Category Archives: How-To’s and Tips

What is Italian meringue?

Meringue

Italian meringue is made by beating egg whites until they reach soft, fluffy peaks, then slowly streaming in boiling sugar and beating the mixture until it is thick and glossy. A basic meringue, also known as a French meringue, is made by beating granulated sugar into egg whites until the mixture reaches soft peaks. The hot sugar syrup used to make Italian meringue essentially cooks ... Read More »

How to Temper Chocolate at Home

Melted Chocolate

Tempered chocolate is very glossy, has a firm finish and melts smoothly at around body temperature. Simply melting the chocolate before you use it to dip berries, truffles or other goodies does not temper it. The process of tempering involves raising and lowering the temperature of the chocolate to encourage strong, organized crystallization of the cocoa butter so that the finished chocolate will have that ... Read More »

What is chocolate bloom?

Chocolate Bloom

Imagine that you pull an unopened bar of your favorite chocolate out of the pantry, eager to take a bite, only to discover a whitish film discoloring the surface of your treat. This is a common occurrence and brings up many questions. What is the white layer? Is the chocolate still safe to eat? Can I still bake with it? The whitish layer is what ... Read More »

5 Must-Read Holiday Baking How-Tos!

Holiday How To's 2

The holidays can be an incredibly enjoyable time of the year, but they can also be a stressful time for many of us. Entertaining family and friends, baking holiday goodies and even wrapping up gifts take time and organization, and when you have to budget time (and finances), it is helpful to have a few handy how-tos to guide you through the season. These are ... Read More »

White sugar vs raw sugar in baking

rawsugarwhitesugar

I have several different types of sugar in my kitchen, including white sugar, brown sugar and a variety of coarse sugars. By coarse sugar, I mean a “sugar in the raw” or natural type of sugar that has a much coarser texture and much larger crystals than plain white sugar has. These natural sugars have a lot of appeal when you’re in the grocery store ... Read More »

How to Make Pumpkin Brownies (video)

Pumpkin Brownies with Pecans

Pumpkin brownies are one of my favorite fall treats to bake because I am a huge pumpkin pie fan and like just about any dessert that gets those delicious pumpkin spice flavors into it. I first make Pumpkin Brownies with Pecans a couple of years ago, and I’ve been making them ever since. Unlike regular brownies, these don’t have any chocolate in them. What they ... Read More »

How to Preheat an Oven

Oven at 350

Almost every single baking recipe starts with an instruction to preheat your oven. This step sounds so simple, but it is actually the single most difficult step in baking. Unless you have left an ingredient out by mistake or you’re dealing with a recipe that is flawed (i.e. an instruction has been left out), many baking problems are cause by incorrect oven temperature and can ... Read More »

How to bake with a specialty shaped pan

Shaped Pans

In addition to standard round and square cake pans, the shelves of cooking stores are lined with plenty of shaped pans. These pans come in designs from sandcastles and cartoon characters to miniature wedding cakes, giving you the option of baking a cake that features an elaborate design without trying to carve an intricate pattern into a cake yourself. Most of these specialty shaped pans ... Read More »

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