Tips and Tricks for Cooking

Get rid of cooking smell: While cooking soak a cloth or tea towel and let it dry in the cooking area. It will absorb the smell of cooking and let the room fresh.

Raitha: Mix 2 tbsp of mayonnaise with chopped cucumbers and onions. Then add curd and salt accordingly. You will get nice creamy raitha.

fluffy Omlets: Add Milk to the beaten egg that will make it fluffy and tasty.

Crispy Pakoras: While frying pakoras add one tea spoon rice flour and one tea spoon cornflour in one bowl of besan.

To get more juice out of lime: To get more juice out of limes, microwave the lime for 10 secs, then cut and extract the juice.

Yogurt: Yogurt can be added to vegetables and meat curries, in place of tomatoes to make rich and delicious gravy.

Storing carrots for a longer period: If you have bought large quantities of carrots, then you can store it for a longer period by cutting the top of all the carrots and storing in a zip-lock bag.

Store Cilantro longer: Wash and leave the cilantro to dry on newspaper. Then snip it with kitchen shears and store in the freezer in a zip lock bag lined with paper towels. Ready to use for gravies but not good for garnishing. Will keep for weeks.

Idli/Dosa with a Kick: Put ginger,green chilly and couple of curry leafs (all cut into very fine pieces) in the mixture of idly/dosa, it will become more delicious and you will get a different variety.

Keep Yeast Fresh : Fresh yeast should be stored in the refrigerator or should be frozen or else it will lose its effectiveness with age.

Crispy fried potato : If you want crispy potato fry, peel & cut potatoes to equal cubes. Warm water and add little salt. Add potato cubes & let it stay only for 2 min (do not boil). Immediately drain the water. After 3 min, fry them to golden crispy brown. Add salt, chili powder, cumin, some fresh curry leaves. Serve with warm cooked rice.

Masala rice : If plain rice is "leftover” use it as masala-rice for afternoon meal. Fry one sliced onion,2 chopped green chilli,1tsp-garam masala,2tbsp-coriander leaves, salt to taste, curry leaves for a minute and add rice and salt fry for a second-serve hot!

Cook rice in the microwave : Put 1 cup of rice and 2 cups of water and cook for 15 mins.

Idli leftovers: With remaining cold idlies we can make a nice "yummy-recipe". Cut idlies to equal size bits. cut 2 tomatoes, chopped (1)onion,1-green(chopped)chilli,curryleaves4, handful chopped coriander leaves, very little curry masala, fresh lemon juice-1tsp,salt,oil(1½tbsp) crushed (1)tbsp ground-nuts.
seasoning with in oil with mustard seeds, one broken red chilli, one tsp urad dal, add curry leaves, green chilli, tomato, onion fry for a while then add idly bits and masala, salt stir well. finally mix lemon and crushed ground nuts and coriander.. serve hot.

Add smoothness to gravies: Soak 2 tbsp of cashew nuts in warm water for 10 minutes. Grind to a fine paste. Add to the gravy and savor the difference.

For crispy puris : Add a little rice flour to the wheat flour while kneading.

Prevent Noodles/Pasta from getting Sticky: When boiling noodles/pasta, add some oil to it. It helps to protect stickiness.

Storing green chilies fresh: Wash and trim stem from each chili and store in freezer bags. Will keep fresh for a number of days.

To prevent okras from sticking to pan: Add a spoon full of yoghurt or lime juice while cooking.

To cut smoothly boiled eggs: Dip knife in cold water for a minute and then cut hard boiled eggs, yolk will not stick to knife blade.

How to chop finely mint/green coriander: Use kitchen scissor instead of knife to chop finely, green coriander, green chili or mint.

To prevent discoloring of potatoes after cutting: Keep chopped potatoes in water.

Healthy food Colour: Rather than using food colors, use a mixture of limewater and turmeric to get (almost) tandoori color.

