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Fudgy Brownies

If you like your brownies gooey, fudge-like, and slightly underbaked, you’ve come to the right place. Instead of creaming the butter with an electric mixer, which whips air into it, you’ll melt the butter with the chocolate to create a rich, thick base. Adding a yolk in addition to the whole eggs emphasizes the fudge-like texture. Though we often ask you to insert a toothpick into a baked good to test for doneness, that’s not the best method for this recipe, since you want the insides to be gooey. Instead, gently shake the pan. If the center jiggles, continue baking. If it’s firm and set, pull the pan out and let the brownies cool completely.

Chewy Brownies

If you’re looking for a classic, crowd-pleasing, decadent chocolate brownie recipe, this one’s for you. In fact, it may even convince you to quit buying the box of brownie mix altogether. What makes them so chewy? A few things: using canola oil in addition to butter, and adding dark brown sugar (which, due to its acidity, speeds gluten formation, resulting in chewier brownies). Finally, letting the brownies cool completely before cutting will result in the chewiest texture. You’ll find that these are rich but not too dense, with pockets of melty chocolate in every bite thanks to chocolate chips in the batter. As they bake, they develop a crackled shiny crust and a thick outer edge.

Cakey Brownies

Though you might think you prefer fudgy or chewy brownies to cakey, hear us out. This is basically a recipe for fluffy chocolate cake, complete with the crackliest crust around. We’re talking a crisp top layer that you can literally peel off from the brownie and munch on on it’s own (if we could package it and sell it, we would). Adding baking powder to the batter causes the brownies to rise in the oven, and creaming the butter and sugar whips air into the batter. The addition of the egg white creates the top crust—who knew?!

Slow-Cooker Chicken Taco Soup

If there were an award for the most magical kitchen appliance, the slow cooker would win hands down. For this intensely flavorful soup, all you have to do is combine the main ingredients, turn it on, and voila! Taco soup. Tongs will give extra stability when you pull the hot chicken out of the soup. Once they’re on the cutting board, switch to two forks to shred into bite-sized pieces. If you don’t have black beans on hand, pinto would work well. When you’re ready to serve, top each bowl with cheese, sour cream, cilantro, and—if you really want to go wild—tortilla chips.

Veggie Stromboli

Stromboli is everything delicious about pizza and a calzone combined. Rolled inside pillowy pizza dough, there’s a layer of tomatoes and a hearty spinach-mushroom filling. Cheese helps the filling and dough stick together, so don’t skimp on the mozzarella. Cooking the stromboli on a pizza stone ensures even browning on top and bottom of the dough. No pizza stone? No problem. Just assemble the stromboli on a parchment-lined baking sheet. If you have a favorite local pizzeria, sometimes they’ll sell you fresh dough. Make sure to ask for a one-pound ball, which is the amount you’ll need for this recipe.

Make It Yourself: Birthday Cake

Sure, you can make a cake from a box, but once you know how easy and delicious the real deal is, it’ll be hard to turn back. Instead of creaming butter and sugar together, this cake uses a mixture of vegetable oil and melted butter, which means it comes together quickly. Not to mention, the crumb is rich and dense with classic yellow cake flavor. And, it wouldn't be a classic birthday cake without fudgy frosting. This one uses both semisweet and milk chocolate to create a rich ganache-style frosting. Spread over the cooled cake in generous swoops using an offset spatula.

Molasses Tiramisu

This would be the perfect dessert to serve on the first cool night of fall. Generally, coffee is the only deep flavor balancing tiramisu, but here, molasses does double-duty: adding both complex sweetness and a spicy depth. To make the tiramisu, you beat the molasses with mascarpone and heavy cream and layer it with coffee-soaked ladyfingers. For an even coating of cocoa powder on top, use a fine-mesh strainer. It’ll help you sift evenly and avoid clumps. Enjoy with coffee alongside—but keep it decaf if you’re serving after dinner.

Molasses-Spiced Spiked Cider

If you’ve ever wondered what fall would taste like in a glass, then here’s your answer. Molasses adds dark-sweet undertones to apple cider, and fresh ginger adds a spicy heat. You might see molasses labeled “unsulphured” or “blackstrap” at the grocery store. Either will work well here, but blackstrap tends to be more bitter. Rum is a perfect pairing since it’s made from sugarcane—just like molasses. Adding the rum at the end ensures the alcohol doesn’t burn off during cooking.

Molasses-and-Chile Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Earthy molasses is an ideal partner for naturally sugary sweet potatoes while spicy jalapeño and mustard add balance. When you toss the sweet potatoes, make sure to reserve the molasses mixture—you’ll drizzle that over the sweet potatoes once they’re roasted. Stone-ground mustard refers to the method of using a stone to pulverize mustard seeds. But, if you can’t find it, a sharp mustard like Dijon will work, too.

Lemon-Hibiscus Italian Ice

All you need is a freezer and a food processor to make these 3-ingredient frozen treats. You start by making a lemony simple syrup. Freeze half in glass baking dish to create the lemon Italian ice, and infuse the other half with hibiscus tea bags. It’s fun to watch the tea turn the simple syrup a gorgeous saturated fuchsia color. Once the mixtures freeze, all it takes is a few pulses in the food processor to turn them into nostalgic carnival-worthy desserts. Scoop them into Dixie cups and stash them in the freezer until you’re ready to delight your guests.