I was sitting in a cabin in middle-of-nowhere Minnesota the first time I tried a chili recipe I actually liked. The secret ingredient that made the difference for me was baked beans—a shock, considering I thought baked beans on their own were gross. But to this day, I remember how sweet and smoky the chili tasted.
When I was in elementary school, I would come home to an after-school snack of apple slices with peanut butter or crackers and cheese or veggie sticks with dip, which I’d devour as I sat at the counter doing my homework.
I never have been more anxious about a Test Kitchen recipe than this one. I’m pretty good at baking. But I am terrible (TERRIBLE!) at decorating things, in part because I lack the skill for it and in part because I lack the patience. I’m just being honest.
If I make Christmas cookies to take home to my family celebration, I always bake a batch of peanut butter blossoms. When my sister and I were little, our mom informed us those were Santa’s favorite, so they’ve become a Christmas tradition in the Matas house.
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