Christmas is right around the corner, and baking is traditionally a big part of it. But baking does not have to be difficult, even for beginners. I have been baking for longer than I can remember, so here are some of my tips.
1. Pick something that is easier to make.
Drop cookies: chocolate chip cookies, oatmeal cookies, and many others are simple and do not usually need to be chilled or have complicated steps. Quick breads: banana bread, pumpkin bread, zucchini bread, etc. are also simple to make.
2. Read the recipe, ingredients, and instructions all the way through before starting.
This is important because it's never fun to be halfway through mixing the ingredients, only to realize you are missing a crucial ingredient.
3. Assemble all supplies and ingredients before you start.
Make sure you have as much of each as the recipe calls for.
4. Make sure you are reading tablespoons (Tbsps) and teaspoons (Tsps) correctly.
Mixing this up can really mess up the flavor.
5. Consult a conversion chart if you need to.
6. If you are using salted butter, do not put any additional salt in the recipe.
Because honestly, who normally buys unsalted butter?
8. Mix everything according to the recipe.
Including the order - wet and dry ingredients separately - and do not overmix if so instructed.
9. Unless you are using a non-stick pan, grease and flour the pan or line with cupcake liners.
Run a stick of butter along the baking surface or use cooking spray, then coat with flour.
10. Always set the timer for less than the recommended baking time.
Everyone's ovens cook at different speeds; you can always add more time, but you can't take it away.
11. Cookies will become a shade darker after you take them out of the oven.
Similar to sunburns, if you can see it turning dark, it's too late. Lightly golden is usually the way to go.
12. Stoneware and glass pans will continue to bake the treats after you take them out of the oven.
So take them out of the oven right before completely cooked.
13. If something needs to be made better, add chocolate chips, nuts, or both.
Pumpkin breads and cookies, banana breads, and most recipes will be made much better with nuts and/or chocolate chips.