Friday, July 17, 2015

My Favourite Kitchen Hacks

Some of my favourite kitchen hacks to save time and frustration.

I'm all for things that help me to save time in the kitchen and all things that make the job easier.

Today, I would like to share some of my favourite kitchen hacks that help out on this front.

***When you bake squares, it is sometimes difficult to cut them evenly and to get out that first piece.  Before baking, line your pan with parchment paper.  Cut it larger than your pan so the sides extend above the top edge.  Cut into all four corners so that you can wrap the parchment around each corner.

Once your squares are baked, cooled, frosted and ready for cutting, you can lift them out in one large piece to a cutting board. That slightly larger than the pan piece of paper you cut creates handles to make the lifting easy.   Now you have one large block that can be cut up into your desired size pieces.

***If your recipe calls for a sticky ingredient such as honey, molasses or peanut butter, it can be frustrating trying to get every last little bit out of your measuring vessel.  Simply spray your measuring cup or spoon with cooking spray.  Measure out your ingredient and it will now simply slide right out.

***Minimize spreading of cookies by chilling the dough before baking.

***Use a small ice cream scoop to scoop cookie dough to get even sized cookies.

***To make nice clean cuts on cookie dough logs or rolled dough for cinnamon rolls, use a length of dental floss (unflavoured of course!).  By using a gentle sawing motion through the dough, this helps to prevent the squashing that can happen with a knife.

***Line cookie trays with parchment paper or silpat sheets to prevent cookies from sticking to the pan, to encourage even browning and to reduce spreading.  Silpat sheets are an investment but will last for years.

***Most ovens have a hot spot.  Rotate pans halfway through cooking time to promote even browning and rising to your baked goods.

***A lot of casserole dishes are good candidates for freezing as most of the ingredients are cooked and then assembled into a pan for baking.  When making your favourite, double up on the quantity you are making.  Cook once - eat twice!! Once all your ingredients are cooked and assembled, use half to go in the oven for dinner tonight and put the other assembled half in a freezer safe container, cool completely, cover and put in the freezer without the final baking.  We all have those days that seem to get out of hand or you just really don't feel like cooking, so it's nice to have something that you can pull out and just re-heat.  Defrost 24 hours in the refrigerator, bake as normal and serve.  It will taste like you just made it and not like leftovers!!

These are just a few of my favourites that I rely on and I'm sure this list will grow. Hope there are a few to help you out too!!

Feel free to share your favourite!!  I know there must be many more out there!!

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