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For delicious cake pops at home, ditch the store-bought mix

There’s no denying the novel appeal of cake pops; after all, everyone loves food on a stick, and if it’s dessert, even better.

Most recipes call for starting with cake made from a store-bought mix, breaking it into crumbs, combining it with canned frosting, and forming the mixture into balls. We knew we could do better.

Tuscan Spinach and Ricotta Dumplings topped with marinara

It was my great good fortune recently to spend a week in Tuscany on a culinary tour, assisting a friend of mine with some cooking classes. Of course, I was as much a student as a teacher, and I learned a ton as we banged around from town to town. One of the recipes that especially impressed me was gnudi (in English, we’d say nude).

Try a red, white and blue poke cake

Although poke cake is usually in the form of a sheet cake, we thought it could make a beautiful and festive layer cake for the Fourth of July.

For a cake that was red, white, and blue all the way through, we started by cooking blueberries and strawberries and then combining each with gelatin to create two colorful, brightly flavoured syrups.

A simple shrimp pad thai that requires just one skillet

Our version of this take-out classic is surprisingly easy to make and requires just one skillet.

While truly authentic pad thai, with its sweet, sour, and salty flavours, requires hard-to-find ingredients like preserved daikon, palm sugar, and dried shrimp, our simplified weeknight recipe uses accessible ingredients to create a simple flavour profile.