Salty Curry : Wash a potato. Cut into two. Place a the two halves of the raw potato in the curry and it will absorb the extra salt.

Alternative to Fresh Coconut: Ever try to break open a fresh coconut for making Indian chutney? Well, here is a great alternative. Out here in the US look for UNSWEETENED dry grated coconut. Make sure it is not the sweet kind. Add just enough water so that the coconut is covered with water. Use as directed in the recipe instead of freshly grated coconut. Making chutneys will be a breeze.

Trying New Recipes: Remember....Try ONE NEW recipe at a time. Get all your ingredients together. Check the spices for freshness. Lay the spices and ingredients out in the order that they are to be used. Make a plan and get started with ONE easy recipe. Most of all make sure you have the time to make the recipe. Do not try something new at a "rushed time".

Peeling a whole Garlic : To peel garlic, place your knife flat on the garlic clove and whack with your other hand. The covering will burst open and the clove can be easily removed.

Peeling or scraping Ginger : Peeling or scraping ginger with the back of spoon is an easy way to peel ginger. Scrape the ginger with the inside of a spoon, getting the edge of the spoon into the crevices of the ginger. The skin will come off with a gentle scrape.

Instead of Onion : If anyone does not like or want the strong taste of onion, you can use cabbage in the recipe for the same taste and good recipe.

Cleaning A Messy Blender : To clean a blender, add a cup of warm water, run for a few seconds. Now add a drop of dishwashing detergent and another cup of water and blend. Let is sit for a few seconds. Rinse clean.

Strong odors on your hands: (such as onions or fish) can be removed by lightly wetting your hands and then sprinkling on baking soda. Rub the soda all over the hands, then rinse the soda away -- along with the odors.

Storing Ice -Cream : Store the ice cream container in a big Ziploc plastic freezer bag. This will stop ice crystals from forming when it is in the freezer.

Storing Potatoes : Store potatoes in a cool dark place. To prevent potatoes from budding, place an apple in the bag with the potatoes! This will prevent the potatoes from budding. Change the apple every week.

Avoid Staining Tupperware : Before storing tomato-based sauces or Indian curries with lots of turmeric powder or other foods that can stain, spray your plastic storage container with nonstick cooking spray.

Idli batter: Never beat idli batter too much because the air which has already incorporated during fermentation is lost.

Deodorize cutting board: by rubbing it with a paste of baking soda and water.

In The Freezer:In order that there is a free circulation of air in the freezer ensure that it is not packed tightly.

Peeling tomatoes can be made easy if you follow this method. Make a shallow cross at the bottom of the tomatoes with a knife. Place the tomatoes in hot water for a couple of minutes. Remove them from the water and leave to cool. . The skin can now be peeled easily.

Poaching Eggs: Add salt and vinegar to the water when poaching eggs it keeps the egg together whilst cooking or stir the water before adding the egg ( but only one egg at a time). Remove the egg from the water and chill in ice water to be used later. To reheat just blanch in boiling water.

Storing apples and carrots : Dont store apples and carrots in the same fridge compartment. The apples emit a gas that makes the carrots bitter.

Too strong Coffee: If the coffee is too strong, it can be rescued by adding a little cocoa powder.

To refresh a freezer: Place a cotton ball soaked in vanilla inside, close door for 24 hours. then check for improvement. Repeat if necessary. OR Place an opened box of baking soda on a shelf in the refridgerator to keep it fresh & to elimante odors.

Safe Thawing in microwave: Follow manufactures instructions, cook immediately because some areas of the food may become warm & begin to cook creating an enviornment for harmful bacteria to grow.

Safe Thawing in Cold Water: Place item in leakproof packaging or plastic bag. Sumerge in cold tap water changing water every 30 minutes. Small packages can defrost in an hour or less. 3-4 pound package may take to 2-3 hours.

Jelly Mold: To easily remove a jelly from the mold, lightly brush mold with oil before pouring in the mixture.

