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Cherry-Chocolate Cake
A fluffy meringue icing, flavored with kirsch and strained cherry preserves, coats the cake in pale pink, and dark chocolate curls dress it up.
Sweeten your day at CooksCountry.com
Cherry-Chocolate Cake
A fluffy meringue icing, flavored with kirsch and strained cherry preserves, coats the cake in pale pink, and dark chocolate curls dress it up.
Sweeten your day at CooksCountry.com

Cherry-Chocolate Cake

A fluffy meringue icing, flavored with kirsch and strained cherry preserves, coats the cake in pale pink, and dark chocolate curls dress it up.

Sweeten your day at CooksCountry.com

DIY Graham Crackers

There are few things I consider myself good at doing, but among them is cooking. So when I was helping out my daughter’s class and saw her teacher lean over and say,“I know which snack you want, Lola!” as she gave her a pile of graham crackers from a cardboard box, I thought: (1) “Why does that woman know my daughter’s snack preferences better than me?” and (2) “I will make them better!” (I’m good at being competitive, too.) Graham crackers’ flavor traditionally comes from graham flour, yet the supermarket crackers contain mostly all-purpose. This added one more goal; I would bring the graham back to the cracker. —Sarah Wilson, America’s Test Kitchen

Find this recipe and 100+ more like it in our DIY Cookbook

Makes 48 crackers

Make today, enjoy immediately

1 1/2	cups (8 1/4 ounces) graham flour
3/4	cup (3 3/4 ounces) all-purpose flour 
1/2	cup (3 1/2 ounces) sugar
1	teaspoon baking powder
1	teaspoon baking soda
1/2	teaspoon salt
1/4	teaspoon ground cinnamon
8	tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces and chilled
5	tablespoons water
2	tablespoons molasses
1	teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Adjust oven racks to upper-middle and lower-middle positions and heat oven to 375 degrees. Process graham flour, all-purpose flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon in food processor until combined, about 3 seconds. Add butter and process until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal, about 15 seconds. Add water, molasses, and vanilla and process until dough comes together, about 20 seconds.

2. Divide dough into quarters. Working with 1 piece of dough at a time (keep remaining pieces covered with plastic wrap), roll dough out between 2 pieces of parchment paper into 11 by 8-inch rectangle, 1/8 inch thick. Remove top piece of parchment and trim dough into tidy 10 by 7 1/2-inch rectangle with knife, and then score rectangle of dough into twelve 2 1/2-inch squares. Prick each square several times with fork.

3. Slide 2 pieces of rolled-out and scored dough, still on parchment, onto separate baking sheets. Bake crackers until golden brown and edges are firm, about 15 minutes, switching and rotating sheets halfway through baking. Slide baked crackers, still on parchment, onto wire rack and let cool completely. Repeat with remaining 2 pieces of rolled-out dough.

4. Transfer cooled crackers, still on parchment, to cutting board and carefully cut apart along scored lines. Graham crackers can be stored at room temperature in airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

To Make Cinnamon Graham Crackers: Increase amount of cinnamon in dough to 1/2 teaspoon. Toss 1/4 cup sugar with 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, then sprinkle mixture over scored crackers just before baking.
DIY Graham Crackers

There are few things I consider myself good at doing, but among them is cooking. So when I was helping out my daughter’s class and saw her teacher lean over and say,“I know which snack you want, Lola!” as she gave her a pile of graham crackers from a cardboard box, I thought: (1) “Why does that woman know my daughter’s snack preferences better than me?” and (2) “I will make them better!” (I’m good at being competitive, too.) Graham crackers’ flavor traditionally comes from graham flour, yet the supermarket crackers contain mostly all-purpose. This added one more goal; I would bring the graham back to the cracker. —Sarah Wilson, America’s Test Kitchen

Find this recipe and 100+ more like it in our DIY Cookbook

Makes 48 crackers

Make today, enjoy immediately

1 1/2	cups (8 1/4 ounces) graham flour
3/4	cup (3 3/4 ounces) all-purpose flour 
1/2	cup (3 1/2 ounces) sugar
1	teaspoon baking powder
1	teaspoon baking soda
1/2	teaspoon salt
1/4	teaspoon ground cinnamon
8	tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces and chilled
5	tablespoons water
2	tablespoons molasses
1	teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Adjust oven racks to upper-middle and lower-middle positions and heat oven to 375 degrees. Process graham flour, all-purpose flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon in food processor until combined, about 3 seconds. Add butter and process until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal, about 15 seconds. Add water, molasses, and vanilla and process until dough comes together, about 20 seconds.

2. Divide dough into quarters. Working with 1 piece of dough at a time (keep remaining pieces covered with plastic wrap), roll dough out between 2 pieces of parchment paper into 11 by 8-inch rectangle, 1/8 inch thick. Remove top piece of parchment and trim dough into tidy 10 by 7 1/2-inch rectangle with knife, and then score rectangle of dough into twelve 2 1/2-inch squares. Prick each square several times with fork.

3. Slide 2 pieces of rolled-out and scored dough, still on parchment, onto separate baking sheets. Bake crackers until golden brown and edges are firm, about 15 minutes, switching and rotating sheets halfway through baking. Slide baked crackers, still on parchment, onto wire rack and let cool completely. Repeat with remaining 2 pieces of rolled-out dough.

4. Transfer cooled crackers, still on parchment, to cutting board and carefully cut apart along scored lines. Graham crackers can be stored at room temperature in airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

To Make Cinnamon Graham Crackers: Increase amount of cinnamon in dough to 1/2 teaspoon. Toss 1/4 cup sugar with 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, then sprinkle mixture over scored crackers just before baking.

