctions of flour, sugar, and a fat—usually butter and eggs. To these basic ingredients, we add fruit, nuts, and flavors. If we start out with compromised ingredients, the cookies from any recipe will be inferior. Sugars Sugars not only sweeten, they add moisture and tenderness to the cookie and help the cookie brown. Always use the type of sugar called for in the recipe. Since superfine sugar melts faster than does granulated, it will create more spread. Brown sugar adds a caramel flavor and more moisture than granulated. Powdered sugar has added cornstarch and makes a …

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Chicken Pot Pie: A Timeless Comfort Food Classic

By: Casey Archibald I remember my grandmother; she always smelled like a perfume called Beautiful. She spent hours trimming her rose bushes on hot summer weekends, she had a big, stinky chocolate lab named Peppi, she collected hundreds of nativity scenes and figurines—and she made the most delicious, creamy, chicken pot pies. They were perfect on rainy Seattle days. Though I wasn’t a huge fan of veggies, when grandma surrounded them a pool of creamy goodness and topped them with a buttery, flakey crust, the peas and carrots were just fine. Chicken pot pies are very versitile. Add celery, potatoes, …

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How to Have Great Picnics in the Fall

Dennis Weaver With the exception of the picture of the Tetons, the landscape images were taken in Eastern Idaho by Debbie Frantzen. This is our favorite time of year for a picnic. It’s not just that snow is coming; we’re savoring the last pleasures of the season. The sky is clear and blue and there’s a fresh crispness to the air. The bugs are gone. The sumac is red and the aspens have turned golden. The birds and wildlife seem restless and no longer hidden in the thickets away from the heat of summer and out of sight. The southerly rays …

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Heavenly Macaroons Recipe

Delicious Chocolate Macaroons | The Prepared Pantry

We really like macaroons.  These egg white-based cookies come in such interesting varieties—vanilla, chocolate, and cherry for starters.  Most of us think of coconut when we think of macaroons but we’ve seen macaroons with no nuts at all and some with almonds, pecans, and even pine nuts.  And they come with textures from crisp to chewy.Here is a recipe for a very light and airy macaroon, almost like a confection. This is a very quick and easy recipe.  The recipe requires only a few ingredients, and a few steps. Ingredients 4 egg whites (you should have a half cup) 1/8 …

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Fall Picnics | Ideas for Great Fall Picnics

This is my favorite time of year, September and early October.  I love the cooler weather, the crisp bite in the mornings.  I love the mountains in the fall, the medley of bright colors in the forests, the deeper blue sky that seems to go forever, the earthy smells of fallen leaves, and the crunch of dry leaves underfoot.  I love the crystal clear waters of gentle streams after the water has dropped in the fall with their quiet babble as they find their way over smooth stones.  It’s my favorite time for hikes and picnics in the woods. We …

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How to Make Fresh Veggie Flatbread Pizzas

Veggie Flatbreads from http://PreparedPantry.com

Discovering the Foods of the Twin Cities: Margherita Flatbread I’m writing this from Minnesota. It’s a beautiful day, not too hot, plenty of sun, and a mere rustle of a breeze. I love St. Paul.  It’s a very ethnic town, much more so than across the river in Minneapolis. There is a Hmong neighborhood here, a German there, and an Italian over there. I went to school at The University of Minnesota.  Not far away was a row of ethnic restaurants where you could sample Somalian food or Caribbean. Now when we visit, we hop from bakery to bakery and then …

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From Crisp and Thin to Thick and Chewy to Soft and Cake-Like

Why are some cookies then and crisp and others, thick and cake-like? It’s a structural question and cookie structure is primarily determined by: The sugar The flour The eggs There are other contributing factors, of course. The amount and type of fat will affect structure. (A cookie made with shortening instead of butter will tend to be crisper.) A non-stick, well-greased sheet will cause more spread. But if you understand the function of sugar, flour, and eggs, you’ll largely understand what is going on in your oven. The Sugar Sugar melts. Sugar in your recipe acts like a liquid in …

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My Favorite Apple Pie

When the warm summer nights turn crisp and clear, I find myself in an apple pie mood. And it can’t be just any apple pie; it has to be my favorite apple pie–a great mound of a pie crusted with cinnamon and sugar. Under that buttery crust will be sweet-tart apples infused with the richness of sour cream and quality cinnamon. The apples have to be good apples, fresh and crisp and sweet. I like them on the tart side, maybe some pippins or jonathans. I love cranberries and so I’ll throw in a generous handful to become rubies in …

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Fully Loaded Biscuits

Just because it’s a biscuit, it doesn’t have to be plain.  You can load them up with all kinds of goodies: nuts, fruits, spices, herbs, dried tomatoes, peppers, chilies, bacon, cheese, garlic, chives, onions, ham, and much more. Today, we loaded our biscuits with bacon, cheese, and onions.  We used one of our just-add-water biscuit mixes but you can use a scratch recipe if you prefer. 4 cups just-add-water buttermilk biscuit mix 1 cup cheddar cheese, 1/8 to 1/4 inch diced or grated cheese 3/4 cup diced and sautéed sweet onions 6 slices bacon, cooked to a crisp and crumbled 1 …

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Cranapple Crisp with Panko Topping and Lemon Cloud Whipped Cream

This makes a luscious all-purpose dessert. A crisp can be served hot or cold with whipped cream or ice cream. We chose lemon cloud whipped cream made with lemon flavor and lemon zest but our old standby, caramel whipped cream, would have been good also. If you bake with apples, you owe it to yourself to invest in an Apple Master Apple Peeler. You can peel, core, and slice all the apples you need for a pie or a crisp in two minutes. What’s more, because the slices are uniformly thick, they cook evenly. You’ll have a better dessert. See …

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Vanilla and Chocolate Almond Cookies

  This refrigerator or icebox cookie recipe makes very good but unusual almond cookies–you can make light and dark cookies from the same batch—vanilla almond and chocolate almond. These scrumptious little cookies are unusually light and crisp. If you are looking for a refrigerator recipe that makes crisp almond cookies, try this one. Ingredients 3 cups all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon baking powder 1/4 teaspoon salt 1 cup butter 2 1/2 cups brown sugar 1 teaspoon almond extract 2 large eggs 1 cup slivered almonds 2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted but still warm 2 tablespoons granulated sugar Directions 1. Mix the …

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