‘Tis the day before Valentine’s Day, and I suddenly realized that this morning (curse these right-before-the-holidays surgeries; they always put me out of commission for a good 1.5-2 weeks), so after dragging myself out of bed a little after 11:00am, I hit the kitchen, rummaged around in my refrigerator and cabinets for the necessary ingredients, and proceeded to make gorgeous cupcakes and cute cookies (of which I had only a nibble of the first and half of a second – I’m back to being very sensitive to sugar, which overall is a good thing!) — and spread sprinkles to all four corners of my kitchen. :cute:
A few random baking/decorating tips, from yours truly who is by no means a baking goddess, but has gotten better over the last ten years:
- To soften cold butter, place wrapped sticks on top of stove while the oven is heated to at least 350° for 10-15 minutes; rotating sides every 5 minutes. If the butter isn’t soft enough when you need to use it, unwrap the sticks and place them in the microwave for 10 seconds at a time. Remember, you want softened, not melted.
- Avoid flat cookies: mix butters, sugars, and eggs together for an additional 30 seconds to 1 minute. The increased air and resulting “whipped” texture, when combined with your other dry ingredients (flour, salt, etc.) will create thicker, “taller” cookies.
- Always add baking soda or baking powder last, and minimize stirring/mixing to avoid toughening up the dough (unless you want a tough dough, in which case by all means mix away).
- Have your oven heated and pans ready before you start putting together your recipe. Once your dough is ready to be poured and baked, it’s ready. If it contains baking powder or baking soda, the longer it sits, the more likely it is that it’ll begin to “set”, which can result in an undesired texture or “finish”.
- Use a funnel or an ice cream scoop to fill cupcake pans neatly and evenly (I’m a total slob at this).
- Great tip to make sprinkles “stick” to frosting: microwave frosting for 5-10 seconds before spreading on cupcakes. Then, immediately add sprinkles. If desired, use the back of a spoon to help press the sprinkles into the frosting.