Baking and Christmas go hand in hand, which means you’re probably going to be spending a lot of time in the kitchen this holiday season. To make your life a little easier this Christmas, I’m going to share with you some of my favorite baking hacks. These easy tips will not only help you save time in the kitchen, but they’ll also take your holiday baking up a notch. Use these simple baking hacks for the holiday season to simplify your Christmas baking this year.
Keep Ingredients from Sticking. There’s nothing worse than a sticky measuring cup. To avoid having to wash your measuring cups between ingredients, spray each cup with nonstick cooking spray. This works especially well for thick or sticky ingredients, like honey, molasses or syrup. Not only will clean-up be easier, but your measurements will be much more accurate because you won’t have any residue left in the cup.
Create a Splash Guard. To keep your hand mixer from making a mess, construct a splash guard from a paper plate. Just cut two holes in the center of the plate, then guide the mixer blades through the holes before you attach them to the mixer.
Substitute Eggs. If you run out of eggs for a recipe you’re making, you can use unsweetened applesauce or mashed bananas as an egg substitute – saving you a last-minute trip to the grocery store.
Make Your Own Buttermilk. If your recipe calls for buttermilk or sour cream but you don’t have any in the fridge – make your own. Just mix one tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice to one cup of milk and let the mixture rest for a few minutes. The acid in the vinegar or lemon juice will thicken and sour your milk, making it perfect for recipes that need a sour dairy product.
Cold Dough. We all know that chilling sugar cookies is a necessity but sticking any cookie dough in the fridge before baking is actually a good idea. Not only does it make the dough easier to work with, it also gives the ingredients time to meld, resulting in a richer flavor after you bake them.
Flour Everything. The last thing you want is your dough to stick to your rolling pin or cookie cutters when you’re trying to make your cookies. It’s worth the mess to make sure everything is well-floured before you start cutting your cookies. Flouring your cookie cutters is especially important because it helps the cookies retain their shape while baking.
No Piping Bags. Don’t waste money on piping bags. You likely have what you need to ice your cookies right in your pantry. You can either cut off the tip of a sandwich bag or fill up plastic ketchup bottles with icing. Both work well for decorating sugar cookies or gingerbread men.
Keep the Cookies Soft. You never want to serve or give away hard, dry cookies, but baking to order can be a difficult task. Next time you plan to make a batch of cookies ahead of time, add a slice of white bread to the container. The cookies will absorb the moisture from the bread and will stay soft longer.