11/24/2016 11:30 EST | Updated 11/24/2016 11:34 EST

Everyday Baking Hacks Absolutely Anyone Can Pull Off

Person cooking in the kitchen
MattJeacock via Getty Images
Person cooking in the kitchen

There are plenty of write-ups on life hacks out there, and just as many on baking hacks. The difference is that these ones actually work. So for all of you Martha Stewart wannabes, dorm room dwellers who get the hankering for something freshly baked or busy parents that survive on hacks because life is busy, this is for you. 

Best of all, these everyday baking hacks will cost you next to nothing, since making them work requires stuff that most likely already exists your kitchen, or around it.

cookie dough

1) Why did I make an extra batch of cookie dough when I'm on a 'diet?'

You made cookie batter for two dozen, when you really don't need to consume two-dozen cookies at once. What to do with the extra dough?

Two options:

With an ice cube tray

Portion the dough into an ice cube tray, cover the tray in a Ziploc freezer bag and freeze until you're ready to bake.

Without an ice cube tray

If there's no tray available and you're in no mood to run to the dollar store to grab another, here's your solution. Simply make balls of leftover dough, (put them in a fridge to harden for two to three minutes), then toss them into a Ziploc freezer bag and freeze.

Tip: You can also freeze a log of dough, (think sugar or shortbread cookies), and turn to the bake n' slice method, where you slice the cookies before baking, but after the dough has warmed up for 10 to 15 minutes on the counter. 

2) I'm tired of chasing a piece of eggshell that fell into the bowl with a spoon.

Two options:

Finger method

Wet your finger and easily pull the broken eggshell piece out of the bowl. The shell won't run away. 

Catch a shell with a shell method

Scoop up the broken piece of shell with the larger half of the eggshell that isn't broken.

brown sugar bowl

3) My brown sugar is rock hard and I need it to be soft now!

Two options:

Paper towel trick

Simply damp a paper towel with water, place the sugar in a bowl and lay damp paper towel over the bowl or under the sugar and microwave for 20 seconds. The steam will break up the sugar.

Cup of water trick

Put the sugar in one bowl and a cup of water in another, microwave them both for 45 seconds. Again, the steam from the glass of water will break up the clumps of sugar.

4) My butter is frozen and Martha Stewart said 'use room temperature butter only.' 

Grate frozen butter and let it sit for a few minutes. It'll soften.

5) Did my baking soda and/or powder expire a decade ago?

Test it. Here's how:

Baking soda: Pour a little vinegar into a bowl with a little bit of baking soda. If the mixture bubbles immediately, your soda is still good to go. If it makes a paste but no bubbles, it's time to replace it.

Baking powder: Mix a little baking powder with hot water. If it's fresh it'll create bubbles. Cold water doesn't work for this test.

chocolate chips cake

6) For once, I would like to see clumps of chocolate chips not gather at the bottom of my cake.

Just dust the chocolate chips (or nuts) in flour before tossing them into your batter to avoid sinkableness. Look, I made up a word, isn't that something we're doing these days? The difference between coating in flour and not coating in flour is bigly.

7) There's a way to make my cake look fancy even if it taste like sh*t? Tell me more.

Not everyone is a fan of super sweet mounds of icing. Instead, go to Grandma's and borrow or steal her doilies. Simply place the doily over your cake or cupcake, using a sifter sprinkle icing sugar, cocoa or shimmer dust and voila, a fancy pattern appears. Here's a tutorial that teaches you how to get fancy.  

8) Room temperature eggs. Really? 

Put the eggs in a warm water bath for for three to five minutes. Yup, this is a hard one.

cupcake batter bakery

9) I'm out cupcake liners and I don't want them to go naked! 

Cut five-inch squares of parchment paper for regular-sized muffins. Grab a jar or can that fits in the muffin tin well and press the squares of parchment around the can to create the mould. Nudge the liners into the pan and fill them with batter.

Plus, these look cool since they mimic bakery style liners. Here's a clearer how-to post on making DIY liners

10) Dental floss is for cutting cakes and occasionally flossing. 

You can cut a cake evenly using floss. All you do is hold the floss tightly between two fingers on both hands and with pressure push the floss through the cake. You get clean, smooth, straight slices every time.

If you're looking to cut layers, this video shows you how. 

11) How do I get those next level cookies? 

Simple. Sprinkle some coarse sea salt on top of your cookies before they go into the oven. Salt makes chocolate and butter taste richer and brings out the sweetness in the dough. And it's not just for the classic chocolate chip cookie, salt makes flavours like vanilla, almond and caramel pop.

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