If you are the midst of holiday baking (or like some of us who are procrastinating this year and haven’t started), here are some tips to help streamline the process:
• Invest in some good quality baking sheets. It honest-to-goodness makes a big difference.
• Make baking parchment and Pam your friend (as in non-stick cooking spray.) Spray your baking sheets with a light coating of Pam, line with a piece of parchment cut to fit and then give it a quick coating of Pam. Words don’t describe how much easier this makes my life. Just try it, you’ll see what I mean.
• Use Pam on your measuring cups if you will be measuring out something sticky, like molasses. A quick spray and the molasses just rolled right out of the cup like nobody’s business.
• Invest in a cooling rack or two. If you’ve got pans and pans of hot cookies coming out of the oven, cooling racks can be worth their weight in gold. They give your cookies a chance to cool down appropriately and that really does effect the finished product. Also, if you can find stands that stack, they free up tons of counter space while still providing circulation around those sweet treats.
• Clean as you go. If you are doing a marathon day of baking (like your truly) clean up as you go. At the end of the your baking spree you’ll be glad you did when you have just a few things to wash instead of a huge sink full of sticky, dirty dishes.
• Measure accurately. Seriously, measure accurately. This can make or break your baked goods. Don’t eyeball it. If the recipe says 1 1/4 cups then measure out exactly 1 1/4 cups.
• Follow directions. If you want your baked goods to turn out like the recipe intended, follow the directions carefully and completely.
•Gather your ingredients before you start. Before I start making a recipe, I read through it, gather all the ingredients and have in mind the order of the recipe. If I try and bake by grabbing the ingredients as I go, I will guaranteed forget to put something in. If you’ve got all the necessary ingredients laid out in front of you, it is harder to miss something.
• Use the right ingredients. If a recipe calls for butter and sour cream, don’t substitute margarine and applesauce and think you’ll wind up with a recipe that turns out correctly.
• Enlist help! Put your significant other, the kids or any warm body who happens into your home during a baking frenzy to work. They can cut out sugar cookies, cream butter and sugars, wash dishes, frost cookies. Turn it into a fun activity that you all can enjoy!
She who really needs to get something baked