Baking Christmas goodies is a favorite holiday tradition for many families. If whipping up a batch of sweet treats gets you in the holiday spirit, here are some tips for baking cookies and cakes at home, compliments of Alisha Hardison, Certified Pastry Chef and owner of Dalishas Desserts.
- Make sure all of your ingredients are at room temp, unless the recipe says otherwise (this includes eggs).
- To get eggs to room temp quickly, add whole eggs to warm water and allow to sit 5 mins.
- Always crumb coat a cake before you final ice it. This means that you’ll first ice your cake in a thin layer of icing, pop it in the fridge for at least 10-15 minutes and then apply youre final coat of icing. This results in a cake with no crumbs in the final coat.
- Always tap cake pans on the counter top a few times before placing in the oven. This removes any air bubbles that may cause craters and pockets in your cake.
- To level a cake, let it cool, then cut the top off even with the top of the pan. Also, fill the pan only about 2/3 full to make it easier to level. Doing these two things will make layers much easier to stack for taller cakes.
- Don’t over bake your sugar cookies. They only need to be slightly golden around the edges. I typically bake cookies a little less than the suggested time.
- When baking sugar cookies, make sure to place cookies that are close to the same size on the same pan, otherwise, the smaller cookies will be done before the larger ones and might burn.
- Holidays always require a lot of extra baking and no time to get it all done. It’s perfectly fine to freeze your cookie doughs and even frozen baked sugar cookies that aren’t iced. For cookies like chocolate chip, you can make the dough ahead of time, scoop out your cookies with a portion scoop (so they’re all the same size and bake evenly) and freeze raw. Then all you’ll need to do is take them out of the freezer and place straight into the oven.