Things I have learned as a baker | Teen Ink

Things I have learned as a baker

August 31, 2014
By Barnowl14 BRONZE, Seattle, Washington
Barnowl14 BRONZE, Seattle, Washington
3 articles 1 photo 30 comments

Favorite Quote:
"The only time to eat diet food is while waiting for the steak to cook"- Julia Child

Sugar cookies taste infinitely better straight from the fridge. Go easy on the peppermint extract or you’ll end up with chocolate toothpaste cupcakes. Be careful with cornstarch; it forms a sticky mass that’s nearly impossible to scrape off countertops. Using brown butter in chocolate chip cookies elevates them to a new level. Add sea salt to chocolate, not table salt. Olive oil elevates the flavor of chocolate when used in place of canola oil, but it clashes with vanilla. Buy vanilla beans from local spice stores, not from chains, they’re cheaper that way. Anise pods will make your whole kitchen smell like licorice when you smash them. If you put eggs in warm water they’ll only take fifteen minutes to reach room temperature, but if you put them in water that’s too hot, the whites will start to cook. Write your name on the whipping cream cartons you plan to use to make ice cream or people will use it in their coffee. Buy chocolate chips at Costco. Don’t use organic powdered sugar in recipes that will be white, it will cause it to turn an unappetizing brown color. Presentation matters just as much as taste. Use an ice cream scoop to measure cookie dough and put cupcake batter into the tins. No matter how good other people think your cake tastes, you will still think it’s not very good. Use very ripe bananas for baking and not quite ripe bananas for dipping and presentation. If you drop a bag of flour, you will have in your hair, and you will have to scrape it off the ceiling. Use salted butter in chocolate crinkle cookies, not unsalted. Sir La Table is the best place to get kitchen equipment; Marshal’s is the best place to get aprons and oven mitts. Don’t use the colored toothpicks meant for drinks when testing cakes, the color will bleed. A surfaced knife is the best way to chop chocolate; a vegetable peeler is the best way to make chocolate ribbons. Get a Microplane zester, it’s worth it. Never use marshmallow fondant; it’s ten times harder to work with than normal fondant. Cold egg whites are easier to separate; room temperature egg whites whip better. Cookie butter from Trader Joe’s and peanut butter are not interchangeable, the textures are too different. Silicone spatulas work great for folding in ingredients, rubber spatulas are great for scrapping down the sides of bowls. Raspberries pair best with white chocolate, blackberries with dark chocolate, and strawberries with milk chocolate. Macarons are freaking hard to make; even the temperature outside can change how they turn out. Don’t turn your nose up at dried dates; they have a magnificent flavor when baked in a pastry. You can’t shy away from or substitute butter in pastry. Don’t use low fat cream cheese when baking. Ever. Bake when you’re home alone, you won’t be afraid to blast the music and make a mess. No matter what’s scattered on the floor, the dog will go for the yeasted dough or chocolate first. Pick up both as soon as you drop them. Don’t bake when you’re frustrated. Add ground white peppercorns to ginger molasses cookies, it will add an extra, super delicious kick. Ghost pepper sauce is melt-your-tongue-off hot. Simple syrup with cornstarch works perfectly fine in place of corn syrup. Don’t buy self-rising flour; it’s perfectly easy to make your own. White whole wheat flour is not interchangeable with all-purpose. And, above all, if you throw your heart and soul into what you’re making it will be wonderful, even if it doesn’t taste good.

The author's comments:

Just various things I've learned baking.

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