Blimp Style Pancakes

Light, fluffy, big and round ... yeah, I'm talking about pancakes. But not those flat things that look like a round napkin that you cook on a griddle, but the Japanese kind that you make with a rice cooker.

Doesn’t every self-respecting household have a rice cooker? If you don’t, then you should! And here's one more nifty thing you can do with it.

Get yourself a box of pancake mix plus any extra ingredients it calls for such as water, eggs, whatever. 

Dump it all into the removable pot from the rice cooker and give it a healthy mix.

Put the pot into the rice cooker and turn it on for about 45 minutes. (Like bread baking machines, rice cookers do all the work for you.) When it’s done, turn it over onto a plate with a good shake and out comes a light fluffy blimp of a pancake.

Major yum.

You can also add cocoa powder and … heaven … get a chocolate pancake.

It sounds nutty, I know, but it works if the evidence of success on Instagram is any indication. You can also add chunks of chocolate, fruit (blueberries or bananas), and lots more when you mix the batter. Think in terms of utter pancake debauchery—liberate your palette from those flat things the rest of America is eating.

And one more thing:

As tempting as these all look, though, the single greatest advantage to making your pancakes this way isn’t the flavor, but the ability it gives you to enjoy a hot meal as soon as you wake up.

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A giant DIY Egg McMuffin

In their quest to celebrate all things junk food, HellthyJunkFood hosts JP Lambiase and Julia Goolia construct a truly supersized Egg McMuffin. Read the rest

How to make homemade Zebra Cakes

Recreate a childhood treat without all the preservatives. Read the rest

Gordon Ramsay’s ultimate vegetarian lunch

Gordon Ramsay’s 'ultimate vegetarian lunch' how-to video is perfect for those looking to switch up their go-to lunch choices.

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How to make a giant carrot-shaped carrot cake for Easter

Yolanda Gampp of the YouTube channel How To Cake It demonstrates how to make a giant carrot-shaped carrot cake that's perfect for Easter or just for a spring party.

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Neural network comes up with crazy food recipes

In her spare time, University of California, San Diego engineer Janelle Shane trained a neural network to generate recipes for new dishes. Informed by its reading of existing recipes, the neural network did improve over time yet it's clearly not quite ready for Iron Chef. Here are two recipes from her Tumblr, Postcards from the Frontiers of Science:

Pears Or To Garnestmeam

meats

¼ lb bones or fresh bread; optional½ cup flour1 teaspoon vinegar¼ teaspoon lime juice2  eggs

Brown salmon in oil. Add creamed meat and another deep mixture.Discard filets. Discard head and turn into a nonstick spice. Pour 4 eggs onto clean a thin fat to sink halves.

Brush each with roast and refrigerate.  Lay tart in deep baking dish in chipec sweet body; cut oof with crosswise and onions.  Remove peas and place in a 4-dgg serving. Cover lightly with plastic wrap.  Chill in refrigerator until casseroles are tender and ridges done.  Serve immediately in sugar may be added 2 handles overginger or with boiling water until very cracker pudding is hot.

Yield: 4 servings

This is from a network that’s been trained for a relatively long time - starting from a complete unawareness of whether it’s looking at prose or code, English or Spanish, etc, it’s already got a lot of the vocabulary and structure worked out. This is particularly impressive given that it has the memory of a goldfish - it can only analyze 65 characters at a time, so by the time it begins the instructions, the recipe title has already passed out of its memory, and it has to guess what it’s making.

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How to make a DIY blooming marshmallow

Dominique Ansel, the guy who created cronut and cookie milk cups (previously), also created the blooming marshmallow, which opens like a flower in hot chocolate to reveal a chocolate truffle. Popsugar reverse engineered one and shared their technique. Read the rest

Bake: a Queen of Hearts cherry pie for V-day

Jessica Leigh Clark-Bojin (aka @ThePieous) (previously) writes, "Happy Valentines Day! If your readers are looking for a last-minute gift idea for their significant others, they may want to check out my new pie tutorial. It's a Queen of Hearts cherry pie baked in a heart shaped cake pan." Read the rest

Should you worry if you left your stove burner on?

Did you forget to turn off your stove burner before leaving the house this morning? Don't worry about it. Easier said than done, but...

"A stove is designed to run indefinitely," says John Drengenberg, the Consumer Safety Director at Underwriters Laboratories where they test such things. "Do we recommend that? Absolutely not."

"If you leave it on, and there's nothing on the stove or near the stove, it probably will stay running until you come back," he tells DIGG.

UL tests just about every stove that hits the market. Part of that testing involves ensuring they hit thermal stability. In other words, they turn the stove on, and check the temperature of the burner, and keep checking the temperature until it stops increasing — just to make sure the burner doesn't ultimately set the entire stove on fire.

