A lot of people tell me that they just can’t bake!! They love to cook but when it comes to baking it never turns out! My first reply is you need to have patience, you can’t rush baking! The second is using the right ingredients and equipment, which are key to the success of baking.
I want to take a moment and let you in on a few important ingredients that make a difference and a couple of tricks.
When it comes to butter, don’t cheap out!! Butter is where a lot of your flavour comes from, especially in something as simple as butter cream icing. There’s nothing worse then having a delicious cake or cupcake and topping it off with weak tasting icing, eww! Also cheap butter breaks down poorly causing insufficient and uneven baking. I use Stirling butter in all my baking; not only is it made here in Ontario, but the company has a lot of different varieties to choose from, all of the highest quality. Check their website out for more details. My favourite is Stirling’s Whey Butter!!
Chocolate can be expensive, but you get what you pay for. I use Lindt in all my baking, from truffles to brownies to icing. I buy Lindt’s milk, white and 70% dark chocolate. It has a nice finish and is easy to work with. Be careful when buying chocolate and cocoa powder that you are actually buying ‘chocolate’ there are a lot of chocolate ‘melts’ out there which aren’t really chocolate but more like a wax.
3. Milk and Cream
Always remember full fat is better!! Use full milk, cream’s and of course buttermilk. Let’s face it, if you’re eating sweets, enjoy them!! Less fat at this point isn’t going to make a big difference in calories- only in the quality of the dessert!
4. Stand Mixer
This can be a big investment, but you won’t regret it, I promise! A good quality mixer will last you a long time and will make your life much easier in the kitchen. My favourite is the Kitchen Aid line. There are certain recipes that just won’t compare when using a weak mixer (or hand held), like meringues! My Kitchen Aid mixer helps whip up my egg whites light and fluffy in no time!
5. Ice Cream Scoops
Hit your local kitchen shop and invest in at least one large and one small ice cream scoop. This will help with making all your batches of cupcakes, cookies, and dough consistent in size, resulting in even baking and for a more professional finish.
6. Parchment Paper
It’s a simply product but don’t underestimate it!! It helps cookies, brownies and cakes from sticking to pans, plus makes for an easy clean up. Using parchment paper is great so you don’t have to use extra fat to line pans. Depending on what you’re baking you can also reuse the paper. Also you can easily fold the paper to make a piping bag!
There is a lot more we can talk about, but for now we’ll start here. Soon I’ll post a few more tips to help make baking a stress free and fun past time. And before you’ll now it you be saying I love baking and I’m pretty good at it too!!