Friday 5: Cooking Tips

 You know those books or websites that tell you random facts you wonder why you'll ever need to know? I find them fascinating, and have always enjoyed knowing seemingly useless trivia.

Jordan and I were at a bookstore last week and I picked up such a book, reading aloud the statements I found  the most entertaining.

For example, 10% of Americans couldn't identify the source of the phrase "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." At which point I turned to my husband to verify that I was part of the 90% that did in fact know it is from the Declaration of Independence. (Which is correct, thank you very much.)

The kitchen tips I'll leave you with today will (hopefully) prove to be much more useful than the above statistic.

There are so many little tips and tricks I've discovered either through personal experience or the wisdom of other kitchenistas.

Here are five tips that I use on a fairly regular basis and found revolutionary in the kitchen: 

1. Oil for measuring honey

You've been there–measuring out honey or maple syrup for a recipe. You pour it into the measuring cup and then attempt to get all you poured in the cup actually into rest of the ingredients. And this fails miserably.

Next time your recipe calls for a sticky ingredient, place a tiny bit of oil inside the measuring cup or spoon and then add the sticky part. It'll plop right out into your bowl and leave you with less of a mess to clean up. 

2. Grate butter

I've been using this one for a couple years now. Ever have a recipe call for you to incorporate cold butter into the dry ingredients and then found it very difficult to get it distributed evenly? Maybe a crumble for apple crisp or the topping for a coffee cake.

While I often use a pastry blender to do such a job, grating the butter (like you would cheese) speeds up this process immensely. It makes homemade scones a less complicated process. 

3. Use a mixer for shredding chicken

This trick has spread more in recent years. After you've cooked the chicken (any method), simple place it in the bowl of your stand mixer or a regular bowl to use a hand mixer.

Turn it on low and in seconds you'll have perfectly shredded chicken for pulled chicken sandwiches, tacos, or however you want to use it. No more using two forks and losing your patience!

4. Freeze cookie dough

I recently shared how I'm a big fan of what I like to call FroDough (like FroYo, but for cookie dough). Most cookie dough recipes make a couple dozen. And that's just a tad too many for this family of two. 

Make up the dough, scoop it onto a cookie sheet, flash freeze it and then place in a freezer bag until ready to use. Pull out 20-30 minutes before you're ready to bake and then bake as normal. Fresh baked cookies whenever you want them!

5. Plastic knife for brownies

This is quite possibly one of my favorite kitchen tips (and another one that I've shared before). My mom learned it years ago and I remember being fascinated by it as a young child.

We've all tried to cut brownies with either a butter knife or steak knife, and know the pain of it clinging to the knife all the way through. You're lucky to get a clump of brownie that is anything remotely close to being square-shaped.

Keep a plastic knife in your silverware drawer and use it glide through that chocolatey goodness. You will truly be amazed. It doesn't stick to the knife in any way and gives perfect-looking brownies every time. 

Oh, and here is my favorite homemade brownie recipe of all time (so far). It will knock your socks off and have you leaving Betty Crocker in the dust. 

What are your favorite tips in the kitchen? 

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Niki

Twenty-something follower of Jesus, wife to my best friend, aspiring kitchenista, and lover of handwritten type, all things coffee, traveling and baked goods. Currently in the United States until my husband and I move back to Ljubljana, Slovenia, where we are missionaries with Cru.