Hey y’all! If you’re like me and probably 90% of people in the world right now, you’ve been spending a lot of time in the kitchen. Let me just say that my seventh grade Home Ec class has really come in handy over the last two months. I have always loved baking, but I never really have time to do it. I also try not to eat a lot of sugar, so I hate baking a dozen cookies and having to stare at them longingly when I walk to the fridge.
Thankfully, I’ve had some free time lately and baking has been a good opportunity to stay connected to friends and family (from a safe distance). I’ve been sharing a lot of my baking endeavors on Instagram, and I’ve been getting some questions. Mostly, “why are your cookies always so ENORMOUS.” I wanted to share my baking knowledge for beginners, a few easy recipes, and baking tips to make your Pinterest cookie dreams come true!
BAKING FOR BEGINNERS
If you’re a beginner, you’ve come to the right place. I’ve been baking for a long time, but I learn something new every time I bake. The good news is, in my opinion, baking is easier than cooking! The bad news is baking takes time, trial and error, and EXACT measuring, so the right tools are key!
If you’re just starting out, I would highly suggest investing in some quality equipment to make your life easier. Here are the basics: a mixer (either a stand mixer or a hand mixer or both), measuring cups (for liquids AND dry ingredients), measuring spoons, a baking sheet, mixing bowls, and a spatula. You don’t need anything fancy, so definitely opt for practical over pretty. Sure, those porcelain mixing bowls will look great on your shelf! But when you’re trying to hold your bowl and mix at the same time you’ll wish you picked something with a rubber bottom so it doesn’t fly off the counter.
Don’t worry about loading up on a bunch of fancy tools and attachments. Start with the basics and see what you like baking first! For example, I love baking sweet treats but I can’t for the LIFE of me bake bread. I’ve tried it numerous times and it never turns out quite right. But I can make some DELICIOUS cookies. I probably should have learned that before Drew bought a Costco sized bag of yeast. You live and you learn.
Try a few recipes and follow them as much as well as you can! With a lot of baking recipes on Pinterest, the recipe writer will offer tips and explanations in the post. Read them! You’ll learn a lot about the science of baking (don’t stop reading please I’m being SERIOUS). Next I’m going to share some of my favorite recipes so you can enjoy them too!
I save all of my recipes on my Apps & Zerts board on Pinterest, but I haven’t tried all of them. Here are a few of my all-time favorites:
Dark Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies (this is my favorite cookie I’ve ever made- in my Dad’s words these cookies are FREAKIN’ AWESOME)
Best Ever Chocolate Chunk Cookies
One Bowl Brownies
Homemade Candied Pecans (this one is SUPER easy and delicious- Drew’s fave)
Chocolate Chip Snowball Cookies (perfect for holiday parties)
Monkey Bread (another very easy recipe- great for beginners)
Start with the easy ones so you can learn terms and the basics. Some of these even have videos to help as well! Finally, I’m going to share some baking tips based on what I’ve learned. (I’m not a professional and as I mentioned earlier, my studies are limited to one Home Economics class many moons ago. But I’ve made a LOT of mistakes so it’s safe to say I’ve learned a few things.)
BAKING TIPS AND TRICKS
- BE PATIENT. I said baking was easier than cooking, but it isn’t easy. Everyone’s tools, ingredients, temperatures, ovens, etc., are all a little different. Sometimes you’ll follow the directions EXACTLY and your cookies will be a little crispy on the bottom. Someone will still eat them and they won’t even notice!
- PREP SO YOU CAN MULTITASK. Sometimes baking requires you to do a lot of things at one time. Read through the whole recipe before you start and see if there’s anything you can do ahead of time. Combine your dry ingredients, get your tools ready to go, etc. This tip may save you from forgetting the butter for your brownies in the microwave. What? That’s such a specific example. I wonder where that came from.
- LEARN HOW TO MEASURE. Use your dry measuring cups for dry ingredients, and learn how to level them off. Use your liquid measuring cups for liquid ingredients. It’s such a simple tip but it will help you out a lot!
- PAY ATTENTION TO THE RECIPE. This one seems obvious, but it’s really easy to skip things or to rush through it. Take your time and do what the recipe says. Pay attention to whether it calls for salted or unsalted butter, melted or cold butter, baking soda or baking powder, creaming or mixing or stirring, etc. Sometimes these instructions can be the difference between making a brownie and a cake, so pay attention!
- MAKE COOKIES THE SAME SIZE. When you’re baking cookies, it’s important that they’re all the same size so they bake evenly. PRO TIP: I like to use an ice cream scoop or a tablespoon measuring spoon to scoop my cookie dough!
- GET ORGANIZED. Another thing I would invest in is a good set of containers. I use these Crate & Barrel glass canisters for flour and bulk ingredients (you can use any containers, but make sure they’re airtight). I also love the Oxo pop up containers for smaller ingredients and this large container for transporting cookies.
- BAKE SOMETHING PINTEREST-WORTHY. Okay, so this isn’t as important, but one thing you can do to bake cookies good enough to PIN- before you pop your cookies in the oven, give them some extra attention on top. For chocolate chip cookies, press a few extra chips in before you bake. It is a GAME CHANGER.
At the end of the day, I love baking and I love baking things that will make other people smile. As long as you enjoy what you’re doing, you’re doing it right!
Check out my SHOP page for all of the baking tools listed above. What are your baking must-haves and favorite recipes? Let me know in the comments below!