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| Food tricks on Cakes, Cookies, Pies
excerpted from Haley's Hints Copyright © 2004 by by Graham Haley
HUNDREDS OF NIFTY FOOD
TRICKS TO MAKE LIFE IN
THE KITCHEN A BREEZE
Cutting And Slicing ... Before cutting fresh, moist cake, run a thin-bladed knife under hot water and dry. Slices without crumbling.
* Or, wrap some unwaxed dental floss around your fingers and slice through the cake with the floss as you would with a cheese wire. Crumble-free slices!
* After the cake has been cut, keep it moist by slicing fresh bread to the size of the exposed cake. Secure with toothpicks.
Sticking ... Cake won't stick to the pan if you grease beforehand with unsalted fat and dust with flour.
* Another stick-free method is to thoroughly grease a piece of clean brown paper that has been cut to fit the cake pan. Foolproof!
* Save the wrappers your butter comes in, in the refrigerator. They'll come in handy for greasing your pans when baking.
* To remove a cake that is stuck in the cake pan, invert the pan over the cooling rack. Take a hot steam iron and place it on the underside of the cake pan for a few seconds. You should find you can now lift the pan off the cake.
Moist Cakes ... If you add a teaspoon of vinegar to the baking soda when baking a chocolate cake, you'll get the most moist chocolate cake you ever dipped your fork into!
* To keep fruit cakes moist while baking, place a pan of water alongside it in the oven and keep replacing the water until the cake is done.
Light Cakes ... To make your cakes really light, add a teaspoon of lemon juice to the butter and sugar.
Cooling Cakes ... If you find yourself without a wire tray cake cooler, simply take a large mixing bowl and stretch some muslin or net curtain over it. Affix with clothes pegs and lay your cake on top!
Sticky Dough! ... Dip plastic cookie cutters in warm salad oil to prevent dough from sticking.
* To get cookie dough to slide off the spoon easily, dip the spoon in some milk first.
Emergency Cookie Cutter ... The insert from a metal ice cube tray or an individual ice cube maker, makes a great emergency cookie cutter.
No Cookie Cutter! ... For a quick way to form cookies without using a cookie cutter, try this. Form the dough into small balls and arrange on a cookie tray. Cut out a sheet of wax paper and lay it over the cookie balls. Take a flat bottomed glass and press down on each cookie ball. Remove the wax sheet and you'll have perfectly formed cookies with no waste.
Ingredients ... Before using raisins when baking cookies, let them sit in warm water for a few minutes to make them plump and juicy.
* When baking chocolate chip cookies, instead of using pre-formed chocolate chips, buy a good quality chocolate bar and cut it up into chunks.
Storage ... To keep cookies fresher longer. Store them in an ice bucket.
* Keep soft cookies separate from crisp cookies. Otherwise the crisp cookies will lose their crispness.
Next Day Muffins ... Revive stale muffins. Sprinkle with drops of water, place in a paper bag and warm in a hot oven for 5 to 10 minutes.
Pastry Pointers ... For an exact measurement when measuring sifted flour, never shake the flour level. Instead use the back of a knife to scrape it level.
* Toss the ingredients with a fork lightly and quickly, rather than stirring them, which creates a tough pastry.
* Don't use too much water. For two cups of flour use only a quarter cup of iced water.
* Try rolling some grated cheese into pastry dough when making apple pie.
Pie Geometry ... When sharing a round pie between 5 people, cut the pie into the shape of a `Y'. Then cut the large pieces in half!
Crusts ... Eliminate soggy crusts when baking fruit pies by brushing the bottom crust with egg white before adding fruit. This helps prevent the juice from soaking through.
* For the flakiest upper crust on pies, brush lightly with cold water just before popping in the oven. Melts in your mouth!
* To avoid burnt pie edges, try this tip. Take a foil pie plate and cut out the centre, leaving just a one inch rim. You can now place the rim over the pie and bake normally. The rim will reflect the heat from the pie edges and prevent them from burning.
Fast Fillings ... To speed up the process when baking fruit pies, such as apple or peach, try this. Slice your fruit into a strong plastic shopping bag first. Then, add the filling ingredients and give the bag a good shake. Now you can simply add it to your pie.
Juice Spills ... To prevent juice spills when baking pies, cut several 3 inch lengths of macaroni and poke them into the pie crust before placing in the oven. Heated juices will rise up into the hollow macaroni, instead of spilling over and messing your oven.
Sticky Meringue ... Prevent meringue from sticking to the knife by adding a pinch of cream of tartar to the egg whites when beating them.
Unique Toppings ... Place a layer of chocolate mint patties over a baked cake and return it to the oven until the patties have softened. Spread with a spatula for a delicious icing.
* To spiff up plain frosting try shaving multi-colored gum drops on the top of the frosting with a coarse grater. They'll shave easier if you chill them well before you begin. They'll look like pretty flower petals.
* Or, sprinkle cinnamon and sugar right on top of the cake batter for an "instant" sweet topping.
* For a quick topping, just lay a paper doily on top of the cake and dust it with icing sugar. Lift the doily off carefully and you'll have an elegant design.
Making Your Job Easier .. A pinch of salt and a tablespoon of cornstarch for every two cups of icing sugar will help take away that "too sweet" taste.
* Before frosting your cake, cut triangles of waxed paper to cover the cake dish. Let several inches overlap. Place pointed ends of the triangles in the centre of the dish. Place the unfrosted cake on top. When the frosting is completed, slide each piece of waxed paper out slowly. You will have a sparkling clean cake dish.
* Fudge frosting will stay soft and workable if you place the frosting bowl in a pan of hot water.
* No cake decorating utensil? Cut the end off an empty quart milk bag and wash it out. Clip a small opening at the opposite end. Fill the bag with frosting and squeeze through the small hole to decorate!
The extraordinary guide to ordinary items and products with time- and money-saving uses. Over 2,000 of them!
In Haley's Hints readers will find:
Environment-friendly tips on cleaning and stain removal
Money-saving advice on pest control and pet care
Practical pointers for children, seniors, and gardeners
Plumbing, painting, carpentry, and electrical shortcuts
Plus a whole chapter on pampering themselves
All topped off with a comprehensive easy-find index to help readers find the exact solution they need-fast.
Author Biography: For more than ten years, Graham and Rosemary Haley have shared their simple, inexpensive household secrets through TV and radio shows, books, magazine and newspaper columns, cartoon strips, and live appearances. The Haley's Hints TV Show is now seen across four continents-North America, Europe, Africa, and Asia.