Every week, baking expert Alice Medrich will be going rogue on Food52 -- with shortcuts, hacks, and game-changing recipes.
Today: Last year, you made a commitment to be a better baker in 2014. Since we know resolutions can be hard, we're reminding you of what you agreed to last year, and we're adding a few more goals for 2015, too.
It's hard to resist the temptation to make New Year's resolutions. Next year, you'll eat more greens, wake up to see the sunrise, spend more time visiting family, and keep up with the news. But hey, that sounds eerily similar to what you were going to do this year, doesn't it?
Finally, we've come up with a resolution you can keep: in 2015, you're going to be a better baker. With a little help from baking expert Alice Medrich, you're going to make the best whipped cream of your life. You're going to bake cookies in big batches without get frustrated. You're even going to melt white chocolate without scorching it.
Along the way, you're going to save time, save money (and splurge on what counts), and eat more chocolate. Because who says "eat more chocolate" can't be a legitimate New Year's resolution?
1. Commit to measuring ingredients with a scale.
- Using a scale is not only faster, easier, and neater than using measuring cups, but it's also more accurate.
- Measuring non-wheat flours using a scale will make recipe results more consistent, which means better cakes for everyone.
2. Incorporate more flavorful flours (au revoir, all-purpose!).
- Start slowly: Try making small adjustments to your favorite baking recipes.
- Use buckwheat flour, oat flour, brown rice flour, or another non-wheat flour to make pancakes.
- Give pumpkin cake a makeover by using white rice flour to transform it into a tall, airy, and elegant masterpiece.
3. Waste less.
Make granita with leftover wine.
- Bake crunchy, airy meringues with any amount of leftover egg whites.
- Turn extra beer into ice cream (it's almost as good as turning lead into gold).
4. Make more desserts with olive oil.
- Use olive oil in place of butter in a pound cake.
- Make a custard where olive oil subs in for the milk or cream (bonus: it takes only six minutes and is a great use for your Meyer lemons).
5. Save time.
- Throw away your sifter! Or act more reasonably and only sift when it's really necessary.
- Don't spend time clarifying butter on the stovetop -- check out Alice's easier, microwave-friendly method instead.
- Try this super fast technique for drying whisks and strainers.
- Make a bright, fresh lemon curd without separating any eggs.
6. Save money.
- Instead of shelling out money for pricey balsamic, make a less expensive homemade version that will taste like a million bucks.
- Follow Alice's three rules for baking with nuts, then pocket the extra money and buy something nice.
- Make your own fluffy, airy nut flour at home with this one trick.
- Get the most out of your parchment paper and buy it less frequently.
7. Splurge where it counts.
Buy pre-cut parchment paper rounds and sheets and stop wrestling with those nasty rolls.
- The key to better whipped cream is using heavy whipping cream with only one ingredient: cream. Go ahead and buy the real stuff.
8. Eat more chocolate.
Let no ice cream go un-sauced.
Decorate your sugar cookies with pure melted chocolate.
- Give white chocolate the attention it deserves.
9. Don't forgo dessert just because you don't have all day to bake.
Make pumpkin pie on a weeknight by skipping the whole "pie" part.
- Having grilled sandwiches for dinner? Just swap in the filling for chocolate, et voilà: dessert!
- There's always time for fresh fruit and cream.
Photos by James Ransom
What are your best baking tips? Share them with us in the comments below!