Category Archives: How-To’s and Tips

How to soften butter

Softened Butter

With just a few exceptions, most baking recipes call for butter to be softened or at room temperature. Softened butter spreads easily onto bread and toast, and it whips up into a fluffy mixture with sugar that helps produce a fine, tender crumb in baked goods. Chilled butter is too hard to cream into sugar easily and melted butter simply begins to dissolve the sugar, ... Read More »

What is a slice and bake cookie?

Slice and Bake Cookie Dough

Slice and bake cookies are a type of cookie that is formed into a log that you can cut into individual rounds and place on the baking sheet, as opposed to “drop cookies” that are hand shaped and dropped into small mounds on the baking sheet before baking. The term “slice and bake” is often applied to the ready made logs of dough that you ... Read More »

What is tunneling?

Tunneling in a muffin

In baking, the term “tunneling” refers to tunnels and very large air pockets that form inside of muffins and quick breads as a result of overmixing a batter. The muffin pictured above gives you an idea of what tunneling looks like. Generally, you want muffins, cakes and cupcakes to be fairly uniform in texture. This muffin features large tunnels in the bottom left and top ... Read More »

How to prebake a pie crust

Prebaking a pie crust

When you are baking a fruit pie, the filling usually goes into a pie plate lined with uncooked pie dough and everything bakes together. There are quite a few types of pies out there – including many cream pies – that call for a prebaked pie shell without giving you much instruction on how to get the pie crust baked. Prebaking a pie crust is ... Read More »

How to make Lightly Sweetened Whipped Cream

Whipped Cream on a whisk

Whipped cream is a great way to finish off just about any dessert, adding a light sweetness to contrast with rich berry flavors and intense chocolate ones. For many, using whipped cream means picking up a can from the refrigerated section of the grocery store. This isn’t a bad solution in a pinch (I know I’ve used it many times), but making your own whipped ... Read More »

What is panna cotta?

Panna Cotta

Panna cotta is a dessert that shows up on restaurant menus a lot more than it does in home kitchens, but the simple dish is one that is very easy to make at home. Panna cotta, or “cooked cream” in Italian, is a dessert that consists of a lightly sweetened cream mixture that is set with a small amount of gelatin. The gelatin allows the ... Read More »

What is a whoopie pie?

Whoopie Pies

Whoopie pies are a dessert that consists of two cake-like cookies sandwiching a creamy, frosting-like filling. It is easy to think of them as a more portable version of a cupcake, where the frosting is inside of the cake and there is no wrapper to contend with. They’re generally thought to have originated in Pennsylvania Dutch country as an Amish dessert, but the exact origin ... Read More »

How to Hard Boil Eggs

Rinsing hard boiled eggs

My grandmother was a huge fan of Deviled Eggs and made them for all kinds of holidays and family gatherings as I was growing up. I became a fan, too, so as soon as I was old enough to operate the stove safely I asked my grandmother to teach me how to make them myself. I made them with her whenever I visited, and these ... Read More »

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