General Cooking Tips

Flip through the original Cooking with Kids book and you'll find cooking tips galore—here's a few more that weren't in the book:

To Soften Brown Sugar:

  • Store a slice of bread in it overnight...
  • Microwave on low for 30-90 seconds, or...
  • Heat in a low (250) oven for 3-5 minutes.

Dust with Cocoa Powder:
When making chocolate-based cakes or breads, grease the pan and dust with cocoa powder, instead of flour, to prevent sticking.


Grate Butter into Flour:
Instead of using a pastry blender, mix flour with butter by grating cold butter into it.

Make Your Own Slice 'n' Bake Cookies:
When making cookie dough, roll half the dough into logs, or cylinders, wrap well and freeze. Then slice and bake as desired.

Bring Out the Ironing Board for Cookie-Cooling:
If you need extra counter space for cooling cookies on racks or baking sheets, set up the ironing board and let them rest on it (cover the board to prevent stains).

To Make Cookie Crumbs, Cracker Crumbs or to Crush Shelled Nuts:
Seal them in a zipper bag then crush with a rolling pin.

Three Methods to Remove the Fat from a Stock:

  • Method 1: Chill until the fat solidifies, then scrape or lift it off.
  • Method 2: Lay a paper towel on top of the surface. It absorbs grease. Repeat as necessary.
  • Method 3: Insert a bulb baster under the layer of fat and squeeze; you're removing the juices/stock and leaving the fat behind.

To Protect Pie Crusts from Burning:
Cut out the center from a foil pie plate and invert it over the crust's edge. Or fold a piece of foil and cut out the center, then lay the foil over the crust's edge.

For an Easy "Bouquet Garni":
A bouquet garni is simply herbs and spices tied together or in cheesecloth for easy removal. Instead of cheesecloth, fill a tea ball for spices that need to be removed before serving, like peppercorns, bay leaves, etc.

To Make Citrus Curl Garnishes:
Peel a long strip of citrus peel with a zester. Tape one end to a straw then wrap in spirals. Freeze. Remove straw and tape before using.

Uses for Spray Bottles:
Buy several small spray bottles to use in the kitchen, for tasks like these:

  • moistening pie dough
  • coating oil on pans
  • misting salad dressing on delicate greens
  • spritzing filo dough with oil

Make Pita Chips:
Spray pita triangles with water, sprinkle with herbs and seasonings then bake at 350 degrees F until crisp (about 5 minutes).

To Measure Extracts or Small Amounts of Liquid:
Use a dropper with measurements on it, found in drugstores.

To Freeze Small Portions:
Use a muffin tin for stock or sauces; oversized ones hold 1 cup. To eject, twist the tins and tap on bottom if stuck. Seal tightly and freeze.

Keep "Fresh" Lemon Juice Handy:
For fresh-tasting lemon or lime juice year-round, freeze lemons and limes whole; thaw in microwave before squeezing.

Freeze Tomato Paste:
Freeze tomato paste in the can. Open both ends and punch out the paste. Wrap the frozen paste in foil and freeze, then slice off what you need as you need it.

Cook Corn Without Husking:
Cook corn with husks and silks on. The silks slide off with husks and both add more flavor.

Thaw Foods More Quickly:
Place frozen foods on a metal surface, like a metal tray or heavy frying pan. Metal conducts room temperature better than formica, wood, glass or tile.

Place the Cutting Board on a Low-Sided Pan:
To keep your work area dry and less messy, place the cutting board inside a baking sheet or jellyroll pan, so excess falls into the pan. Rubber bands or a damp cloth underneath helps prevent the board or pan from slipping. This works especially well when carving meats and roasts to save their juices.


Copyright © 1999, Kate Heyhoe. All rights reserved.



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Praise for the Original
Cooking with Kids book


Table of Contents

Part I: Cooking Together:
The Wisdom of 400 Families

Part II: Putting the Meal Together—Together!

Part III: Cooking 101:
A Handbook for Parents
& Young Chefs

Part IV: Recipes

Part V: Tips In Tens