Baking can be a bit intimidating to a novice in the kitchen. Constant worry that your cookies will flatten and burn, your cakes will be lopsided, or your brownies dry and flavorless.  It is true, baking is a bit of science. However, practicing these essential tips will have you baking up beautiful homemade goodies in no time!! 

Step 1:
While it seems pretty obvious, the first step is to read the directions. Make sure you have all of your ingredients prepped, softened, melted, sifted, and measured before you begin. It is essential  to check out your ingredients and make sure you have everything you need before you get started.  Don’t underestimate this step.  There’s nothing worse than running out of eggs mid-recipe.

Step 2
 Read the body of the instructions.  A recipe may call for 2 cups of flour in the ingredient list, but only want you to add 1 cup to start and use the other 1 cup for something else. It is important to make sure you know beforehand where your ingredients are going. In addition, make sure you understand the techniques it requires ex: cream together, cut in, or fold.  Take the time to review the instructions step-by-step. If you are not sure what a term means, Google it to be safe.

Step 3
Prep your oven and bake-ware. If the recipe calls for a pan to be greased or cookie sheet to be lined with parchment paper be sure to do it. If you do not have parchment paper, a silicone mat or aluminum foil will work the same. This will not only help your bake goods turn out Flawlessly, it will also protect your pans and make clean up a easier.

Step 4
Do not ever throw all the ingredients together in a bowl randomly. This is a big mistake. When it comes to baking, it really does matter in which order the items are mixed. The reason why is it prevents your mixture from clumping, curdling, or other unsavory results.  You must make sure everything is blended together consistently . Typically you want to mix the dry ingredients together in one bowl, then set aside.  Next, mix the wet ingredients in another. Then gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet ones. As always, check your recipe’s directions and follow the order as it is written.

Step 5
Most recipes have a time range for the amount of time an item should bake, like 9-11 minutes.   Make sure you preheat your oven to the correct temperature.  Always set a timer and keep a close eye on the item you’re baking, especially if you’re not sure if your oven runs hot. Take a peek a minute or two before the timer is set to go off to see how it is going.  Try not to open the oven door though, as it will start to cool off the inside. If you feel its done before the timer goes off, go with your gut and take it out. If the timer goes off but the item doesn’t look quite done, add another minute at a time until it looks ready.

Step 6
The most important step, is to HAVE  FUN!!!!! It is OK if everything doesn't come out perfect the first time, just try again.  Baking should be fun and enjoyable and you pastries will come out better when you enjoy yourself!!

I would love to hear your tips for baking! Leave them in the comment section.

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