Tips - Dessert

Baking Sheets 101
  1. For best results use shiny aluminum baking sheets without sides (baked products will brown more quickly on dark-colored baking sheets because they absorb more heat than the shiny type).
  2. Bake only one sheet of cookies at a time on the middle rack in the center of the oven.
  3. A wire cooling rack speeds the cooling of cookies, etc. It allows steam to escape from all sides of the baked goods so the bottoms don't get soggy.
How to Bake With Chocolate
Melting Over the StovePlace chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a larger pan of simmering, not boiling, water.(The bottom of the bowl should not touch the hot water.) Stir occasionally until completely melted.
Note: Do not get any water or steam in the melted chocolate or it will seize and grainy and unusable.
Storing ChocolateKeep chocolate in a cool, dry place(below 75°F, if possible). At high temperatures, chocolate grays in color when cocoa butter naturally rises to the surface. This does not effect the chocolate flavor or quality.
Get Ready to Bake
IngredientsDon't mess with the basic ingredients: the flour, liquid salt, fat and leavening in your recipe. Unlike other types of cooking. you must measure your ingredients accurately and have the right tools to do so.
Measuring ToolsDry ingredients are measured in flat-topped measuring cups and are made to be filled to the top and leveled off.
Liquid measurements are usually done in glass with more space at the top and a pour spout. Add liquids to the cup, set it on the counter and look at it sideways, eye level to the liquid.
Ingredients: What to Know
FlourAll-purpose flours today are pre-sifted, therefore there is no need to sift the flour unless a recipe specifically states to do so. Whole-wheat flour is heavier. If substituting whole-wheat flour for all purpose flour, you won't achieve desired results. You can substitute half the flour in an all white flour recipe with whole wheat-flour.
ButterSubstituting a spread product for butter or margarine is the most frequent baking mistake. If the first ingredient in a butter substitute is water, don't use it for baking. Spreads that are less than 60% fat have a lot of water included and will make cookies spread too thin or otherwise not give you the desired recipe results.
Baking SodaUse instead of baking powder when a recipe contains acid ingredients such as buttermilk, vinegar or sour cream. It creates a chemical reaction as soon as the liquid ingredient is acidic, so the recipe should be baked immediately after mixing.