Ripening Fruits and Vegetables: A lots of fruit and veg found in supermarkets today look ripe, but are hard as a rock. Put them in a brown paper bag and hide the bag away in a dark cupboard for a day or two. Use This is great tip for items such as avocados, bananas, kiwi fruit, peaches, nectarines, and many more.

For Creamy Curry:Put a couple of teaspoons of instant mashed potato into Indian curries to thicken the curry.

Breading Meats: To bread chicken cutlets and other ingredients: Use one hand for wet ingredients and another for dry when breading - that way you won't bread your hands along with dinner. To coat chicken pieces or stew-meat pieces chicken in flour or crumbs: Place the coating mixture in a plastic bag (self-sealing is the most convenient), add the chicken or beef, seal, and shake until the coated. Shake off any excess coating before you cook the chicken or beef.

Grill With Lean Meats: Unless specified for a particular recipe, always us the leanest meat possible when grilling. It's healthier, will reduce flare-ups, and help keep your cooking equipment cleaner.

Room-Temperature Meats: Allow meat to stand at room temperature 1 hour before cooking: It will cook more quickly, brown more evenly, and stick less when pan-fried. (Do not do this with highly perishable meats like ground beef and organ meats.)

Pan-Fried Meats: For even, deep browning of pan-fried meat and poultry: Blot the surface of the item with paper towels to remove excess moisture before cooking.

Roasting Poultry: Do not roast poultry in a oven temperature lower than 325 degrees. Poultry should be roasted at 325 degrees or higher to avoid potential food safety problems.

Roasts: Roasts should be allowed to "rest" 10-15 minutes after being removed from the oven. This allows the juices to settle before carving.

Grilling On Skewers: When using wooden skewers for kebabs, soak in cold water for 10-30 minutes to prevent them from burning. Thread shrimp onto skewers lengthwise so they won't curl as they grill. They're also less likely to fall into the fire.

Whole Fish: Scale a fish easily by rubbing vinegar over its skin. To neatly bake a whole fish, wrap in aluminum foil. When done cooking, open the foil and gently slide a spatula under the fish.

Boiling Over: Butter the rim of a pan in which you cook rice or pasta so it won't boil over.

Cooking Lasagna Noodles: Use lots of water so the pasta has plenty of room to expand. To prevent tearing, cook at a moderate yet constant boil. Use a wood or plastic spoon, or heat-resistant rubber spatula to stir occasionally while cooking. Stir gently. Always boil pasta less time (the short end of the cook time) if it will continue to cook in a baked dish or in a recipe on the stove top. This also reduces the chance of tearing. Drain pasta carefully! Slowly pour water from pan so that pasta slides gently into a colander. Rinse pasta thoroughly in cold water and drain well. Place in a covered container right away to prevent pasta from sticking together.

Cooking Perfect Pasta: To prevent pasta from sticking together use plenty of water, cook at a constant boil, and stir occasionally. There is no need to add oil to pasta while it's cooking. Once pasta has been added to boiling water, start timing when the water returns to a boil. There is no need to rinse cooked pasta. If you do, the sauce won't cling. Rinse pasta only if it will be used for a salad or will be set aside or stored for later use.

Cutting Pizza: No pastry wheel? You'll find that kitchen shears cut through pizza - stringy cheese and all - more quickly and cleanly than a knife. Besides, they won't scratch or mar your pizza pan.

Freezing Pizza Dough: Make pizza dough in double batches and freeze half. You can even roll out the extra dough, fit it into a pizza pan, and freeze it flat for a head start on a fast meal.

Making Better Pizza Sauce: Intensity of tomato sauce may be adjusted by amount of garlic and crushed peppercorn used. "Bite" of sauce may be increased by adding Balsamic vinegar. Create oil sauces using extra virgin olive oil, herbs/spices, and fresh garlic.

