Cooking and Baking Tips


Your best bet for general baking is all-purpose flour. It comes bleached (which chemically whitens the flour) and unbleached, both of which you can use interchangeably. When measuring flour, spoon it into your measuring cup and use the flat side of a knife to level it off.


When a recipe calls for eggs, always use large-size eggs unless otherwise specified. Crack eggs into a small bowl before adding to other ingredient so you can remove any pieces of shell that may have fallen in.


For superior flavor and texture, use butter if the recipe calls for it. Margarine can contain a lot of water, which will make cookies spread to thin. To soften butter, leave out at room temperature for 1 hour or to speed up the process, cut into small pieces.


Both baking soda and baking powder help your baking batter rise. But do not substitute one for the other, as they can give different results. Baking soda works when mixed with an acidic ingredient such as buttermilk, sour cream or vinegar, while baking powder works with a neutral liquid like water or milk to cause a loaf or quick bread to rise.


For everyday baking, choose semi-sweet or unsweetened chocolate, it’s best for brownies and cookies. If you prefer a bolder chocolate taste, choose bittersweet, which is great for dark rich cakes or tortes. Bittersweet and semi-sweet are interchangeable, depending on how dark-tasting you like your chocolate.


  • Prep Ahead: Be sure to have the right ingredients and tools on hand before getting started.

  • Measure Up: Be sure to measure dry and liquid ingredients accurately. Baking is a science, so accuracy counts.

  • Heat First: Preheat the oven 10 to 15 minutes before you begin baking. the oven and oven gage may not always match, so use an oven thermometer.

  • Lighten Up: Don’t over mix or beat the dough vigorously after adding flour, or your baked goods may be tough.

  • Cool It: Hot cookie sheets may cause cookies to spread, so let your baking sheets cool completely before reusing.

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