Baking has always been a passion and although I don't share all of my recipes, I'm thrilled to share others. There are some hints and tricks that everyone should know when trying to accomplish magic in the kitchen. They aren't secrets, but if you haven't spent a lot of time on recipe websites, in recipe books, or in the kitchen there are times when you feel at a loss that someone else can use the same recipe you use and get such a different result. Sometimes it is just nice to have someone hand you a few hints.
So I'm going to share some of my favorite hints for baking. Try them and you will know why I love to "tweak" a recipe.
First of all, you can fool anyone into thinking you are an amazing cook if you can follow a recipe and you know where to go to find the good ones. I've found the best way to produce a "sure thing" in the kitchen is to use recipes that others have tried and tweaked. Feedback is HUGE when it comes to a recipe. If I'm buying ingredients to make something I want to KNOW that it's going to be good. I don't like to try a recipe that might or might not be enjoyed. Who wants to waste ingredients? Who wants to go through all that trouble and then have to throw away their hard work? I take cooking and baking very seriously and I do not take my reputation in the kitchen lightly.
Let me start by introducing you to two of my favorite resources for recipes on the web.
Why are they my favorites? First of all they both have some great search features. You can search by a variety of methods including ingredients you have on hand, theme, course, and even by preparation method. Each recipe has the opportunity to be reviewed, commented on, and rated. You can sort recipes by those ratings and then read what the other cooks did with that recipe to produce the results they wanted. These tools are huge! I am not a big fan of turning a page in a recipe book and blindly trying something. But if 150 people tell me that they didn't think two ingredients would go together but they tried it and those ingredients not only went together but produced a mouth watering result, I will not only take note, I'm likely to see what all the fuss is about, try that recipe, and learn a few things in the process.
So Here we go...
Hint 1: You don't have to recreate the wheel. Use the tools available to you and use them for all they are worth!
Hint 2: Pudding. Pudding. Pudding...
Let me elaborate on that. Take the Nestle Toll House Recipe for example...
Cut the Flour down to 2 1/8 of a cup and add a package of vanilla pudding. Don't take my word for it. TRY IT! I promise, you'll love the result. Tweak it a little more, to get a chewy cookie, use bread flour instead of all purpose.
To elaborate a little further...
Pudding and Cake... Have you noticed all the cake mixes that claim "the pudding is in the mix". Why? Did you ever wonder about that?
Try this the next time you bake a boxed cake mix. Ignore the instructions on the back of the box and do this instead:
Moist and Delicious Boxed Cake Mix
1 Box Mix (any flavor)
1 Package Pudding Mix (Vanilla for most flavors and Chocolate for Chocolate cake mixes)
1 Cup Sour Cream
1/2 Cup Oil
1/2 Cup Warm Water
Follow the mixing and baking ingredients on your box only substitute these as your ingredients. You won't be diappointed. Oh... ADD CHOCOLATE CHIPS to your Chocolate Cake Mixes. I think Mini work best.