Making Better Pizza Crusts: Use high-gluten flour such as Pillsbury Bread Flour and Gold Medal Better for Bread. Use 1 oz. dough portion or less per 1" pizza diameter (for example, 7 oz. dough = 8" pizza). Store individual raw dough portions dusted with flour in Ziploc bags in refrigerator up to a week or in freezer up to a month. Bake on pizza stone or pizza screen for crisper crust.

Add Flavor With Food Waste: Save the loose skin on onions and garlic to toss into the fire just before grilling meats or vegetables. And throw dry fennel tops on the fire when grilling fish.

Apples: Refrigerated apples last up to 10 times longer than those left at room temperature. To prevent apples from speeding up the ripening process of other items in your produce drawer, store them in a plastic or brown paper bag.
Asparagus: For tender asparagus, gently bend a spear until it breaks. The natural breaking point should separate the tender spear from the tough end. Dispose of the end pieces and steam to perfection!

Cabbage: Instead of blanching cabbage leaves to wilt them for stuffing, simply leave the whole head in the freezer overnight.

Celery: Wrap celery in aluminum foil when putting in the refrigerator, and it will keep for weeks.

Chopped Onions & Green Peppers: You can buy frozen chopped onion or green peppers for a quick recipe shortcut, or since they freeze so well, chop a whole bunch at once and freeze them in single servings.

Chopping Onions & Grating Horseradish: Hate how your eyes water? Tear off a section of a slice of bread (I prefer to use the heel, as I don't eat it) and place it between your lips, allowing it to protrude from your mouth while cutting.

Citrus Fruit Juice: To get the most juice out of fresh lemons, limes and oranges, bring them to room temperature and roll them under your palm against the kitchen counter before squeezing. Another method is to microwave fruit on high for 30 seconds, let stand a couple of minutes before cutting and squeezing them. Rolling it between your counter and hand also does the trick.

Citrus Zest: Before you squeeze juice from a lemon, grate off the rind into a freezer bag and freeze. Then when a recipe calls for lemon zest or rind, just pull it from the freezer. Sprinkle a little sugar over citrus zest or fresh ginger before chopping. The sugar not only dissolves and absorbs the juices but also helps spread the flavor.

Corn: When boiling corn, cooking for 3 minutes is all that's necessary; any more time will only boil out the flavor. Instead of adding salt to the boiling water, add a pinch of sugar to bring out the natural sweetness of the corn.

Crisper Drawer: Line the bottom with a paper towel to absorb liquids that make veggies wilt.

Frozen Vegetables: These are an important staple, a quick way to separate them is to pour boiling water over them in a colander and then add them to your casserole or stove-top dish to finish cooking.

Garlic: To mince a garlic clove quickly, rub it over the tines of the back side of a fork. Save yourself lots of time by always using jarred minced garlic that can be found in the produce or condiment section of the supermarket. Peel garlic by using the heel of your hand, press the flat side of a chef's knife onto an entire clove of garlic. You can then slip the slightly crushed garlic from its skin. Hands smell after peeling garlic? Rub hands with the rounded side of a stainless steel spoon under running water.

Hot Peppers: When working with fresh chilies and peppers, wear disposable gloves. Don't handle the peppers under water (it extracts painful vapors).

Leafy Greens: The sooner you consume lettuce, spinach and other greens after they are picked, the crisper they will be. Rinse not-so-fresh greens under cool water to "revive" them. Dry by running the greens through a salad spinner or wrapping them in dry towels. Place in a loosely closed bag and refrigerate 1 hour. Leafy greens are packed with vitamins and minerals. When buying fresh greens, remember that they cook down considerably. One pound of spinach or mustard greens will yield a cup or two of cooked greens. Serve iceberg lettuce wedges instead of torn salad greens to save time making a salad. Also, before refrigerating iceberg lettuce, wash and remove the core so each time you need some for salad it's clean and ready.

