Who doesn't love a homemade baked good? Pretty sure literally everyone enjoys them.
But what if you're not an experienced baker?
The idea of whipping up a batch of cookies or brownies (don't even get me started on baking a cake!) can be fairly intimidating.
Lucky for you, we've got a few tips for you that will make even the most beginner baker feel like a professional!
1. Use non-stick silicone mats on your cookie sheets
These mats will make it a lot easier to get cookies off the tray, plus they'll keep your cookie sheet looking like new!
2. Chill your dough before baking it
Warm dough will spread more, meaning you could be setting yourself up for one giant pan cookie. Cold dough will hold its shape better and give you that classic cookie look.
3. Don't over-mix your dough
Over-mixing cookie dough activates the gluten in your flour, which will give the cookies a firm and elastic feeling. Low and slow is the way to go. When you're adding in "extras" like chocolate chips, use a spatula to fold them in as opposed to using an electric mixer.
4. Make sure all your ingredients are at room temperature
Pastry chefs all agree that room temperature ingredients make for the best treats. When you add cold eggs to room temperature butter (or any other warm ingredient, really) it seizes up the mixture and doesn't allow all the ingredients to combine properly.
5. When it says to beat eggs and sugar, actually do it.
Beating together eggs and sugar until frothy isn't really a suggestion. Doing this will give you a lot of air in the mixture, which will allow for fluffy yet fudgey
6. Melted butter is not the same as softened butter
Melted butter is a liquid. Softened butter is still solid. Melted butter changed the structure of your cookie dough, and will make your cookies lose their form.
7. Use powdered sugar to roll out dough
Flour is generally the go-to for rolling out cookie dough and pie crust. But it can leave a white residue and bitter taste on your baked goods. Instead, use powdered sugar. It will dissolve into the pastry as it bakes and won't leave a bad taste in your mouth.
8. Just...follow the directions.
Directions are there for a reason. No, baking soda can't replace baking powder. No, you can't "eyeball it" when it comes to flour. Baking, unlike cooking, is a science. Follow the recipe and you'll get results. In the same vein, read the entire recipe before you start. You might find out that you have to chill the dough for 3 hours when you need these cookies in 45 minutes.
9. Cookie dough scoops are worth it.
Cookie dough scoops are a great way to get even cookies. They'll give you consistent cookies that bake at the same rate. You can use a melon baller, too. Just make sure it's big enough!
10. Use parchment paper to prep your batches
Since you're balling up the cookie dough anyway, you may as well do all the batches at once. Use parchment paper to lay out your dough so you can just swap out batches when your pan comes out of the oven. Using parchment paper will get the baking done faster, because you don't have to wait for the cookies to cool before taking them off the sheet.
11. Give yourself plenty of time.
If it says to chill the dough, chill the dough. If it says let it rest for 4 hours, let it rest for 4 hours. If you need to freeze it overnight, well you get the idea. Baking shouldn't be rushed. It can be a very relaxing activity if you give yourself plenty of time to enjoy it!
12. When flouring cake pans, use the dry mixture you're baking with.
Just like with the cookies, using flour can leave a bad taste and a white residue. If you're making the mixture from scratch, blend together all the dry ingredients and use it to line the baking pan. This will ensure your cake doesn't stick and that it has a consistent color.
13. Add cinnamon to anything chocolate
Chocolate is great, but chocolate with cinnamon added is better. A dash of cinnamon to any cake or brownie mix will add depth of flavor and brings out the chocolate even more. Just yummy.
14. Forget chocolate chips--use a chocolate bar instead.
A cut up chocolate bar tastes way better in a cookie than chocolate chips. Plus, it gives you a bit of creative liberty with flavor! This can also be said for brownies or cakes that call for melted chocolate chips in the recipe. Just make sure the chocolate bar you choose isn't TOO sweet for your mixture. Balance is key!
What are your baking tips? Let us know!