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cupcakes-apron
Even though I love baking, I don't receive a lot of baking themed gifts.

I usually get new bake-ware instead, but that ends up being the gift that keeps on giving to the person who gifted it as I bake more and more stuff with it.

I think it just slips people's minds that avid bakers could want something besides tools or utensils.

I mean, I'm very grateful for always having new things to test out in the kitchen, but I think something like this would make me equally as happy.

It's just a little token of appreciation to let the baker in your life know that it's not as easy as they make it seem to deliver delicious treats regularly.
apple-shaped-cookie-cutter
Is it too Cliché to say this would be perfect if you are making teacher gifts?

If it is perhaps this fruit shaped cookie cutter could be considered Fall themed as well.

I like how this is colored red to match what it's trying to mimic.  It adds a nice touch.

While we do associate apples with the two things mentioned above, they can be used as great piping practice as well.

The shape is simple, but has a slight amount of detail, and it's something we are all familiar with.  It makes it a good option for beginners.

lightning-bolt-cookie-cutter
Besides a Harry Potter themed party, I'm not really sure when you would use something like this.

I guess it would be good for a "weather" themed party, but you don't hear of those being requested too often.

But that's what great about taste, everyone's is unique.

I would personally use this with cloud shaped one to make a kawaii (cute) themed set.

I would pipe little faces on each and serve them together.

As I said, I can't quite understand why you would need one of these stormy cookie cutters, but maybe that means I'm not being creative enough.


I've been baking for a few years now, and during that time I experimented a lot.  Some people tend to get stuck mastering one thing, which is respectable, but I always need to challenge myself to stay interested.

There are many different types of desserts that I've baked, and yet still many more to try.  However, of the ones that I have made, I feel confident in a lot of them.

I might even consider myself to have "mastered" them to some degree (as much a home baker can anyway).

If you're stuck trying to figure out what to bake next, maybe the list below can help.

My Favorite Desserts to Bake

  • Chocolate Chip Cookies
  • Cupcakes
  • Cream Puffs
  • Red Velvet Cake
  • Fruit Tarts
  • Blueberry Pie
  • Apple Crumble
  • Vanilla Pudding
  • Homemade Ice Cream with a Custard Base
  • Chocolate Torte
  • Brownies and Blondies
  • Sponge Cake
These are just some of the desserts that I find myself baking over and over again.  I consider these easy for beginners to start with (with the exception of the cream puffs maybe because they are french pastry).  

Did this list inspire you?  What are some of your favorite things to bake?
Having been baking and cooking food for years now, I have a few tips on how to prevent food from getting stuck to cookware and bakeware.

It all comes down to being preventative and using the right kinds of cookware.

Greasing Cake Pans

You may have heard this term before, it essentially means preparing your cakes, muffins, cupcakes, etc. to not stick in the pan.

The most efficient method is to coat the pan with a thin layer of butter, then dust a thin layer of flour over that.

I like to grab the stick using the wrapper to hold one end and spread the butter around my pans.  Then I put a few tablespoons of flour in the pan and shake it over the sink while rotating the pan.

You can also use parchment paper instead.  You can use a little butter to help the parchment paper stick to the pan as well.

I would not recommend using foil.

Using Non-Stick Cookware

There are certain kinds of nonstick cookware that don't really require you greasing your pans at all.  I recently purchased some amazing pans that I can burn cheese on and still have it not stick.

You can do some research online or test out different pans to see if you can find some as well.

Materials like stainless steel and glass are not nonstick and require proper greasing in order to be able to release the food easily after it's finished cooking.

Prevent Food from Sticking

These are just a few tips that I've learned from experience.  When all else fails, don't be afraid to try new things to figure out what works best for you.
bakers-gonna-bake-tshirt
The holidays are fast approaching and that means it's time to think of gifts.

This funny baking tshirt is perfect for that person who always let's you sample their desserts.

Baking is hard work, show that you appreciate that work by gifting them this.

Or just by it for yourself if you happen to be the enthusiast, as it quite cute.

I would love to get this in a size or two larger than my normal size and where it when I'm in the kitchen.

I think it's a fun shirt.
espresso-powder-for-baking-king-arthur
I have recently started baking with espresso powder.  I have actually only recently started drinking espresso as well.  I am sad that it took me this long to discover it.

I have always avoided it because I hate the taste of coffee so I assumed it would be pretty similar.  But whereas coffee is quite bitter, espresso has a strong, bold, rich flavor to it that I find very appealing.

I tried using this powder to flavor a cake I was making and loved it.  You can definitely taste it, and it doesn't taste artificial, like if you were using an extract.

In order to find this at you local grocery store, I think you would have some trouble.  I haven't personally come across it at any of mine.  I would recommend checking both the coffee and the baking aisles at your local grocery store if you were looking for it there.

I was able to buy mine from the Kitchen & Company store where I live.  I think you would have a better chance of finding it at similar baking specialty or health specialty stores.

You can also buy it from the King Arthur Flour website, and Amazon.
I have always been fascinated by "dump cakes". The set-it-and-forget-it style of baking that seems to save a lot of time and possibly money.

One woman made this "dump" style of cooking famous, Cathy Mitchell. She is an infomercial queen and has authored numerous cookbooks.

Cathy Mitchell Cookbooks

dump-cake-cookbook

This is the book that got me started on researching dump recipes.

I think you can most certainly make cakes, brownies, and other desserts by mixing all the ingredients in a bowl and dumping them in a pan to bake.

In fact, that's what most recipes call for.

But the way she's marketed it - and I'm sure the ingenuity of her recipes as well - make baking using her recipes seem far more appealing.
crock-dump-meals



 As you can see on the book cover, this book has an impressive claim that all recipes require 5 ingredients or less.  The bottom even reads "Just Dump & Slow Cook!".

To be honest, I am a bit skeptical that you make tasty meals with just five ingredients or less, even if it's in the slow cooker.

Slow cooker meals often have extra steps involved such as searing meat or blending vegetables to make a soup.

To put five ingredients in a pot, let it cook for a couple of hours, then have a delicious meal ready to serve, seems a little far fetched.

But, if you look at the picture it seems she's made a beef stew with just beef, potatoes, carrots, stock, and herbs.

It does indeed look like something you could serve for dinner.

dump-dinners-cathy-mitchell-cookbook

I believe these are the equivalent of what we call "sheet pan dinners" today. I am more inclined to believe that these will work out, just based on experience and the cooking method.

I think these could classify as casseroles, roasted vegetables and meat, vegetable tarts, and pizza's (as shown on the cover).

All of which I have successfully made on a sheet pan before.

If you have a large family and are in need of quick weeknight dinner recipes, I think this book would be a good resource.

When I plan my weekly meals, I always make sure to include a few "big batch" meals that I know are easy to make and will last for more than one meal for my family.

With "over 250 recipes" in this book, you are sure to find some inspiration for some good meals.