Half-Baked?

I tested the oven today, now that the igniter works. It runs a tad hot—set to 350°, interior thermometer read 375°. I eventually got to a setting of 330° to be able to bake properly at 350°. Now I have blueberry muffin loaf and oatmeal raisin/Craisin cookies🤤.

Tomorrow, I want to make chicken pot pie for the family, sans the peas, of course. Perhaps a little diced potato would be a good substitute. Oh, I need to get a little bit of carrot and onion. I’ve never tried to make one, and my daughter left some refrigerated pie crust in her rush to move, so why not?

Have you ever been making cookies, and find that they seem a bit off? How do you measure the flour? Are you a scooper? That is, take your measuring cup, scoop up the flour and scrape the excess? If so, you’re unfortunately doing it wrong. Doing it this way causes you to pack the flour in the measuring cup, giving your recipe too much flour. The best way to measure flour (or powdered sugar) is to fill the cup by spoonfuls. Then, when the flour is heaping over the top, use the back of a knife to level the flour out. That way, the flour in the measuring cup is still airy and will make your baked goods much lighter.

How do you soften butter in a rush? I’m guilty of using the microwave to soften butter🙋‍♂️. Sometimes I decide on a whim to bake something, but my butter is frozen. Ideally, you would plan ahead and set the butter out on the counter to thaw and soften. Same deal goes for cream cheese. If you want to make a cheesecake, you need to leave the cheese out for a couple of hours to soften. To use cold cream cheese in a cheesecake causes you to overmix the batter, incorporating too much air, causing the dessert to over-rise in the oven, then fall and crack when cooling. Back to the butter, you can, using a microwave-safe cup, heat the cup filled with water in the microwave. Dump out the water, and place the heated cup over the butter. In a few minutes, the butter should be soft enough to use for your cookies.

Depending on the cookies I want to make, I will use margarine instead of butter. Butter seems to make the cookies crispy, while margarine gives them a slightly chewier texture. My go-to cookie is cooking the batter in a 13×9” cake pan and making one large cookie that can be cut into bars. Whatever your preference, go for it, and happy baking!

Now, here is the quote for the day:

“Cooking involves a deadline and hungry people and ingredients that expire in a week. It’s stressful. Cooking happens on the stove and on the clock. Baking happens with ingredients that last for months and come to life inside a warm oven. Baking is slow and leisurely.”

Regina Brett

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