Homespun Solutions: Baking Tips

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Make your pies shine – Ever wonder how professional bakers get that glossy shine on their pies?  Just beat an egg white and brush it over the crust before baking your pie.

Grease pans with ease – Save stick margarine wrappers in a plastic bag in your refrigerator.  The bit of margarine clinging to the wrapper is perfect for buttering a cake pan or casserole dish without getting your hands greasy.

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A great way to flour that pan – When baking a cake, use a little bit of the dry cake mix to flour the pan instead of using flour.  By doing this, you avoid that messy floury white coating that ends up on your cake.

Put the heat on a stuck cake – Ever have one of those pesky cakes that won’t come loose from it’s pan?  Well, try this little trick.  All you need to do is heat the bottom of the pan to soften the hardened sugar and oil that are making it stick.  You can do this by filling a large bowl with hot water and dipping the bottom of the pan in it.  If you have an electric stove, you can heat a burner then turn it off.  Wait until it is warm but not hot enough to burn the cake.  Place the cake pan on the burner and leave it for a few minutes.  Either way, your cake will easily come out of  the pan.

Bake better potatoes – Insert a ten penny nail into the end of your potatoes before baking them.  The nail will conduct heat to the inside of the potatoes and bake them faster.  Of course, you don’t want to use this if you bake in the microwave.

Test your cake with spaghetti – Just grab a piece of uncooked spaghetti and gently poke the center of the cake.  If the batter sticks to the pasta, it needs to bake a little longer.  If it comes out clean, it is done.

Crush cookies for a creative pie crust – Tired of graham cracker crusts? Add variety to your pie crusts by using all sorts of delicious ingredients. Try each of the following.  When crushed, these will make approximately one cup of crumbs:

  • 20 chocolate wafers
  • 30 vanilla wafers
  • 15 gingersnaps

Measure without a mess – Use coffee filters to separate dry ingredients you’ve measured for a recipe, or to weigh them on a kitchen scale.  You will save yourself the trouble of having to wash several bowls.

Use flour power on your cookies – Keep your cookies plum instead of flat as pancakes by using this trick.  Try adding a thin sprinkle of flour to your cookie sheet after greasing it.  The flour will keep the cookies from spreading out too much.  It will also keep chocolate chips from sticking and burning.

Get rolling with refrigerator cookies – Refrigerator cookies will turn out beautifully if you follow this advice.  You will need the inner cardboard tube from a roll of paper towels.  Cut the roll lengthwise so you can open  one end of the tube.  Line the inside with waxed paper.    Before chilling the dough, pack it inside the tube. Close it up and secure it with rubber bands and chill the dough according to your directions.  When it is time to slice them, you will have a perfectly shaped roll.

Cut classy cookies – Want refrigerator cookies that look like you bought them in a bakery?  Use a cheese slicer to cut uniform pieces from the roll.  For angels and gingerbread men with all their arms intact, dip plastic cookie cutters in warm oil before using.

Check out my other Homespun Solutions articles:

Homespun Solutions: Kitchen Hints

Homespun Solutions: Pets and Pests

Surprising Supermarket Strategies

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