• Cook with Love and Kosher Salt

     

be prepared to bake

Your shopping list might not seem as overwhelming if you generally stock some of the following items.  Just pay attention to how much you bake.  Many items in pantry and refrigerator expire (some sooner than later) so if you are not baking often, wait and shop as you need.  But if you are an avid…
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vanilla

Use good quality – and not artificial vanilla.  I love the double strength vanilla extract from Penzey’s spices.  You can order it on-line from penzeys.com.  (As well as many other spices and salts).  It is probably better to skip the vanilla if you don’t have the real thing. To scrape and seed a vanilla bean, place the long…
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Weigh flour if you have a kitchen scale, and if not, learn how to measure correctly...

avoid dry and crumbly cookies

I found the difference between a heavily packed cup of flour and lightly packed cup o flour was a bit more than an ounce!  This is a lot in the baking world.  Go to baking tips to see how to measure flour and if you have a scale, use it.  Do you know how to use…
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baking tips

RANDOM THOUGHTS: If a dessert is dry or over baked – serve it with ice cream or whipped cream.  If a cake you can save it with a simple syrup – a flavored one that goes with the dessert – lemon, rum, coffee — and brush on the cake before you frost.  This is good…
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how to cut, peel and core apples

Apples are soooo good – especially now.  And I know when you see that the ingredients read – 8 apples roughly chopped, your heart might sink a bit with the prep work.  So, here is the plan of attack.  First, put on some really good music. Cut the top and bottoms off of the apples….
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baking tips –

PAN PREP: It is really important to grease and flour your bundt pans.  For a bundt pan with many crevices, I soften the butter and almost melt it – then with a pastry brush I get in to all the nooks and crannies.  I love the Anniversary bundt pan from Williams-Sonoma and it rarely sticks.  And I also love the pans…
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baking tips

chocolate Use the best quality chocolate that you can afford.  I like to use bittersweet chocolate in all recipes that call for dark chocolate as it has more flavor than semi-sweet.  I like Callebaut, Guittard, Scharffen Berger and Valrohna – but fiddle around and see what you like! Use a good quality milk chocolate –…
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Wash fruits before you bake with them. Especially when you are using the fruit's zest.

baking tip –

Wash fruits before you bake with them.  Especially when you are using the fruit’s zest.  Try to use only the colored part of the zest – do not dig down with your microplane or grater because the white part – under the skin is very bitter. Pin It

baking tip

baking smart Pre-heat oven and let it reach baking temperature for best results.  Try to bake using the upper and lower thirds of the oven racks.  And remember it is best to rotate baked goods halfway through cooking. Pin It

baking tip

butter Use  good quality unsalted butter.  That way you can control the amount of salt in your recipes.  If a recipe calls for softened butter – it means softened, not melted.  Butter should be malleable – not so soft it looks greasy.  Leave out for 20-30 minutes before you bake for best results.  If you leave out too long,…
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Use salt! I prefer kosher salt - Diamond Crystal. It is easy on your palate. I like salt in most desserts – even just a pinch!

baking tips

salt If you are sensitive to salt, then pull it from the recipe.  And if using table salt (but try not to!) use a bit less than the recipe calls for.  If you are looking for a fine sea salt, try Malden – it is great with caramels and a lovely flake. Pin It

eggs

Try to bring eggs to room temperature when possible.  Place on counter 30-60 minutes before you bake. If you forgot then place eggs in a bowl of warm water for 5-10 minutes. Use large eggs in most recipes – or what is specified. When you add sugar to eggs or especially egg yolks, you need to mix…
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Taste batters. Just a little. You may have forgotten the sugar - or something else and when you taste it - you will realize and can save the cake/brownie/cookie etc!

baking smart:

Pre-heat oven and let it reach baking temperature for best results.  Try to bake using the upper and lower thirds of the oven racks.  And remember it is best to rotate baked goods halfway through cooking. Taste batters.  Just a little.  You may have forgotten the sugar – or something else and when you taste it –…
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Always peek at the recipe the day before you plan to bake it. Double check that you have all the ingredients in your pantry or refrigerator because for some reason it is extra annoying to rush out right before you bake. (At least I feel that way.)

be prepared

Before you bake (on the same day) – read the recipe again and set up ingredients.  This is called mise en place and in French it means everything in position.  That way you won’t forget to add ingredients because they will be weighed and measured and on the counter – in front of you.  This will also…
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cookie do roll up and freeze

You don’t have to bake all your cookies at once.  Bake some fresh and then freeze or refrigerate the dough for another day (or month!) Just take a piece of Stretch-tite (or any wrap) and spoon the dough into a long log.  Fold the plastic wrap over, then roll it up and you are set…
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baking tips – cutting butter

If you need small pieces of butter (for pie dough or streusel), a bench scraper does the trick.  A scraper is great for clean up too.  Use it  (horizontally) to clean up crumbs and flour before you wipe down your countertops.  Google bench scraper and many will come up.  Or go to a kitchen supply…
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Watch it! Baking time is to be used as a guide.

baking time

Watch it! Baking time is to be used as a guide.  The dessert is done when it is done.  I rarely use the time listed in a recipe.  Check often and before it is supposed to be done. Nothing is worse than an overcooked dessert (well many things are worse in life, but in baking this is probably it!)   Pin…
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many people unintentionally add extra flour...

flour

Dry and tough cookies and cakes can be caused by badly measured flour.  Do not pack flour in (and shave with a knife) or shake your  measuring cup.  First aerate the flour with a spoon or whisk or chopsticks as Alice Medrich does.  Then lightly spoon flour into measuring cup – just filling it. A cup…
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Check often and before it is supposed to be done.

baking time

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peach peeling

My peach raspberry crisp was a failure.  Too soupy and the once crisp topping (now soggy) was laced throughout like cereal in milk.  Bummer.  I managed to eat some of it – but it was not blog-worthy.  Peeling peaches, however, is a blog-worthy skill.  Sorry no other real sweet to discuss.  I did make an interesting raspberry…
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