Sweet & Simple
Extra baking tips from Michelle Jaffee
photograph by Melani Lust
It’s a chilly winter afternoon and you want to be cozy at home and bake some delicious cookies for your family and friends… Where to begin?
First pick a recipe you know well, or select a new recipe and read it thoroughly. Then check your pantry and fridge making sure you have all the ingredients called for and that they are fresh. Measure your ingredients and have all ingredients at room temperature. Preheat the oven and prepare your sheet pans (I like to line mine with parchment paper).
Some tools I cannot live without at home are my small kitchen scale, a KitchenAid stand mixer, ice cream dishers and thick sheet pans.
Why a scale? Once you start measuring ingredients by weight (vs. volume) your results will be more consistent. Some of us (me!) have a heavy hand when it comes to sugar and flour. Weighing ingredients takes away the opportunity to flub a recipe because you added too much flour or sugar.
Why a stand mixer? Have you ever mixed chocolate chip cookies by hand? Stand mixers make light work of heavy doughs.
Dishers come in a variety of sizes. They will give you a uniform, perfectly shaped cookie with every scoop. Plus, kids love to use them. Your cookies will not only taste delicious, they will look even better on your serving plate.
Use good quality, thick sheets pans. Why? Your cookies will bake evenly and the pans will hold up. Flimsy pans tend to warp. I purchase sheet pans from my local restaurant supply and they are virtually indestructible. Bonus? They are excellent for holding kids’ craft projects and Lego creations (sheet pans can be carried from room-to-room and make clean-up a snap).
Finally, for me, baking at home sometimes comes down to being organized and making time. Often I pre-measure all my dry goods the day/night before. When I’m ready to bake, I put out the butter, eggs and any liquid ingredients to bring to room temp and off I go!
We’re home bakers, and we know there is nothing more delicious than cookies baked with love – the main concept behind Sweet & Simple and our new retail store, Sweet & Simple Bake Shop opening in January, 2013.
You’ll find us at 75 Hillside Road, Fairfield. We’ll be baking and always available to answer any cookie baking questions you may have. Love, Michelle www.sweetandsimple.com