Category Archives for "Baking and Cake"

Basic Baking Terms You Need to Know: What is Oven Spring?

​If you are an amateur to the baking world or just merely curious of its wonders, then you are without a doubt in the right place. You must also know that baking is not as simple as throwing the ingredients to the batter, mixing it with your might and heating the mixture to an oven because it is certainly more complex than it seems. With that being said, you might want to give props to your grand mothers out there.

​Aside from working on your patience, and by that I mean you would need a lot of them in most baking situations, it is important to know that understanding terminologies, techniques and methods are a great deal in achieving perfect baked goods. One thing I have never figured out before is what is an oven spring?

Bakers, like any other professionals, have their own language, jargons and glossary that is significant for you to understand. Not only does it informs you on what means what but it would also help you in many circumstances. You would even find yourself more efficient in following baking instructions. Like always, knowledge is a great and effective weapon.

What You Have to Do With Dry and Hard No-Bake Cookies

Baking cookies can be a fun thing to do with your lover, family, or friends. It is very simple and making a batch doesn’t require plenty of ingredients. Another great thing about making cookies is that you don’t even need an oven any more to bake a great batch.No bake cookies are so easy to make, you can make a large batch in under 30-minutes. However, even though making no bake cookies is a basic task, it is still common for many people to commit mistakes that can make no bake cookies dry and unappetizing.

Easy Tips on How to Make a Flakier Crisco Pie Crust

Pies have never failed the impression in satisfying the cravings of everyone. In fact, varieties of flavor have been created to enhance the taste and make it a bit different from others. In some countries, you can have a taste of the coconut pie, blueberry pie, apple pie, pumpkin pie, chocolate pie, lemon pie, peach pie, and much more.

If you are going to ask me, it has been a little challenging to choose one flavor. You’ll end up tasting everything in a go. Baking pies are also quite easy. The main challenge there, however, is the crust. You can even see your friends separating the crust before eating the cake. Since there are people who don’t like crusts, most of them prefer flaky or thin crusts. When it comes to pie crust, you have to try the Crisco pie crust.

See full recipe here.

How to Crush Peppermint Candies

As the Christmas holiday approaches, you will be bombarded with hard candies for gifts, especially peppermint rounds and candy canes. I experience this personally every year. I ask myself, "What am I supposed to do with the rest of these striped treats?"

You take advantage of these hard sweet tweets and transform them into ingredients and garnishments. You are probably asking yourself, "How do I turn peppermint candy rounds and canes into an ingredient?" It is pretty easy actually. Different recipes and garnishments require different types of consistencies.

A lot of you are probably wondering, "How can I properly crush peppermint candy rounds and candy canes for a recipe, and how do I crush them to get the right consistency I need?" There are several ways to crush them and several uses, and I am going to show you how.

The Process of Turning Peppermint Candies Into Pieces or Powder Can Be Frustrating

Professional chefs and pastry chefs know how to minimize the problems and create the fastest method of production for recipes and instructions. Fortunately, the method I am going to show you is easy enough for a first-timer to do with no problems. Once you get through the steps of crushing the amount of peppermint candy needed and the consistency, then everything will flow smoothly when you use the product for your recipe.

Method Use to Crush Peppermint Candy

Here Is the Method I Prefer to Use to Crush Peppermint Candy When I Do Not Have a Food Processor

  • Use a Ziploc bag and fill it nearly all the way with candy.
  • Skip wrapping your Ziploc bag full of soon-to-be razor candy shards, with a grocery bag like some methods on the Internet suggests.
  • Seal the bag of candy well, but leave a small hole so you can place a straw in to suck out more air. Do not make the bag air tight though, or the bag will perforate on the first smash.
  • Place that Ziploc bag inside of another larger Ziploc bag. This eliminates a lot of mess, and you will have significantly less candy spilling out than if you were to wrap it in just a flimsy grocery bag because it is more durable, and it can handle harder and more frequent hits.
  • Place your double-bagged candy contents on a thick wooden cutting board before hitting it with anything because when you smash the top with something solid it will prevent your candy from just sliding away from the pressure. Also, it prevents the double-bagged mixture from perforating at the bottom and protects your counter or table.
  • It is time to start smashing. I know some people are fond of using heavy duty rolling pins, but they are not practical, spin on impact and smash too unevenly. There are other people who prefer just grabbing a hammer out of the garage and whacking away at it. A hammer is strong, has force and is definitely better than crushing with a rolling pin. Use a hammer if it comes down to either a rolling pin or hammer.
  • I would crush the candy like I do all things in my kitchen. I use a kitchen mallet. Sometimes it is known as a meat tenderizer. Tenderizers will have two sides. One will have spikes that serve other purposes, but the another side of the flat surface area is what I use. It is much larger than a hammer's side, and it will get the job done much more quickly.

This video is the best visual depiction of how to grind up hard peppermint candy without anything electrical except they could have done it faster with more even pieces using my method Using this method is a great way to get the candy to a size for a Christmas bark cookie though, and a rolling pin can be used to get a finer consistency by making passes over the double bag.

Again, it takes too long in my opinion.

From here, there are so many recipes to apply what you have just learned, including this recipe for brownies using candy canes I personally recommend, and you can find it here. Karen Humphrey at the Yummy Mummy Club has even more recipes using crushed peppermint candy like the candy cane cupcakes and cookies with peppermint bark are exquisite.

Using a Food Processor to Crush Peppermint Candy or Turn It Into Dust

The best way to get your peppermint candies done quickly, really fine or into dust for recipes like brownies, frosting or adding it to drinks is to use a food processor. eHow has a workable method. It is similar to the method above.

