A Knack for Baking with Hacks

With experience comes knowledge, and since a lot of my time is spent in the kitchen drafting up new recipes and baking my tasty, healthy treats, I have certainly picked up a tip or two over the years to make my baking process more efficient. Whether you spend long days in the kitchen or prefer to just visit once in a while, these tried-and-true kitchen tips are sure to save you time and make your life easier. Here are a handful of my favorite baking hacks:

 

 

 

Clean-cut Cookies

I used to dread making cookies into fun shapes until I learned this simple trick. Always dip your cookie cutters in flour first. The flour will reduce the amount of sticking between the cutter and the dough, leaving a clean-cut cookie ready for baking.

 

 

 

 

Room Temp Butter in a Flash

This tip has saved me a ton of time. Using the microwave to warm up chilled butter proved to be a huge mess. Plus, most recipes call for softened, not melted butter. Next time your recipe calls for softened or room temperature butter, try placing the butter between two large pieces of wax paper and use a rolling pin to flatten it, as you would a pie crust. Once the butter is about ¼-inch thick, lift off the wax paper and peel away the butter.

 

 

 

Make Brown Sugar Soft Again

For healthier recipes, brown sugar is a must. The problem is that it often becomes a rock-hard block and is too difficult to work with. A good friend shared a simple tip with me that will surely save you an unneeded trip to the grocery store:

Put brown sugar in a microwave-safe bowl. Cover the bowl with a damp towel and microwave it for 20 seconds and it’s ready to be worked into that healthy treat recipe!

 

 

 

Prevent the Brown Sugar Block

Now you know how to soften brown sugar if necessary, but there is a way to prevent needing that step in the microwave at all. Just store a slice of bread in the container with your brown sugar! You can use any type of sandwich bread for this. The bread won’t get moldy and the sugar remains soft and ready to use.

 

 

 

 

Keep that Fresh-baked Feel

I love to bake lots of treats for my family and friends and I usually end up with a lot left over. We all know that fresh foods don’t last as long, but I’ve got you covered. Next time you have leftover cookies, store them with an apple wedge. The cookies will absorb the apple’s moisture, keeping that fresh-baked softness for much longer.

 

 

 

 

Rapid-ripe Bananas

Have you ever had a recipe that called for ripened bananas, but you searched your freezer and realized you’re out? In the past, I only make banana bread when I had ripe bananas onhand, which wasn’t often. Now, I can make banana bread anytime with this banana-ripening trick:

Preheat your oven to 300 degrees. Place your bananas on a baking sheet and bake for about 30 minutes or until the skin of the banana is black. Let them cool for 30 minutes or throw them in the fridge to speed up cooling time.

 

 

Time for me to get back to work on another round of delicious, good-for-you baked goods. I hope you enjoyed learning some of my favorite baking hacks and if you try any of them, let me know how they work for you!

 

Stay tuned for more tips, tricks, and kitchen adventures.