Who ready for Christmas Eve tomorrow??
We are officially 2 days out. Are we all prepared? Or are you a last minute shopper?
With most of us students I can say that last minute shopping becomes the way of life unfortunately, but hey, you make it work.
Nothing too much to photograph and sum up today as the cookie pop’s I made today aren’t that exciting to look at. I got a cool star shaped cookie pop (cookies on a stick) pan for 5 bucks and wanted to make something cute for my cousins and so I used this recipe to make the base cookie. They are just plain chocolate though and although I’m running short on time, I’m thinking they will need to be iced.
But to give you a picture of something, I shall share the pretty salad I created for my Mom tonight as my Dad just lapped up the leftover chicken cacciatore I made in the crockpot yesterday.
I made some grilled honey bosc pears, threw it over a bed of salad with shrimpies, crab meat and dried cherries. She quite liked it. Note that I wanted to put goat cheese on it because a salad like this screams out for it, but my Mom protested.
So yes, mostly baking today, tomorrow will be quite an adventure so you will get an earful.
So today’s topic for Top 25…
Tis the season for baking so why not share some baking hacks with ya? I figure that maybe some people shy away from baking because they are afraid of the ‘scientific nature’ that baking is compared to the ‘throw in a pan’ approach to cooking.
Fear no more, I’m giving you some foodie tips from the around the interweb that can help pump up your baking game. Sound good?
So I present to you my round-up of…
Top 25 Baking Hacks
- Damn egg shells breaking up all over the place. Easy fix? Wet your finger and place it near the shell piece. The shell will actually gravitate towards your finger.
- Cookies drying out too quick? Store them with an apple wedge to retain moisture. They actually draw moisture from the apple and that leaves them softer longer.
- So you burnt your cookies and you don’t have time to make new ones…Simply grate off the bottoms and voila, good as new. Ww won’t tell.
- Want brownies now? Want them to a bit easier on the calorie count too? The answer? Brownie box mix + pumpkin puree. The pumpkin is the substitute for butter but gives you all that richness with added beta carotene and fiber!
- Measure your flour correct! This is biggest because when you stick your measuring cup into a bag of flour you will compress it in the cup and often end up with TOO MUCH flour. Instead, spoon it in to the measuring cup and level it off with a straight edge.
- Don’t have food colouring? Make an easy icing using jello packets. Nice favour boost too!
- Avocado makes a great butter substitute. Adds the creaminess and fat without adding an ‘off’ or ‘healthified’ taste that you might get from adding vegetable or fruit purees.
- Who needs stop buy a whole thing of buttermilk for 1/4 cup when you can just make your own? Use vinegar and regular milk to create the sour milk you so long for. Check out The Food Network for more details.
- For all the students out there, don’t have a rolling pin? Use a wine bottle. I’m sure you have one of those lying around… 😉
- Need whipped cream and don’t have a mixer? Use a mason jar. Geez those things are used for errrryyytthhing these days. See it here.
- Need ripe bananas but all you have are the green ones? Put them in the oven at 300 degrees to ripen them faster.
- Baking soda expires? Yes it does and it then will not inflate your goodies. Check if it’s still good by putting it in hot water. If it bubbles you’re in the clear. No bubbles? Toss it.
- Keep you’re brown sugar from turning into a brick by putting a piece of bread, or better yet, a marshmallow in the bag.
- Like your cookies crispy? What about soft? Whatever cookie style tickles your tastebuds, check out this guide on how to get your perfecto cookie.
- Need icing sugar? Simply whizz up some normal sugar until it reaches a powdery consistency.
- No sugar please, I’m sweet enough. You can sub a bit of vanilla extract for sugar in some recipes for natural sweetness. For 2 tbsp of sugar, use 1/2 tsp of vanilla.
- Are you a volume eater? For things like oatmeal, pancakes, etc, try adding grated zucchini or cauliflower for a tasteless way to literally give your favourites a boost. Who doesn’t love eating twice as much oatmeal who still getting a veggie and more fiber in for the day?
- Don’t feel like frosting your cupcakes? Stick a marshmallow in it…No literally…
- Make your own sprinkles using this easy recipe that is just a few staple ingredients. Not only does that mean they are customizable but they don’t have weird chemicals in them. Yuck.
- Make cute cookie cups for your next dessert by just placing your cookie dough over the bottom part of a muffin tin.
- For all the vegan bakers, this is a classic that some may not know. You can sub either chia or flax and combined with water for an egg. For Chia seeds, it’s 1 tbsp to 1 cup of water (adjust as needed) and for flax, it’s 1 tbsp GROUND flax (or flax meal) to 3 tbsp warm water. Let these sit for a bit to thicken up and then use.
- Get some serious fat cakes (i.e. fluffy pancakes) by using club soda for some of the liquid component. Read more here.
- The Questbars strike again. Use these protein rich bars to make all kinds of crusts and holds rather then a traditional crust. Drool over these layered protein brownies where the cookie dough quest bar acts as the crust.
- The mistake of using baking soda instead of baking powder is real friends so be careful. The trick basically is that baking soda requires an acid of some kind to work with while baking powder works as a solo artist. If you want to prevent undercooked yet looking overcooked products, check out this tell-tale.
- Baking is supposed to be fun. Use it as a time of experimentation and don’t let baking mishaps leave you never wanting to put on your apron ever again!
Happy baking my Friends!
Do you have a trick I didn’t list above?