Top Ten Foolproof Baking Tips by Rose Levy Beranbaum
1. Using a scale instead of measuring by volume makes baking faster, easier, more enjoyable, and virtually guarantees success. 2. Begin preheating the oven a minimum of 20 minutes before baking. If using a convection setting, lower the heat 25 °F. (This is not usually necessary for countertop ovens.) 3. For the best tasting citrus zest: wash the fruit with detergent and rinse well. This makes a surprising difference in the flavor. If the citrus fruit has already been squeezed and you want to make zest, freeze the rind to make it easier to grate. 4. Cut cheesecake with unflavored dental floss held taut. A deeply serrated knife works best for other cakes. 5. Choosing the right kind of flour makes all the difference. Use the type of flour indicated in the recipe. Unless otherwise specified, use bleached flour. 6. For the most delicious chocolate chip cookies use browned butter. It's easy to make: simply cook the butter until the milk solids turn a nut brown. Allow it to cool to room temperature before adding it to the cookie dough. 7. Once a cake or loaf of bread is cut, cover the cut sides with plastic wrap to keep them from drying out. 8. When using dark or glass pans, lower the oven heat by 25°F. 9. To decorate baked goods or plate with sauces such as caramel, melted chocolate or raspberry sauce, use a squeeze bottle instead of a pastry bag. It can be set in a bowl of hot water to keep its contents fluid. 10. For rounded tops on cupcakes, let the batter sit in the liners for 20 minutes before baking.
Tina Wasserman, cooking instructor and author of the acclaimed cookbook Entrée to Judaism demonstrates how to make homemade potato latkes and applesauce. A mini cooking class! Enjoy Tina's recipe for Latkes – Potato Pancakes.
Professional baker's grease makes bakery cakes magically release from any pan. Here's how to make your own:
Mix equal parts flour, oil, and shortening or margarine until smooth. Using a pastry brush (or a paper towel if you don't have a brush), "paint" the inside of cake pan with the mixture. Your cake will pop out, leaving no nibbles for the cook along the sides!
Simple syrup can be used to sweeten tea, lemonade, homemade ice cream, cocktails, and fruit salad -- or even to moisten and flavor cakes.
1-part water 1-part sugar
In a saucepan, bring sugar and water to a boil; simmer until the sugar is dissolved, approximately 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool completely. Once cooled, iit is ready to use. Or, plain simple syrup can be refrigerated in a glass jar for up to 1 month.
Infused simple syrup: Add lemon, lime or orange, or an herb such as mint or a vanilla bean At Rosh Hashanah, the syrup can be infused with pomegranate arils.
For those who don't want to invest in a salad spinner due to their size or cost, or because they are just occasional salad eaters, is there another way to dry lettuce? YES! We came across this tip for spinning lettuce dry in something we all have — a pillowcase — and just had to try it out for ourselves. The pillow case should be all cotton, and of course clean! And, if you are a seamstress, you can make a custom lettuce drying case from absorbent all-cotton towels.
It's easy, quick and fun to spin lettuce dry in a pillow case. Watch this video and let the spin begin:
There comes a time in every cook's life when we find ourselves confronted with a pile of tomatoes and a recipe that instructs us to peel them. It seems pointless, onerous, time-consuming. But for the sake of a silky-smooth tomato sauce or soup, we do it anyway. Here are three ways to get the job done without driving yourself crazy. We thank Thekitchn.com for sharing this tomato wisdom!
According to Buzzfeed.com: • You wait too long to buy a turkey • You forget that a frozen turkey takes four days to thaw • You don't let your turkey come to room temperature before roasting it • You don't dry the turkey really well both inside the cavity and on the outside • You don't use a roasting rack inside your roasting pan • You cook stuffing inside the turkey • You roast the turkey at one temperature instead of starting it in a really hot oven and then lowering the heat • You "freak out" about the skin browning too quickly and turn down the over temperature • You don't use a thermometer • You check the temperature at the wrong time and in the wrong place • You cook the turkey past 165 degrees • You don't let the turkey rest for at least 15 minutes before carving • You destroy the turkey when carving (cooking.com) • You carve the whole bird even if half of it will be eaten on Thanksgiving • You use a huge bird, instead of a smaller bird and favorite parts
Want to know how to correct these common turkey errors? Go to Buzzfeed.com.