Happy Tuesday TKW Family! On today’s Tuesday Tip with The Kitchen Whisperer, I’m sharing with you some of my best Holiday Baking Tips For Delicious Holiday Treats! So grab your apron, pull up a kitchen chair and let’s talk.
Holiday baking is probably my most favorite time of the year to be in the kitchen and it’s also my most busiest time of the year. It’s this time of year when I get to revisit some of my favorite childhood memories of being in the kitchen to seeing all the scrumptious creations made. I think it’s the only time of year when we “allow” 14 different types of cookies to reside in our kitchen at once in containers marked with masking tape identifying each cookie. And if you’re like me, you have multiple containers of the same type of cookie as you just never seem to have big enough containers to house them all. Now sure you may not make 35 dozen of chocolate chip or 25 dozen of peanut butter cup fudge blossoms but still, I’ve yet to meet a person that makes just one type of cookie.
But even still making one dozen of a few types is time consuming and can be rough so hopefully some of these baking tips will help you out…and keep you sane in the world of baking. LOL
- Knowing your equipment – So often I see people only having one type of measuring cup. Know the different between how to measure dry ingredients and wet ingredients. If your measuring cup has a spout, it’s for wet. Your dry measuring cup should be flat all the way around so you can level it off.
- Measure for success – When measuring dry ingredients fluff your ingredients first before you put it into your measuring cup. Flour and the like settle during storage thus it becomes compact. Fluffing it aerates it and makes it easier to measure. If you’re not measuring by weight, spoon into your measuring cup and scrape excess off with the back of a knife. Do not tap the cup against the counter. Why? You’re just re-compacting the flour into the cup which will inevitably cause you to add more flour. What you’ll end up with is actually more flour than the recipe called for.
- Room Temperature Ingredients – I’m not going to beat that dead horse again so please read why it is SO IMPORTANT to bake with room temperature butter, eggs and other fats.
- Flash Freeze Is Your Friend – Whether it’s the holidays or a Tuesday, you will always, ALWAYS find frozen cookie dough in my freezer. It’s a huge time saver for the holidays or when you have unexpected company. Make up your cookie dough, portion out on a baking sheet and flash freeze the dough. Once frozen, place in a freezer safe container and store for up to 3 months. See here for more information.
- Just Chill baby! – The key to a flaky pie crust is keeping the ingredients ice cold – yes even the flour! Chill everything before making the crust. Trust me on this, it’s the key to super flaky pie crusts!
- No peeking – Almost every home oven I’ve ever seen has a window in the door. Look through that to check on your baked goods. Quit opening the door. Opening the oven door lets heat out and changes the air pressure of the baking environment, which can be detrimental to the final product. Use your oven light to see the progress. And if you can’t see through the window.. um, clean it.
- Want super dome-high muffins? – I share the secret most bakeries don’t want you know!
- Everything ages – Even your spices and leavening agents age and loose their luster. Dried spices lose their potency and freshness within six months to a year from the date they’re first opened. To test your baking soda and baking powder to see if they are still good, see here.
- Chocolate – Semisweet and bittersweet chocolate are interchangeable. Semisweet chocolate is dark chocolate. Bittersweet is extra dark.
- Do not use chocolate chips for melting chocolate – Most chocolate chips are made of baking resistant chocolate, formulated with less cocoa butter than standard chocolate so they keep their shape when heated. If you melt them, you’ll often end up with a sludgy, thick pool of chocolate rather than one that’s smooth.