If I could ice every cake in whipped cream, I would. But, because it is whipped with air alone, it doesn’t stay thick over many hours. One way to keep it stable is to dissolve 1 teaspoon of gelatin in 2 tablespoons of boiling water, cool it to room temperature and drizzle it into your whipping cream when it is halfway thickened. Then, whip it a little longer than usual — until it holds medium-firm peaks.
Homemade whipped cream leaves the canned, and god forbid, bucket stuff in the dust (being actually whipped and cream), and takes less than five minutes to make. The trick: a cold bowl, clean beaters, and a ratio of about 1 cup of heavy or whipping cream to 1 tablespoon of powdered sugar, beaten until it holds soft peaks. Start low, so you don’t splash yourself when it is still liquid. Add a splash of flavoring (vanilla, almond or a liqueur) at the end for extra awesomeness.
Flash freezing — the process of spacing items out on a tray, freezing them until they are firm and then storing them in more space-efficient freezer bags — is the single most revolutionizing concept I have adapted into my cooking repertoire, because it allows us to freeze uncooked dumplings, gnocchi, biscuits, scones and even scooped cookies without them become one doughy mass.
Have a lot of egg whites or yolks leftover from a recipe but don’t know how many? A good approximation to keep in mind is that 1 large egg yields about 1 tablespoon of yolk plus 2 tablespoons of white. This has come particularly in handy when I have halved a recipe that called for an odd number of eggs — I simply beat one egg and measured out 1.5 tablespoons.
In perhaps my most persnickety tip yet, did you know that when a recipe calls for a drop, pinch or dash of an ingredient, this can be translated into an actual measurement? 60 drops yields one teaspoon, 1 dash is equal to 1/16 of a teaspoon and 1 pinch is 1/8 of a teaspoon. Now, try to get your head around the fact that someone, somewhere actually took the time to measure these things out.