Simple steps to baking are often passed down through families yet they never reach the mainstream, which is sad. These shortcuts need to see the light of day so to speak and it is my goal to do this.
My grandma always told me that a recipe is a guide as far as the ingredients go but you need to add your own additions. If a recipe called for a teaspoon of vanilla, she would add three of the real vanilla not the imitation. 1 teaspoon of vanilla just does not cut it, if you want a real flavor.
Real vanilla is always preferred to bring out a natural flavor, but sometimes it is not possible to purchase. My grandmother never had imitation vanilla in her cupboard, as she never even considered it vanilla.
Soft margarine worked well in cookie batter, although some will not agree it does make a delightful cookie. Use it anywhere that shortening or real butter is called for, and you will be fine.
If you are using fruit in a recipe and only have dried fruit, pour hot water over it, and allow it to sit for about five minutes. It works trust me and does not ruin the taste, just dump off the water before using the fruit.
Fresh coconut is wonderful, but it is a pain in the leister, so use flaked coconut from the grocery store for easier cookie. If you desire a nice moist cake or cookie stir in some coconut for texture and taste.
For pies or upside down cakes use a glass pan, other wise use the metal pans we all grew up on. Metal will help these cakes and cookies brown better.
Use parchment paper to bake cakes or cookies on it is so easy to clean up after this one. If you do not feel like using parchment paper spray them with a cooking spray, but use oil as a last result.
Baking times in different types of ovens vary, because ovens are different. Cookies and cake tend to get done quicker while in an electric oven so watch and reduce cooking time if needed.
Always preheat the oven, as it does in fact reduce baking time of anything you need to bake. Preheating an oven gives your food a nice hot environment which to bake in, which means you will smell aromas quicker.
Enjoy baking and remember a recipe always has room for improvement by adding in other things, and leaving out those undesired items. If a cookies recipes call for nuts and you dislike them, skip them, and add in cookies chocolate chips or candy bites instead.
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