Baking and Desserts
Baking requires precision and patience, but it can be made perfectly simple with the help of a few handy tips and tricks. When you’re short on time, try softening butter with a rolling pin. Or, if you’re missing heavy cream, make your own by combining whole milk and butter. The options are endless for ways to improvise in a pinch!
Keep your holiday baking stress-free and seamless this year with these helpful tips, and feel free to share your own in the comments below.
1. To quickly soften butter, try one of these three methods:
- Cut the butter into small pieces and spread out on a plate. The pieces will thaw more quickly than a whole stick.
- Pound the butter: Place a whole, unwrapped stick of butter in a re-sealable plastic bag and use a rolling pin to flatten the butter. This softens while still keeping it cool.
- Set the butter in a water bath: Place a whole, wrapped stick of butter in a re-sealable plastic bag. Float in a bowl of hot water until soft.
2. To test the doneness of quick and yeast breads, use a digital thermometer.When it registers 200 degrees F, it’s done.
3. For a flaky pie crust, always use cold ingredients. To keep it from becoming dense, gently handle it and only use a dusting of flour on the rolling pin or counter. Rest the dough in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes to make it easier to roll.
4. If you have spare egg yolks or whites and need a whole egg for a recipe, either mix 2 egg yolks with 1 tablespoon water, or mix 2 egg whites with 2 teaspoons vegetable oil.
5. If your baked good recipe calls for nuts or berries, toss them with flour before adding to the batter to keep them from settling to the bottom of the pan.
6. If you only have salted butter for a baking recipe that calls for unsalted butter, remove half of the salt called for in the recipe.
7. When you’re out of buttermilk, make your own by combining 1 tablespoon of lemon juice with 1 cup milk. Stir and let stand for 10 minutes.
8. Store spices in a cool, dark place away from your stove. Light, heat and humidity will cause herbs and spices to lose their flavor.
9. Rinse a measuring cup in hot water or coat lightly with cooking spray before measuring syrups, oils, molasses and peanut butter. This way, they will pour out clean or make less mess.
10. If you need heavy cream for a recipe, make your own by combining 2/3 cup whole milk with 1/3 cup melted unsalted butter. This will give you 1 cup of heavy cream.
Share your baking secrets and shortcuts in the comments!
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