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Ask the Test Kitchen

Mexican Vanilla

I've noticed large bottles of Mexican vanilla at an inexpensive price in my grocery store. Can I substitute this type of vanilla for regular pure vanilla extract? What is the difference in taste?…

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Microwave Dough

I read that it is possible to use a microwave oven to let dough rise but forgot to save the article. Could you explain how to do this? —H.T., Southampton, New York

Dough requires a…

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Microwave Wattage

If microwave recipes are tested in a 1,100-watt microwave oven, how do I adjust those recipes so that I can still use them in my 600-watt microwave oven? —E.S., Buhler,…

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Minced Garlic

Can finely chopped garlic be used interchangeably with garlic that has been put through a press? —M.K., Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Yes, minced garlic that you can buy, garlic that's been…

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Mini Muffins

How do you adjust the oven temperature and baking time when baking mini or jumbo muffins from a traditional muffin recipe? —N.I., South Kingstown, Rhode Island

Generally, the oven…

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Mom's Dash

My mother was a great cook and passed down many of her favorite recipes to me. But some call for a "pinch" of this and a "dash" of that. What did she mean by a "pinch" and a "dash?" I'd love to…

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Mother Knows Best

As a child, I asked my mom what the thick stuff in the vinegar jar was. She called it "mother." Is it harmless? —K.L., Mohawk, New York

Your mother was correct. The gelatinous…

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Neufchatel Cheese

I have a recipe that specifically calls for Neufchatel cheese. What's the difference between this cheese and regular cream cheese? Can one be substituted for the other? —A.K., Torrance,…

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Noodle Soup

When making soup, how do you keep noodles from absorbing all the liquid and becoming big and soggy? My soup gets really thick the next day or sometimes after just sitting awhile. I add the…

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Oatmeal Bread

When I make oatmeal bread, the risen dough in the pan looks like it would yield a nice-size loaf. But after it bakes, it seems smaller. I wait until the dough won't rise anymore before I bake…

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