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Photo: nelea33 (Shutterstock) Baking can be a near-meditative pursuit, the minutes (or hours) spent in the kitchen mixing and measuring dropping you into a state of purposeful calm, or serving as a bonding experience when you’re working with others. Baking can also be a downright tedious chore—it’s tough to keep it interesting when you’re preparing the same heirloom shortbread recipe you’ve eaten 100 times, the lemon bars your partner always wants for dessert, or the coconut layer cake your family has come to expect for every single Easter egg hunt. Sometimes circumstance keeps you in the same rotation; occasionally we just run out of new ideas. One of the easiest ways to add a fresh take to your reliable, woefully predictable recipes is to lean on the baker’s best friend: jam. Get ready to rifle through those jars in your fridge door, because jam is going to provide the fruity refresh you need. Revamp frostings and icings Frostings are more flexible than we give them credit for, especially buttercreams. High butter or sugar ratios lend them incredible stability, and what can we do with stability? Push it to the edge with flavor by adding unstable components like flavorful extracts, juices, or in our case, jams. Adding two heaping tablespoons of jam can turn a vanilla buttercream into a raspberry, strawberry, or blueberry buttercream. Adding jam to chocolate frosting transforms your cake into a centerpiece that will make your friends start uttering wine tasting-worthy terms things like “medium bodied, cocoa […]