‘Tis the season… for warm kitchens full of wonderful smells, ingredients on the counters, and joyful baking shared between generations!

It’s also the season when baking tips come in handy, and we’ve got some good ones from Consumer Reports!

Start Smart

It’s said that cooking is an art, and baking is a science. And any good science experiment is both controlled and repeatable. Weigh your ingredients whenever possible.

If you’re going to measure instead of weighing, make sure you have the proper measuring cups for both wet and dry ingredients. There is a difference. Also, spoon or scoop your dry ingredients into the measuring cup, so they aren’t densely packed.

Know Your Oven

Read the manual. Really. Don’t assume that your oven was built to bake simultaneously on three racks, even if three are included.

Also, be aware of your oven’s particular hot spots, and rotate your food accordingly. Consider using a baking stone on a lower rack in addition to your other bakeware. It can help your temperature stay steady.

Afterwards

Baking doesn’t end when the oven turns off.

There’s nothing worse than pulling beautiful cakes or cookies from the oven, only to ruin them when you try to transfer or frost them too quickly.

Allow your baked goods to cool thoroughly so they don’t break with handling. And if you’re making cookies, allow the cookie sheets to fully cool between batched. If you put dough onto a warm sheet, it will begin to melt before it begins to bake, and you’ll get thin, hard (possibly burnt) cookies.

When it’s time to frost, apply a thin layer first and allow it to set. (Chilling in the fridge will speed up the process.) This will let your next, thicker layer go on smoothly, and with no crumbs.

 

Do you have any other baking tips? Share, by dropping them in the comments!