Baking season is around the corner.
While I have never considered myself an expert baker, I always have appreciated the art of baking and continue to learn and improve my skills.
After years of trial and error and gathering tips from my customers, I have come garnered five top tips to better baking:
1. Always use dry measuring tools for dry ingredients and liquid measuring containers for liquids. This sounds self-explanatory, but it is crucial to precise measuring and optimal results. If you don’t have a good set of either, buy them. A set of reliable dry cup measures and a set of two or three (1 cup, 2 cup and 4 cup) glass liquid measures is really all that you need. The same goes for a set of measuring spoons. Do not use your tableware for measuring.
2. Always spoon dry ingredients into the measuring cup by sifting or shaking lightly. Swipe away the excess ingredients with a smooth edge and never scoop the ingredients, especially the flour. You can get ¼ to ½ cup too much flour if you scoop instead of spoon and sprinkle. The exception to the rule is brown sugar, but follow the directions closely. The directions should indicate whether the sugar should be loosely or tightly packed. If the recipe doesn’t specify, go with loosely packed.
3. Do not over-mix cakes, cookies, breads or other flour-based baked goods by stirring or with an electric mixer. Over-mixing can result in dry, tough and dense baked goods. Most recipes warn against this with instructions that say, “just until mixed,” or “gently fold.” The directions also might provide an exact mixing time.
4. Make sure your oven is fully preheated. Changes in temperature during baking can drastically affect the results.
5. Use an oven temperature gauge. Remember, the oven could read 400 degrees, but the only way to know is with a thermometer. If your oven is off by 25 degrees or more, consider getting it professionally calibrated.
This super easy recipe has minimal measuring and is sure to please anyone. The hint of cinnamon is perfect for heading into fall cooking. Easy peasy and super yummy.
Easy and Yummy Cinnamon Biscuits
• 2¼ cups biscuit mix
• 2/3 cup low-fat milk, plus an additional
3 tablespoons low-fat milk (divided usage)
• 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• All-purpose flour for rolling the dough
• 1 cup powdered sugar
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
In a medium bowl, gently mix together the biscuit mix and 2/3 cup low-fat milk, just until a soft ball of dough forms.
Flip the dough out onto a smooth, generously floured surface. With floured fingers, gently pat the dough down and sprinkle with one teaspoon sugar. Using a floured rolling pin, roll the dough into an
8-inch by 8-inch square that is ½-inch thick.
Combine the remaining sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl and sprinkle over the dough, covering the entire surface. Carefully roll the dough from one end to the other, jellyroll fashion, forming an 8-inch log. Sprinkle flour on your fingers as needed to keep the dough from sticking. Cut the log into 1-inch slices, until you have eight slices, and place them flat on the prepared baking sheet. Bake 10 to 12 minutes, until lightly browned.
While the biscuits are baking, make the icing. Mix the powdered sugar and remaining 3 tablespoons low-fat milk and vanilla extract in a small bowl. Set aside until ready to use. Remove biscuits immediately and drizzle with icing. Serve hot.
Kimberly Thompson is the owner of The Grateful Gourmet in Galena, Ill.