Whether you are baking for a special occasion, or just for fun, we’ve all got to start somewhere. With baking, it’s all about practice and making sure you are using precise ingredients. Baking is slightly different than cooking because with cooking you can add spices or ingredients to taste, where with baking, if you add an extra cup of something, you might not get the same end result. However, baking shouldn’t be stressful (trust me I’ve had plenty of those moments) so just have fun with it and give yourself some credit for trying something new.
If you are new to baking (or just want a cute read), here are 10 Things I wish I had known when I started baking.
1) There is a difference between baking soda and baking powder. Just because a recipe calls for baking soda doesn’t mean you can substitute with baking powder. What else is in the recipe determines if you will use baking soda or baking powder. If you’re interested in the science of it, you can read more here.
2) No eggs? There’s a substitute for that. You made a list and checked it twice before leaving the supermarket but oh snaps you still forgot the eggs. No worries, there’s a substitute for that. Some options include a whole ripe banana or apple sauce. I used a banana the other day for my cookies, which fulfilled my craving for banana bread 🙂
3) Parchment paper will help your cookies from burning. This took a few burnt cookies for me to realize that when I lined my cookie sheet with parchment paper, it would stop them from burning. And yes wax paper is different than parchment paper just for the record 🙂
4) The more you whip your butter for your frosting, the fluffier it will be. People always ask, “how is your frosting so fluffy (it’s so fluffy I’m going to die..hehe). Anyways, my secret is to literally whip the butter for 3-4 minutes on high before adding your confectionary sugar.
5) Don’t rely on what’s on the back of a box when it comes to cooking time, every oven is different.The best advice I ever got was when I worked in a pastry kitchen and I asked the pastry chef how long something was going to take to cook. That’s when she looked at me and said, it’s done when it’s done. And she’s right, you want to set your timer so you know when to check back, but there really is no set time for everything, you kind of have to just watch for yourself. Obviously the suggested time on recipes is close to accurate, but don’t panic if something takes a little been longer to cook than what you read.
6) It’s better to let your butter get room temperature than to microwave it. Sometimes this is really hard to do, and I’ve been there before. You decided last minute to make cookies, but didn’t take the butter out of the fridge until now. A last resort is to cautiously use the microwave to bring it to soften it, but don’t let it go for too long!
7) Cookie recipes: start out with butter then sugar then eggs in that order. So you’ve got all your ingredients measured out on the counter and you start to combine them. HOLD UP! The directions are written a way for a reason. The basic rule of baking, always start with your butter, then sugar then eggs. Because if you start with flour or eggs or something else, you could over whip your eggs and they’ll turn into scrambled eggs.
8) Slowly add your dry ingredients to your wet ingredients. I can’t tell you how many times I get to the part of the recipe where I dump all of the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and I turn on the mixer and a huge puff of white flour flies up in my face and all over the counter. By adding your dry ingredients in small portions, you’ll get a better combined batter as well as you won’t look like Casper the ghost.
9) Don’t stray from the recipe when it comes to the basic ingredients. I’m not saying don’t be adventurous here, because hey if you want to add chocolate chips to your sugar cookie recipe go for it! All I’m saying is, to get the basic mixture going, you should follow the recipe.
10) It’s not the end of the word is you fail the first time (or the second time). Tears, throwing of the spatula, added too much milk, burnt the cookies – you name it, I’ve probably experienced at least every baking fail once. But hey, it’s okay, that’s what learning is all about.
What did you wish you knew when you first started baking? Share below and thanks for reading.