Kitchen Tips

Your recipe asks for sweetened condensed milk, but you don't have it handy, here is a quick recipe that will solve your problems.

1/2 cup boiling water
1 cup powdered milk
2/3 cup sugar
3 tablespoons butter
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Place all of the ingredients into a blender and process until smooth.
You can store it in a tightly sealed container in the fridge for about a week.

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Baking Tips....

* When making cookies, always use unsalted butter, never margarine. The unsalted butter gives the cookies a lighter texture.

* Add a pinch of baking soda to your frosting and the frosting will
stay moist and prevent cracking.

* Always chill pastry dough before rolling and cutting, and always
chill it again afterwards, before baking, to further relax the
gluten.

* Your yeast will last longer than specified on those little packages
from the grocery store if kept in the refrigerator and even longer
in the freezer.

* To keep a cake longer, place half an apple in the cake container
when storing.

* When whipping heavy cream always whip in a stainless steel bowl. Aluminum bowls will cause the cream to turn grayish in color and the cream will taste metallic.

* Self rising flour is a mixture of 1-1/2 teaspoons of baking powder plus 1/2 teaspoon of salt per cup flour.

* When making a cake, have all of your ingredients at room temperature.

* You should leave 2 inches of space between the oven walls and your baking sheet for good circulation.

* Substitute 3/4 cup cocoa (unsweetened) and 1/4 cup Crisco for 4 squares (ounces) of chocolate.

* If your cake recipe calls for nuts, heat them first in the oven, then dust with flour before adding to the batter to keep them from settling to the bottom of the pan.

* Do you know you can make many pie recipes without the crust? Just pour the filling into a pie pan that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Examples: pumpkin, custard, buttermilk.

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CUTTING CHEESECAKES

Although cutting cheesecake is quite straightforward, there are a few tricks to achieving perfect slices. Here is a step-by-step process that, with a little practice, will yield even slices.

One trick to cutting cheesecake neatly is keeping the knife in use clean and smooth. To do this, fill a tall container with hot tap water deep enough to cover the blade of your knife. Dip the knife into the hot water, then wipe it on a clean towel before making every cut. The constant dipping and cleaning will prevent chunks of cake from the previous slice from depositing on top of the next slice. Some people prefer to cut cheesecake using cheese wire or dental floss, these cutting tools will also work very well.

Depending on the size of your cake, you may choose to cut it into 12 or 16 slices. If cutting the cake into 12 even slices, begin by cutting the cake into quarters, then cut each quarter into thirds.

To yield 16 slices, cut the cake into quarters, cut each quarter in half, and each half into a half. Depending on how long the knife you will use is, the first slice made should either by cutting the cake completely in half, (or if the knife is not long enough) by placing the knife's point at the center of the cake.

To simplify removal of the cake slices, run a knife or spatula along the bottom of the cake between the crust and the pan before lifting the first slice upward, outward and onto a serving plate.

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BUTTERMILK SUBSTITUTION:
Plan to use the same amount of soured milk as is called for buttermilk in the recipe. Warm milk slightly for best results.

TO EACH CUP OF WARMED MILK, ADD:
1 1/2 Tablespoons of fresh lemon juice
OR
1 1/3 tablespoons of cider vinegar
OR
2/3 cup plain yogurt plus 1/3 cup milk
OR
1 3/4 tablespoons cream of tartar
STIR WELL

Allow this mixture to set while putting the rest of the ingredients for the recipe together. Allowing the milk to set will give it time to thicken. The soured milk should have the consistency of buttermilk or yogurt.

If the recipe only calls for 1/2 cup of buttermilk...it is best to 'sour' a whole cup of milk for a more even consistency. Just refrigerate the leftover soured milk and try using it for buttermilk pancakes the next day! Milk that you have soured will keep in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Place in a tightly covered container.

If using skimmed milk, 1%, 2%, or evaporated milk when souring the milk....the consistency might be a little less thick than buttermilk or yogurt. If that proves to be the case, try using just a little less of the soured milk to the recipe so there will still be the proper consistency needed for a particular recipe. Learn to trust the eye for the proper consistency in a recipe and not necessarily rely on the liquid amount called for in a recipe.

If experimenting and wish to try to substitute buttermilk, or soured milk in a gluten-free recipe that calls for regular milk, it is suggested that you will need to add baking soda to the recipe if it doesn't call for any. Add the baking soda to the dry ingredients and mix well. Do not add it to the soured milk (some recipes may call for it to be added to the milk) as it will cause the leaven quality in the baking soda to be lost in the milk and not the batter/dough.

Use 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda for 1/2 cup of milk. This proportion seems to work well for gluten-free recipe conversions.

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How much baking powder will I add to all-purpose flour to substitute for a cup of self raising flour?

1 cup sifted self-rising = 1 cup sifted all-purpose flour plus 1 1/2 tsp baking powder and 1/8 tsp salt. (Don't forget the salt is a leavening agent too so you need that also).


What can i substitute to sour cream? because its a lot expensive here in our area and sometimes not available. so what can i do?

If you have a blender take a container of cream cheese add a tablespoon of vinegar and blend.. home made sour cream is ready!

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Garnishing Tips

Spring onion tails go curly when left in cold water, and make a great garnish.

In a recipe if you need to use dried herbs instead of fresh,remember that 1 teaspoon of dried herbs is equal to 1 tablespoon of chopped fresh herbs..

If you can't buy the chocolate-flavoured icing sugar,use 2 tablespoons of icing sugar and 1 teaspoon of cocoa powder instead.

Grate all unused cheese and keep in the freezer idea for cheese and potato pie,cheese on toast or as a pizza topping.

Cut two oranges in half,scoop out the flesh. Then make up a jelly adding the flesh from the oranges and pour into the two halves. Let the jelly set then cut into segments.They look good and taste lovely.

Freeze any leftover wine in ice cube trays.add to soups ,stews and casseroles

If a recipe calls for sifting several dry ingredients, use this useful cooking tip. It´s much simpler to put everything in a bowl and stir with a whisk. Sifters are great, but there are more versatile cooking utensils you can.

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Other Kitchen Tips

1. Mushrooms won't shrink in the frying pan if your pour boiling water over them beforehand.

2. To make a quick snack that tastes like pizza, grill pitta bread with cheese and sundried tomatoes on top.

3. To stop tomatoes making your sandwiches soggy,slice the tomato and put it on kitchen paper for a few minutes before putting it between the slices of bread. Your sandwiches will stay perfect.

4. Lettuce leaves will keep crisper if a little vinegar's added to the washing water. It also helps to remove any little insects.

5. Nuts can be stored in the freezer for up to a year, shelled or not.

6. If you have a small amount of milk that you don't think you can use before it spoils, pour it into ice cube trays and freeze. After they are frozen, pop out and store in resealable bags or freezer containers.

7. When slicing apples, keep them from turning brown by dipping them in lemon-lime soda or salt water.

8. Spray your knife with cooking spray before cutting meringue- topped pies and the meringue will cut cleanly.

9. Cube leftover ham and store in the freezer...it's handy to add to mac and cheese, omelets, etc.

10. Potato chips will keep for months if stored in the freezer.