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Baking & Desserts

81 Helpful Cooking Tips

The Best Vessel for Rising Dough
The Best Vessel for Rising Dough
This container is perfect for monitoring your dough.
Published: August 2021
Should You Be Using Your Oven's Convection Setting?
Should You Be Using Your Oven's Convection Setting?
When and when not to use it.
Published: August 2021
How to Mail Cookies with Minimal Damage
Want to mail cookies as gifts this year? These packing tips will ensure their safe arrival.
Published: October 2019
How to Freeze Cake Layers
Try this convenient method for (mostly) make-ahead dessert.
Published: October 2018
What Does “When a Toothpick Comes Out Clean" Mean in Baking Recipes?
Inserting a toothpick into baked goods will help you determine doneness. Here’s a visual guide to help you understand the terminology we use.
Published: August 2018
Using Chocolate in Cookie Crusts
Can you substitute chocolate wafer cookies for graham crackers in graham cracker crusts and other cookie crusts?
Published: June 2018
What Is Clear Vanilla Extract?
And how does it compare with standard vanilla extract?
Published: April 2018
Passionate about chocolate? Here’s what you need to know to get cooking with this miracle ingredient.
Published: December 2017
Refreezing Pie Dough
If you don't use both frozen pie crusts sold together in a pack, is it okay to refreeze the one that’s already been thawed?
Published: December 2016
Substituting Lard for Butter in Biscuits
Can lard be substituted for butter in biscuits?
Published: February 2016
Does Sunflower Butter Turn Cookies Green?
Will substituting sunflower butter for peanut butter in recipes for cookies turn them green?
Published: February 2016
Coconut vs. Heavy Cream in Chocolate Ganache
If avoiding dairy, can you substitute coconut cream for heavy cream in chocolate ganache?
Published: August 2015
How Many Cans of Store-Bought Frosting Do You Need to Frost a Cake?
When there isn't time to make homemade frosting, how much canned frosting will it take to properly frost a cake?
Published: April 2015
Test Kitchen Tips for Yeasted Bread
Here are some test kitchen tips that work with just about any yeasted bread recipe.
Published: October 2014
Test Kitchen Tips for Cookie Recipes
Test Kitchen Tips for Cookie Recipes
Improve your baking with these core cookie techniques.
Published: April 2014
Banana Ripeness in Banana Bread
Recipes for banana bread always call for very ripe or even brown bananas. Can one get away with a yellow or slightly green banana?
Published: April 2014
Is Warm Liquid Optional When Baking Bread?
Many bread recipes call for heating the milk (or another liquid) before combining it with the yeast. Is this step optional?
Published: February 2014
Can Almond Flour Be Substituted for Wheat Flour?
Is “almond flour” just ground-up almonds? Can it be used in place of flour in cakes?
Published: December 2013
Substituting Coconut Oil for Shortening in Pie Crust
Can coconut oil be substituted for shortening in pie crust recipes that call for both shortening and butter?
Published: October 2013
Can Applesauce be Substituted for Oil in Box-Mix Brownies?
Can applesauce be substituted for oil in box-mix brownies?
Published: February 2013
Are Turbinado, Demerara, and Sugar in the Raw Interchangable?
What’s the difference between turbinado, Demerara, and Sugar in the Raw? Are they interchangeable?
Published: December 2012
Using Agave Nectar in Place of Honey in Baking
Using Agave Nectar in Place of Honey in Baking
I recently saw a bottle of agave nectar in the grocery store. Can I use it in place of honey in baking?
Published: June 2012
Pie Crust Q&A
Everything you ever wanted to know about pie crust—and more.
Published: April 2012
Brown Sugar Substitute
Is there a viable substitution for brown sugar?
Published: December 2011
Improperly Cooked Cookies
Why do some cookies make burn on the bottom and look undercooked on the top?
Published: October 2011
Cake Pan Preparation
Cake recipes call for different pan preparations (greasing, flouring, papering). Which is best?
Published: August 2011
Cookie Storage
What’s the best way to store chewy cookies so they don’t dry out?
Published: August 2011
Egg Washes
Pie recipes call for egg washes of all sorts. Does it matter what I brush my pie crust with?
Published: June 2011
Bittersweet vs. Semisweet Chocolate
What’s the difference between bittersweet and semisweet chocolate?
Published: April 2011
Making Pie Dough Without a Food Processor
Do you really need a food processor to make pie dough?
Published: April 2011
Twelve Steps to Perfect Layer Cake
A layer cake is the crowning glory of American baking. Fortunately, making one needn’t be intimidating. With these steps, you’ll produce a moist, tender, fine-c…
Published: February 2011
Avoid These Layer Cake Mistakes
These two common baking mistakes can compromise the success of your layer cake.
Published: April 2011
Refrigerating Cookie Dough
Can I make and refrigerate cookie dough and then bake the cookies a few at a time over several days?
Published: February 2011
Vinegar in Pie Crust
 Why do some pie crust recipes call for vinegar?
Published: December 2010
Packed vs. Unpacked Brown Sugar
I have noticed that some recipes say to pack brown sugar and some don’t specify. Is it important?
Published: December 2010
White Whole-Wheat Flour versus Regular Whole Wheat
What is white whole-wheat flour, and how does it compare with regular whole wheat flour?
Published: August 2010