Solutions for the Frustrated Baker

Here's the scenario. You've been busy this week, but you promised to make "goodies" for your school's fall bake sale tomorrow morning. It's getting late and you've decided to make sugar cookies in the shape of fall leaves and frost them. You figure they will be attractive and all children love sugar cookies.

Checking your recipe, you start mixing the flour, butter and sugar, etc. It looks like you have to sift the flour, beat the butter and eggs separately and add together. OK. This might take a few more minutes of mixing than you thought. Now you are gradually adding the dry ingredients to your liquid ingredients. Fine. That's done. Next the recipe says, "Divide dough in half, wrap in waxed paper and let chill for one hour."

Yikes! You were going to get these done tonight. It's already 8 p.m. and you have to let the dough chill? You don't have time for that. So you think, half of the dough can chill and I'll start with the other half.
You grab your rolling pin and find that one of the handles is loose and about to fall off. OK, you can work with this and you put the dough out on the counter to start rolling. Why is the dough sticking so much to the counter?

Oops! You forgot to flour the counter and rolling pin before starting. After you have scraped the counter and rolling pin you find that the dough is sticking all over your hands, so you gather up what you can and wrap it in waxed paper and throw it in the refrigerator.

Frustation has started. You furiously scrub the sticking dough from the counter and rolling pin and set the timer so you know exactly when one hour of "chill time" is up. You sit down to read the entire recipe before continuing and maybe think up a Plan B.

We are going to leave this frustrated baker at this point. With the additional steps of rolling the dough, cutting the shapes, baking and frosting ahead, it looks like it will be a long night!

Don't you just hate it when you have set aside a limited time in the kitchen to make something special and everything conspires against you? Maybe you think you know the recipe and find that after you start you don't have one of the ingredients available. Or perhaps your favorite mixing bowl was broken last week and you haven't had time to replace it or you left your special cake pan at your mother's over the weekend.

Whatever the problem, whether it is equipment failure, missing ingredients, or just the time to accomplish the task, sometimes our creative efforts in the kitchen just don't turn out.

One of our goals at Kitchen Krafts is to help by providing timesaving, unique equipment or ingredients to make your limited baking time successful! Here are some useful hints towards that goal.

Do you find that your piecrusts or sugar cookies stick to the counter?

Use our silicone baking mat. This mat is coated with silicone on both sides for a better grip on the counter so the sheet won't slide when rolling out dough. You can knead bread dough or roll out cookie dough and nothing sticks. When finished, pick up mat, wipe off, roll up and tuck away until needed again, leaving a clean counter top or kitchen table!

Are you tired of scraping out measuring cups to get the accurate amount for baking?

Our adjustable measuring cup set will solve this problem.  That's why they are called  "Wonder Cups." Adjust the movable plastic stand to the desired amount and fill cup. As you push up on the stand, the measured ingredients are scraped from the sides of the sleeve and are fully and accurately dispensed. Works for wet and dry ingredients like peanut butter and corn syrup as well as flour and sugar.

Don't have time to mix up that batch of cookies?

You are tucking your 8-year old in bed and have given her that last kiss when she says, "Oh, I have to take 2 dozen cookies to school tomorrow!" Yes, this happens at least once to every parent. Now you are scrambling for a quick solution. Our sugar cookie mix is delicious and makes 3 dozen cookies. Just add water, roll out, cut into seasonal shapes, dust with some sanding sugar, and bake. The cookies are all ready to go the next morning with a minimal amount of time. And even more rewarding to you, they are homemade! You will think you are a magician!

Need to bake lots of cookies fast?

Make more room in your oven with a 3-in-1 Baking Rack. This time-saving baking rack allows you to have 4 sheets of cookies in the oven at once. Saves energy and time!

Your layer cake can have perfectly even layers!

Quit trimming crusty edges, high-rise centers or cracked tops from your cake layers. Simply wrap dampened Bake-Even Cake strips around your pan before baking and every layer will be perfectly level and moist! There are larger strips for up to 16" round cake pans. Your cake will look better than ones purchased at the bakery!

How many spatulas does it take to transfer your piecrust or cake layer?

It is really frustrating to have your layers bake and then one of them falls apart while moving. Sometimes you need 3 hands to safely transfer your cake layer from the cooling rack to the cake board to decorate. Same way with your pizza. How do you get it from the oven to a serving board without breaking in two pieces? We have a cake lifter that you may want to consider using. made of stianless steel, it is 10" in diameter and the beveled edge slips easily under cakes for an easy lift. No worries!

How do you think the baking scenario turned out? Did the cookies get finished that night or was there a stop by the bakery on the way to work the next morning to find the perfect pumpkin cookies?

Let's go back and review what happened to this frustrated baker and the sugar cookies. What would have helped the situation? Planning ahead and doing prep work will add to your success at baking.

  • First, read the recipe a few days ahead of schedule. Read the entire recipe. This way you can check on your equipment and supplies and reduce later surprises like "chill the dough." It is best not to use new or "untried" recipes when you are rushing. Fit the recipe to the project and time available. Instead of sugar cookies, maybe brownies would have been a better choice.
  • If you want to be creative, find areas that you can reduce the work. For example, instead of mixing up your own cookie dough, purchase a cookie mix where you only have to add water or eggs. Purchase buttercreme icing or a royal icing mix so you know that the frosting will turn out right.
  • Keep decorating to a minimum. Know your abilities. If you are not very artistic, adding decorations like candy pumpkins or candy corn is easier than becoming frustrated trying to draw beautiful designs with frosting.
  • Find tools that make clean up easier. Because of your busy life, you may not have a lot of time to devote to lots of dirty dishes and clean up. It is not pleasant to wake up to a messy kitchen, after baking the night before.
  • Evaluate if the whole idea is feasible. Maybe you need some assistance and can enlist family or friends to help. And sometimes the best solution is to call the bakery and order some beautiful pumpkin-shaped sugar cookies.
Remember, the whole point of baking is to enjoy the process as well as the result.

Happy baking this season!