10 of Our Best Baking Lessons of the Year

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(Image credit: Quentin Bacon)

Baking requires patient precision and a mastering of technique, yet it doesn’t have to be difficult or out of reach. These 10 lessons were our most popular in 2016, and for good reason — they inspire, instruct, and make possible the most tasty and delightful treats. So set aside an afternoon, roll up your sleeves and … bake!

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(Image credit: M)

Magic cake is an old-fashioned baking technique that continues to be popular with each new generation. Why? Because it’s fun, tasty, and easy to make. By using extra eggs and milk, the cake creates three different layers: a crunchy cake top, a wiggly custard middle, and a denser custard bottom. This vanilla version is especially delightful with its clean vanilla flavor.

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(Image credit: Christine Han)

With just seven ingredients (all staples from your pantry and fridge), you can make fragrant iced cinnamon rolls without a stand mixer, prolonged kneading, or rising time. The rolls are ready for baking by the time your oven comes to temperature, and they only bake for about 35 minutes. So that means beautiful, fragrant, sweet, sticky cinnamon rolls in less than an hour. Yes, please!

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(Image credit: Laren Volo)

This gingerbread recipe began as a cherished family heirloom, with a few tweaks added here and there to bring it to modern perfection. Bold and spicy with just the right consistency for rolling out, these cookies will soon become your own cherished heirloom.

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(Image credit: Lauren Volo)

Do you know sugar buns? While they do resemble those other rolled-up cinnamon-spiced pastries, they’re not quite the same as cinnamon buns or morning buns. Layers of rich, flaky puff pastry dough are rolled with a cinnamon-sugar mixture and coated in warm butter and sugar. The result is a crunchy outside and a beautifully flaky pastry inside. And if you use store-bought puff pastry, they can be on your table in about an hour. Amazing!

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(Image credit: Lauren Volo)

Tender almond cookie dough is cut into traditional, see-through layered circles and sandwiched with jam to make these classic holiday (and anytime of year!) cookies.

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(Image credit: Lauren Volo)

These biscuits seek to answer the question: “Can biscuits be both tender and flaky at the same time?” Associate Food Editor Meghan Splawn’s answer is a big yes, and this recipe gives you just the technique to achieve that.

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(Image credit: Lauren Volo)

These classic cookies are also known as Russian Tea Cakes, Italian Wedding Cookies, or Snowball Cookies. Meghan’s version has a fun twist: the addition of cinnamon and just a touch of ground cayenne make them a truly spicy-sweet delight.

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(Image credit: Laren Volo)

This circular pull-apart rugelach is a decorative variation of the classic roll-up cookie. The famous cream cheese pastry is rolled up with a mixture of cocoa, nuts, and cinnamon, and then formed into a charming ring. While the dough is a little sturdier than the classic, the results are just as flaky and rich.

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(Image credit: Quentin Bacon)

Dutch baby pancakes are like a love-child of a pancake, a crepe, and a popover. They emerge from the oven a big, puffy pillow, but soon deflate into a thinner, more pancake-like dimension. Baked and served in its own skillet, Dutch baby pancakes are a terrific way to please the brunch crowd.

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(Image credit: Quentin Bacon)

Master the art of brioche and you will have the power to make not only a gorgeous loaf of bread, but also dinner rolls, hamburger buns, hoagie rolls, cinnamon rolls, monkey bread, and a host of other homemade treats. This classic lesson gives you all the skills to make it happen.

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