Baking Hacks That Will Make Your Life Easier

No matter how hard you try to be organized and prepared in the kitchen, it’s inevitable that you’ll run out of an ingredient, forget something at the store or get stuck without an important kitchen tool. And if you’re baking in someone else’s kitchen, you might be in unfamiliar territory. However, all is not lost. With a few useful baking hacks under your belt, you’ll be ready to conquer any pastry, baked good or sweet treat in no time.

Tricks With Tools
From measuring tools to blending equipment to other implements, you already know that a well-stocked kitchen is your best friend. However, it’s easy to forget or break something, or even not have a specific kind of tool at all if you don’t use it very often. Or maybe you’re just looking for a way to improve the tools you already have or solve common problems during usage. Thankfully, there’s quite a bit of information on useful baking equipment tips, and here are some common ones you might use the most.

If you don’t have a rolling pin, use a wine bottle. Cosmopolitan Magazine shares this great tip courtesy of blogger Jane Maynard of This Week for Dinner. You can remove the label from an empty bottle along with any residue, then wash it before you. Or if you’re in a hurry, put some wax paper or plastic wrap over your dough and use a bottle with the label still on.

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Cookie cutters also work great for cake decorating. Lifehack included this brilliant idea in its list of 40 great baking hacks. The trick is to place the cookie cutters very gently on top of your frosted cake and then fill them with sprinkles, nonpareils, edible confetti or your other choice of decoration.
Use paper plates to prevent splatters from your hand mixer. The plate goes between the beaters and the machine — cut holes in the plate and insert the stems of the beaters through the holes. This same technique also proves useful for your immersion blender: simply cut a larger hole in the plate and insert the blender attachment through it before connecting to the blender’s mechanism.
Try this trick for perfectly shaped cookies: roll your finished dough onto a sheet of parchment paper, then roll the whole thing into a log. Refrigerate until firm, then slice into even portions and bake.

Smart Substitutions
You’re about to make that gorgeous chocolate cake or a batch of cookies that’s sure to make the whole house smell so good. But wait! You’ve run out of butter, or eggs or some other ingredient. You’re dreading the last-minute supermarket run. But you’ve got to suck it up and go, right? Maybe not. Some items you may already have in your fridge or pantry make great stand-ins for some common missing foods.

Butter: This dairy product responsible for the flavor, texture, density and sweetness in many desserts. In a pinch, try avocados. Also, unrefined coconut oil is solid at room temperature, similar to butter, and can mimic its thickness. For spice cookies or cakes, olive oil works in an emergency.
Cream: Oops! You forgot to pick up a carton of cream at the grocery store. No worries. If you’ve got coconut milk in your pantry, you’re good to go.
Milk: If you don’t mind experimenting with different densities and textures, yogurt or sour cream may work well in your recipe if you’re low on milk.
Eggs: You reach into the fridge and…that carton of eggs you expected to find is gone. Or you’ve one egg short. But you’re still okay if you’ve got mashed bananas and applesauce around. They’re wonderful substitutions that also knock down the cholesterol content of your decadent dessert. The Strive to Simplify blog also recommends mayonnaise in its list of egg stand-ins, which is logical considering that most varieties already contain eggs. And if you’re keen on plant-based alternatives for your swap-outs, try the Just Mayo original flavor version from Hampton Creek.

Flexibility Is the Key
There are many more ideas than these, but the bottom line is flexibility. If you’re unable to dart out of the house to pick up your missing product or tool, then innovating thinking and a willingness try something different are important. There’s a good chance you’ll find your own hacks along the way, and with time and experimentation, you’ll feel like a pro when it comes to quick kitchen solutions.