Sunday, December 12, 2010

Some baking tips to catch up

Feed Dog Flurry Sorry for the extended absence! I feel especially bad now that I know someone’s actually following along (hi Aunt Sherry!), but last week ran away from me, particularly since it culminated in a Cookie & Cocktails party the Other and threw on Friday night—I didn’t even have a chance to start baking until the day before!

I was thinking of you, though, and while megamultitasking the five types of cookies, I learned a few things worth passing on…

cutting out cookie dough

  • Snowflake cookie cutters minimize rerolling of dough: This was my first foray into sugar cookies, and with the party’s start time looming, I was glad to discover how well snowflake cookie cutters interlock, which meant I could cut lots of cookies out before having to reroll the dough. The fact that the snowflakes coordinated with the theme-y goodness was an extra bonus—well, actually, that part was planned, so I guess the interlocking was the bonus.
  • Multiple sizes make flexible servings: Using snowflake cookie cutters in several sizes (along with six-pointed stars, which can be decorated to become snowflakes) helped stretch the dough, but it also meant my cookie trays had a mix of tiny cookies for the nibbly eaters, big ones for the sows (namely me), and everything in between. A lot of people hesitate to take the whole thing if baked goods are big, so smaller options gave such persons an easy out.

cutting pastry for butter tarts

  • Bake mini butter tarts right alongside their big brothers: Since the best butter tarts are a little gooey, I didn’t want to cut up muffin-size tarts into bite size portions to accommodate those less piggy than myself. My first thought was to use mini muffin tins instead of the standard ones, but at 32¢ a piece, tartlet tins were more economical (and better for tarts, of course). Using one pack of two premade refrigerated pie crusts and a single recipe of the filling, I was able to make 12 muffin-size tarts and 12 mini tarts. I thought I must have done something wrong, as the original recipe is for only 12 tarts, but they came out just fine. At the Mother’s recommendation, I pulled the mini tarts out of the oven earlier than the big boys—10 minutes at 350°F rather than the full 15—but I could have pulled them out even earlier. Next time I’ll try pulling out the minis 5 minutes after lowering the temperature; they were perfectly tasty but a little less runny than ideal.

I’ve got some cool ornament tutorials in the works and plenty more snowflake projects, so I’ll get back to proper flurry speed this week.

1 comment:

Kim West said...

that is a great idea about making different sizes. I would have never thought of it. I know there are times I feel I *must* take something because I don't want the host to feel bad. I might start doing that with things I take to a pot luck.