Baking Tutorials

How To Make Old-Fashioned Date Bars — Baking Lessons from The Kitchn

(Image credit: Christine Han)

Date bars have turned my daily dessert world upside down. You see, up until a few weeks ago I had never even heard about date bars, but after the first batch I knew I had found my new favorite, go-to cookie bar. These bars are made with only four major ingredients — dates, oats, butter, and a bit of brown sugar — and come together in about the time it takes the oven to preheat. They happen to be naturally gluten-free and low in added sugar, which means they're the kind of treat that makes a near-perfect after-school snack (but something that pairs deliciously with a bourbon night cap too).

That's not even the best part, though! Biting into these bars is the most delicious adventure in contrasting textures. The top is crisp and buttery with oat crumble, while the date filling is sweet as caramel and just as lush. The same oat mixture that crisps on top becomes chewy and nutty on the bottom of the pan. Personally, I call dibs on the corner pieces, but here's how to make a whole pan of these delicious old-fashioned date bars.

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How To Make Banoffee Pie — Baking Lessons from The Kitchn

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

Banoffee pie, as in "banana toffee pie," strikes an amusing balance between buttery rich sweetness and everyday fruit flavors. This playfulness is exactly what makes it extraordinary. This no-bake pie cuts into a buttery cookie crust full of a creamy brown sugar-flavored toffee filling. Just try saying that three times fast! Topping the sumptuous toffee filling with seemingly ordinary bananas and barely sweetened whipped cream brings balance back to every bite. Be assured this is still one seriously sweet dessert, but one that leaves a wake of ardent admirers in its wake.

Learn how to whip up a picture-perfect crumb crust and a sweet toffee filling, and make the best banoffee pie you'll ever have with this recipe.

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How To Make Vegan Meringue Cookies — Baking Lessons from The Kitchn

(Image credit: Christine Han)

Let me preach the meringue cookie gospel for a moment here. Meringues are light and airy, with a just-right sweetness, and they melt in your mouth with their crisp-tender texture. They are made with just three ingredients, one of which is a leftover byproduct of a kitchen staple.

If you were thinking these pretty, tasty things were made from egg whites, you were wrong. These meringues are made from the leftover liquid from a can of chickpeas, whipped and baked up much like their namesake cousins, but made for vegans. It's not quite magic — it's thanks to the starchy science of aquafaba.

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How To Make Cheese Gougères — Cooking Lessons from The Kitchn

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

Let me walk you through the experience of eating a fresh gougère. It's surprisingly light as you pick it up — almost insubstantial — and still hot from the oven. The crispy shell crunches as you pull it open, releasing a puff of savory steam. Then you hit the middle: soft, eggy, and indecently cheesy. Two bites and it's gone. You're going to want to make a batch of these soon — trust me.

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How To Make a One-Bowl Vanilla Cake — Baking Lessons from The Kitchn

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

Sometimes you need a cake — like, now — and getting out a stand mixer and dirtying a few bowls isn't ideal. It's often in these situations we lean on cake mixes to get a cake in the oven. Inspired by the virtues of cake mix (it is easy and reliable, after all) we set out to create an everyday vanilla cake — something sweet but sturdy and resilient that we could quickly turn into everything from an everyday coffee cake to cupcakes to a giant ice cream cake sandwich.

Honestly, this cake can come together faster than your oven will preheat. So go set it to 350°F and then come back here to learn how to make this universal cake. It can be as simple or as stunning as you choose, and it will bake up at least a dozen different ways — all of them buttery, fragrant, and delicious.

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How To Make Kentucky Bourbon and Walnut Pie — Baking Lessons from The Kitchn

(Image credit: Lauren Volo)

This bourbon-spiked, chocolate and walnut pie (aka we-can't-call-it-Derby-pie pie) may well be the most controversial pie in the history of Kentucky. And controversy — and a lawsuit or two— has made this pie a part of Kentucky history. So eating a piece of this pie, you might say, is like eating a piece of history.

But we'd argue that this pie isn't just famous because of some back and forth over a name. This pie is famous because it's a downright delicious dessert that's easy to whip up and pretty as you please to look at — especially with a dollop of bourbon whipped cream on top. Try it and let us know if you agree.

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