November 1st, 2011 | Shop News | 0 Comments
Just in case you missed it in our last newsletter, here are a few more baking tips from our own Rose Everet. She also included a couple of reciepes just for fun.
Room Temperature Ingredients
By Rose Everett
Why should you bake using ingredients at room temperature one might ask? First we need to define what room temperature is. Room temperature is generally 68º F, unless otherwise stated.
It is important that eggs, butter, and milk be at room temperature when mixing with dry ingredients. If you combine baking ingredients at varying temperature you may encounter these problems.
- Batter too thick, will not spread evenly in pan
- Outer edges cook faster while middle is still raw
- Finished product is dense, not aerated
- Heavy product, gluey-taste
By looking at the roles butter, eggs, and milk play in our batters helps us prevent these problems.
Butter at room temperature will break down and create air bubbles allowing aeration to take place. Cold butter does not beat well therefore aeration does not take place.
***Remember you want your butter cold when you are making pie crust, this causes a flaky crust.
Eggs at room temperature whip up to a greater volume and act as a binder between wet/dry ingredients. Cold eggs could re-harden the fat (butter) making the batter appear curdled or lumpy, possibly affecting the texture of your baked goods.
Milk/Water at room temperature moistens the dry ingredients without the need to over beat the batter, therefore avoiding gluten (when flour and liquid are over-mixed tasting like glue, having a gluey texture). Cold milk or water will coagulate and clump in the batter which will require extra beating to mix ingredients to a smooth batter.
Unfortunately, the urge to bake may be unplanned and come on suddenly and you may not want to wait an hour for our butter, eggs, and milk to reach room temperature. What can you do? Here are some helpful hints.
Butter – You want to make sure you don’t melt it. So you don’t want to microwave it. I find it helpful to turn the empty microwave on for a minute while I cut my butter into small cubes, and then put the cut up butter in the warm microwave; this provides a warm environment without adding heat. You may need to repeat the process every few minutes until butter has softened.
Egg – You can place eggs in a bowl of warm water (not hot) for 5-10 minutes prior to cracking. (Remember that if you need to separate egg whites from the yolks it is easier to do it while they are cold. Then place your separated egg parts in a smaller bowl in warm water.)
Milk – Milk and water are the easiest to bring to room temperature, just warm them in the microwave to take the chill off.
By starting with room temperature ingredients you will end up with a lighter, tender, and fluffy pastry. Hope you found this helpful. Here are a couple of recipes using room temperature ingredients. Happy Baking! Remember you can prepare your cookie dough early and freeze it, until you need it.
2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup unsalted butter room temperature
1 1/2 cups granulated white sugar
2 large eggs room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup granulated white sugar
2 teaspoon cinnamon
In a large bowl whisk together you dry ingredients (flour, salt, and baking powder). Set a side.
In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer) cream together the butter and sugar until smooth (about 2 to 3 minutes). Add the eggs, one egg at a time, beating well after each egg is added. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add in the vanilla extract. Slowly add the dry ingredients a small amount at a time, and beat until you have a smooth dough. Cover dough and refrigerate until firm (about one hour).
Preheat oven to 385º F and place racks in center of the oven. Line your baking sheets with parchment paper.
Shape the cookie dough into 1 inch round balls. Mix the coating sugar and cinnamon. Roll your balls of dough into the cinnamon sugar and place on the prepared cookie sheets, spacing about two inches apart. Using the bottom of a glass and gently flatten each cookie to about 1/2 inch thick.
Bake the cookies for about 8-10 minutes, or until cookies are lightly golden brown and firm around the outer edges (center will still be a little soft). Remove from oven and cool on wire racks.
Cookies can be kept in an air tight container for about 10-14 days at room temperature.
Makes 4 to 5 dozen
You may freeze baked cookies or the cookie dough.
For a longer storage you should freeze baked cookies in airtight freezer containers, freezer bags, or aluminum foil. Don’t use cardboard containers because they can pick up freezer odors. They can be frozen up to twelve months.
Before serving the cookies make sure you thaw them in their original freezer wrappings (so that condensation forms on the wrapping, not on the cookie). Crisp cookies may soften when thawed after freezing; to re-crisp, put them in a 300°F oven for 8 to 10 minutes.
Freezing unbaked cookie dough:
Most cookie dough freezes extremely well and can be kept frozen for up to 3 months. Keep in mind that the dough will absorb any odd odors present in your freezer if they are not properly wrapped and sealed. To prevent this as well as freezer burn, wrap the dough securely twice.
Remember to write the type of cookie dough and the date it was frozen on the outside of the package. When you are ready to bake simply let the dough defrost in the refrigerator. This will take several hours, so plan ahead.
The cookie dough’s that freeze the best are shortbreads, chocolate chip, peanut butter, refrigerator, sugar, and brownies, just to name a few.
Refrigerator slice-and-bake cookies form the dough into a log and freeze. This way when you are ready to bake, all you need to do is just slice off as many cookies as you need.
Chocolate Walnut Crumb Bars
1 cup soften (room temperature) butter or margarine
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups (12 ounce package) chocolate chips
1 1/4 cups (14oz can) regular sweetened condensed milk
1 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
Preheat oven to 350º F. Prepare 13 x9 baking pan.
Beat butter or margarine in large bowl until creamy. Beat in flour, sugar, and salt until crumbly. With floured fingers, press 2 cups crumb mixture onto bottom of greased (or parchment lined) 13×9 pan, reserving remaining mixture.
Put in oven and bake for 10-12 minutes or until edges are golden brown.
Warm 1 1/2 cups morsels and sweetened condensed milk in small, heavy saucepan over low heat, stirring until smooth. Stir in vanilla and spread over hot crust. Stir in walnuts and remaining morsels (1/2 cup) into reserved crumb mixture; sprinkle over chocolate filling.
Finish baking for 25-30 minutes or until center is set. Cool in pan on wire rack. Cut into squares and enjoy!