5 Dessert Recipes That are Easier Than Pie
Baking is science. In fact, all cooking is science. Sometimes, I feel like I’m in a laboratory inventing something new. What will the kitchen genius discover this time? The chemical balance, the heat of the oven, the intensity of the cooktop flame, the combination of elements…what will the new yield be? According to my calculations, the results should be delicious!
While mulling over this concept, I was given the James Beard award-winning book The Food Lab by J. Kenji López-Alt. It threw me back to my junior year of college when I enjoyed a textbook called Introductory Foods. I dusted off that cobalt-blue-covered tome, and reread the preface. It did not surprise me to find that these books, though written over 40 years apart, are very similar. Each relies on the variables of matter to test the qualities and principles of food.
A favorite experiment from that textbook focused on using different types of flour. We spent days in the kitchen lab following the same cookie recipe with the only change being flours that had varied gluten levels. Whole-wheat flour, all-purpose flour, cake flour, rye flour – they’re all so different. Using calipers, we measured the rise capabilities and expansion levels. No doubt some of my classmates went on to discover the cronut, or develop the everlasting Twinkie.
“The more things change, the more they stay the same,” said some old wise person, or owl.
But, the exciting thing is there are still many discoveries to be made with the same elements. And these discoveries can be made in your own laboratory (or kitchen). And then, other times, especially around the holidays, we are in a flat-out hurry to a potluck, or have given little thought to a dessert for our soon-to-arrive dinner guests. What then, oh mad scientists? Give yourself a break! The experts have pretested and packaged lots of wondrous goodies.
The No-Trifle Hazelnut Raspberry Trifle will make your guests believe you labored all day. Go ahead and let them! With the No-Bake Coconut Cream Torte, part of it needs to be assembled a day head, but it’s still an easy showstopper to prepare. White Chocolate Lemon Gingersnaps are ready in a snap (get it?), and if you think homemade truffles sound too hard, No-Fuss Chocolate Truffles are for you. Speaking of chocolate, the Easiest Chocolate Bundt Cake uses box cake mix and pudding mix, so no thinking required.
Put your beakers and test tubes aside. Get out the measuring cups and spoons. All we have to do is make some fresh combinations, with store-bought helpers that would make Madame Curie and Betty Crocker equally impressed.