DIY Graham Crackers

There are few things I consider myself good at doing, but among them is cooking. So when I was helping out my daughter’s class and saw her teacher lean over and say,“I know which snack you want, Lola!” as she gave her a pile of graham crackers from a cardboard box, I thought: (1) “Why does that woman know my daughter’s snack preferences better than me?” and (2) “I will make them better!” (I’m good at being competitive, too.) Graham crackers’ flavor traditionally comes from graham flour, yet the supermarket crackers contain mostly all-purpose. This added one more goal; I would bring the graham back to the cracker. —Sarah Wilson, America’s Test Kitchen

Find this recipe and 100+ more like it in our DIY Cookbook

Makes 48 crackers

Make today, enjoy immediately

1 1/2 cups (8 1/4 ounces) graham flour
3/4 cup (3 3/4 ounces) all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces and chilled
5 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons molasses
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Adjust oven racks to upper-middle and lower-middle positions and heat oven to 375 degrees. Process graham flour, all-purpose flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon in food processor until combined, about 3 seconds. Add butter and process until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal, about 15 seconds. Add water, molasses, and vanilla and process until dough comes together, about 20 seconds.

2. Divide dough into quarters. Working with 1 piece of dough at a time (keep remaining pieces covered with plastic wrap), roll dough out between 2 pieces of parchment paper into 11 by 8-inch rectangle, 1/8 inch thick. Remove top piece of parchment and trim dough into tidy 10 by 7 1/2-inch rectangle with knife, and then score rectangle of dough into twelve 2 1/2-inch squares. Prick each square several times with fork.

3. Slide 2 pieces of rolled-out and scored dough, still on parchment, onto separate baking sheets. Bake crackers until golden brown and edges are firm, about 15 minutes, switching and rotating sheets halfway through baking. Slide baked crackers, still on parchment, onto wire rack and let cool completely. Repeat with remaining 2 pieces of rolled-out dough.

4. Transfer cooled crackers, still on parchment, to cutting board and carefully cut apart along scored lines. Graham crackers can be stored at room temperature in airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

To Make Cinnamon Graham Crackers: Increase amount of cinnamon in dough to 1/2 teaspoon. Toss 1/4 cup sugar with 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, then sprinkle mixture over scored crackers just before baking.

Flipping Cakes

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To invert a cake simply means to flip it upside down in order to remove the cake from the pan. To do this, place a rimmed baking sheet over the top of the cake pan. Grab the cake pan and the baking sheet and flip it upside down so that the cake pan lands on top of the baking sheet. Remove the cake pan.

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If your cake’s decorative side is at the bottom of the cake pan, you can use a large decorative serving platter in place of the baking sheet.

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If your cake’s decorative side is at the top of the cake pan, like our recipe for Cream Cheese Coffee Cake, you will need to do a second flip. Place a wire rack or a large serving platter over the cake pan and flip it again so that the streusel is at the top of the cake.

HOW TO MAKE CHOCOLATE CURLS
Although chocolate curls add a professional touch to cakes, pies, and mugs of hot cocoa, they are surprisingly easy to make.
You’ll need block (not bar) chocolate—semisweet, bittersweet, and white chocolate all work well—that’s at least 1 inch thick.
Way #1: With the edge of your paring knife angled away from you and your thumbs anchoring the chocolate to the board, drag the blade across the chocolate and toward you to create a curl.
Way #2: Allow the block of chocolate to soften up a bit, either by putting it on a plate on a warm windowsill or by microwaving the chocolate on the lowest power setting for 1 minute. It shouldn’t melt, but it should soften a little. Run the blade of a vegetable peeler along the width of the softened chocolate, creating a curl. The longer the block of chocolate the bigger the curl. (Large blocks of chocolate make nicer shavings than thin bars of chocolate.)
HOW TO MAKE CHOCOLATE CURLS
Although chocolate curls add a professional touch to cakes, pies, and mugs of hot cocoa, they are surprisingly easy to make.
You’ll need block (not bar) chocolate—semisweet, bittersweet, and white chocolate all work well—that’s at least 1 inch thick.
Way #1: With the edge of your paring knife angled away from you and your thumbs anchoring the chocolate to the board, drag the blade across the chocolate and toward you to create a curl.
Way #2: Allow the block of chocolate to soften up a bit, either by putting it on a plate on a warm windowsill or by microwaving the chocolate on the lowest power setting for 1 minute. It shouldn’t melt, but it should soften a little. Run the blade of a vegetable peeler along the width of the softened chocolate, creating a curl. The longer the block of chocolate the bigger the curl. (Large blocks of chocolate make nicer shavings than thin bars of chocolate.)

HOW TO MAKE CHOCOLATE CURLS

Although chocolate curls add a professional touch to cakes, pies, and mugs of hot cocoa, they are surprisingly easy to make.

You’ll need block (not bar) chocolate—semisweet, bittersweet, and white chocolate all work well—that’s at least 1 inch thick.

Way #1: With the edge of your paring knife angled away from you and your thumbs anchoring the chocolate to the board, drag the blade across the chocolate and toward you to create a curl.

Way #2: Allow the block of chocolate to soften up a bit, either by putting it on a plate on a warm windowsill or by microwaving the chocolate on the lowest power setting for 1 minute. It shouldn’t melt, but it should soften a little. Run the blade of a vegetable peeler along the width of the softened chocolate, creating a curl. The longer the block of chocolate the bigger the curl. (Large blocks of chocolate make nicer shavings than thin bars of chocolate.)