Thanksgiving is just around the corner and nothing strikes fear into the heart of a host more than a soggy ending to a glorious feast. (Cue sad trombone.)
Anyone who has baked before knows it’s a fine art and things can easily go wrong, especially when you’re distracted by guests, multiple courses, and plain old family drama.
Here are some sure-fire ways to make sure you cap off your holiday meals with a show-stopper, so you can stop the show, send your guests home, and polish off the leftover wine feeling like a domestic god or goddess.
Avoid Pie Sag
Cutting into that pie and dishing out the first piece is nervewracking and no one wants to see the first piece of their creation turn into a crumpled pile of crust and filling.
Avoid the soggy bottom pie by taking a page from the pizza handbook and place your pie pan on a preheated baking stone or sheet to cook. The sheet will retain heat and make sure the bottom of your pie cooks thoroughly.
Butter It Up
Want a flaky pie crust instead of a dough brick? Fetch the butter! As you work your dough, press some small pieces of butter between your hands and drop them in. When you roll it all out, you could see chunks of butter – these will melt fast in a hot oven and create the air pockets that give a pie crust it’s airy texture.
Making a dessert for the adult table? If you run out of vanilla (an integral ingredient in most baked goods) or simply don’t want to spend the money on it, you can add a dark liquor like rum or bourbon instead.
Draw A Bath
If you’re cooking a big meal or have a bunch of people milling around in your kitchen, it’s easy to lose track of what ingredients need to be set aside to come to room temperature or chilled in the fridge. Water baths are your friend in many cases.
Forget to take the eggs out? Just put them in a bowl of warm water (in their shells) for a few minutes before cracking them open! Don’t have time to chill the cookie dough overnights? Put it in an airtight bag and stick it in an ice bath before putting it in the fridge for a few hours (the freezer will just introduce ice crystals that could interfere with texture).
Add More Chocolate
Making a chocolate dish that requires rolling out dough? Satisfy the cocoa lovers in your life by using cocoa powder instead of flour to prevent sticking. And don’t feel guilty – cocoa has flavonoids that can help lower your blood pressure. It’s self-care at its finest!
The Perfectionist’s Cookie
Want all your cookies to look uniformly perfect? Bake them in a muffin tin! You’ll get perfectly round treats that make you look like a pro.
Drop It Like It’s Hot
Cakes and cookies sticking to the pan? Give fair warning to those nearby and then drop the pan on the counter from about 6-8 inches. You can do it a couple of times to create air bubbles that will loosen things up so you don’t have to dig or scrape and ruin the shape of your masterpiece.
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