Baking can be an infuriating science, but the advantages far outweigh the headache. Fresh-baked cookies whenever you damn well please? Homemade pancakes to feed your hot date the day after? Girly, indulgent cupcakes in the privacy of your own home? All reasons you should learn to bake.
Especially when just starting out, there are many ingredients and pieces of equipment you won't have, but, with these life-changing baking hacks, you won't need them. Give some of these a go next time you try your hand at baking. You'll look like a pro -- or at least fake one real well.
Use an ice cream scoop for cupcakes
They're the perfect size for portioning out cupcake batter.
Make your own powdered sugar
Blend 1 cup granulated sugar and 1 teaspoon cornstarch in a food processor until fine and powdery. Sift through a fine-mesh strainer.
Test if your baking soda is stale
To test baking soda, put 2 tablespoons of white vinegar into a small bowl and add 1 teaspoon of baking soda. If it fizzes immediately, it's still good.
Test your baking powder, too
To test if baking powder is still good, combine 1 teaspoon baking powder with ⅓ cup hot water. If it bubbles, it's still good.
Keep parchment from rolling up
Trying to keep parchment paper from rolling in on itself is an exercise in futility. Stay sane and use magnets to keep it planted to the baking sheet.
Bring eggs to room temperature quickly
Place cold eggs in a bowl filled with warm water. Let sit until the eggs come to room temperature.
Make cake flour from ingredients you already have
1 cup all-purpose flour + 2 tablespoons cornstarch = cake flour.
Whip cream in a jar
This also gives you amazing arms. Chill a Mason jar in the fridge. Fill it halfway with heavy cream, add a teaspoon of powdered sugar, seal the lid, and shake vigorously for 2 minutes or until it's thick and fluffy.
Grate butter instead of cutting it into recipes
For recipes that call for cut butter or folded butter -- like pies, biscuits, and croissants -- grate the butter into the dry mix for the same effect with less effort.
Make buttermilk in 10 minutes with ingredients you already have
Stir together 1 cup milk with 1 tablespoon lemon juice (or white vinegar). Let it sit at room temperature until thick and slightly curdled, about 10 minutes.
Bring cold butter to room temperature quickly
Many baking recipes call for butter at room temperature, but that can take at least 30 minutes. Save some time with this cheat. Cut butter into chunks. Fill a glass bowl with hot water. Pour out the water and invert the hot bowl to cover the butter. Let sit for 2 minutes, uncover, and use.
Soften crispy cookies
Whether they turned out crispier than you like, or they're one day too stale, place a slice of sandwich bread in the cookie jar. The following day, cookies will be soft, chewy, and moist.
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