7 Kitchen Hacks & Culinary Tips
Genius hacks and simple solutions are amazing because they make our lives easier, save time, and minimize effort. These kitchen hacks range from how to make tea for twelve, to cake frosting hacks and everything else in between. Once you start utilizing these hacks, your time spent in the kitchen will become much more efficient!
Tip 1. Two ways to make tea for twelve
A. To brew a large batch of tea without the mess of fishing out hot tea bags, tie the tea bag strings together, then slide a skewer or chopstick through the knot before tightening it. Position the skewer across the top of the pot, with the tea bags dangling in the water. When the tea has finished brewing, remove the skewer and all the tea bags simultaneously.
B. Try this trick to keep the tea bags from getting lost in the water, whether you’re making hot or iced tea. Crimp the tabs of the bags to fit through the holes of a slotted spoon and prop the spoon across the opening of the pot or pitcher while the tea steeps. The strings aren’t pulled in, and removing the bags is as simple as lifting the spoon.
Tip 2. Preserving piping-hot pancakes
A warm oven can be used to keep pancakes hot, but this method sometimes results in a dried-out breakfast. Try the following trick for keeping pancakes as hot and moist as when they first come out of the skillet.
1. Bring 2 cups water to a simmer in a large saucepan. Place a large heatproof plate on top of the saucepan.
2. As the pancakes are cooked, place them on the warm plate until serving time.
Tip 3. Heated breakfast dishes are classy
A. When you pour hot coffee into a cold mug, the mug absorbs heat, making the coffee cool down faster. To keep coffee hot longer, preheat the mugs by filling them with hot tap water and letting them sit while the coffee brews. When the coffee is ready, pour out the hot water.
B. Prevent room-temperature plates from cooling down a perfect hot breakfast. While your bread is toasting, place the plates on top of the toaster oven. The radiating heat warms them right up and delivers eggs, pancakes, and other breakfast items to the table still hot.
Tip 4. Toast for a tableful
Most electric toasters only accommodate two to four slices of bread—a problem if you’re hosting a large group for breakfast or brunch. Here’s an easy way to toast enough bread for a crowd: place an oven rack in the middle position and a second rack in the lower-middle position. Then place a baking sheet on the lower rack. Heat the oven to 450 degrees, then arrange bread slices between every other bar of the upper rack, resting on the baking sheet. Toast the bread until the top sides are lightly browned, about 6 minutes. Using tongs, flip the slices and continue toasting the second side, about 6 minutes longer.
Tip 5. Keeping maple syrup warm
There’s nothing like pouring warm maple syrup over hot french toast or pancakes. To keep the syrup from getting cold during breakfast, pour the freshly warmed syrup into an insulated coffee carafe or thermos before bringing it to the table.
Tip 6. A prettier piece of pie
Prying out the first piece of pie often results in a broken mess. Try these tricks for a perfect first slice.
A. Foil helper
1. Fold a 12 by 12-inch sheet of aluminum foil in half, then in half again to make a 6-inch square. Fold this square diagonally to form a triangle. Before fitting your pie dough into the plate, press one point of the triangle into the center of the pie plate and let the other two points hang over the edge.
2. Bake, cool, and then slice the pie following the triangle’s lines. Pull up on the overhang and use a spatula to lift out the slice.
B. Making the (extra) cut
Forgot the foil? Try this: after making the two cuts to form the first slice, make a third cut as if to form the second slice. This makes it easier to slide out the first piece tidy and intact.
Tip 7. Anyone can frost like a pro
A cake makes an impressive ending to any meal. Here are a few simple tricks that can take your decorating skills to the next level.
A. Diy cake comb
A cake “comb” is an easy way to make patterns in the icing on a cake. Make your own at home with nothing but a pair of decorative scissors (like pinking shears) and a plastic lid or discarded credit card. After frosting, use the serrated edge to create a ridged design.
B. Makeshift cake stands
Frosting a cake is made much easier when it’s elevated on a cake stand. For infrequent bakers, a lazy susan makes an admirable stand-in. Alternatively, try placing the cake on a cardboard round, then on an overturned 12-inch pizza pan or similarly sized baking sheet. Set the pan on an upside-down flat-bottomed bowl. The bowl provides height, and the pan can be rotated as needed.