How to Rescue a Failed Apple Pie

“As simple as Apple Pie” is a cruel misnomer as any novice cook can attest. An Apple pie is not simple or easy and even after all that peeling, slicing, rolling and fitting can go terribly wrong. But, to misquote Einstein, imagination is more important than culinary skills when it comes to creating a tasty dessert. Some imaginative solutions can save the desert in its original form as a pie such as replacing a burned top crust by removing it and replacing it with a crumb topping brown sugar, flour or oatmeal and a little a little vanilla cut into butter with a pastry cutter (or your hands if they are very, very clean). In fact, shortbread cookies, oatmeal cookies, stale muffins or anything sweet can serve as a crumb topping, mixed with some butter to give it holding power (“cut” into the butter as they say) and a few nuts can add a little something as well. This can […]

Tips for Decorating a Gingerbread House

One of the best things about Christmas is the decorating, as long as the decorations don’t get too costly and too much trouble.  One of the simplest and the most fun, especially for kids, is a gingerbread house.  The storebought kits are the best place to start if you are like most of us that are running around like chickens with our heads cut off during the holidays and not in the mood to do the whole thing from scratch.  Then with the basic house put together, comes the fun part.  Here are some tips. * Frosting.  The kit usually comes with powdered frosting that you mix with water to make something akin to concrete with which you can stick on your decorations.  An easier solution…and one that looks really nice, too…is to buy a can of white, pre-mixed frosting.  Slather the white frosting on the roof, sides, base of your gingerbread house.  The more the better.  It looks like deep […]

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How to Choose Jar Size for Home Canning

Jar size is one of the most important aspects of home canning. Choosing the correct jar size will ensure that the canning process goes smoothly and produces safe results. This article will provide tips for home canners on choosing jar sizes. The best advice that any home canner can follow is to take a USDA approved recipe and follow it exactly as it is written. All USDA approved recipes will specify which size jar to use for each recipe. According to Presto, a company that creates pressure canners, using standard jar sizes is important because research has been done using those standard sizes. “Standard sizes” include half-pint, pint, and quart jars. Very few recipes, if any, call for jars smaller or larger (such as gallon jars). In general, jams and jellies will usually go into half-pint and pint jars because they are easy to store, produced in smaller quantities, and are great for gift-giving. They are easy to store because […]

Read Moreby WadeComments Off on How to Choose Jar Size for Home Canning

When Chewy just Won’t do

Making soft, moist cookies it not all that hard but it requires that you use the right recipe with the correct ingredients. Once you have baked your cookies, keeping them moist is a whole other issue and if not handled correctly can turn those soft chewy gems into hard dry hockey pucks in no time at all. Review the recipe When you are choosing your recipe, look for one that promises moist, soft cookies. You will find that many recipes state that they produce crispy cookies which some people prefer. Follow the recipe exactly as written, at least the first time. Once you have determined that it produces the texture of cookie that you are looking for, then you can experiment with adding your own touches to the recipe. Ingredients Certain ingredients are important to the moistness and softness of cookies. When it comes to butter, it is better added to recipes cold than melted for the purposes of moistness. […]

How does a Cookie Exchange Work

Baking cookies is something many families do during the holiday season. There are over a hundred different types of cookies that can be made. Baking cookies can be expensive and often times, not everyone gets their favorite cookie during the holiday season. However, there are ways that a person can have everyone’s favorite cookie and still stay on budget. Having a cookie exchange can be a great way to bring family and friends together while having almost a hundred cookies. To take home Having a cookie exchange is about inviting guests over for a cookie party. Everyone buys their ingredients at a wholesale store that sells items in large lots. This makes it easier to save money for cookies. When the host of the party has a sign up sheet for the cookies, doing so avoids having two batches of the same type of cookie.. The idea is each person should bring at least twelve cookies for each guest and […]

Three Traditional Australian Dishes

Australians typically enjoy a cosmopolitan cuisine as a result of immigration and influence from Europe and Asia. Major cities are awash with French, Italian, Thai, Indian and Chinese restaurants, and most locals are adept at preparing their own pasta or stir fry dishes. However, traditional Aussie ‘tucker’ remains a much-loved staple of many diets. It is simple though hearty fare that hearkens back to Colonial days, when a hot and filling meal would be prepared over a camp fire or in a bush oven. Australia has long been blessed with an abundance of fresh produce all year round, and this is reflected in traditional cooking: lamb or beef stews and casseroles served with jumbuck dumplings; kangaroo steaks with red wine sauce; balmain bugs (flat crustaceans with a mild, white flesh) served in a mango sauce; plus poultry, fish, breads and cheeses, finished off with a fine Australian table wine. Some foods are more than belly fillers, however. They are so […]

Banana Bread

If you buy bananas on a regular basis, then you have probably had more than a few get brown and soft before you had a chance to eat them.  Don’t throw them away!  Those bananas are now perfect for making banana bread.  You can even save them for later use by throwing them in the freezer.  Then, when you are ready to use them, you can thaw them out, cut off the top and squeeze out the banana puree within.  That’s the perfect consistency for banana bread! Banana bread is not hard to make.  It does not require special equipment or mixers or even special ingredients.  I bet you have everything you need in your kitchen right now.  All you need is a large bowl, a spoon, measuring cups and spoons, and that loaf pan that came with the baking set your aunt bought you when you moved into your first apartment.    Do you have the equipment ready?  Now it’s […]

Egg Substitutes for Cake Recipes

Whether you are eliminating eggs due to allergies or other health reasons or you are simply enjoying the Vegan diet, there are several natural ingredients that you can use instead of eggs when baking cakes. Eggs serve different purposes for different types of bakery products. In cookies and muffins, eggs add moisture to the batter and can often be replaced simply by increasing the amount of liquid in the recipe. In cakes, the egg serves as a leavening agent. In other words, eggs are what make the cake light and fluffy. The less eggs in a recipe, the easier it is to substitute an ingredient for the eggs. The following ingredients can be used as substitutes for one egg in cake recipes:a banana a cup applesauce, pumpkin, squash, or pureed prunes One important thing to remember is that any of the above ingredients will add a touch of their flavor to the cake. These substitutes will tend to make the cake […]

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Candy Making 101

Let’s face it; unless you have been making candy for years, you are going to want to use a candy thermometer. Even though your grandmother and countless generations of cooks before her never had access to one and still managed to prepare batches of sweet delights, that doesn’t mean that you want to go down that road.   However, there are reasons why you might need to. Maybe you don’t own a candy thermometer or maybe yours just broke and you don’t have time to replace it. Whatever the reason, once you understand what the hard/soft ball stage is you will be able to produce many sweet treats without having to resort to your mercury helper. Cooking sugar When you are cooking sugar, it goes through several stages. When a small amount of the mixture is dropped into a cup of cold water it hardens up. How hard it gets determines which stage it is at. If it flattens out […]

Cookie Exchange

It has been a long established tradition in many families to celebrate the holiday season with copious displays of holiday cookies.  In past generations cookie baking was a family tradition where generations of women would gather in the kitchen on late autumn afternoons or evenings, pull out the old family favorite recipes and make batch after delicious batch of peanut butter, chocolate chip, vanilla drops and many other highly prized cookies.  Many of these recipes only saw the light of day during the holidays or, perhaps, for a special occasion throughout the year.  Moms were quite good at packaging cookies for the freezer or in airtight containers to last during the holiday season.  If they did run out unexpectedly, most moms were more than willing to whip up another batch or two. Recent generations have found that mom is less likely to be in the kitchen throughout the day.  More often than not, when she returns from the a long […]