To clean leeks: Cut off dark green top and discard or save for stock. Trim root end, leaving base intact so that leek remains in one piece. Starting 1/2" from base, slit leek through the other end; give it a quarter turn and repeat, so the leek is quartered and the root end is intact. Soak the leek in cold water or rinse it under running water, gently spreading the leaves to remove any grit and dirt.

Mushrooms: Mushrooms soak up water like a sponge, then release it later while cooking (which can change the consistency of recipes). Try "dry cleaning" your favorite fungi. You can find a "mushroom brush" with soft bristles at most kitchen stores. Lightly moisten the brush (or a rag) with water, and gently wipe the mushrooms clean.

Onion Leftovers: If you need only 1/2 an onion, save the root half. It will last longer.

Onion & Garlic Odors: To deodorize a plastic storage container in which onions or garlic were stored, wash thoroughly, then stuff a crumpled piece of newspaper in the container, and snap on the lid. In a few days the smell will disappear.

Parsley: Fresh parsley can be dried or frozen for later use. For either method, wash and dry parsley then chop. To freeze, simply pace in a plastic zipper bag and freeze. To dry, spread chopped parsley evenly on a baking sheet and place in a 200 degree oven with the door slightly ajar. Check occasionally and remove from oven with completely dry. Store dried parsley in an airtight container. When selecting parsley, remember that the curly-leaf variety has a milder taste and the flat-leaf has a bold taste.

Peeling Fruits and Vegetables: Vegetable peelers are good for more than just carrots and potatoes. Use them to peel avocados, kiwi fruit, and many more produce items. Try it out next time you need to peel something difficult. To peel tomatoes, peaches, and pears, scald them in boiling water before peeling will allow you to peel their skins right off.

Peppers: When buying fresh peppers, choose those that are a little wrinkled but still unblemished. Wrinkling indicates mellowness.

Potatoes: To keep them from budding, place an apple in the bag with potatoes.

Ripening Fruits and Vegetables: Many fruits and vegetables found in supermarkets today look ripe, but are hard as a rock. Soften them up by placing them in a brown paper bag and hiding the bag away in a dark cabinet for a day or two. This is great for items such as avocados, kiwi fruit, peaches, nectarines, and more. Once ripe, refrigerate the produce to preserve vitamins.

Saving Herbs For Winter: To preserve summer herbs for winter soups and stews, make herb cubes in the freezer. Chop up your herbs and place them in ice cube trays, then cover with water and freeze. To preserve the color and flavor, use boiling water to fill the tray (this blanches the herbs). Some herbs, like cilantro, keep better when frozen in oil. Mince the herb in a food processor, then introduce olive oil until you produce a fine puree. Pour into ice cube trays or bags and freeze. When introducing the frozen herbs to recipes, remember that they contain water or oil. If this will throw off the recipe's consistency, thaw and drain the cubes first.

Tomatoes: Never refrigerate a tomato that is not fully ripe. Most tomatoes sold in stores are still ripening, and would benefit from a few days on the counter. Cold temperatures alter the fruit's flavor and stop the ripening process. Once ripe, a tomato can be refrigerated for several days. To ripen a tomato fast, put it with an apple in a perforated bag. To peel and seed tomatoes, cut out the core and score an "X" on the bottom. Immerse in boiling water for 10 seconds. Remove the tomato and plunge into cold water. Remove the skin, cut in half and squeeze out seeds.

Alcohol Substitutes: Substitute chicken stock for wine in entrees. Substitute 1/4 to 1/2 tsp. almond extract for each 1/4 cup of Amaretto or almond liqueur requested. Substitute frozen orange juice concentrate and a little orange zest for orange liqueurs. Substitute quadruple-strength coffee for coffee liqueurs.
Brown Sugar: To keep brown sugar moist, store in an airtight container with a whole orange, lemon, or lime. To soften brown sugar, place in a microwave-proof dish, add a slice of soft white bread or an apple wedge, cover tight and microwave at 100 percent power for 30 seconds. Discard the bread or apple and stir. If you're out of brown sugar, try substituting an equal amount of granulated sugar plus 1/4 cup molasses (light or dark) for every cup of white sugar.

