Holiday Baking Tips for Delicious Results

The holidays are upon us, and it’s the time of year when we look back at seasons past to reflect upon the great memories created. Many of those memories are so wonderful because they include both family and food.

So, why not take some time this holiday season to continue sharing those good times with loved ones by pulling out your favorite recipes of the season and baking up some sumptuous treats. But, before you get started, it’s always a good idea to refresh your culinary knowledge. Baking really is as much science as art, and each recipe requires its own set of rules.

Here are some of our tried-and-true tips for achieving “baked perfection.”

Read before proceeding. It probably goes without saying… but always begin by thoroughly reading the recipe. This will ensure that you have a complete list of ingredients, are familiar with the techniques and tools needed, and know how much time the process requires from start to finish.

Measure up. Prepare your ingredients by carefully measuring or weighing them to confirm that you have the precise proportions needed for baking. Even a slight error in measurement can mean the difference between a great tasting cake or pie and one that (literally) falls flat.

Ingredients for success. The temperature of ingredients is an essential factor in baking and can significantly influence the texture and appearance of baked goods.

When baking cookies or cakes, eggs and butter should be at room temperature. Not only will this create a smoother batter, but cakes will be fluffier, and cookies will be crunchy around the edges with a chewy center. When preparing brownies or muffins, melt the butter to achieve a moist, decadent texture.

When making biscuits or pastry dough, butter should be as cold as possible. Always make sure to factor in enough time to chill the dough before baking. This will harden the fats in the dough, which helps to maintain the structure of the pastry and create a rich, flaky result.

TIP: Try one of our colorful Northstar refrigerators to chill your dough. These cool fridges look like they belong in the 1950s but offer the modern conveniences and high performance of today.

On the other hand, recipes that contain yeast need to rest at room temperature to rise. A cooled oven is a great place to store resting bread dough. Keep in mind that some bread recipes require two periods of rest and rising before baking.

Take your temperature. Cooking baked items at the correct temperature is a crucial – and often-overlooked factor. Many people assume their ovens are displaying accurate temperature readings, but the truth is each oven is different and temperatures can vary. Invest in an oven thermometer to determine whether you need to adjust your oven settings when baking.

To ensure your oven is up to temperature before baking, allow it to preheat for an additional ten minutes after the indicator signals it has reached temperature. True convection ovens are excellent for baking multiple sheets of cookies. They provide terrific air circulation to ensure that the top rack is the same temperature as the bottom rack – no more burnt cookies on the bottom sheet!

Additionally, opening your oven too frequently while cooking can lower the oven’s temperature, and lengthen cooking time. Only open the door when you think the item is ready to prevent the oven from losing heat and to help ensure an even bake.

TIP: You can make your favorite childhood recipes in cozy fashion with an Elmira Fireview range. Available in three models, this 1890’s styled wood-burning stove includes a fire-viewing window, oven, warming compartment(s), and optional gas side burners.

Level set. When preparing cakes, make sure to level the batter in the pan before placing it in the oven so that it bakes evenly. This will make it easier to layer the cake for decorating and creates a more aesthetically pleasing result.

Get the scoop. For cookies, use an ice cream scoop to portion out cookies that are uniform in size. Fill the scoop with dough, scrape the excess off by using the edge of the bowl, and press and release onto the baking sheet.

Avoid these common baking blunders

Baking requires time and patience to achieve the desired results. Ensure that you create baked goods that are both visually appealing and delicious by avoiding these common mistakes.

Don’t get too heated. A common mistake many people make when baking is overcooking, leading to dryness and a crumbly texture. Keep in mind that food continues to cook for a few minutes after you remove it from the oven. Once the batter or dough has fully set and is a light golden brown, it should be ready to exit the oven and cool.

TIP: Consider using an Elmira Antique or Northstar range to create delectable, perfectly cooked baked goods in statement-making style.

Do a proper cool down. Resist the temptation to quickly frost or cut baked goods when you remove them from the oven. Cutting into a cake when it is too warm will make it crumble and, and applying icing to a warm cake will cause the icing to melt. Experts recommend waiting at least two hours to cut fudge, brownies or a pie, two to three hours before icing a freshly baked cake and about 30 minutes for cupcakes.

