Tag: baking

Brownies Part I – Cookies and More Cookies

Brownies – Conquering my Fear!

Brownies Plain

 

I’m still hoping some bakers might join my little expedition into historical baking! Buy the book here!

My first journey into Cookies and More Cookies (here on out known as CMC) was my aforementioned nemesis, BROWNIES!

Why do I have such a difficult time with brownies? The only thing I can come up with is…well, they are BROWN! I always over-bake them. I’m afraid they are under cooked so I leave them in for another minute, then one more minute… then presto! They are crispy and taste terrible 🙁

As I am determined to overcome my fear, I will do my best to make some amazing brownies from some 80+ year-old recipes! Maybe not such a great idea, but here goes.

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St. Patrick’s Day Cookies with Royal Icing Transfers

St. Patrick's Day St. Patrick’s Day Celebration!

Do you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day? Our family usually does and this year is no exception. I usually make the corned beef and cabbage but this year I’m bowing out for the meat and stepping in for the cookies… and the Irish soda bread which I’m buying from the store (Shhh! Don’t tell!)

I’ve never done St. Patrick’s Day cookies and was pretty excited at all the possibilities of green, rainbows, and pots of gold. The only problem is that I have a baby shower I’m making cookies for this week as well and really didn’t have a lot of time to put into these. I’m using these as a learning experience 🙂 (more…)

How to make Berliner Kranser Cookies

Berliner Kranser

Ya, You Betcha!

Living in Minnesota for the majority of the past 17 years, I’ve learned a little bit about Scandinavian culture. Minnesota and Wisconsin have sister cities in many Scandinavian countries and the Minnesota State Fair is filled with tasty treats like Lingonberry ice cream and Lefse (a potato-type pancake…thing). In honor of all things Scandinavian and Minnesotan, I have decided to make Berliner Kranser cookies for my first installment of Cookies from Around the World. They are also called Norwegian Wreaths or Butter Knots.

I made Berliner Kranser cookies with my friend as a teenager and they stuck with me! (more…)

Essential Baking Tools for Beginners

Essential Baking for beginners

Essential Baking Tools for Beginners

Have you ever scrolled through Pinterest and dreamed of actually making one of those jaw-dropping desserts? Then you wake up and think, “Wow, I have no idea where to even begin, and I don’t have any fancy baking tools!” The right tools can make all the difference, but you don’t have to spend a lot of money or go to those fancy kitchen stores to get them. You probably already have most of them in your kitchen!

The tools I list here are just the bare essentials for getting you started. Some baked goods like cakes, popovers, or muffins need their own pans, but things like cookies, biscuits, and scones can all be made on regular sheet pans.

I love kitchen gadgets, especially baking equipment. I’ve added to my baking tool arsenal over the past 10+ years since college, but I didn’t start out with a huge mixer and 10 sets of measuring spoons. Don’t think you need to have the giant professional mixer when you first get started.

A Clean Pair of Hands

Yep, that’s first on my list of essential tools for beginners. Ask any professional chef or baker what his favorite tools are in the kitchen, and I’m guessing they will say clean hands. And of course I can’t emphasize enough the clean part! The CDC lays it all out for hand washing procedures on their website here.

hands kneading dough

Pans

I’ve tried lots of different pans for cookies and other baked goods and my pick is the plain aluminum baking half sheet. I picked mine up at Costco and I think they were around $11 for 2 of them. I found that 4 was a good number for just starting out. A good pan is going to be sturdy and not bend after it’s put in the oven.

You can check out aluminum baking sheets here.

aluminum half sheet pans

Parchment Paper

I love the pre-cut squares of parchment paper that lay flat in the pan. Rolls of parchment are fine and cheaper, but it takes some time to cut them and they do have a tendency to roll back up after you lay them on the pan. For the home baker, Reynold’s has some great parchment pan liners and you can find them here.

 

Heavy Rolling Pin

I received my rolling pin as a wedding gift and have really enjoyed it. It’s a Kitchen Aid non-stick rolling pin with red handles.  You can find rolling pins here . rolling pin

 Flour Sifter

This sifter is something I don’t know how I lived without for so long! My mother-in-law gave this to me several years ago and it sat on my shelf without use. It’s perfect for laying down a fine layer of flour or powdered sugar wherever it’s needed, like a work surface for rolling out dough.

Flour sifters can be found here.  Sifter

Food Scale

If you’ve ever made a recipe that called for flour and it turned out dry and crumbly, a food scale could have prevented that! Measuring dry ingredients is so much easier with a food scale, and it’s so key to getting consistent results in baking. Most can measure in grams or lbs. and oz.

Find food scales herefood scale

 

Mixing Bowls, Measuring Spoons, Whisks, and Spatulas

I’m lumping these together because most people have at least some of these items in their kitchens. I recommend having at least 1 set of measuring cups, 1 set of measuring spoons, and 1 liquid measuring cup (the glass ones). If you don’t mind washing while you work, you can also get by with 1 mixing bowl in most cases.

You can find mixing bowls here and measuring equipment here. I also love the glass measuring cups for liquid found here.

measuring cups spoons and spatulawhisk

Just the basics!

The items on this list will get you started on your baking journey. I didn’t include things like muffin or cake pans, or any decorating tools. Coming up soon, I’ll be doing a beginner decorating tool list.

I would love to hear what some of your favorite tools that have made your baking life easier. Leave a comment and share your faves!

Thanks for reading,

Leah

Everyone starts somewhere, right?

new blog

Awww, Look at that Baby Blog…

Everyone starts somewhere, right? I have wanted to blog for a long time. Literally it’s been years I have thought about starting one but just never had the inspiration to get it going. I had my AHA! moment a few weeks ago as I was reading several of my favorite blogs and all but one are about baking, mainly cookies. My Facebook feed is mostly taken up with videos and pictures of cakes and cookies. As an aspiring cookie decorator and baker, I decided this was my niche! About 3 weeks ago I started preparing. I got the fancy camera that I’d always wanted, started to learn how to use it ( beginner there too!) bought a few more decorating supplies, and finally took the big leap and created my blog.

Are you my reader?

The ideal reader for this blog would be someone who is pinning hundreds of decorated cookies, maybe cakes too, and dreaming of decorating those adorable penguin cookies, or piping that sparkly unicorn cake. My hope for this blog is to inspire you to jump in and learn with me!  As of right now, I can’t do those things either, but I hope to soon! Check out my ‘A little About Me’ page to see what makes me tick, I’m guessing we’ve got a few things in common. Thank you for reading, I hope you are as excited about this new adventure as I am!