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Old 08-12-2011, 11:30 PM   #1
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What are your cooking or baking "tricks?"

Do you have any little tricks you use while cooking or baking that make life easier, or make the food turn out better than it might? I love little tips like that.

My own:
When baking cookies or other things on a flat sheet, I put aluminum foil down on the sheet and the cookie dough on top of it. Makes for very easy clean-up and provides a slightly non-stick surface.

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Old 08-12-2011, 11:46 PM   #2
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I use parchment paper for baked goods. It provides a very non-stick surface and is also good for easy clean up.

Cookies made with butter tend to spread out and bake flat. If you chill the dough and keep it chilled until it goes on the cookie sheets, the cookies will bake up thicker.
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Old 08-13-2011, 12:16 AM   #3
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Another way to get thicker, more soft cookies, is to cut the fat by half and add a tbs. or so of water to the recipe.

Cooking with stainless steel can be virtually stick free, if you heat the pan without any fat in it. When the pan is hot, then add the oil. Food will slide around on the cooking surface with ease, and still brown beautifully.

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Old 08-13-2011, 02:13 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy M. View Post
I use parchment paper for baked goods. It provides a very non-stick surface and is also good for easy clean up.

Cookies made with butter tend to spread out and bake flat. If you chill the dough and keep it chilled until it goes on the cookie sheets, the cookies will bake up thicker.
I totally agree. I was amazed at the difference between cookies that came from chilled dough and cookies that came from room temp dough.

One of my favorite tips is after frying something in a cast iron pan or a stainless steel pan, in order to make clean up easier, slowly add hot water to the pan after you remove the food but while it's still hot. Same principle as deglazing a pan for making gravy.

Another tip, if you are trying to figure out what spices to use with something, smell whatever you're going to season and then smell the spice you're thinking about using. If it smells good together it will probably taste good together too. Not foolproof, but a good starting point and less risky than just randomly picking something and adding it (cause, um, I've never randomly picked something and added it ).
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Old 08-13-2011, 02:47 AM   #5
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When you start a cooking or baking project fill the sink with hot sudsy water and clean as you go. When I started out I had to do this because I only had one bowl, spoon, knife etc... now it is a habit.
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Old 08-13-2011, 02:49 AM   #6
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Cake and cookie baking tips.
Tip 1 Lick the bowl.
Tip 2 Lick the spoons
Tip 3 Lick your hands.
Water conservation is very very tasty
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Old 08-13-2011, 02:58 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Bolas De Fraile View Post
Cake and cookie baking tips.
Tip 1 Lick the bowl.
Tip 2 Lick the spoons
Tip 3 Lick your hands.
Water conservation is very very tasty
In my house it's
Tip 1 Lick the bowl while the hubby isn't looking.
Tip 2 Give the spoon to the hubby and when he protests about the bowl tell him I didn't share the bowl because I needed to taste test to make sure it was good enough for him and it took until the bowl was finished to be sure.
Tip 3 Let hubby lick off my fingertip
Yes, water conservation is tasty indeed.
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Old 08-13-2011, 10:55 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bolas De Fraile View Post
Cake and cookie baking tips.
Tip 1 Lick the bowl.
Tip 2 Lick the spoons
Tip 3 Lick your hands.
Water conservation is very very tasty
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Old 08-13-2011, 11:35 AM   #9
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As someone already mentioned, I always have a sink of hot soapy water at the ready when I'm cooking. I also have multiple sets of measuring spoons and measuring cups, which, in the end, saves me time as I'm cooking. Actually, the most time-saving and mess-free device in my kitchen is my electronic kitchen scale. I couldn't cook without mine. I can make a whole batch of cookies and only dirty up the bowl they're mixed in and the spoon or beaters used to mix them.
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Old 08-13-2011, 01:41 PM   #10
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I really do need to get a scale. I'm starting to bake regularly (mainly cookies) and it seems a scale would be extra useful.
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