Category Archives: How-To’s and Tips

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 »

How to make ice cream with dry ice

Dry Ice Ice Cream

Homemade ice cream is a wonderful treat, but you really do need an ice cream maker for the best and most consistent results. There are many affordable ice cream makers out there (and plenty of more expensive ones!) that will pay for themselves if you make ice cream yourself regularly. If you don’t make ice cream on a regular basis, however, you probably don’t want ... Read More »

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 »

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