Whether you are a seasoned chef or a backseat baker with a thousand viewing hours of Chopped, there are lots of little tips and tricks to getting the perfect pastry. Unfortunately we usually only figure them out after an epic baking fail. Here are some hard earned bits of baking wisdom that I’ve learned from my Mom and my own baking mistakes. Hopefully YOU won’t set your oven on fire. The 12 Baking Tips Of Christmas…
The 12 Baking Tips Of Christmas
1. If you are making a single crust icebox pie and all you have to bake is the bottom crust, odds are you’ll just try to toss that sucker in the oven. BEFORE YOU DO THAT you have to weigh down the bottom of the crust or else it will puff up and be useless. Put a piece of metal foil over the bottom and put a layer of dry beans to act as pie weights.
2. Just buy pre-made pie crusts. Don’t be a hero. They come pre-rolled out or even frozen and already pressed into a disposable pie tin.
3. When baking a pie, cover the top with foil and only take it off 15-20 minutes towards the end of the baking time. That way you don’t burn your crust while trying to get the center of the pie to finish cooking.
4. Measure your ingredients. Baking isn’t like cooking. You can’t feel it out. Science is involved. No one wants super dense cakes or runny flat cookies because you thought you could eye-ball how much flour you need to toss in.
5. Yes, that weird tiny pinch of salt every recipe calls for is important. Science.
6. Baking Soda and Baking Powder are somewhat interchangeable.
7. For the love of God, measure your extracts! A teaspoon and a tablespoon of banana extract are VASTLY different flavors.
8. Except vanilla. Always add an extra teaspoon of vanilla extract to baked sweets.
9. Parchment paper is amazing. It’s worth the modest extra expense since you won’t have to scrape the baking pans or have greasy bottomed cookies. Plus a sheet of parchment is reusable for several batches until the edges get too crispy.
10. When making a cherry pie, cornstarch is typically not a strong enough thickener. Try quick cooking tapioca, or invest in Arrowroot.
11. Homemade pudding made from scratch is a THOUSAND times better than Jello pudding mix. But there is a lot more stirring.
12. Want super soft cookies, guaranteed? Add a few tablespoons of cornstarch to your mix!