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Can you use whole milk instead of half-and-half in recipes? 

The simple answer is yes. There will be a difference in richness, which you may experience as both flavor and texture, but the functionality of both in a recipe is fairly similar. The difference in butterfat/milkfat content is what makes half-and-half creamier (and cream richer still). Half-and-half contains between 10.5 and 18 percent milkfat, and whole milk is just over 3 percent.

Just as you don't want to boil milk (it forms that unappealing skin), half-and-half shouldn't be boiled. Similarly, neither can be whipped. But both add a certain amount of dairy creaminess.

See how to use milk in a variety of recipes in 7 Ways with Milk.