Baking can be a time consuming and expensive hobby. It takes time to go through trial and error to perfect different baking creations. But this experimentation can be expensive and result in little pay off in the end result if the recipe fails. This list has been compiled with the best baking tips I have found online that can be applied to multiple different kinds of recipes. These tips will improve the overall quality of your desserts while saving you some money and time it can take to figure these things out.
Cookies are about more than just the flavor. The texture of the cookie is important to consider when you are trying to achieve a specific style or end result. Cookies can be thin and crunchy, or they can be tall and chewy. Everyone has their preference so its important to know how to achieve the texture you are expecting in a recipe.
- To achieve chewy cookies: use melted butter in your recipe and add to your dry ingredients; you want to mix the dry and wet ingredients together well into a solid chunk of dough
- To achieve thin cookies: add more sugar and or add more liquid components; sugar and liquid ingredients will cause the cookies to spread out while baking
- To achieve cake-like cookies: add an extra egg; this will make the cookie flavor richer while helping it puff up and solidify
- To achieve a coarse, crumby texture on the top: add baking soda; this will cause more gas bubbles during the baking process
- To achieve a smooth, fine texture on the top: use baking powder; this causes the cookies to rise slower and more evenly
Picture Credit: Better Homes and Gardens
Cakes can be difficult to remove after they come out of the oven. If you prep your cake pans before adding in the cake mix, then you will save yourself a major hassle later on when it comes time to remove it. All you need is some shortening and some flour (and parchment paper if you want extra security).
Simply line the bottom and the sides of the pan with shortening. Then add a spoonful of flour to the bottom of the pan and sift it around until the flour has been spread evenly around the pan. Rotate the pan slightly to sift the flour around the sides as well. (An extra tip: use cocoa powder if your cake is chocolate)
You can trace the pan and add a slip of parchment paper to the bottom of the pan as well for more ease when removing the cake later.
Picture Credit: Ziploc
If you don’t have a piping bag or are unable to afford different decorating tips, you can make your own using a Ziploc bag. Simply open the bag and stuff it inside of a cup. Wrap the opening of the bag over the top of the cup and then fill the bag with icing. Then once you remove the bag, remove the excess air and close the opening.
Move the icing to the bottom of the bag and twist the top portion to create the shape of an icing bag. Then use scissors to cut a hole in the bottom corner of the bag. Smaller cuts will allow you to make finer lines, larger cuts will allow you to make thicker lines. If you make additional cuts around the hole, you can emulate different styles of piping that decorating tips make.
If you have any icing nozzles already, then you can cut the hole in the bag first and fit the nozzle on the inside before you fill it with icing.
Butter is used in a majority of baking recipes. More often then not, a recipe will call for softened butter. However, butter can take a while to soften after removing it from the refrigerator. To speed up the warming process, cut your butter up into smaller chunks. This will make it soften quicker.
However, butter is fickle when it comes to baking. Butter will mix with your ingredients the best when it is slightly colder than room temperature. Before you mix in the butter, make sure that its still solid and not runny. The butter will warm up even more while mixing so it will lose a lot of its solid quality if its initially too warm. Butter that becomes too soft while mixing can change the final texture of your dessert to something unexpected.
Anything that contains cream or butter should be stored in the refrigerator. This includes things like cheesecakes and mousses.
For chocolate based desserts, its important to store them at room temperature. Chocolate has a tendency to dry out quicker than other ingredients and putting a chocolate cake in a closed and cold environment like the fridge will cause it to dry out quicker.
Dry desserts like breads or cookies will last longer if they are kept in air tight containers. Air will cause these desserts to go stale faster so putting them into air tight bags or jars will help increase their longevity.
Featured image from: https://iambaker.net/5-tips-from-scratch-baking/