My mom has followed several of my recipes and will complain that her cookies didn't turn out like mine. "What do you do? What's your secret?" Really no secrets, but I thought I would put together a list of things I do when baking that I believe produce the best products! This is relating mainly to cookies, but the same applies to any of my baking.
1. Eggs. I always have my eggs at room temperature before adding them to a recipe. If you forgot to get your eggs out ahead of time, gently place the eggs in a bowl of warm water for about fifteen minutes.
2. Eggs again. In my baking I always use large eggs. Save the smaller eggs for breakfast.
3. Butter. I only use real butter. No margarine. Ever.
4. Vanilla. Only the real stuff. No imitation flavoring. Ever. I used to always have Mexican Vanilla, but my grandparents aren't doing the snow bird thing anymore, so I've been trying other brands. But, just use the real stuff. If it says "Imitation", it's not worth the time.
5. Baking soda/Baking powder. Don't let the stuff expire. Keep it fresh. If you can't remember, or aren't good at checking dates, just buy new every year when you start your holiday baking!
6. Sugar. I only buy Cane sugar. In my stores there is only one brand of cane sugar, I will buy nothing else.
7. Flour. Pick a brand and stick with it. I don't know if one brand is better than another, but I believe they have their differences. I stick with my brand, because I know the results I get with it.
8. Ovens. Know your oven. Everyone's oven is different, and you may need to compensate your baking time depending on your oven. Not sure? Get an oven thermometer and find out how exact your oven temperature is.
9. Baking sheets. My cookie sheets are "air bake" sheets. I believe in them.
10. Cooling racks. Own a set. Depending on the recipe, you don't always want your cookie staying on that hot baking sheet to long. Once your transfer your cookies to a rack, the sheets will cool a little faster which allows you to prep the pan sooner with more cookies!