Shopping Tip 1

Today, I bring you a purchasing tip.

Wait and buy stuff on clearance, especially after holidays.

Now, you may be thinking that a gingerbread haunted house is not something you can use until the following year. True, so check the expiration date. With items like tablecloths, food dyes, sprinklers, pot holders, and baking cups (aka muffin liners); however, there is no expiration date.

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“But, what about when the cupcake wrappers literally say, ‘Valentine’s Day?'”

Dude; that’s when you use them for just your family. I pulled these puppies out for cornbread muffins. My kids don’t care; they just throw them away after sucking the crumbs out of them.

I’ve also found that holiday items that look like Christmas or V-Day or Halloween can be more versatile than I originally think. For example, some of the wrapping paper I bought last year (green and red) actually didn’t look that Christmas-y when I used it for a birthday.

Just shop smart. Look for universal colors and patterns.

And remember: chocolate is always in season.

Baking Tip 3

I’ve been pregnant lately so meals have consisted of a lot of snack food, fast food, and frozen food.

Heck, I can barely eat those things so making it through planning and mixing without vomiting is an achievement.

And that is why this picture is of a Marie Callender’s chicken pot pie. But it works to illustrate today’s tip.

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Cover pie crust edges so they don’t burn.

I have a ‘fancy’ metal rim for full-sized pies but aluminum foil is an inexpensive way to get the same result. Wrapping the entire outside edge helps avoid that extra-crispy, extra-black flavor most people would rather not eat.

Or you can always cut the crust off before digging in.

Baking Tip 2

I am a messy cook. This is primarily because I hate doing dishes, but also because I have children. I cannot feasibly show up to my kitchen in a stark-white apron, lay out all my ingredients, measure things precisely, or even pre-mix the butter with the non-lumpy sugar.

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As my neighbors can attest, I rarely even have the ingredients and often run to their house to borrow a cup of flour and a few eggs.

I am therefore going to pass on my little trick for measuring flour that is still accurate, but not painful.

Loose-scooping.

Whisper it. Feel it.

The “proper” way to measure flour into a cup is by scooping it in by soft spoonfuls. Then, one levels off the top with a knife. In my method, I tilt the flour container to get a good fall of loosely-sifted flour, gently puff the measuring cup into that, and sort of loosely settle it around the cup. I hit it on the side of the container a few times to get the extra off the top and it’s done.

If I had the time and stark-white apron, I’d get you video. For now, use your imaginations. It’s good for you.

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Photo Credit:
Calum Lewis
Kristiana Pinne

Baking Tip 1

Today on Cooking Baking with Chelsea, our hostess will teach the class a trick to help with cakes that stick to the pan.

Our hostess, and anyone who has baked a cake, know that nothing ruins a birthday cake quite like the whole thing sticking to the pan and crumbling apart upon removal. If that happens, make cake bites or a parfait (we’ll have a lesson on how to make the most of baking goofs later).

If you’re planning on caking and don’t want your masterpiece to stay in its pan, I recommend waxed paper.

Waxed paper!

  1. Measure the shape of the bottom of the cake pan on a piece of waxed paper. Use anything that can make a mark on the waxy surface (like a pencil).
  2. Cut out the shape, aiming to make it somewhat smaller than the shape you traced.
  3. Grease the bottom of the pan, on the inside.
  4. Lay the waxed piece over the greased inside of the pan and grease the new ‘bottom’ and sides of the pan.
  5. Pour the cake batter into the prepared pan and bake as directed.
  6. After baking and cooling is complete, remove the waxed paper from the cake bottom.

Voilà!

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Author’s note: I had quite a bit of edge-sticking when I peeled the paper off this cake. Next time, I will remember to put the waxed paper on the pop-out circle and then put the circle into the spring-form pan. That will keep the paper edge under the pan edge and prevent it from adhering to the cake.