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Baking & Desserts

104 Helpful Cooking Tips

From Cobblers to Sonkers: A Guide to Rustic Fruit Desserts
Is it a slump? A grunt? A buckle? Depends who you ask.
Can You Bake Cupcakes and Muffins Without a Muffin Tin?
Some packages of aluminum baking cups claim that they’re sturdy enough to fill and use directly on a baking sheet—no muffin tin required. Is this true?
Can You Reuse a Disposable Baking Pan?
Can disposable baking pans be reused?
Refreezing Pie Dough
If you don't use both frozen pie crusts sold together in a pack, is it okay to refreeze the one that’s already been thawed?
Cookie Sheet Shifting
Does it really matter if you switch and rotate your cookie sheets during baking?
Coffee Quandary
When a dessert recipe calls for espresso powder, can you grind your own espresso or dark-roast coffee beans to a fine powder and use that?
Substituting Lard for Butter in Biscuits
Can lard be substituted for butter in biscuits?
Does Sunflower Butter Turn Cookies Green?
Will substituting sunflower butter for peanut butter in recipes for cookies turn them green?
Leaveners
Leaveners add lift and lightness to lots of different foods. But they work in different ways.
Coconut vs. Heavy Cream in Chocolate Ganache
If avoiding dairy, can you substitute coconut cream for heavy cream in chocolate ganache?
How Many Cans of Store-Bought Frosting Do You Need to Frost a Cake?
When there isn't time to make homemade frosting, how much canned frosting will it take to properly frost a cake?
Test Kitchen Tips for Yeasted Bread
Here are some test kitchen tips that work with just about any yeasted bread recipe.
Test Kitchen Tips for Cookie Recipes
Test Kitchen Tips for Cookie Recipes
Improve your baking with these core cookie techniques.
Banana Ripeness in Banana Bread
Recipes for banana bread always call for very ripe or even brown bananas. Can one get away with a yellow or slightly green banana?
Is Warm Liquid Optional When Baking Bread?
Many bread recipes call for heating the milk (or another liquid) before combining it with the yeast. Is this step optional?
Can Almond Flour Be Substituted for Wheat Flour?
Is “almond flour” just ground-up almonds? Can it be used in place of flour in cakes?
Why You Shouldn't Grease a Tube Pan for Angel Food Cake
You don't want your cake to slip out of the pan when it's cooling, do you?
Substituting Coconut Oil for Shortening in Pie Crust
Can coconut oil be substituted for shortening in pie crust recipes that call for both shortening and butter?
Can Applesauce be Substituted for Oil in Box-Mix Brownies?
Can applesauce be substituted for oil in box-mix brownies?
Can You Infuse Flavor into Brown Sugar with Spent Vanilla Pods?
We add spent vanilla beans to white sugar in order to make vanilla sugar. Does this work with brown sugar?
Chocolate
All chocolate starts with the cacao bean. From there, different processing, flavorings, ingredients, and percentages of cocoa solids and cocoa butter can produc…
Are Turbinado, Demerara, and Sugar in the Raw Interchangable?
What’s the difference between turbinado, Demerara, and Sugar in the Raw? Are they interchangeable?
Substituting Dark Chocolate for Unsweetened
Substituting Dark Chocolate for Unsweetened
Recently I was making brownies and the recipe called for unsweetened chocolate. The only chocolate I had was dark "eating" chocolate. How can I substitute dark …
Using Agave Nectar in Place of Honey in Baking
Using Agave Nectar in Place of Honey in Baking
I recently saw a bottle of agave nectar in the grocery store. Can I use it in place of honey in baking?
Pie Crust Q&A
Everything you ever wanted to know about pie crust—and more.
How to Freeze Bread
Is it better to freeze a loaf of bread sliced or whole? Does sliced translate to more freezer damage?
Brown Sugar Substitute
Is there a viable substitution for brown sugar?
Improperly Cooked Cookies
Why do some cookies make burn on the bottom and look undercooked on the top?
Cake Pan Preparation
Cake recipes call for different pan preparations (greasing, flouring, papering). Which is best?
Cookie Storage
What’s the best way to store chewy cookies so they don’t dry out?
Egg Washes
Pie recipes call for egg washes of all sorts. Does it matter what I brush my pie crust with?
Gluten-Free vs. Regular Flour
Can I substitute gluten-free flour for regular flour? 
Bittersweet vs. Semisweet Chocolate
What’s the difference between bittersweet and semisweet chocolate?
Making Pie Dough Without a Food Processor
Do you really need a food processor to make pie dough?
Homemade Panko Crumbs
We love the crunch that panko crumbs give fried food and wondered if we could make our own version at home.