Butter: To soften butter, let it stand at room temperature for 10 to 15 minutes. No time for that? Place it between sheets of wax paper and pound with a rolling pin.

Cheese: To easily shred cheese, let sit in freezer for 30 minutes. The firmer cheese is less likely to make a melted mess on your grater.

Cottage Cheese: Keep cottage cheese fresh longer by storing carton in the refrigerator upside down.

Curry Powder: When you use commercial curry powder, combine two or more brands - each has a different mix of spices.

Dry Beans: Soak beans before cooking to soften them, which reduces cooking time, and to allow some of the gas-generating substances to dissolve into the water, making them easier to digest.

Eggs: The simplest way to tell is an egg is fresh it to observe it's shell. If it's rough and chalky, it's fresh. If it's smooth and shiny, it's old. You can also place an egg in cold salted water. If it sinks, it's fresh. If it floats, it's old. To tell if an egg is hard boiled or raw, spin it. A hard-boiled egg will spin. A raw egg will wobble. It is easier to separate eggs when they are cold.

Measuring Corn Syrup, Molasses, and Honey: Dip measuring cup or spoon either in hot water or brush with oil before pouring in the syrup. This way, you get all that's in the cup to come out.

Milk: Rinse the pan with cold water before scalding milk to prevent sticking.

Nuts: To chop or grind nuts fine in a food processor without turning them into nut butter, add 2 or more tablespoons sugar from the recipe. Toasting nuts intensifies their flavor. Fire up a skillet (high temperature) and spread pecans, walnuts, almonds, pine nuts, etc. over its surface. Stir constantly. When the nuts start to turn brown, remove from the heat and reserve for use in salads, pasta, baked goods and more. Keep a constant eye on them during the process - nuts can turn from brown to black in seconds. Nuts can also be toasted in the oven (or a toaster oven). Spread on a cookie sheet, then bake at 400 degrees for 5 to 10 minutes. Be sure to stir the nuts occasionally while roasting. Broken pieces will toast faster than whole nuts.

Oil For Frying: To effectively strain debris from used cooking oil, use a coffee filter placed in a funnel.

Rice: Does your rice dry out when you reheat it? Next time, add 2 tablespoons of liquid for each cup of cooked rice. Cover and heat for a few minutes on the stove or in the oven. In the microwave, cook on high about 1 minute per cup. Fluff it with a fork and enjoy! Perk up white rice by adding chicken broth with a pinch of crumbled dried thyme, marjoram, rosemary, or basil in the cooking water.
Salt: Sea salt is the only salt used in my kitchen. The taste is more potent and the rigid shapes of the grains don't roll off your food as easily. Now that it has become more popular and more widely available, sea salt can be purchased iodized, which I recommend getting. When salting a dish, less is always best. As we know, you can always add more, but never take away. Less salt allows for your guests to season to their own taste, not yours.

Soy Sauce: Use light (slightly sweeter) soy sauce for marinades; use dark (slightly heavier) soy sauce for cooking and sauces.

Sugar: A sack of lumpy sugar won't be if you place it in the refrigerator for 24 hours.

Tortillas: Tough and chewy tortillas? Try spraying tortillas with water (or running them quickly under the faucet), then sautéing them briefly in a lightly greased skillet over medium high heat.

Vanilla: Make your own vanilla by placing 2 split and chopped vanilla beans in 1 liter of vodka or bourbon. Shaking the bottle once a day, let sit for 2-3 months, or until desired color. This also makes great holiday gifts when poured into glass bottles.

Wine: Don't throw out all that leftover wine. Freeze into ice cubes for future use in casseroles and sauces.

Chilling Foods: To chill foods quickly put them in your freezer for 20 to 30 minutes rather than longer in the refrigerator.

