The Best Baking Tricks For The Holidays

I, like many people, really love to bake this time of year. I’ve gotten more and more into it as the years go on and I love trying new recipes and tricks all the time. I came across some really wonderful tips that I wanted to share with you guys today. These are perfect tricks to use in the upcoming baking season to achieve even better results from some of the top bloggers and contributors from

The Right Way to Handle Your Crust.

In order to achieve the flakiest pie crust, rub the butter into the dough with the heels of your hands, not your fingertips.

You want large pieces of fat--about the size of walnut halves--in the dough. This is so that when the pie goes in the oven, the water in the fat actually evaporates, which creates steam and air pockets in the crust, resulting in the desirable flaky texture.

The Best Pie Weight Is Already On Hand

You can cut costs and forget about purchasing a bag of ceramic pie weights or marbles and use plain white sugar instead. At 7 ounces per cup, sugar is the perfect pie weight. Sugar as a pie weight completely eliminates the risk of slumping, shrinking, or puffing, and obviates the need for docking. The result? A method that gives a crust deep and flat enough to hold every last drop of filling.

Out of Vanilla Extract? The Smart (And More Spririted) Substitute Is…

Bourbon. And interestingly it is actually cheaper. Most pure vanilla extract you’ll buy costs between $2.50 and $6 per ounce. You can use dark rum or bourbon instead. Simply swap out the vanilla extract with 1 to 2 times that amount in alcohol.

Achieve Chilled Cookie Dough Fast

It is a known fact that chilled chocolate chip cookie dough makes better cookies. But don’t worry if you’re in a time crunch (or just plain impatient like me!). Here’s a hack for you.

Stick the dough in a zip top bag, removing all of the air, then place in an ice water bath and stick the whole thing in the fridge. You won’t risk ice crystals like you would in the freezer, and you’re still allowing time for the flavors to melt together--which is one of the reasons why you want dough to sit overnight, in addition to getting the dough firm.

Make It Even Chocolatier!

To make chocolate cookies even more chocolate-y, instead of rolling them out in flour, use cocoa powder. It is equally nonstick--but instead of giving the dough a dull, chalky finish, it will simply make it more chocolate-y.


    Mary Richardson
    Weekly Newsletter Contributor since 2014
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