11 Baking Hacks
Make life simpler with these totally legit baking hacks and insider tricks. These brilliant baking hacks will save you tons of time and effort, and you'll look and feel like the best pastry chef in town.
1. Make homemade brown sugar with white sugar and molasses
It's a fundamental law of baking that you will be out of brown sugar when you need it. Not worries: Just combine 1 cup of granulated sugar with a little molasses (1 tablespoon for light brown sugar; 2 tablespoons for dark brown sugar).
2. Soften butter in the microwave — the right way.
Most baking recipes call for butter softened to room temperature, which is OK when you actually remember to take your butter out ahead of time. But who remembers to do that? Never fear, the microwave is here. Purists will tell you to avoid the microwave, but it can successfully be used to soften butter. Always use power level 2, and start with 8 to 10 seconds. Flip the butter over and then, on power level 2, do another five seconds or so.
3. For chocolate chip cookies with the perfect texture, chill the dough and bang the pan.
If you're looking for perfect chocolate chip cookies that are crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside, follow these simple steps! First, always chill the dough prior to baking (one hour is good; overnight is better). Second, when you remove the cookies from the oven, bang the pan straight down on the stove to force the cookies to settle.
4. Ripen bananas in the oven for baking.
What to do if you're ready to make banana bread, but your bananas are not? No worries: just put those too-green bananas on a parchment-lined pan and bake them in a 300 F oven until they're dark brown and squishy. Let them cool and get mashing.
5. Need a rolling pin? Take a wine bottle!
If you use a rolling pin rarely, save on cupboard space and just use a wine bottle as your rolling pin! Empty or full, remove the label and scrape off any residue, then make sure to wash the outside of the bottle. You can also simply place some wax paper or plastic wrap on top of your dough and roll right with the label on the bottle.
6. Make your own (gluten-free!) oat flour with oats and a blender.
If you're looking for a great gluten-free flour option that you can make yourself (or just a totally amazing-tasting flour!), oat flour is for you. And the "recipe" is beyond simple — just blend up some gluten-free oats in your blender until they're powdered!
7. Bring eggs to room temperature in five minutes with a bowl of warm water.
There is nothing more maddening than getting halfway through a recipe only to realize that your refrigerated eggs are supposed to be room temperature. If you didn't remember to take the eggs out an hour beforehand (no judgments), put them in a bowl of hot water for 5 to 10 minutes and you're good to go.
8. Make a lemon even more juicy
If you want to get the most from your citrus fruit, pop it in the microwave for 5 to 10 seconds to get the juices flowing.
9. Use cooking spray when measuring sticky ingredients
When using ingredients like honey or molasses, coat the measuring cup or spoon with nonstick spray first. Everything will come right off.
10. To cut a cake evenly in two, mark the halfway point with toothpicks and smoothly slice through with unflavored dental floss. No more wonky cake layers.
11. Fold parchment paper into a triangle so you can easily cut it into the shape of your circle pan.
Have you tried some of these at home? Tell me in comments!