Hints and Tips

Hints and Tips for baking:

There a few tips that can be used to speed either the preparation or the cleanup. These are the things I do to keep it simple.

  • Weigh ingredients for ease and more accurate measurements.


  • For cakes, line the bottom of the baking pans with parchment. Don't bother greasing the sides of the pan.
  • Making a cake can be made easier by baking the cake one night, then frosting it the next. Two short tasks often seem more feasible than one long task. Plus, you don't have to wait for the cake to cool before you can frost it. After baking, leave the cakes in the pan(s) and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Leave in a cool place (not the refrigerator).

Cookies & Snack Bars:

  • Short on time? Make bars instead of drop or formed cookies. Baking individual cookies take more time and effort.
  • For ease in scooping and forming cookies, purchase a mechanical food scoop, about 1" in diameter. All your cookies will be round and exactly the same size. Having all the same size will ensure even baking.
  • For cookies just when you need them, make the dough ahead of time, then form into individual cookies. Freeze on a baking sheet, then store in zip-lock bags. When you need them, take out just what you need and bake as normal, adding a couple of minutes to the baking time.
  • For bars, line the entire pan with foil so you can remove the entire cake easily for cutting without having to invert.
    • To easily line with foil, turn the pan up-side-down. Press the cut piece of foil over the pan until it fits the shape. Remove the foil, turn the pan right-side-up, place shaped foil inside pan. It will be slightly off, but can now be easily molded to the shape of the pan without tearing.
    • After baking and cooling, lift the bars out of the pan using the foil as handles. Pull foil off sides of bars. Place on cutting surface and cut into bars. Lift bars individually off the foil.
  • For most cookies, don't bother greasing the cookie sheet, as most will have sufficient butter in them. There are a few exceptions (e.g., Chocolate Pixies) and these will so state in the directions.
  • Many cookies need to set on the cookie sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a rack (e.g., Mrs. Fields). Others must be removed immediately or they will stick (e.g., Spritz and Sugar Cookies).
    • Be sure to follow the instructions - if not stated, they should be removed immediately. 
    • If you didn’t get them off in time and they are sticking horribly to the cookie sheet, try putting the cookie sheet back into the warm oven for just a few minutes. This should warm the cookies and melt any fat on the sheet - then remove immediately!

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