Get answers to your biggest Center Stage Sweets questions and baking tips!
When a recipe calls for x-y of an ingredient, how much should i use?
If a recipe calls 2-4 Tbs of milk, for example, start at the lower number. Check the consistency of the mixture you’re making before adding the additional amounts. Things like temperature and humidity can require adjustments in measurements. Just because last time you needed all 4 Tbs doesn’t mean this time you will. And remember, you can always add more, but you can’t take it out once you’ve added it.
Does an ingredient really need to be at a certain temperature to work properly for a recipe?
Yes. Baking is chemistry, and temperature is an important factor in any chemical reaction. You won’t get the same results with cold butter as you will with room temperature butter. Cookies will spread less when the dough is chilled. Meringues are harder to make when the egg whites are cold. The temperature guides in recipes are there for a reason – follow them.
if the recipe says bake for 8 – 11 minutes, how long do i bake it for?
Always start on the lower end. You can always put the baked good back in the oven for more time, but you can’t uncook it. However, with cookies, when you’re doing multiple batches, if you notice after the first 2 trays that it’s consistently taking 10 minutes to be done to your liking, then set the next batch for 10 minutes.
I’m baking for the least amount of time on the recipe and it’s still coming out overdone. help!
If you’re following the directions for both temperature and timing, but your baked goods are coming out burned or overdone, your oven is probably running warm. There are a few things you can try: 1. Bake the items at 25 degrees cooler than the recipe states but for the same time as the recipe states. 2. Get an oven thermometer (one that can sit on your oven rack) and see what the temperature really is. Your oven’s built in sensors may be off. Then you can adjust all future baking accordingly to the difference between what your oven says and what the thermometer reads.
I don’t have pastry bags. how can i pipe frosting without one?
Pastry bags are a great tool, and you can get them at your local craft store in large quantities. But if you’re not baking regularly enough for that purchase to make sense, you can use a simple zipper bag. I would suggest using the gallon size and a regular one, not one that is designed to stand up on it’s own (trust me, those ones will not help you with this work). You can get inexpensive piping tips in the baking supply aisle of most super markets too. Place your desired piping tip in one of the bottom corners of the bag, and fold the top of the bag down like you would a pastry bag and fill. The rest of the process is the same from there.
do i need to line my cookie sheet before baking cookies?
It’s not required, but strongly encouraged for multiple reasons. First, easy clean up (need I continue). Second is easier release of your cookies. When I first learned to bake, I always used foil to line my cookie sheets. But now I prefer parchment paper. I find it releases easier than the foil and the bottoms of my cookies don’t run as much risk of over-cooking, especially cookies that are rolled in sugar before baking.
Have more questions? Shoot us an email, and we’ll gladly answer. We may even share the tip on this page!