Along the way

Along the way in your cooking adventures you learn things, by reading cookbooks, watching cooking shows, or attending classes. You pick up on things that may or may not be common knowledge. Little tips or tricks that help you be a better cook. They are little cooking gems.  Knowing them let’s you take a whole new look on an old recipe that may not have worked as planned or just not at all.   It is often those little gems that can set you apart from someone making the same recipe.   They have helped me grow as a cook, and cannot wait to learn more.  In no specific order, here are a few of the questions I had, and the things I learned along the way in my adventures.

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Baking Pans

The darker the pan the faster it cooks.  Glass also cooks quickly, with the quicker cooking your baked goods tend to overcook or get brown bottoms and edges.  Generally when you use a dark or glass pan you should drop the temperature by 25°F

For baking evenly with even color go for light aluminum pans will give you a nice color and cooking without brown edges.  I am a fan of the Nordicware or Fat Daddy bakeware for cakes, cookies, quick-breads, or yeast breads where you don’t want a thick dark crust.  The cakes don’t dome up, which means a lot less waste when leveling the cakes out for layering.  Also, the cookies cook evenly without darker edges and a nice consistent color.

However! in regards to cupcakes or muffins where you want that dome effect I would and do suggest going with a dark colored pan.  It will heat up faster and rise higher giving you a lovely dome shape.

Your pan might not be hot enough?

For this past holiday as a gift to further indulge my new cooking fire Frank bought me an amazing stainless steel cooking set. It’s so fantastic, and I was more than ecstatic to throw out my old pans almost instantly!

He was having a problem with food sticking, something which I never really had. He did some pretty extensive research while I was at work one weekend and found out how to test to make sure your stainless steel pans were hot enough to add the oil and then food. Always start out on a med to med-high heat. When you add a drop of water to the dry pan does it just bounce and sizzle away? If so then your pan is not hot enough to add the oil yet. It all boils down to science, which I love, love! The right temperature of heat expands the steel closing any small fissures what are what cause the food to stick.  When you add a drop of water to the try pan and it forms a blob that just sits there and doesn’t sizzle away, it will look like mercury, then you’re pan is hot enough to now add the oil.

After your oil becomes streaky like when you twirl wine in a glass the streaks that come down the sides is what you’re looking for in your oil. If you wait for these two steps then you’ll never have issues with food sticking to your pan.  I have followed this since and nothing sticks, if it does it’s those awesome caramelized bits of goodness that just a bit of moisture by putting the lid on the pan will loosen up and add to your food making the yummy factor even higher.

Here is a good video explaining what I’m attempting to talk about!