Ten tips to fix common baking fails
Ways to prevent & rescue mishaps
Oops! We’ve all been there. Patiently waiting for those cookies to come out of the oven (because they smell oh-so good) when suddenly, you’re met with a sheet full of one giant, solid cookie. We like to think of these moments as learning opportunities, so we’ve come up with these 10 tips to help you improve next time around. If you’re in a pinch for dessert time and need to salvage the mistake, we’ve also included tips to turn your blunder into a wonder.
- Crisp up those limp cookies – If you’re having trouble making the perfectly crispy cookie, chances are you’re either not cooking them long enough or you’re using the wrong kind of flour. Use all-purpose flour to achieve the crispy edges you’re looking for—all-purpose flour has a higher protein concentration to other baking flours, providing a crispier texture.
- Fix dry-as-the-Sahara cakes – We love a glass of milk with our piece of cake, but when it’s the only way to get the slice down, we’ve got a problem. There could be many factors contributing to why your cake is so dry—too much flour, too little liquid, baked too long, etc. One important tip to avoid this fail is to not overmix the batter. Overmixing flour causes the gluten to overdevelop, giving you a drier than desired texture.
- Ward off brick-like cookies – Tough and hard cookies could be the result of using too much flour. When measuring flour, fill your measuring cup with a spoon and level it off with the back of a butterknife to ensure a proper measurement.
- Reduce flour clumping – If a recipe calls for sifting, you’re not going to want to skip that step. Forgetting to sift your dry ingredients can result in big clumps of flour throughout any of your baking projects. Mixing thoroughly (but not too much!) and sifting your ingredients will help prevent big chunks of flour being found in your muffins, cakes and breads.
- Fluff up dense bread – If your bread is extra heavy and dense, consider a longer proof of the dough or changing up the flour to one with a higher protein concentration. Flours like cake flour that have a lower protein concentration will likely prevent your bread from rising properly. Use a bread flour and leave to proof for at least 40 minutes.
- Avoid bottom of the treat burn – Do the bottoms of your cakes and cookies always seem to turn out black? Burnt bottoms may be caused by too much grease, a dark baking pan/sheet or placement in the oven. Try using lighter coloured pans (silver vs. black) and place sheets further away from the element to prevent bottom burning.
The fail has been done and there’s no turning back. Now what? These final four tips will help you salvage your baking mishaps:
- Turn stuck cake into delicious cake pops – You totally forgot to grease the cake pan and there’s no chance of getting it out in one piece—no worries! Mix up your cake with icing and form into little balls. Stick them with a skewer and dip them in chocolate. Now that’s a delicious mistake!
- Make delicious dessert toast from stale cake – Cake went stale too quick? Slice it up into toast-sized pieces and pop it in your toaster for few minutes. Top with your favourite spreads and fruit and you have yourself a tasty dessert toast!
- Dry cookies become cookie butter – If your cookies come out a little burnt on the bottom or too dry for your taste, try turning them into a cookie butter! Scrape off the burnt bottom and pop them in a food processor with heavy cream and butter and whiz it all up. Spread your new creation on toast, dip some apple slices in it or top your weekend pancakes with it.
- Milkshake meets overbaked brownie – Left the brownies in the oven a smidge too long? Turn your overbaked brownies into a delicious chocolate milkshake by adding ice cream, milk and your favourite syrups and toppings to a blender with pieces of your brownies. The result: a creamy, chocolatey milkshake. Nobody will suspect a mistake had been made!
We hope these tips help you the next time you go to create your next batch of treats. Happy baking!