Welcome first day of fall and that means baking, well to me it does. My freezer is empty and needs to be refilled. Here are some frugal and helpful baking tips for me and you!!!
1: A tip for appliances storage that is out in the open, start using pillow cases to protect your appliances. I have a new kitchen cabinet that stores bigger appliances but it is open. I have all hardwood floors (plus I am terrible housekeeper :-) and dust is a big issue in my house. So I started using old pillow cases to protect my appliances. It is easy to just slip the pillow case over an appliance. If the case is too big, just cut it down on two side and sew it back up to make a smaller bag. Works great!!!
2: When I am making things like cookies, muffins or mini cakes I count out the chocolate chips and add them to the top or middle. For example when I make chocolate chip cookies, I count out 4 chips (I used the bittersweet ones and they are bigger) and push them into the scoop of raw dough on the cookie sheet before baking them off. I find 1, I use less chocolate and 2, then everyone gets the same amount of chocolate. Which is really, really important. No cookies with a ton and some with almost nothing. This also works great with berries. I just made blueberry muffins this morning. I fill each cup half way, set in 5 frozen blueberries and finished filling the cups with more dough. Equal amounts, use less and no blueberry streaks. I call that a win/win!!
3: This is not a new idea (I have blogged about it numerous times) but I freeze unbaked items like muffins, small cakes, scones, biscuits, cookies, ect. When I want some I pull out exactly what I want (which is usually 1-2 per-person) and bake it off frozen. Frozen muffin fit right back in the tin and bake off just fine. It might take 2-5 minutes longer but not much. This way I always have on-hand items for busy days, fresh baked always taste better (as opposed to baked, than frozen, than defrosted) and I can control how much we eat. Because in my family, if I bake a whole batch of cookies we will eat them all :-o
4: I keep a big bag of yeast in the freezer. I have found it lasts me 2-3 years!!
5: Instead of keeping oat flour on-hand, I just keep oats (thick rolled is my fav.) on hand. I grind up oats in a food processor or blender. If it is a small amount I use my coffee grinder. Easy and one less thing to store.
6: Soaking and then drying dark, skinned nuts is healthier and makes for a better tasting nut. My husband hates walnuts, he finds them bitter but by soaking them and drying them in a dehydrator, he loves them! They also have this nice crispness about them. Here is a video about why soaking brown skinned nuts makes them healthier.
7: I find unsalted, sweet butter can be less expensive than salted butter and it is better for cooking. I buy butter in large quantities (like Costco), cut it up into 1/2 cup pieces myself, wrap it in freezer paper and then keep that in a freezer baggie in the freezer. I still buy salted butter but we only use that for eating.
8: Lastly vanilla bean paste. It is my new best friend!!! How did I not know about this? I was at T J Max and saw some in the food section. I thought it would be a think paste but it is not, more like a glycerin gel with vanilla (seeds and all). It has an intense, lovely flavor and a little goes a long way. I just use the tip of a knife to scoop of a small bit. So this means it is also a frugal choice. I will get dozens of uses out of this small jar. Just think how many vanilla beans that would be and how much that would cost. I paid half price too because I got it at a discount store. So check those food isles!!!
PS. if you are new to my blog. I have more posts on frugal baking and cooking. You can read them here.