Baking Bonanza


Christmas-themed gingerbread cookies decorated with royal icing at Pint Size Bakery and Coffee in St. Louis on November 20, 2014. Used with limited license: Roberto Rodriguez/St. Louis Post-Dispatch/TNS

Shannon Hearne, Author

As Ned Stark from Game of Thrones would say, “Brace yourself” because the holiday baking season is here. Throughout the season, many bakers will be faced with an endless list of struggles, ranging from running out of sugar to having to scrape sprinkles off cookies the ‘decorators’ went overboard on. Whether baking for Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Ramadan, Three Kings Day or Christmas, there are many tips and tricks to avoid getting ‘burned’ this baking season.

Tip One: Whether you are fighting with flan or battling with banana bread, always remember to preheat the oven. Preheating while you prepare the contents can save you an immense amount of time and ensure the dessert will be cooked all the way through at the correct temperature.

Tip Two: When operating the mixer, be sure not to angle it too close to the edges. If the mixer tosses its contents outside of the mixing bowl, your kitchen walls will undoubtedly be plastered with whatever sweet, sticky substance you were combining. Avoiding pesky spills such as this can save you a lot of time that can be used for last minute preparations.

Tip Three: Lay the butter and flour on thick. Butter and flour can help you avoid allowing the dessert to adhere to the pan. Never underestimate the power that a well-buttered pan can have on your baking.

Tip Four: Avoid using cold eggs. Most people know that bringing butter to room temperature is vital for the best baked outcome, but the same goes for eggs. With room temperature eggs, the whites and yolks will combine easier when whisking, allowing the eggs to disperse more evenly into the batter.