My Five Best Kitchen Tips
As a special gift this week, I thought I’d share some helpful kitchen tips that I’ve picked up over the years. Some of them might be obvious, but I remember when I learned each of these because they have proved incredibly useful in the kitchen, and I hope they do the same for you:
- Make Lemon Zest In a Blender – I hate graters. Their sharp teeth threaten my knuckles and don’t even do the job of zesting a lemon very well. I use my Magic Bullet blender to make lemon zest by cutting away the yellow rind with a paring knife then blending for 5 to 10 seconds.
- Mix Your Muffin Batter Minimally – Actually, this works for any gluten-dependent recipe (scones, pancakes, loaves, et cetera) where the airiness of the final result is crucial. When combining the wet and dry ingredients, give at most 20 stirs. Stirring too much will break down the gluten, which is bubbling throughout the batter.
- Always Weigh Flour – There can be a huge difference in flour measurements by cups versus weight. People on the metric system get it and give most of their measurements by weight instead of cups. If you’re not on this system, get on it. You might be adding up to 30% (rough guess) more flour than you need by using measuring cups, especially if you’re prone to packing the flour in. 1 cup of all-purpose flour is equivalent to about 120 grams or 4.5 ounces. Here’s a useful conversion chart for some other baking ingredients. I find flours are the ones that will be off the most between measuring and weight.
- Oil Your Cups Before Measuring Sticky Liquids – honey, molasses, and corn syrup. This trick works so well! It not only makes clean up easier, but also gives you the actual measurement you’re after.
- Use Ice Cream Scoops For Cookies and Muffins – If you have a scoop with a lever, even better. Using the scoop will give you evenly sized and nicely rounded cookies. It abolishes pouring muffin batter and struggling with ladles and gives you even sized muffins. Look for a scoop that accommodates about 2 tablespoons or 30 milliliters for muffins. A smaller scoop is better for cookies, but if you use a bigger scoop, you just get bigger cookies, and who can disagree with that?
What’s the best trick you have in the kitchen? Leave a comment!