The next time you bake chocolate cake or
brownies, dust the baking pans with cocoa powder instead of flour
for an extra hit of flavor.
To toast a small amount of coconut, place it on
a paper plate and microwave at high power 2 to 3 minutes, stirring
occasionally, until toasted.
Heavy cookie doughs and batters are easier to
mix if you place the bowl inside your sink on top of a damp dish
towel. The lower position of the bowl is easier on your back, and
the towel keeps the bowl stable.
When baking a cake in a tube or Bundt pan, cover
the center hole in the cake pan with a small paper cup or muffin
liner to prevent batter from dripping into the hole.
simple drop cookies more attractive, use the rough side of a meat
mallet to press a decorative pattern on the cookies before baking.
When folding whipped cream or beaten egg whites into a batter,
use a wire whisk instead of a rubber spatula or spoon. The whisk
is quicker and more thorough.
Try coating greased baking pans
with sugar instead of flour. The sugar creates an even layer and
won't leave a greasy, floury residue on cakes. Actually, it adds a
lightly sweet, crunchy coating on the cake!
tablespoon-size mounds of cookie dough on wax paper- or
parchment-lined baking sheets until solid, then transfer to a
resealable plastic bag. Keep frozen, baking only as many as you
want at a time. (Add a few minutes to the baking time for frozen
If a pie filling or cobbler recipe calls for
quick-cooking tapioca, grind it to a powder in a clean coffee
grinder for more even distribution in the dish.
blueberry muffins, rinse the berries lightly (or thaw slightly if
frozen) then toss in a little flour. The flour will help prevent
the berries from sinking to the bottom of the muffins.
flaky pie crusts and tender scones and biscuits, grate cold butter
on the large holes of a cheese grater right into the flour
For perfectly round icebox cookies, refrigerate the
wrapped cylinder of dough standing upright in a tall vase or
glass. This prevents one side from flattening out as it would if
chilled on a refrigerator shelf.
Often, it's easier to slice
sheet cake and brownies with a large pizza wheel. The wheel
prevents frosting from building up like it can on a knife blade.
To crush cookies, crackers, cereal or chips, place in a
heavy-duty resealable plastic bag, seal the bag, then roll with a
rolling pin until they're the texture you're looking for.
Plastic squeeze bottles are great for making pancakes. Just put
the batter in a bottle, cut the tip to make a large opening, then
squeeze batter right onto the griddle. (Thin out thick batter with
milk or water.) Chill leftover batter right in the bottle.
Transport individual bite-size tartlets to parties in an egg
carton that's been lined with a sheet of plastic wrap. This will
keep them from breaking en route to the party.
measuring shortening or peanut butter for a recipe, swirl a raw
egg in the cup first (use the egg in the recipe if one is called
for). The egg coating inside the cup will cause the contents to
come right out.
Before measuring sticky ingredients, like corn
syrup, honey and molasses, spritz the inside of the measuring cup
with nonstick cooking spray. The sticky stuff will slide right
Soften rock-hard brown sugar by placing a slice of bread
inside the box or bag. The sugar should be good to go in a day or
For quick mixing of dry ingredients, keep an empty
wide-mouth jar handy. Measure dry ingredients into the jar,
replace the lid, then shake until blended.
Use clean, empty
spice jars to hold flour for sprinkling on a work surface or for
coating baking pans.
For the most accurate measuring, spoon
flour into a cup rather than scooping it directly from the jar or
bag. Level the flour off with the straight side of a table knife.
Be sure to check the expiration date on your box of baking
soda. If the date has come and gone, the soda won't have the
leavening power it should. Buy a new box for the best results.
Baking powder's strength diminishes over time. To see if yours is
still good, sprinkle a generous pinch into a glass of warm
water, it should fizz and bubble. If nothing happens, buy yourself
a new container.