Friday, December 16, 2016

Holiday Baking Tips

Chungry Girl blog circa 2011 is where I credit the start of my baking adventures. Sure, I would occasionally slang Funfetti cake out of my mom's kitchen in high school during the holidays and bake myself Betty Crocker mix cupcakes after finals in college, but I didn't truly get into baking until 2011. Either way, the holidays was a time for baking for me.

5 years later, I'm baking practically full-time at night after my day job making custom desserts in Houston for all sorts of special moments from birthdays to weddings to baby showers at my small business, Wink by Erica.

In the spirit of the holidays, here are holiday baking tips whether you're an occasional baker or an avid one, who knows, you might find your calling!

1. Use room temperature ingredients unless specified by the recipe. Take ingredients out about one to two hours before. Ingredients mix together better at room temperature.

2. Lightly toast nuts in a toaster oven or oven before using for a more aromatic nutty taste.

3. Use really ripe bananas, all brown, to yield the best banana flavor in banana bread.
Calligraphy by Kristara, Photo by Divya Pande
4. The fridge and freezer are a baker’s best friend. Refrigerate cookie dough for at least 1 hour to overnight for flavors to come together and easier to work with. Freeze dough or baked cake in plastic wrap to get ahead in baking.

5. No time for royal icing? Decorate sugar cookies with colorful sprinkles or powdered sugar instead for an equally festive look.
Photo by Divya Pande
6. Get ahead and reduce stress by prepping and baking on separate days. For example, make cookie dough on one day, let rest, and bake on day two. Bake cakes ahead of time, wrap in plastic wrap and freeze. On the day you plan to serve the cake, defrost in the fridge for a few hours and frost the cake.

7. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper for easy clean up.

8. Use Soft Gel Paste Food Coloring instead of liquid dye food coloring for more vibrant colors. Soft gel adds less liquid to recipes than liquid dye so it’s much more recipe friendly for cakes, icings, and the best to color macarons.
Photo by Divya Pande
9. Use a food scale to measure ingredients by weight for a more accurate baking with consistent results.

10. Use Bakers Joy to coat cake pans well, especially for naked cakes for a clean release.
Calligraphy by Kristara, Photo by Divya Pande

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