Best Baking Advice from Mom and Grandma
You’ve probably heard the expression “mother knows best,” and in many cases, it holds true in the kitchen as well as in life. Whether mom is chief counsel on all things culinary, or simply offers great guidance in the commonsense category, we often turn to her for tips and tricks to make things better.
With Mother’s Day fast approaching, we asked our Facebook community to share the best baking advice they received from their mother or grandmother. Here’s what they shared:
Fan Lynn Q. swears by her grandmother’s advice to add a slice of bread to a container when storing freshly baked cookies. Grandma is one smart cookie—the bread offers moisture, which the cookies absorb, keeping them soft longer.
- To avoid transferring the bread’s flavor to the cookies, make sure to use plain white bread.
- Once the slice begins to harden, simply replace it with a fresh one.
A STICKY TRICK
Katie D.’s grandma was spot-on when she said to add a tablespoon of light corn syrup to cookie dough to keep cookies fresher longer. Plus, since corn syrup is a reducing sugar, it helps add color to pale cookies and increases browning.
STAYING IN SHAPE
Barbara J.’s mother suggests popping cookie dough in the freezer for a bit to prevent the cookies from spreading. For individually shaped cookies, shape them into balls, chill the shaped dough, then remove from the freezer just before baking.
Dusting a cake pan with flour before filling with batter helps release the cake more easily after cooling, and prevents the outside from crumbling or breaking. But have you ever done this, only to discover white specks all over your chocolate cake? When baking a chocolate cake, Tricia R. follows her family’s advice to dust cake pans with cocoa powder rather than flour to eliminate the unwanted color contrast.
MODIFY THE MIX
Take a boxed cake mix from ordinary to extraordinary and add an extra egg to get a richer, fluffier cake, as Israel C. shared. Other tips include swapping the oil for butter, adding a dash of cinnamon or vanilla, and replacing the water with milk. No one will ever know it’s not homemade!
Alex K. was given great advice for recipes that include a baking time range: To prevent overbaking and ending up with a dry dish, always set the timer for the lower number. Check for doneness and then add more time in 1-minute intervals as needed. Remember, you can always leave the dish in the oven longer, but you can’t unbake…
CLEAN IN BETWEEN
Jennifer W. follows the advice to clean up as you go in order to save time in the end. Tackle the pile before you sample the goods. Rather than let the mixing bowl, measuring cups and spoon sit in the sink, clean them while the dessert is baking. Overwhelmed by all those dirty dishes? Do dishes in 10-minute intervals; simply set a timer for 10 minutes, and you will be amazed at how much you can wash in such a short period of time!
THE SECRET INGREDIENT
The most important tip of all came from Kaylee K., about her ma: “She said, ‘Make every recipe yours. Whether it’s a pinch of this or a dab of that, make it unique to you. Show everyone the special part of you inside everything you cook.’ Then she would kiss me on the cheek and introduce me to a new recipe and we’d always make it together.” (We think that last part is even better than the practical advice.)
YOUR TURN: What tips and tricks did you learn from your mother or grandmother?