You want to do a quick manual smash of your candy, and place it in a food processor until it is to your desired consistency or finely ground into powder. It is certainly quicker to toss in the candy without pounding it before with a hammer or rolling pin for a prolonged period of time. It also beats repeated rolling, which will also prevent a larger mess, but it is hard candy on your blades.

Here is a video where someone achieved a similar consistency as they would have manually, and unfortunately, I was unable to find a video depicting a processor turning candy to dust, but all it would need to do is run longer.

My Steps for the Food Processor Method

I really believe no matter what your intentions are with your hard peppermint candies, you are going to get a better consistency and save time by combining the two methods. I recommend the following:

  • You want to use the manual method listed above.
  • The only exception would not be as thorough when pounding. I prefer to do this to get more use out of my processor blades, but it is not necessary.
  • Next, place the roughly smashed pieces in the processor and pulse the processor, and you can check the progress of the consistency, or you can let it run like in this video.
  • To completely pulverize or turn the candy to dust for certain recipes, just do exactly what the maker did in the video above, but let it run until it is dust. It will look just like this picture when it is done.

Unfortunately, there were not as many videos as I would have liked to post, but the instructions were detailed well, and it is a simple process. Remember to grind and check until you get the consistency you need for the recipe no matter what method you use. There are two methods for how to crush peppermint candies, and there are ways to mix them to make the manual quicker and to be kinder to your electrical equipment. Being able to save both time and money in a kitchen is a rarity. Enjoy all of those peppermint treats and drinks.

Thank you so much for reading. I would love to check out some of your comments and answer your questions. Feel free to leave either in the comment section.

What Should You Look for in a Candy Making Pot?

Whether you’re new to candy making, or an old pro at it, you’ll find a lot of advice (and maybe some controversy) about just which tools to use for making your sweet treats. The most essential candy making tool you’ll need is the pot you use to melt sugars and chocolates.

If you’re just starting out in candy making and are looking for an inexpensive pot that will allow you to experiment with melting chocolates and pre-made candy melts, check out Wilton’s Chocolate & Candy Melts Pot.

If you’re ready to try your hand at a full-blown candy making, you’ll want to keep reading to find out what you should look for in a candy making pot. I’ve broken it down to a few key features you should consider and why each one is important for successful candy-making.

Size Matters When It Comes to Candy Making Pots

Candy makers agree that one of the most important features to consider when choosing a candy making pot is the size of the pot, which should correspond to the amount of sugar you’re planning to melt.

Sugars are sensitive and unforgiving if heated incorrectly. If you heat a large amount of sugar in a small pot, the sugar at the bottom will burn before the sugars on top can melt.

Similarly, cooking a small amount of sugar in a large pot takes too long to come to temperature.

Consult your candy recipe for the amount of ingredients that you’ll be cooking, and aim to use a pot that can hold 3 to 4 times the total amount of ingredients. says that a 2- to 3-quart pot is usually right for making sugar candy.

Flat Bottoms and Straight Sides

Candy making relies on achieving specific temperatures and textures with sugar. The shape of the pot you use can work against you if you’re not careful.

Flat-bottom pots allow for better heat conduction, so your ingredients will melt evenly. This is especially true if you’re using a glass cooktop, which requires direct contact with the bottom of your cookware to heat it up.

Using a pot with straight sides (as opposed to a round, bowl-shape design) is beneficial for two reasons. First, like a flat bottom, straight sides help to evenly distribute heat to the contents of the pot.

Second, straight sides can help your candy thermometer get anaccurate reading. Candy thermometers (like this one) are probably the second-most important tool in candy making, since they tell you when your sugars are up to the proper temperature for a specific recipe.

Think about putting a ruler against the inside of a bowl. If you use a pot with rounded or angled sides, your straight-edged candy thermometer might not be able to stay securely clipped to the side, or (more importantly) reach enough of the melted sugar to get an accurate reading.

Copper For The Win

Copper sugar pots are highlyrecommended for candy making because copper heats up quickly, disperses heat evenly, and cools down quickly. The cooling down part is a real benefit, since sugar can burn easily.

Another reason that copper pots are often recommended for candy making is because copper cookware is what the French use to make candy (and just about everything else.) Since the French are known for delicious sweets, why wouldn’t we follow their lead?

This copper sugar pot by MauvilM’passion is made in France and guaranteed for life. The 3.7-quart size should be plenty for making a basic candy recipe. MauvilM’passion also makes the same pot in smaller 1.9-quart and 1.2-quart sizes.

Tip: Avoid Non-Stick Pots

Not everyone swears by copper. You’ll find plenty of people around the web who stand by their ceramic titanium sauce pans or all-clad stainless steel cookware for candy making. Avoid non-stick pots, as the coating on the pans cannot withstand the high temperatures of candy making.

Remember, a pot that is good for making candy can also be your go-to pot for making sauces and other dishes in your kitchen. I love anything that serves a dual purpose and saves on precious storage space.

Get That Sugar Melting!

As you can see, picking a candy making pot isn’t rocket science, but knowing a few things in advance can help you in the long-run. Before you get started on your candy making adventure, follow these easy steps:

  • Check your cabinets to see if any of your own saucepans have flat bottoms, straight sides, and are the right size for your candy recipe
  • If you don’t already have something that fits the specs above, follow my advice to purchase a new pot
  • Watch a couple of how-to recipes on candy making, like this lollipop tutorial
  • Get yourself a clip-on candy thermometer

For more candy making tips, tricks, and recipes, grab yourself a copy of The Sweet Book of Candy Making; it’s available in hardcopy and e-reader version.

I hope you found theseto be useful tips for choosing a candy making pot! Leave a comment below and tell me what kind of pot you use.