Have you been frustrated by cracks in the top of your cheesecakes? Would you like tips to make flaky biscuits? Or would you just like to know a bit more about sweet potatoes? Try these cooking tips for better results in your kitchen endeavors:
If you want biscuits that are crispy on the outside and flaky on the inside, you roll the dough thinly and fold it over once before cutting out the biscuits. They will then split open easily when you’re ready to butter them.
To re- heat biscuits, put them in a well-dampened paper bag. Twist the bag closed and put in a 300º oven for several minutes or until warm.
For soft-sided biscuits, bake them in a pan with sides and put the biscuits close together. For crusty biscuits, bake them on a cookie sheet and separate them from each other.
Preventing Cheesecake Cracks:
Grease the sides of the pan before adding batter. The surface will not stick to the sides of the pan and crack when the cheesecake starts shrinking as it cools.
Run a knife or a metal spatula around the edges of the pan immediately after removing the cheesecake from the oven.
Drastic temperature changes can also cause a cheesecake to crack. Avoid putting a warm cheesecake from the oven into the refrigerator.
To disguise cracks, top the cheesecake with fruit or some other topping.
Since sour milk is not really sold in the grocery stores, when a recipe calls for sour milk, simply add 1 TBSP. of vinegar or lemon juice to regular milk. You can also use buttermilk to replace the sour milk called for in a recipes.
If you use too much baking powder in a recipe it will produce a product with a coarse grain, and will cause the product to eventually fall. If you use too little baking powder, the product will not rise enough and be heavy.
Baking powder tends to lose its strength over time and should be kept in a tightly covered container. Moisture will cause the baking powder to deteriorate faster.
When increasing the amount of eggs in a recipe, decrease the baking powder by 1/2 teaspoon for each extra egg added.
Cutting The Fat with Applesauce:
To reduce the fat content in your baking recipes, substitute applesauce for half of the amount of vegetable oil called for in the recipe. Using all applesauce produces a low-calorie, moist product.
Adjust Temperature for Different Pans:
Keep in mind that the type of pan you use when baking can determine the outcome of your finished product. For glass pans, turn down baking temperature by 25?. If you substitute a shallow pan, reduce the overall baking time by one quarter. If you use a deeper pan than suggested in the recipe, increase the overall baking time by one quarter.
Alternatives to Cooking with Butter:
When browning or sautéing onions, hamburger, etc., replace the butter by spraying your skillet with non-stick spray or use chicken or beef broth instead.
When baking, use reduced-calorie margarine instead of butter (but note that the texture may not always come out the same). Non-fat margarine currently on the market do not tend bake well.
Cutting butter in some of your recipes can cut a lot of the calories making it a diet-friendly option.
Due to rapid spoilage, keep sweet potatoes fresh, by storing them in a dry, cool (55-60°) place at a temperature of about 55-60°. If stored in the refrigerator, they may develop a hard core and an “off” taste. Sweet potatoes will keep for a month or longer if stored at the proper temperature. At normal room temperature, they should be used within a week of purchase. Brush off any excess dirt before storing, but do not wash them until you are ready to cook them.
When preparing, wash sweet potatoes well. It is best to cook them whole whenever possible as most of the nutrients are next to the skin. Also, the skins are easier to remove after they have been cooked. Pierce the sweet potato skins with fork. Place potatoes in a pan and cook in an oven heated to 375° F for about 45 minutes or until tender. Cool potatoes slightly before removing skins. To cook sweet potatoes in a microwave, wash and pierce potatoes. Place them on a paper towel. For 2 medium sweet potatoes, cook on high for 5–9 minutes, or for 4 potatoes cook for 10–13 minutes.
Sweet potatoes are high in vitamins A and C, and are a good source of fiber.
To substitute for 1 cup of sugar use any of the following:
- 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
- 1 ½ cups molasses
- 2 cups corn syrup
- 3/4 cups honey
- 1 ½ cups maple syrup
Note: If you use molasses, corn syrup, honey, or maple syrup you need to reduce the amount of liquid in the recipe.
Brown Sugar Substitute:
If you need to substitute brown sugar in a recipe, for each 1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar use 1 ½ Tablespoons molasses plus 1 cup granulated sugar.
To make 1 cup light brown sugar from dark brown sugar, use ½ cup firmly packed dark brown sugar and ½ cup granulated sugar.
To make 1 cup dark brown sugar, use 1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar plus 1 tablespoon molasses; or 1 cup granulated sugar plus 1/4 cup molasses.
Photo Credit: Jens Mohr