Thursday, December 3, 2009

why do my muffins taste metallic?

Once again, it is not you but your baking powder sabotaging your awesome kitchen prowess. That slightly bitter, kinda “tinny” flavor you often experience when biting into a muffin, biscuit or scone is the result of using a baking powder in high quantities — as is needed for these quick-rise treats — with aluminum in it. Fortunately, aluminum-free brands such as Rumford or Bob’s Red Mill are easy to find, and are no more expensive. Or, you can just go rogue and make your own.

Monday, November 9, 2009

checking your thermometer’s accuracy

I can’t tell you how many times I have burnt fried chicken or overcooked a caramel and not realized that my candy/deep fry thermometer was to blame. If only I had absorbed enough sixth grade science class to remember how ridiculously easy it is to check to see if had been accurate from the get-go! Simply place your candy/deep fry thermometer in a small pot of water and crank up the heat; the temperature should read 212°F (100°C) as it begins to boil. If yours does not, you can either take into account the few degrees it may run hot or cold when you cook, or return it.

Monday, September 7, 2009

a whisk for the corners

Using a round whisk for a squared-off pot drives me crazy, especially when I find unmixed custard, pudding or sauce bits in a channel along the bottom edge. Whisks such as this or this or this or this are painless investments, and come in handy when you want a perfectly-mixed chocolate pudding, and you want it now.

Monday, August 24, 2009

make your own brown sugar

There are few baked goods and/or frostings not improved by the addition of brown sugar but if your kitchen is anything like mine — that is, woefully understocked most of the time — you’ve probably needed it before and not had it. Fortunately, you can make your own with a combination of molasses and regular sugar. To make one cup of light brown sugar, combine 1 cup granulated sugar with 1 1/2 tablespoons molasses; to make one cup of dark brown sugar, combine 1 cup granulated sugar with 1/4 cup molasses; the food processor works great for this, if you have one. Now bring on those brown sugar shorties!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

make your own cake flour

Does your grocery store have the nerve to inconsistently stock cake flour? Does it drive you crazy to see recipe after recipe that calls for it, and wonder what else you can use? Good news: Cake flour is really easy to make at home. Add two tablespoons of corn starch to each cup of regular flour and sift this mixture together twice. Measure your cups of flour from this mixture.


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