How to Make a Sugar-Cookie Easter Bunny House

by in Holidays, April 19th, 2014

How to Make a Sugar-Coookie Easter Bunny HouseThink outside the Easter basket this holiday and make a sugar-cookie bunny hutch to hold all your favorite candies and chocolates (thanks to a detachable roof). These step-by-step photo how-tos will make baking and building this cookie creation a fun activity for the whole family. Kids can help mix the dough, hold the paper templates on the dough while adults cut, and cut out the cookies with cookie cutters.

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History of the Belgian Waffle and Inside the Candy Egg Factory

by in News, April 19th, 2014

WafflesAll’s Fair in Love of Waffles: This month marks the 50th anniversary of the 1964 World’s Fair in Queens, New York. Did you know we can thank the fair for popularizing the Belgian waffle, in all its whipped cream- and strawberry-covered wonder? The treat was first sold — for $1 — at the fair’s Belgian Village, where it was called the Bel-Gem Waffle, and later by vendors throughout the fair. “For historical purists, the Belgian waffle was actually introduced at a 1958 Paris expo, and migrated to America for the Seattle Fair of 1962,” the New York Daily News reports. “When it got to New York it was still called the Brussels Waffle, which was changed when some reasoned that Americans associated ‘Brussels’ not with the capital of Belgium, but ‘Brussels sprouts.’ The name was tweaked and the rest is World’s Fair history.” Now you know. [New York Daily News]

Baskets at the Ready: Everyone knows Peeps have their die-hard fans, but there are those who vastly prefer the foil-wrapped, chocolate-covered, goo-filled springtime confection known as the Cadbury Creme Egg. Not that Easter candy is a zero-sum (zero-yum?) game. Cadbury parent company Mondelēz International, Inc. produces 350 million such eggs a year — and, no, there isn’t a giant coop full of chocolate-covered, goo-filled chickens doing the work. Wired has ventured behind the scenes at a Cadbury factory in Birmingham, England, to reveal how it does its eggcellent work. The eggs’ cream filling is made of “sugar, water, glucose, and a proprietary goo called ‘blended syrup’ — and free-range-egg powder,” the mag reports. “The ‘white’ and the ‘yolk’ have nearly identical ingredients, but the yellow contains food coloring.” Made year-round, the eggs are sold only from January to Easter, so fans may want to hop to it. [Wired]

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The Challenge: Elevating Classic Dishes — America’s Best Cook

by in Shows, April 18th, 2014

Home CooksLast week on America’s Best Cook, airing on Sundays at 9|8c, the four regional mentors selected their teams of two home cooks each, leaving just eight competitors in the competition. This week, the competition officially begins. At the start of each episode the cooks will be given a cooking challenge, with their resulting dishes getting judged by a guest Food Network chef. This time the challenge is all about elevating classic dishes. With that in mind, the home cooks must reinvent and modernize a traditional dish — pulling out all the stops for creativity. But not everyone’s dish will be a success. Some will reach too far, others not far enough.

FN Dish wants to know: If you had to reinvent a classic dish, which one would it be? Vote in the poll below and get a sneak peek at the challenge.

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Chocolate Pound Cake — The Weekender

by in Entertaining, Recipes, April 18th, 2014

Chocolate Pound Cake - The WeekenderI am so grateful that spring is finally here. I live in Philadelphia, which is in that part of the country that was viciously walloped by this winter’s polar vortex, and so I was starting to wonder if the cold weather was here to stay. Fortunately in the last couple weeks, the weather has warmed, there’s a bit more sunlight each day, and I can feel hopefulness radiating off of everyone I pass.

To my mind, there’s no better way to celebrate the return of this more-hopeful weather than with a homemade treat. If you feel the same way, let me suggest Trisha Yearwood’s Chocolate Pound Cake. It’s indulgent, but the texture is lighter than you find with other pound cakes, which makes it both celebratory and perfect for this time of year.

Whether you’re baking for an Easter celebration or just in need of something sweet with which to welcome the warmer weather, this cake is an ideal Weekender project.

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Could a Snack Save Your Marriage?

by in News, April 18th, 2014

Peanut Butter CookiesHere’s some satisfying news for those who get super crabby when they’re hungry and take it out on their spouses (if not for those poor, long-suffering spouses themselves). Scientific research has now determined that being “hangry” — hungry plus angry — is actually a real phenomenon, which means you have a total excuse to storm around and fume about random trivial things until someone — Anyone? Hello! — hands you a cracker or a piece of fruit. Or, well, if not an excuse, at least an explanation for that altogether charming behavior.

“People are often the most aggressive against the people to whom they are closest — intimate partners. Intimate partner violence might be partly a result of poor self-control. Self-control of aggressive impulses requires energy, and much of this energy is provided by glucose derived from the food we eat,” researchers explain in a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS) under the headline “Low glucose relates to greater aggression in married couples.”

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Down-Home Comfort — Fresh Easter Ham with Roasted Sweet Potatoes

by in Holidays, Recipes, April 18th, 2014

Fresh ham is nothing like the boozy bourbon-soaked and smoked holiday ham or the candy-sweet spiral wonder. It’s essentially a pork roast with a bone — a rather big pork roast with a bone — but a pork roast nonetheless. It’s simply the upper hind leg of a pig, not processed or cured using salt or brine, nor smoked as most hams are. Fresh ham tastes like a really moist pork loin or center-cut pork chops. And, when prepared and roasted properly, a fresh ham is capped by an exquisite, burnished-gold piece of crispy skin. It’s the perfect marriage of a bone-in pork chop and cracklin’ pork belly. Fresh ham means down-home comfort, especially when served with roasted sweet potatoes.

How did serving ham for Easter become a custom? Mediterranean celebrations, including the Jewish Passover, traditionally call for lamb at spring feasts. However, in northern Europe, pigs were the primary protein and ham was often served instead for special meals. Pigs were slaughtered in the fall and the meat was salted, smoked and cured over the winter. The resulting hams were ready to eat in the spring. At the point when refrigeration became widely available and curing hams wasn’t a necessity, someone came up with the grand idea of cooking fresh ham. I am glad they did.

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What to Watch: Chickening Around on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, and Spring Is in the Air on The Kitchen

by in Shows, April 18th, 2014

The KitchenStart the weekend with a special episode of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives on Friday night. It’s all about chicken as Guy recounts all the best places he’s eaten the bird. Tune in Saturday morning for new episodes of Farmhouse Rules as Nancy goes antiquing, and check out The Kitchen, where the co-hosts kick off a special spring celebration. After the show FN Dish will be giving away a cutting board signed by the co-hosts. On Sunday morning, get five easy weekday recipes from Rachael, and then follow it up with new episodes of Southern at Heart, Giada at Home and Guy’s Big Bite. In the evening, watch all-new episodes of Food Court Wars, America’s Best Cook and Cutthroat Kitchen.

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How to Decorate Easter Eggs with Sprinkles

by in Holidays, How-to, April 17th, 2014

Sprinkles turn regular old eggs into amazing, dye-free, edible works of art, with minimal effort and maximum fun. These hard-boiled eggs bejeweled with pastel-colored nonpareils make an extra-special addition to any Easter egg hunt or Easter basket. Here’s how to make them. Read more