Recipe Spotlight

4 Project Recipes That Deserve Your Extra Time This Weekend

Extra time spent baking is extra time well spent.

Published Jan. 16, 2019.

There’s nothing better than having extra time on your hands. Here in the test kitchen, we love those sorts of days—days when frigid temperatures are keeping us confined to our homes, or long weekends when we’ve got nowhere to be. (Or, if you’re in New England this time of year, both.)

We love to use this time to dive into project recipes that require more prep work, proofing, or cooling than we can normally fit into our day. That’s why we’re sharing our favorite recipes to tackle should you find yourself with extra time this—or any—weekend. These sweet treats will impress and delight anyone lucky enough to be stuck inside with you.

1. Sticky Buns

Sticky buns are the ultimate comfort food: soft, decadent, tender. And does anything sound more comforting than eating a homemade sticky bun in your pajamas? Not to mention the sweet smell of butter, sugar, and toasted pecans wafting through the house.

In order to ensure the moist bun we were after, we incorporated a flour-and-water paste into our homemade version. These treats require some extra time to make, so they’re perfect for the weekend when you can retire to the couch while you wait for the dough to rise (or after you indulge in half the pan). [GET THE RECIPE]

The Best Digital Scale

OXO Good Grips 11 lb Food Scale with Pull Out Display

You won’t find a scale more accurate or better designed than this reasonably-priced winner.
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2. Apple Strudel

When you think of strudel, you might envision the traditional way of making it, where you stretch out a piece of dough until it measures well over 4 feet long and 4 feet wide. (Some recipes even call for stretching the dough twice that big. Yes, we tried it.) In our recipe, which swaps the delicate pastry dough for store-bought phyllo dough, the most time-consuming step is constructing the layers—fill, fold, brush, repeat—which, when you’re not in a hurry, can feel purely meditative. [GET THE RECIPE]

The Best Pastry Brush

Winco Flat Pastry and Basting Brush, 1½ Inch

A thick head of bristles makes for an apt deposit of butter or glaze from brush to pastry.
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3. Millionaire's Shortbread

Millionaire’s shortbread has all the necessary components of a perfect cookie: crunchy shortbread; a chewy, caramel-like filling; and a shiny chocolate top. To achieve the right consistency for the caramel, we added cream to the condensed milk and kept a watchful eye on the temperature of the mixture. We also paid close attention when melting the chocolate in order to create a silky smooth top layer. The accumulated cooling time required in this recipe makes it the ideal lazy weekend activity—and the elegant, rich treat you’ll end up with is worth all the time in the world. [GET THE RECIPE]

The Best Food Processor

Cuisinart Custom 14 Cup Food Processor

Powerful yet simple, this food processor aced every test we put it through.
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The Best Midpriced Instant-Read Thermometer

Lavatools Javelin PRO Duo

Fast and accurate, this thermometer—our favorite midpriced option—gave pricier contenders a run for their money.  
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4. Baklava

Baklava, a light, flaky Turkish dessert filled with fragrant nuts and spices, is the confection that keeps on giving. This recipe yields 32 to 40 pieces and keeps for up to 10 days at room temperature, which makes it the perfect sweet treat to enjoy throughout the week along with your daily coffee (or to bring into work if you’re that type of coworker). The layering process is intricate, and the overnight wait requires willpower, but the payoff lasts a long time if you put in the initial work—and trust us, it’s worth it. [GET THE RECIPE]

The Best Rasp-Style Grater

Microplane Premium Classic Zester/Grater

Thanks to its soft but grippy rubber handle, this grater beat out every other model.  
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What’s a project recipe you’d like to tackle? Let us know in the comments!

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