We bake cookies all year long (or at least some of us do), but when it comes to the holiday season it seems like the baking kicks up a notch or 10. And with so many of us baking for our friends and family, for hosting parties, and for treats at work, it can be overwhelming getting things done. In fact, it can be downright stressful trying to get multiple batches of cookies baked.
However, if you have some tricks up your sleeve to make things a bit easier, you might be able to manage your stress better. To make baking cookies for any occasion just a little easier, here are some backing hacks we think will make things quicker and better this season.
And while these hacks might be geared towards cookies, there is nothing that says you can’t apply these to other things like cakes, pies, and other sweet treats.
Cookie Baking Hacks
Quick Tip to Soften Butter
When it comes to baking cookies, you often need butter that is room temperature and soft. If you forgot to take the butter out before you started baking, then you might need to soften your butter as soon as possible. And considering you don’t to melt the butter, this quick tip is the perfect solution.
Take a bowl and add hot water to it (or heat water up in a microwave). Let the water heat the bowl up, which can take about a minute to a minute and a half, and then dump out the water. Then take the stick of butter, preferably still wrapped, and place the bowl over the stick. This will create a convection type effect that will actually warm the butter without melting it completely.
Once the bowl has been over the butter for about a minute, you should be able to smoosh the butter easily.
Substitute for Butter
If you are looking to make gooey cookies that are super soft and not quite as calorie-laden as usual, then you will want to use cream cheese in the place of butter. Not only will you get melt in your mouth cookies that are dreamy, but you won’t have to rush back to your diet and exercise after a night of indulgence. (Unless you can’t stop yourself from eating all of these gooey treats, then maybe add a little more pep to your step on that next workout.)
Substitute for Eggs
If you run out of eggs or decide you don’t want to use eggs, then you might have something else in the kitchen that can act as a substitute. And while there are actually a number of substitutes you can use, our favorites are peanut butter, applesauce, or even mashed ripe bananas.
In order to properly substitute for missing eggs, you will need to know the proper portions. If you are going with peanut butter then you need to use 3 tablespoons for each egg needed. If you want to use ripe, mashed bananas, then half of a banana makes up for one egg. And finally you will need a quarter of a cup of applesauce for every egg needed.
Not only are these healthy options, but they will also make baking easier when you find yourself running out of a truly essential ingredient.
Soften Brown Sugar That Has Hardened
As bakers, we all know the frustration of brown sugar that has hardened into a solid clump. But, there is no need to worry about clumped brown sugar anymore. Instead, all you need to do is break it up into smaller pieces, then put into a bowl. Make sure the bowl can be microwaved and then cover it with a piece of damp paper towel and a piece of plastic wrap.
In the microwave, heat the sugar up for about 30 to 45 seconds. Remove the covers and take a fork to the sugar. Once the sugar has softened, make sure to use it immediately because the softened sugar won’t last long.
Stop Brown Sugar From Hardening to Begin With
Okay, so you bought a fresh bag of that brown sugar and don’t want to have to go through the process of softening it. No problem, in order to keep brown sugar from turning into a sugar brick, add a marshmallow to the container.
If you have never heard of this trick, you will love it because the marshmallow will absorb the moisture that would normally harden the brown sugar. Super easy and it will make the sugar last longer over time anyway. Win-Win!
Replacement Rolling Pin
Are you like me and break rolling pins or lose them mysteriously? If so then you might be hunting for one when it comes time to roll out your dough. Fear not, because we have a solution that will mean never actually having to buy another rolling pin again.
Take a bottle of wine (or any other long, heavy cylindrical bottle) and clean it with soap and water. Once you clean it, pat it dry and then pat it with flour. Now you can use your wine for more than just drinking, it can roll out your dough too.
Keep Your Cookies Soft
There is nothing worse than having perfectly baked cookies that are soft and gooey right after baking turning hard as a rock. But if you want to keep those cookies soft for a few days, then this hack will make your entire baking life better.
Whether you are storing the cookies in a bit of Tupperware or even in a plastic storage bag, the easiest way to keep cookies soft is to include a small piece of a slice of bread (I usually use white bread because it never seems to add a flavor or scent to the container or bag). The bread will allow the moisture in the cookie to stay in the cookie. But you will have to check the container after a day or two to make sure the bread is still good.
These cookie baking tips are just a few hacks that I have personally used and found to work really well. Of course there are plenty of other tips and tricks that could help make your holiday baking easier, but these are some of our tried and true winners.
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