The baking hacks that will make you feel like a contestant on GBBO

Move over Paul Hollywood! The nifty baking hacks that will make you feel like a contestant on GBBO (including using a syringe to pipe icing and an ice cream scoop for muffin mix)

  • Cooking experts have shared their niftiest baking hacks to save time and effort
  • One is to use a syringe to more precisely pipe icing onto cookies and cakes
  • Another is to use a vegetable peeler to create perfect chocolate curls
  • They’ve been shared ahead of the new series of the Great British Bake Off 

With the return of the Great British Bake Off to British TV screens less than a week away, an entire nation will soon be inspired to pick up their wooden spoons once again. 

Though the contestants may make the culinary art look easy, baking is harder than it looks – but thankfully cooking experts have revealed their nifty hacks for ensuring their bakes turn out perfectly everytime.

From using a syringe to precisely ice cookies and cakes, to using an ice cream scoop when baking muffins to ensure you pour the same amount of cake mix into the tray, these are the cleverest hacks that will save you time and effort in the kitchen. 

New baking hacks designed to make your life easier in the kitchen have been shared online. A hack not included in the new list is using a glass of water to roll out and flatten a pastry pie crust – though a bottle may work better

The hacks have been shared six days before the new series of the Great British Bake Off, starring Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith as judges, and Noel Fielding and Sandi Toksvig as presenters, airs on Channel 4 at 8pm on Tuesday, August 28.  

Hollywood, the only one of the original BBC line-up to have followed the programme to Channel 4, has revealed that the upcoming series will include vegan week to reflect the growing trend in the UK.

The hacks have been shared by cooking experts working with deal-saving website 

And they could come in useful next time you wield your mixing bowl. 

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1. Use a syringe filled with icing to decorate cookies and cakes.

 If you don’t have a piping bag, or want to be more precise in your icing, try using a syringe to ice detail onto cookies and cakes as the nozzle is smaller, allowing for finer detail

2. If you’re cutting out cookies, dip your cookie cutter into the flour. This will stop the dough sticking to the cutter.

3. If you’ve overcooked your cakes or cookies, shave off with a vegetable peeler or grater.

4. Is your brown sugar hard? Microwave it in a dish covered with a wet paper towel for around 20 seconds. Alternatively bake for five minutes at 300F/148C.

Brown sugar quickly turns hard and unusable after being exposed to the air but you can soften it again by microwaving it with a wet paper towel to stop it burning, or by cooking it gently on a low heat in the oven

5. Use a paper plate to make a splash guard on your food mixer but cutting through to the centre and putting it around the top of the mixing mechanism so it sits on top of the bowl. This will prevent powdery and liquid splatters.

6. If you’re measuring syrup or honey, spray the measuring spoon or cup with cooking spray. They’ll slide off with no sticky messes.

7.  Try scooping muffin or cupcake mix with an ice cream scoop. That way the cakes will all be the same size.

Using an ice cream scoop to pour cupcake or muffin mix (pictured) into trays ensures you will pour in the same amount of mix each time and ensure the cakes all come out the same size after baking

8. Use a vegetable peeler to make perfect chocolate curls.

9. If you’re using frozen fruit in a cake or pie, coat it in flour first. It will remove some of the moisture and will stop it sinking to the bottom.

10. Let cookie dough rest for ten minutes before adding dry ingredients. This creates cookies with chewier centres and crisper edges.

11. Fill up your icing bag quickly and without mess by placing it over a cup or glass.

A cup or glass will catch any icing that falls through the nozzle as you fill it up, reducing the amount of mess you make on the kitchen surface

12. If you have unwanted eggshell in the mixing bowl, wet your finger, reach into the bowl and retrieve the shell. It will make it easier to extract the rogue shell.

13. Give your ganache a smooth, glassy finish by blasting it with the hairdryer. Use a spatula to even out the melting chocolate. 

14. If you’ve lost your rolling pin – or don’t have one – use a wine bottle instead.

If you can’t find your rolling pin, then an empty (pictured) or a full wine bottle will do the trick as the smooth cylinder will have the same effect on your pastry 

15. Heat citrus fruit in the microwave for around 15 seconds to get more juice out of them.

16. If you’re baking a pastry case blind, don’t bother with expensive baking beans. Instead use rice or dried peas placed on baking paper.

17. Butter will mix into cake mix and pastry dough better if you grate it first. 

Grating butter ensures the fat is chopped into very small pieces which means it will be more evenly distributed when making pastry – essential for the best pie crusts and dough

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