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All About Chocolate

Quick tips for streamlining your baking process.

Baking Shortcuts
  • Use parchment paper to bake cookies and line cake pans; it makes clean-up a snap.
  • Brownies or bars can be messy, so use aluminum foil. Tear off a piece of foil longer than the pan, shape the foil around the pan; remove the foil. Flip the pan over, and gently fit the shaped foil into the pan. When the brownies are cool, just lift them out of the pan by the foil “handles”, peel back the foil and cut the bars.
  • Use an ice-cream scoop for cookie dough (1 level tablespoon = #70 scoop; ¼ cup = #16 scoop). Perfectly shaped cookies every time.
  • Spread frosting with an “offset metal spatula” or spreader. They come in different lengths, are inexpensive, and far easier to use than a spatula or knife.
  • Use a food processor, fitted with a steel blade for piecrusts. There’s less handling of the dough in far less time.
  • No time to scoop cookies? Turn them into bars. Most cookie recipes make 3 dozen cookies, enough to fill a 9 x 9-inch pan. Bake them in a 350 oven for about 35 to 45 minutes, watching carefully to test when they’re done.
  • Make beautiful drizzles of glaze by using the tip of a flatware teaspoon. Or, pour the glaze into a resealable plastic food-storage bag, snip off a tiny corner and gently squeeze the bag, moving it back and forth over the top of the cake.
  • Pretty (and easier) pie tops: Place 5 to 7 strips of dough about ½-inch wide across the top of the pie. Then, lay another 5 to 7 strips on top of those. Much quicker than the more complicated basketweave.
  • A quick way to finish the edge of your pie: Use a fork and press evenly on the rim of the pie with the tines and keep it from sticking by occasionally dipping it in flour.

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