Sunday, December 12, 2010

Baking Tip List - Cookie Week

The final recipe for Cookie Week has been posted, but we're not done yet! We've compiled a few baking tips to help you in the kitchen this holiday season.

1. Out of powdered sugar? You can can make your own if you don't want to brave the stores. Just put regular, granulated, sugar 1/2 a cup at a time in a food processor or coffee grinder and pulse until you have powdered sugar. Voila!

2. If you’re like me, you forget to take the butter out of the fridge for softened butter in recipes. Cut butter into even chunks and microwave on low for 10 seconds. Check the butter and repeat if necessary, be careful to not let it melt. Properly softened butter is the secret to many a good cookie recipe!

3. If you have multiple pans in the oven, do not let them touch. It can create hot spots and the touching spots might over cook.

4. When melting chocolate for dipping or coating, WATER IS EVIL. It will cause the chocolate to separate and that is a terrible thing. Also white chocolate is more prone to burning, so watch the temperature.

5. When I have a lot of chocolate dipping I need to do, like if I am making cake balls, dipping fruit or other food, I use a mini crock-pot for melting. It’s the perfect size, and it keeps a constant temperature.

6. Coat candy or fruit with flour before putting into batter. It will keep them from sinking to the bottom of the cake or cookie.

7. When baking cookies, it's important that they are all the same size to ensure even cooking. For drop cookies, use an ice cream scoop or cookie scoop, like this one, to take the guess work out of evenly sized cookies. (Hint: Do the same thing for cupcakes & muffins!)

8. If a cookie recipe isn't as soft or crisp as you'd like, adjust the baking time. Pulling the cookies out of the oven when the centers are still a little gooey will give you a softer cookie. Leave them in longer if you like more of a crunch (but not so long that they burn!) Also, you can make a cookie softer by swapping in a little light brown sugar for regular, granulated sugar. 

9. Parchment paper makes clean up a breeze. I use it all the time instead of greasing my baking sheet!

And the most important baking tip...
10. Turn the oven off after you're finished baking. We don't want any fires now, do we?

Do you have any baking tips to share? Post them in the comment section!

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