I'm pleased to introduce something new to The Kitchen Witch that I'm calling "Monday Meet The Experts" featuring a team of talented bloggers who will bring insights, information, and ideas to help us all (and by all I mean me ) grow into more well rounded cooks and bakers. Every Monday our guest blogger will introduce new tips and ideas along with an original recipe.
Each week I will prepare the recipe in a video that will come after the post.
So, without further ado, I'd like to introduce one of our resident baking experts Cindy J from Hun What's for Dinner with her Top 5 Baking basics!
Hi everybody! Cindy here, from Hun...What's for Dinner?
I am a stay at home Mom to two children and I am married to a Chef, turned restaurant manager. I fell in love with baking at a very young age and have recently found a passion for cooking as well. I've been blogging for about 4 yrs and I love what I do.
Cooking and baking relaxes me and providing my family with new, exciting and nutritious foods is what I love to do.
And after Lyndsay dried out those poor mini cheesecakes last week she asked me to step in with some baking basics.
|Lemon Cheesecakes RIP 2012-2012|
So here are my top five baking tips:
1. Make sure you have the right equipment. I recommend having 2 sets of measuring cups. One for wet (such as a glass measuring cup) and one for dry ingredients (usually metal, that can easily be leveled off). Measuring spoons, whisks, wooden spoons, spatulas, baking sheets, cake pans and muffin tins are great tools to get you started.
2. Measure correctly, don't guess. To measure flour, I like to fluff it up before scooping it into my measuring cup. I then use my finger or the back of a butter knife, to level out the flour. For liquid measures, using a glass measuring cup, measure at eye level. Baking requires exact measurements to work, so please don't just guess, take the time to measure correctly.
3. Know your oven's true temperature. For only a few dollars, you can purchase an oven thermometer. I don't think I've ever owned an oven, that was at perfect temperature. Knowing your oven's real temperature will help with over baking.
4. When baking cakes, I like to first grease my pan using either shortening or cooking spray. Then I like to coat the pan with sugar. Not only does it help reduce sticking, it leaves a slightly crunchy sweet coating on your cakes and sweet breads.
5. Don't over mix. Muffins and sweet breads can become tough and dense if you over mix them. Mixing the flour, develops the gluten, which can lead to tough, chewy muffins. Fold wet ingredients into the dry and stop mixing when everything is just about combined. Those tiny bits of flour will get mixed in, then you scoop the batter into the prepared pans, to bake.
Now, let's put Lyndsay to the test and see how well she uses my tips to bake up a batch of my Chocolate-Butterscotch Chip Banana Muffins!
|Photo credit Cindy J Hun What's for Dinner|
Chocolate-Butterscotch Chip Banana Muffins
1/2 C brown sugar
1/4 C vegetable oil
1/4 C milk
1 C mashed bananas, about 3 small
1 3/4 C flour
1 Tbs baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 C semi sweet chocolate chips
1/4 C butterscotch chips
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a 12 count muffin tin, with paper liners.
In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt and brown sugar; make a well in the center of the dry ingredients. In a small bowl, beat the egg until frothy. Add the oil, milk, and bananas; mixing until fully combined. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and stir until almost combined (you will still see flour that hasn't been incorporated yet). Add in chocolate and butterscotch chips and stir gently to combine (not more than 5 times).
Using a 1/3 C measuring cup, fill muffin tins with batter. Bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes; until tops brown lightly and a wooden pick inserted in the center, comes out fairly clean. Cool in tins for 2 minutes, before removing to a wire rack.
Make 12 muffins