It is easy to forget small details when baking, but you can prepare for success by following these simple baking guidelines to help you whip up holiday goodies that everyone is sure to love… while creating memories for years to come.

Having trouble deciding what to make for the holidays? Check out the Elmira Stove Works Facebook page for great retro recipes!  

Timeless Thanksgiving Recipes from Elmira Stove Works Fans

Just in time for the holidays, we wanted to share some of our social media followers’ favorite Thanksgiving recipes.

But, first, following are a few tips that will go a long way in making sure your Thanksgiving bird is the talk of the table!

Most people follow great grandma’s recipe – buy a huge turkey, stuff if, put it in a roasting pan, cook it to 190 degrees, tent it, cut the breast in horizontal slices. But, that’s not the way to get a tender, sumptuous turkey!

  1. Instead of cooking one 25 pound turkey, opt for two 15 pounders. Big turkeys, by definition, end up in a combination of meat that is barely done, and meat that is very overdone. Going smaller can result in juicier and more tender meat.
  2. Resist the urge to cook your stuffing inside the turkey. By the time the stuffing is safe to consume, the breasts will be the consistency of cardboard. Instead, cook your stuffing in muffin pans. Everyone will get perfectly done “stuffins.”
  3. If you set your turkey down into the roasting pan, the breasts will cook much faster than the thighs. For an evenly cooked turkey, set the turkey on a rack just above the pan with a bit of water to catch your gravy drippings.
  4. Once the turkey is done, don’t tent it with foil. You’ve worked hard to get a nice crispy skin – tenting the bird will cause the skin to turn mushy… no one likes that!
  5. When you’re ready to serve the turkey, scoop the breasts out and cross-cut them so that everyone gets the perfect mix of crispy skin and white meat.

Now, on to the recipes. These mouth-watering dishes are sure to make any Thanksgiving gathering memorable!

(Click on each image below to enlarge the recipe.)

Wishing everyone a safe and Happy Thanksgiving!

A #RetroRecipe Roundup!

Did you know that we post a new tasty “Retro Recipe” to our Facebook page each month? Try any of these recipes for a delectable treat right at home, and let us know how you like them! Click the images to enlarge them.

January - Prosciutto_Melon_Spinach_Salad

For a healthy appetizer, the Prosciutto, Melon and Spinach Salad covers three food groups and offers a Paleo-approved vinaigrette option.

March - SkilletChicken

You know those recipes that taste great fresh, but even better the next day? The Skillet Chicken and Vegetables entree is one of those and it is enough to last most of the week. Meal preppers rejoice!

September

Mozzarella, Goat Cheese, Ricotta, and Parmesan? Fellow cheese wizards, this is for us. Can you already taste the sweet and tangy mix of the White Four-Cheese Pizza with Basil and Garlic?

Spinach_Pesto_Penne

This month’s retro recipe is the Spinach Pesto Penne with Shrimp and Peas; a perfect, light lunch option for the spring season.

white-chocolate-raspberry-cheesecake-r

We saved the most decadent recipe for last. The White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake…do we really need to say more?

View more of our Retro Recipes here, and then share your favorites with us on our Facebook and Twitter pages! Bon appétit!

Modern Appetite? Retro Recipe!

Sometimes you just need a yummy, homemade meal cooked in your retro kitchen so why not cook something that’s stood the test of time and is still delicious today? With this in mind, we’ve gathered the top 3 retro recipes from around the web so all you have to do is decide which yummy dish you want to make first!

When you’re talking about the best retro recipes, you cannot leave out Fried Green Tomatoes. This classic dish also gives you a little taste of good ole’ fashion southern cuisine.

We also found a delicious Chicken Pot Pie that’s sure to be a hit with everyone.

Of course we wouldn’t forget to add something sweet to the list! These Chocolate Toffee Crescent Bars are so yummy and easy to make! Definitely a must try for the days you need a sweet treat.

Did you know that we have our own #RetroRecipe collection? Check out the tab on our Facebook for more information! Here is our latest summer baked zucchini recipe!

ELMR_RetroRecipeAUG