With the holidays just around the corner, my tiny kitchen gets put to work with all the entertaining of friends and family. I'd like to think that I can 'throw down' when it come to baking, but the truth is that my cookies always turn out unintentionally hard and things that should be sweet somehow end up either salty or bitter...lol Not to mention that I can sometimes feel the baking heat with the space constraints and limited counter space since I like to spread out all my ingredients before hand.
This is why I've look to the expert! Pastry Chef, Jacqueline Young-Sterling of She Bakes shares with us some of her tips on how to bake it up this holiday season in your small kitchen. I for one will definitely be integrating these into my next baking attempts. Maybe next time my cookies will not turn out so salty. Have a great Tuesday Small Space Dwellers!
Tip #1 : Make eggnog! It’ll help get you in the holiday spirit. Everything bakes better with alcohol!
1 store bought carton of eggnog
1 bottle of brandy, bourbon or rum
Pour a glass of eggnog, add alcohol of you choice to taste!
Recipe #2 (for the equipped kitchen)
4 egg yolks
1/3 cup sugar, plus 1 tablespoon
1 pint whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
3 (or so..) ounces brandy, bourbon or rum
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
4 egg whites
In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the egg yolks until they lighten in color. Gradually add the 1/3 cup sugar and continue to beat until it is completely dissolved. Set aside. In a medium saucepan, over high heat, combine the milk, heavy cream and nutmeg and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and gradually temper the hot mixture into the egg and sugar mixture. Then return everything to the pot and cook until the mixture reaches 160 degrees F. Remove from the heat, stir in the alcohol, pour into a medium mixing bowl, and set in the refrigerator to chill. In a medium mixing bowl, beat the egg whites to soft peaks. With the mixer running gradually add the 1 tablespoon of sugar and beat until stiff peaks form. Whisk the egg whites into the chilled mixture.
Tip #2 - Clean up!!
Nothing makes a work space feel smaller than clutter. Clean up and do all the dishes before you start baking and don't forget to clear up as much counter space as possible. Once finished reward yourself with some more eggnog, and run a fresh sink of clean dish water so you can clean as you go. You’ll thank me later!
Tip #3 - Set the mood and prepare for baking
Turn on some holiday music (or tunes of your choice)! Have another glass of egg nog...
For the unequipped kitchen
- open your oven
- take out the shoes, extra bedding and cobwebs
- youtube how to turn on your oven
- open your oven
- empty it out
- pre-heat (you got this!)
Tip #4 - Let's Bakes
Gingerbread snaps are a timeless holidays treat! Easy for both starter and first time bakers!
Recipe #1 (for the unequipped kitchen)
Recipe #2 (for the equipped kitchen)
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
¼ cup molasses
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
1 cup white sugar ( for rolling )
Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl add in ginger, cinnamon and cloves whisk until evenly combined. Cream your brown sugar, molasses and butter together, cream for 2-4 minutes, add egg, cream for an additional minute. Add the rest of your dry ingredients and mix until just combined (no longer than 1 minute)
To make the cookies, preheat oven to 350°F. Roll dough into balls the size of large marbles, toss in white sugar, and place an inch apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake in the middle of the oven until firm and lightly browned on edges, about 14 minutes. Transfer cookies to racks to cool. Drink some more eggnog you’re doing well!
Tip #5 - Organize!
While your cookies are baking and you’ve done most of your washing up, have a look around your kitchen, have a sip of egg nog, and get organized. The real key to baking (or working) in small space is organization! Once a month I take all my dry storage out of the cupboards (I only have two cupboards for dry storage), give them a wipe and reorganize them to make more space. Ever notice that the word “organize” is only one letter away from “organic”? The more organized your space is, the more organic it will feel to work in!
Tip #6 - Storage
In our space (660 square feet, with no locker) we have had to find storage solutions. I have to keep A LOT of baking supplies around my kitchen and I simply do not have the cupboard space to store it all. To solve this, I’ve collected a few large mason jars over the years and keep my flours, sugar, rolled oats, cornmeal, cocoa powder, rice, pasta and much more in them! They are are all on display on an open shelf that I also keep my stacked pots and pans on.
Tip #7 - Don't burn the cookies
If you haven't already, don't forget to check on your cookies! You don't want to overbake these little beauties! You may have to adjust the baking time plus or minus one minute depending on your oven. Also, if you want a crispier cookie, replace half the butter with shortening.
Tip #8 - Enjoy
Turn off your oven, your tiny spaces heats up quickly when that baby is running! Then phone up some friends and invite them over for eggnog and cookies!!
Please don't drink and drive