That said, leaving something cooking unattended on the burner can absolutely cause a fire. Read the rest

Nesting bowls with spill-guards and spouts obviate funnels and reduce mess

Megan McArdle's annual kitchen gift guide hipped me to these POURfect Mixing Bowls ($45/6 bowls), which have spill-guards and spouts, and of which McArdle writes, "after you’ve sifted your dry ingredients, you can pour them straight into the mixer bowl without getting a cloud of flour everywhere. Or strain your fry oil into one, then easily pour it into a container for either storage and reuse, or disposal -- I don’t even know where my funnels are, because I haven’t used one in years." Read the rest

Bake: Nutella-filled Boba Fett pie pops

Nerdy piesmith Jessica Leigh Clark-Bojin celebrates Xmas in style with these Nutella-filled Boba Fett pie-pops, and explains how to make your own. Read the rest

I'm excited to try out a thermal cooker

I just ordered a thermal cooker, they sound like wonderful camping tools. Anyone got recipe suggestions?

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This sleeping 'rice bear' with an 'egg blanket' is almost too cute to eat (but yes we'd eat it)

Presentation is usually the last thing on my mind when I’m making dinner, but if I had more patience, this rice bear would make for an adorable dinner companion. Read the rest

Graphic designer creates impeccably decorated sugar cookies

Los Angeles-based graphic designer Holly Fox combines her love of baking and design with these amazing iced sugar cookies.

You can see more of her designs on Instagram and even order some cookies for yourself on Etsy—although, unfortunately, Fox is already sold out through 2016. Here are some of my favorite designs:

mini monday

A post shared by HOLLY FOX (@hol_fox) on Dec 12, 2016 at 5:46pm PST

ringPOP

A post shared by HOLLY FOX (@hol_fox) on Dec 10, 2016 at 5:07pm PST

pastel ponies {🦄}

A post shared by HOLLY FOX (@hol_fox) on Nov 30, 2016 at 5:50pm PST

cone collection

A post shared by HOLLY FOX (@hol_fox) on Nov 26, 2016 at 4:17pm PST

🍪

A post shared by HOLLY FOX (@hol_fox) on Nov 22, 2016 at 5:43pm PST

holiday ready

A post shared by HOLLY FOX (@hol_fox) on Nov 23, 2016 at 6:33pm PST

{feather flashback}

A post shared by HOLLY FOX (@hol_fox) on Nov 18, 2016 at 5:28pm PST

purple pattern

A post shared by HOLLY FOX (@hol_fox) on Nov 12, 2016 at 5:18pm PST

🍋💛✨

A post shared by HOLLY FOX (@hol_fox) on Nov 1, 2016 at 5:47pm PDT

juicy

A post shared by HOLLY FOX (@hol_fox) on Sep 25, 2016 at 5:43pm PDT

[color closeup]

A post shared by HOLLY FOX (@hol_fox) on Aug 10, 2016 at 5:50pm PDT

pink lagoon

A post shared by HOLLY FOX (@hol_fox) on Jul 12, 2016 at 5:46pm PDT

paint party

A post shared by HOLLY FOX (@hol_fox) on May 3, 2016 at 5:35pm PDT

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This massive holiday Gingerbread Castle is incredible (and edible)

This totally out-of-control gorgeous gingerbread castle is replete with elegant reclining peppermint bark reindeer and inlaid candy glass windows.

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Do you have trouble with shells sticking to your boiled eggs? Here's the fix

Many thanks to J. Kenji López-Alt for "boiling and peeling hundreds of eggs" to learn the best way to make a boiled egg so the shell doesn't stick. His finding: "For the most evenly cooked, tender hard boiled eggs, forget the boiling water, use a steamer instead." Read the rest

Joule turns sous vide from an experiment into an everyday cooking technique

ChefSteps Joule sous vide eliminates all the niggling inconveniences of other models and turns sous vide into a really useful, everyday technique. I've been cooking with it for months now, and I'm in love.

Sous vide cooking is a method of bringing the foodstuffs you want to eat up to their cooked temperature in a gentle bath of heated water. The protein changes are more predictable, flavors far bolder and less cooked out, textures not destroyed by high heat. I love the results sous vide produces but even the best of last years circulators kept it as an every-so-often technique.

The containers I found I had to use to match up with the depth, clips and mounting hardware of most units was a total pain in the butt. Over time I settled on using an igloo cooler with the then favorite circulator. It was larger than I wanted to keep in my kitchen, and needed more water than a California felt great about for making a few steaks. Sure, I could recycle the water but it just never felt like something I could do every day.

Here is what is so great about Joule: it has a magnet in its bottom instead of using a mounting clip. Even the best mounting hardware doesn't compare to this. If you have any pots that a magnet will stick to, you can sous vide in them. The Joule also runs with much less water than other units I've tried. You do not have to fill the pot up to where the exhaust hole in the unit is. Read the rest

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