Step Up Your Baking Game With This Super-Easy Homemade Pie Crust

iStock/2GreenEyes
iStock/2GreenEyes

Making pie crust from scratch can discourage even the most confident home baker. A dough needs whole flecks of butter incorporated throughout it to achieve flakiness, so temperature makes all the difference—if the dough is too cold, it's impossible to roll; too warm and the butter melts, causing the whole thing to fall apart. In a recipe shared by Martha Stewart Living, the home baking master herself lays out how to get it just right.

Start by combining 2.5 cups of all-purpose flour and 1 teaspoon each of salt and sugar into a bowl. Next, take two sticks of chilled, unsalted butter and cut them into the mixture using a pastry blender. Once you've mixed your ingredients into a coarse meal, it's time to work the dough by hand.

Before getting your hands greasy, set aside a bowl of ice water and add 4 tablespoons of it to the mixture—this will keep the dough from becoming too warm as you handle it. Work the dough until it starts to come together, adding a tablespoon of ice water (up to 4 additional tablespoons) whenever it starts to crumble apart.

When your dough finally looks like dough, divide it into two parts, wrap them separately in plastic wrap, and refrigerate them for at least an hour. Once they've been sufficiently chilled, roll each portion into a 14-inch circle, and using your rolling pin, carefully them to 9-inch pie pans. With your hands and a pair of kitchen scissors, shape and trim the pie dough so it fits the vessels neatly.

You can load your pie crusts with filling and start baking right away, or cover them with plastic wrap and pop in them in the freezer so they'll be ready for the holidays. Your future self will be grateful.

[h/t Martha Stewart]

How Microwaving Food Affects Its Nutritional Value

iStock/grzymkiewicz
iStock/grzymkiewicz

There’s probably no household appliance that sees more use than a microwave. For people who don’t have the time or inclination to prepare dinners from scratch or heat meals in a conventional oven, zapping food has become the ultimate method of time management in the kitchen.

Some people harbor the belief that a price has to be paid for that convenience—specifically, that food loses nutritional value by being subjected to a quick nuking.

The truth? Microwaving doesn’t harm a food’s nutrients. In fact, it may preserve them more than some slow-cook methods do.

The reason is found in how microwaves work. The appliances heat food by blasting it with waves of energy not unlike radio waves. These waves target water and other molecules in the food. Thermal energy quickly builds up, and dishes come out heated in a relatively short period of time. This process avoids two of the factors that can lead to nutrient loss: cooking duration and high temperatures. Typically, the longer and hotter food is cooked, the more its nutritional value dissipates.

The other advantage is that microwaves don’t require water for heating. If you boil broccoli, for example, the hot water allows nutrients to leach out of the vegetable. (While that makes for a good stock, your broccoli may be robbed of some of its healthy benefits.) A quick steam in the microwave leaves broccoli relatively intact.

That’s not to say that microwave cooking is superior to a stovetop. Cooking foods at reasonable temperatures and durations shouldn’t result in significant nutrient loss, though some is inevitable for any manner of cooking. But microwaving isn’t going to erase nutrients via some mysterious microwave alchemy, either.

[h/t CNN]

Golden Girls Cereal Has Arrived

NBC
NBC

Fans of The Golden Girls can now spend their mornings with Dorothy, Blanche, Sophia, and Rose. The ladies of the beloved sitcom now have their own cereal—and it's only available for a limited time, Today reports.

Funko—the toy company known for its vinyl Pop! dolls depicting nearly every character in pop culture (including, of course, The Golden Girls)—rolled out the special-edition cereal in Target stores on September 30. The box is decorated with Funko-fied versions of the four leading ladies, and the multi-grain loops themselves are a shade of deep blue that would look great on one of Rose's dresses.

At $8 a box, the product is more expensive than your average breakfast cereal, but that price includes a little something extra. Each box of Golden Girls cereal comes with its own version of a prize inside: a Funko Pop! figurine of one of the four women.

The cereal won't remain on shelves forever, so collect all the dolls while you still can.

[h/t Today]

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