Ever wondered why your freshly baked cake is not as fluffy as advertised? Or why the “chewy” chocolate chip cookies you throw together are kind of cakey? Or why does the whipped cream on your no-bake pie look a little runny? As a seasoned recipe developer, I get it. It’s frustrating when you’re baking something you want a certain texture or look, and the recipe doesn’t provide it.
Over the years, I’ve learned a few tricks to save on baking. I incorporate them into my own recipes, but they’re handy to keep in your fanny pack when I’m baking with someone else’s recipe too – I want you to know these secrets too! I turn to these tips to make sure that whatever I’m baking comes out looking and tasting exactly as I expect. You’ll be surprised how easy it is to twist and adjust cookies, pies, and cakes to lift from “meh” to “mmmmm.”
An extra sip of herbs and a sprinkle of salt will do the trick.
Herbs and salt add flavor, but interestingly, not on their own.Instead, they enhance other Add flavor to your treats to make lemon cakes more lemony and chocolate cakes more chocolaty. If a recipe calls for a teaspoon of vanilla, try doubling it. The extra 1/4 (or 1/2) teaspoon of salt is just that pop you didn’t know the chocolate chip cookies were missing.
Substitute browned butter for regular butter when you like – then make it in the microwave and turn it on.
Brown butter has a lovely nutty, bold flavor that’s spectacular when added to cookies, frosting, blondies, and my favorite crisp cereal snack (if your recipe doesn’t call for melted butter, let the brown butter set) . Although you’re probably used to browning butter slowly and slowly on the stovetop, consider making it in the microwave; it’s foolproof, hands-free and saves you from having to clean your pan. Microwave in a large, microwave-safe container with a lid for 5 to 8 minutes (this will do double duty as your mixing bowl).
You can add an extra egg yolk (or two!) to the cake batter if you know what’s good for you.
Egg yolks help fat and are excellent emulsifiers. Adding an extra or two to the cake batter adds moistness and softness to the crumbs – making the cake delicious and soft in texture.
Use ice water (yes, you read that right) in place of milk or buttermilk in cake recipes.
Ice water (like egg yolks!) provides moisture and a lovely texture to cakes made with butter. While the science behind this trick is a bit sketchy, the temperature of the water is said to allow the butter to melt more slowly in the oven, creating a luscious, moist cake with a soft crumb. If you’re baking brownies, ice water plays a different role in amplifying the chocolate flavor of the cake. Because it has no flavor, the water won’t interfere with the pure flavor of the cocoa powder and/or melted chocolate in the cake (like an equal amount of milk or buttermilk) and is a great choice for all chocolate-lovers at home.
Try: Food Network Kitchen’s Best Vanilla Cake
Made the cake with oil instead of butter and the cake came together quickly and stayed moist and soft for days on the counter.
Oil based cakes are a real treasure. Not only does it save you time because there is no butter softening (or, uh, forget Regarding the softening of the butter), but also without the creaming of the butter. Plus, oil-based cakes stay incredibly moist (the oil doesn’t set at room temperature, like butter does), so it can be baked on Tuesday and enjoyed on Friday. Use 3/4 the oil of butter (such as vegetable oil or mild olive oil). So, if a recipe calls for 2 sticks of butter, use 3/4 cup of oil instead). You can replace all the butter with oil, or just a portion. Some cakes have less texture and less bulk if they are made with oil, but what they lose in body they make up for in deliciousness.
If you have al dente in the group, omit the egg whites when making the cookie dough.
As mentioned above, when baking a cake, the yolks are golden (pun intended) because they provide the moisture. But they also work when baking chewy cookies. Cookies with egg white tend to be drier and stickier than cookies without egg white.If you omit one of the egg whites when making the dough (use a tablespoon of water or milk to make up for the loss of liquid) and just add the egg yolks, you get a fudge, thick and chewy A gem of cookies.
For delicious cookies and brownies, switch up the flour.
Substitute some all-purpose flour from your recipe for the bread flour. The higher protein in bread flour makes for chewier baked goods (think a good loaf of bread) and works the same magic in cookies and brownies.A one-to-one exchange can be almost also Chewy (yes, it’s possible) so start by substituting half and experiment from there.
Add chocolate chips to brownies for the shiny crust of your dreams.
If you add a cup or two of chocolate chips to your next batch of brownie batter, those dreamy shiny crusty brownies are yours. In my experience, during my tenure at Baked, making pan after pan of brownies, melting the butter and sugar together does the same thing, but it seems that just adding potato chips does the same thing, Chips are partially melted while baking in the batter (I learned this trick from King Arthur Baking and have never looked back). Plus, who wouldn’t want to add some extra chocolate to their brownie batter in the name of (shiny) science?
For the most stable (and luscious) whipped cream, pull out your food processor.
Sure, you can make whipped cream in a stand mixer or mixing bowl with a hand mixer (even by hand!) but when you use a food processor, the results are not only delicious, but more importantly, stable. It’s the perfect cream to use on pies or layered in freezer cakes, or for any application where slightly sagging peaks aren’t ideal.
A (lots of) sprinkle of sugar will give your homemade loaf cakes and muffins that mouthwatering professional bakery look.
Ever wondered why the tops of muffins and loaf cakes at your local bakery are so shiny? Why is every bite crunchy and sweet? Well, the answer is in your pantry right now: sugar – preferably Turbinado (aka raw sugar), but granules are fine too. After filling muffin tins or pans with batter, sprinkle (with heavy hands, just say) Turbinado sugar evenly over muffin tops and loaf cakes, and bake. You will not be sad.
Try: Food Network Kitchen’s Best Blueberry Muffins