Get out your aprons and baking sheets and fire up the oven, because baking season is here! We’ve got lots of tips to help you get through it with ease, courtesy of The Old Farmer’s Almanac Favorite Cookies!
Baking Season Tips and Tricks
Toasting tip: Toast coconut in a dry, nonstick pan over low heat, stirring often, until lightly colored.
Easier cutting: When cutting sticky bar cookies, wipe the knife with a damp paper towel after each cut.
When baking brownies, use sifted cocoa powder instead of flour to dust the baking pan.
Butter is soft enough to cream when your finger leaves a dent but the butter still feels cool.
For a wholesome version of most any cookie recipe, replace up to half the flour with whole-wheat flour. Cookies will be slightly chewier and denser.
Easy rolling: Draw a 12-inch circle on a piece of paper and slip it under the waxed paper to use as a guide.
Generally speaking, most cookies will benefit from cooling on the baking sheet for 1 to 2 minutes so they can firm up slightly before being transferred to a wire rack.
Spices lose their flavor over time, so if your nutmeg is left over from last Christmas’s eggnog, and the cloves have been on the shelf forever, it’s time to replace them.
Soften up: It’s a classic problem – you’re ready to bake, but your butter is rock hard. To soften it quickly, grate the butter onto a plate or cut it into thin parts. Or microwave 1 stick of butter for 10 seconds just to soften – it if melts, it will change the outcome.
Melt, don’t seize: Chocolate must be melted slowly over low heat or it will “seize” – become stiff and pasty – rather than smooth and silky.
Uneven heat: All ovens have “hot spots,” so to ensure even browning, rotate the cookie sheet halfway through the baking time.