Thursday, December 20, 2012

My Best Baking Tips and Tricks

As of late I've been baking. So far, under my belt (literally), I have two batches of fudge, one batch chocolate chip cookies, about 100 homemade peanut butter cups and brownies.

Tis' the season for trans fats.

Since ovens in America will be cranking out all kinds of holiday treats these next two weeks, I've decided to share my best baking tricks. They are crazy helpful when packaging and making desserts for just about anywhere.

Happy baking everyone!

1. Package goodies in a shirt box. If you're bringing these to school for a birthday, dress up the box with a ribbon. If you're bringing these to a party for the holidays, add a holiday bow and bells. If you're bringing to a soccer match for the players, don't bother adding anything.

Using a shirt box is cheap and efficient. The box can be tossed after indulging, and you won't be chasing down your favorite tray for the next three months.

2. When baking brownies, omit the oil, and add same amount applesauce. Add a squeeze (about 2-3 tablespoons) chocolate syrup. Bake as usual. This trick cuts the fat, but still produces a delightfully fudge-y and decadent brownie.

For an even better brownie, double the recipe.  Bake 40-45 minutes, rotating pan half way through baking.  Check center with a toothpick, and do not overbake.

3. When baking sugar cookies, keep your cookie cutters handy after you put those cookies in the oven. If your cookies don't hold their shape while baking, grab the cookie cutters (when cookies are fresh from oven, still hot) and trim those edges for perfectly shaped cookies.

4. If you're in the mood for chewy, gooey chocolate chip cookies, chill your batter before baking, and shorten baking time by a minute or two. Remove cookies from oven when they are a tad undone in center. Leave them on the tray a two to three minutes to set the center, and transfer to wire rack.

5. If your first batch of chocolate chip cookies comes out of the oven flat, looking like a hot mess (it's happened to us all), grab a 9x13 pan. Firmly press the remainder of your batter into the pan and bake at 350 for approximately 25-30 minutes (until center is just done).

 If desired, crumble up your first batch and sprinkle over top when the bars are finished baking. Cool and cut into cookie bars. Cookie disaster averted, and more importantly, dessert is saved.

Don't forget the aerobic activity January 1st.  It helps with the tight pants.  I promise.

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