Food Stains in Plastic Storage Containers: Use a baking soda paste (baking soda and water) and rub into the stain. You can then rinse with vinegar (optional) and wash normally. Another method is to place container outside on a nice sunny day and the sun actually bleaches the stain out. To avoid stains in the first place, spray container with cooking spray before putting things in it that stain i.e. spaghetti sauce.

Fried Food Odors: Next time you fry foods, try placing a small cup of bleach nearby. The bleach absorbs much of the "fried" odor (that would otherwise linger for days!) Be sure to clearly mark the cup and keep it out of the reach of children.

Keep Your Cutting Board From Slipping: Place a thin layer of damp paper towels underneath to anchor the board to the work surface.

Lining Pans Means No Scrubbing: Line baking pans with aluminum foil before you cook to avoid scrubbing pans afterwards. To line pans easily, turn pan upside down and press a sheet of heavy duty aluminum foil around it. Remove foil. Flip the pan over and drop foil inside. Crimp edges of foil to rim of pan.

Oil Temperature: To find out if oil is the proper temperature for frying foods: For deep-fat frying, drop a cube of white bread into the hot oil. If it browns evenly in 60 seconds the oil is 350-365 degrees, in 40 seconds, 365-382 degree, 20 seconds, 382-390 degrees. For shallow frying, the oil is hot enough if it is shimmering and rippling along the bottom of the pan. The most reliable way to gauge the temperature is to use a deep-fat thermometer.

Prevent Spattering While Sautéing: To prevent spattering and burns while sautéing, tilt the pan away from you to pool the oil every time you add more food, then lay the pan flat again. You can also add a few sprinkles of salt to the pan to prevent spattering.

Wok Cooking: Don't stir ingredients as you add them to a wok. You'll cool the wok and make the food greasy.

Cakes: When using a glass baking dish for cakes, lower oven temperature by 25 degrees. To keep a cake longer, place half an apple in the cake container when storing. To cut a cake without messing up the decorative icing, cut it with dental floss. When a cake recipe calls for flouring the baking pan, use a bit of the dry cake mix instead, and there won't be any white mess on the outside of the cake. Don't have a cake or tart cover? Try inverting the bottom of a salad spinner or springform pan. To dress up cakes and pies, place a doily on top, then sprinkle powdered sugar and remove. Quick and impressive!

Cookies: When making cookies, always use unsalted butter, never margarine. The unsalted butter gives the cookies a lighter texture. To keep cookies soft, place a slice of bread in the storage container. To prevent cookies from spreading when baking, refrigerate the dough and the baking sheet for a couple of minutes before baking. Using a cookie scoop (or a small ice cream scoop) to spoon out cookie dough gives them a uniform look and size. It also keeps your fingers clean.

Frosting Tips: Add a pinch of baking soda to your frosting and the frosting will stay moist and prevent cracking.

Pastry Dough: Always chill pastry dough before rolling and cutting, and always chill it again afterwards, before baking, to further relax the gluten.

Quick Garnish: Toast coconut or chopped nuts in a shallow baking pan in the oven in 5 or 10 minutes at 350 degrees. Once cool they can even be frozen in plastic bags for future use.

Whipped Cream: Cream will whip faster and better if you'll first chill the bowl, cream, and beaters first. To stabilize whipped cream, add 2 tablespoons of nonfat dry milk to every cup of whipping cream before you whip it. Soupy whipped cream can be saved by adding an egg white, then chilling thoroughly. Re-beat for a fluffy surprise. A few drops of lemon juice added to whipping cream helps it to whip faster and better. Whipping cream will not separate if you add 1/4 tsp. unflavored gelatin per cup of whipped cream.

Yeast: Did you know that your yeast will last longer than specified on those little packages from the grocery store if kept in the refrigerator and even longer in the freezer, up to a year? If you do a lot of baking, it is wise to purchase larger amounts and freeze. Place in a plastic container and mark the date of purchase.

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