Ask the Test Kitchen

Puff Pastry Vs. Phyllo Dough

What's the difference between puff pastry sheets and phyllo dough? Can they be used interchangeably? —E.H., Washington, Utah

Puff pastry dough is a rich dough made by placing chilled…

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Pure Vanilla Extract

Is pure vanilla extract equal to double-strength imitation vanilla? Are they interchangeable? —P.R., Burt, Michigan

Actually, it's just the reverse. Double-strength imitation vanilla…

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Quick-Cooking Oats

What is the difference between quick-cooking and old-fashioned oats…and can they be used interchangeably? —J.M., Wauwatosa, Wisconsin

Quick-cooking oats and old-fashioned oats…

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Ranch Dressing Mix

I love the taste of salad dressing mixes but am sensitive to the MSG (a chemical flavor enhancer) they contain. Is there a recipe for a dry ranch salad dressing mix that does not contain MSG?…

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Raspberry Iced Tea

I'd like to make Raspberry Iced Tea. Is it okay to use frozen raspberries instead of fresh? —J.L., Wheeling, West Virginia

Yes, frozen raspberries can be substituted for fresh without…

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Raspberry Sauce

When I want to make a clear raspberry sauce, I puree the raspberries in my food processor and let the mixture drip through cheesecloth. Is there a faster, easier way to do this? —M.W.,…

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Refrigerated Butter

Is it necessary to keep butter refrigerated? I know people who just leave it on the counter. Is this safe and how long can it be kept unrefrigerated? —J.M., Walled Lake,…

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Reheated Pot Roast

When I first make beef pot roast, it is tender and juicy. After it is refrigerated then reheated, it tends to be dry and tough. What am I doing wrong? —Q.K., Lakeland, Florida


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Reusing Oil

Can oil be reused after frying and, if so, how many times can it be reused before it should be discarded? —A.M., Calgary, Alberta

We do not recommend reusing cooking oil since both…

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Rhubarb Pie Thickener

I love rhubarb pie but don't like the cloudy appearance I get when using flour as a filling thickener. Can I substitute cornstarch or tapioca? If so, how much should I use in relation to the…

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