Category Archives: How-To’s and Tips

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 »

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 »

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