8 Resolutions for the Novice Baker

There’s no doubt the explosion of baking shows over the last decade has inspired many of us to dust off our aprons and try our hand at baking. There’s just one problem, it always looks so much easier on TV where cupcakes never burn, cookies are always the same size and cakes never stick to the pan. Are you new to baking, but want to take your skills to the next level in 2015? Check out our 8 resolutions for you, the novice baker.

1. Get Organized
If you’re like many of us, one of your resolutions for 2015 is to get organized. Why not start with your kitchen? Take a little time to de-clutter your countertops, toss expired ingredients and straighten up your pantry. No matter how big or small your kitchen, having a workspace you can be proud of will set the stage for happy baking all year long.

 2. Read More
We’re talking about recipe books here. A little time invested up front to get familiar with your recipe ingredients, prep time and baking time can help avoid a frantic trip to the grocery store or a kitchen full of smoke. You don’t want to go there.

 3. Watch Your Measurements
Don’t worry, it’s not your waistline we’re measuring, but your baking ingredients. When measuring large quantities (i.e. 8 cups of flour), measure into a bowl on the side before adding it to your other ingredients. Have you ever been counting “1 cup, 2 cups, 3 cups” …and then the phone rings and you’ve lost count? You can always go back and restart your count if you haven’t already combined the ingredients. Also, a good guide when measuring is to use metal or plastic measuring cups for dry ingredients and glass cups for liquids.

 4. Practice Moderation
It may be tempting to dump your ingredients all in at once like they’re coming off dump truck, but slow and steady takes the cake (or should we say makes the cake) when combining your ingredients. Once you think you have everything mixed well, run your spatula along the bottom of the bowl to scoop up any ingredients that may have been left behind.

 5. Get in a Routine
Variety can be great, but not when it comes to the size of your cookies. If you want consistent cookie sizes and predictable baking times, you need to start with the same amount of dough for each cookie.  That’s where we recommend a handy ice-cream scoop for balling your cookies. That way your cookies will be the same size, every time.

 6. Don’t Sell Yourself Short
On the shortening, that is. Greasing your pans properly and completely can be the difference between a magazine-worthy masterpiece and an epic fail. Have you ever waited with wide-eyed anticipation for your cake to come out of the oven? You patiently let it cool to room temperature and slide a knife around the edges of the cake to loosen it from the pan. Then you gently tip the pan…and nothing happens. You tap it on the shelf and still nothing happens. A little frustrated you tip your pan a little more and half of your cake falls out. Not cool.  This can all be avoided by properly greasing your pans. Pay special attention to those pesky nooks, crannies and corners when applying your grease. You’ll thank yourself later.

 7. Manage Your Time
Time flies…especially when cupcakes are in the oven.  No matter how aware you think you are of the time, always set a timer as soon as you pop something in the oven. You never know what life will throw at you in the next 15 minutes, so why not play it safe and set the timer? The louder, the bigger, the better!

 8. Live with More Passion
It’s okay to be proud of your work! Baking is a craft that can evolve and develop over time. With countless recipes and techniques to try, there’s so much to love about baking.  Want some moral support; why not showcase your tasty treats to your family, friends and co-workers? They’re sure to join in the excitement once they’ve sampled a few of your creations.
 
There you have it.  Armed with a few resolutions to get you baking like a pro, you’ll be baking up a storm in no time. Here is to a tasty 2015 from your friends at Ashley’s!