Baking

Always bake pie and tart crusts for longer than the recipe specifies for best results. Go past the usual pale tan color and take them to a caramel gold. The golden color indicates that the sugar in the pie crust has caramelized and this will give a sweet and crisp flavor.

Remember, the smaller the item, the higher the baking temperature. Small cookies will bake on a higher temp than a full cake would. Make sure to double check your recipe to find out the exact temperature it needs to be. You don’t want to prepare a perfect item only to have it burn or be under cooked.

Your cake can be ruined if the baking powder is too old. In most cases, you don’t remember when you bought the box you have just found in the cupboard. Don’t gamble with it, test it. Put one tablespoon of baking powder in one third cup of water. If it fizzes, it’s good to use. If not, throw it away and buy a new box because what you have is too old.

If you are making pastries, you should try to maximize the accuracy of your measurements as it is a very exact science. By adding one gram too much or too less, you are going to put the taste of your pastry in jeopardy. Always try to be precise when baking.

Cakes

To keep your cakes from falling flat, mix dense batters by hand with a wooden spoon. Electric mixers beat too much air into the batter, causing the cakes to fall when they are baked. Meanwhile, by using a wooden spoon to gently mix thick batters like carrot cake you protect the consistency of the batter from absorbing too much air.

When baking, here is a tip for eggs and butter. Let your eggs and butter set out overnight at room temperature. Doing so will soften the butter which will make it easier to spread, melt, and mix with other ingredients. The eggs will be easier to beat, and foaming egg whites will be easier as well.

Quick Tip Adjust your baking time for smaller items. For example, if you are making mini cookies, crank the oven up to 500 degrees, and bake the cookies for only 4 or 5 minutes at the most.

Make Johnny cakes for a treat at home or in camp! All you need is flour, baking powder (the kind that comes in a can, not baking soda that comes in a box), and cooking oil. Mix about a teaspoon of baking powder thoroughly into a cup of flour. Add enough water to make a thick batter. Pour it into a hot greased skillet, and fry the cakes like you would a hot cake.

Here’s a novel idea for cupcake decorations – try using a few paper parasols, you’ll be surprised how great they look.

Now that you have more information you can use towards becoming a better cook, you should start feeling more confident in your cooking skills. Just try and keep in mind that this information is only going to help you if you actually apply it, so try and digest everything that you’ve learned from this article so you can apply it towards your cooking skills.

To free up cupboard space in your kitchen, use oven-safe silicone baking pans. These little wonders, available in all standard baking pan sizes, shapes and capacities, hold up to baking in the oven to thorough cleansing and can be mushed up, smashed down and packed away in the tightest spots.

Take care when storing chocolate for use in cooking. As a rule, only buy as much chocolate as you can use within a few months. Chocolate contains fat, and under the wrong conditions it can turn rancid. Store in a cool, dry place away from sunlight. A kitchen cupboard away from any heat sources is ideal. Keep the chocolate wrapped in foil or plastic and store it away from anything with a strong smell, as it absorbs odors easily.