Thursday, September 16, 2010

Autumn Is Upon Us

Fall is just about here, and I have to say Im really glad! We only had about 1 1/2 weeks worth of unbearably hot weather this whole summer, but Im ready for the leaves to change, for Halloween and Thanksgiving, for hot cider and pumpkin pie, and for BAKING!! While it may not have been so hot we couldn't stand it, it still wasn't cool enough to bake a bunch of goodies everyday in my kitchen. This old house couldn't have handled the extra heat from the oven.
Instead of writing about fall cleaning I thought a post on baking would be a great way to get everyone ready for the fast approaching autumn days and of course, the upcoming holidays. There is nothing like a homemade gift from the kitchen, and no memory sweeter than sharing a sweet with your family and friends.

One of my favorite things to do is bake. I love the feelings I get, the smells and the warmth, and of course, the goodies that come from a day of baking! Melt in your mouth cookies, moist cupcakes and breads, sweet, flaky pies.....
Before you can embark on your baking adventures this baking season, you will need to make sure you have everything you need on hand. Nothing worse than having to forgo a recipe because you were out of an important ingredient! So dig out your baking supplies and replenish what you need.... 

*A few things to keep in mind:*
Buy new pans if any are warped or rusty. You want pristine and even goodies.
Invest in decorative bags and cardboard containers for quick gifts and easy storage
Go through all your recipes, or research new ones, and pick out several you want to make this season. This will help with your ingredients list when you are going through your pantry.
Make room. In your freezer that is. A lot of baked goods can be frozen several days, weeks, or even months ahead. This will save you time and you will have something on hand for those last minute parties and house guests.
Check your oven for loose seals or bent racks, and give it a good cleaning. Dont forget your broiler!!!
Check the expiration dates on your baking supplies. A fresh can of baking powder does wonders!

Baking tools to have:
bench scraper
wooden spoons
a mixer (Don't fret if you haven't got one, its not needed and I often dont use mine.)
wet and dry measuring cups, I like to have several sets
a couple sets of measuring spoons
several mixing bowls of varying sizes
parchment paper (heat resistant and non-stick)
pastry brushes, bags and tips
round, square and rectangle cake pans
pie plates
baking sheets
cupcake tins
wire cooling racks
wooden rolling pins
cookie cutters
tooth picks
paper cupcake cups (I will sometimes line a cupcake pan with them and pre-measure my dry ingredients, especially when Im making a couple different recipes in a row. To distinguish the recipes, I will use different colored cups, or insert the recipe next to the row. Easy clean up!)
candy molds
lollipop sticks

Supplies most likely needed for baking
real butter; salted and unsalted (Have a few pounds on hand. It goes quick when baking!)
bakers sugar
regular sugar
light and dark brown sugars
baking soda and powder
corn starch
vanilla and other special extracts (i.e. almond or rum)
cocoa powder
chocolate barks and morsels (assorted chocolates, including white and dark. I keep mine in the freezer and take out before starting the recipe and pre-heating.)
powdered sugar
food coloring
any fruit for specific recipes (pies, crisps, breads, etc.)
corn syrup
maple syrup
cooking spray
peanut butter

Happy Baking!!!!! 

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