Festive Cheats; top 5 baking hacks
I’ve grown up around my Mum and Nan always baking in the kitchen. Freshly baked cookies, the scent of warm vanilla, it’s basically the dream… AND you get to eat at the end of it (win, win). But there isn’t always time, space or dollar for a kitchen aid lying around. So here are my baking life hacks for when it goes wrong, and how to encourage things to go right in the kitchen…
Cover it up
Icing sugar is your friend. It covers a multitude of sins, like the fact you bought those scones from the shop/burnt them/didn’t bother measuring out the ingredients and they’ve turned into tiny puddles of hot mess. Dust it on or drop some water in with it and drizzle your way out of a baking disaster.
So you happen to be short on time and buy shop bought biscuits/cupcakes/pretty much anything. No one needs to know. If you do everything from scratch, you have to bake AND decorate, but a little savvy shopping saves enough time for you to just do the fun bit. Icing sugar, a tiny bit of water, grease proof paper and sellotape (the last two to make the icing bag… I’m not a wizard who can just magically fold the paper into shape). Go for mismatched designs and feel free to make a free mistakes; it makes everything look all that bit more authentically home made!
Yah, you heard me. If like me you’re super underprepared in general, wine always helps. No rolling pin? There’s a wine for that (hello make shift). Christmas cake looking a little dry? There’s a wine for that. Need to mourn over your lack of baking skill? There’s a wine for that! ‘Cause wine not *just imagine the sassy emojis for days right here*.
Is there anything better than warm from the oven, soft in the middle, crisp on the outside cookies? No, no there is not. The good news is you can fake it. Bake from scratch if you’ve got the time but a cookie mix or ready made dough can turn out pretty fab too. Just cut out circles, pop on grease proof tray and stick your cookie dough in the fridge for ten mins before baking. A tablespoon of vanilla in the mix (yeah, a tbsp, you heard it right) always helps too.
Go shopping… again
Prior to writing this post, I had a difficult conversation with my Mother in that I admitted that I don’t know how to make pastry, but also who on earth has the time? Blind baking? Get in the sea. When perfectly pre-prepared pastry cases exist, I’ll be heading straight to the Sainsbury’s home baking aisle and picking up 3 boxes, thanks very much. I will admit they sometimes look a little anaemic, but sticking them in the oven for a bit (without getting your hands dirty), with maybe a little egg wash if you can hack it, solves everything. The same applies to cake mix… Betty Crocker is an angel sent from heaven for those of us whose batteries ran out in our digital scale six months ago and we just haven’t gotten round to replacing them. Buy a box, buy a few eggs, buy a little butter/oil/coffee and you’re off to a flying start. Literally no-one will know your cake came from a box… unless you publish that fact all over your blog, in which case, some people might know.
Do you have any baking hacks, are you basically Mary Berry in disguise or are you just living that lazy gal life?