Pound Cake

Summer Baking

July 29, 2020

I know that summer baking seems counter intuitive, but for some reason I feel compelled to keep baking in the warmer months of the year. Keeping your home cool can be though enough without the oven adding to the heat. Plus, adding in heat-sensitive ingredients and humidity and you can have less than perfect baking results. Summer does bring wonderful seasonal ingredients like berries and stone fruits that should be missed.

Use your oven in the morning or evening. We all know that your oven can heat up your kitchen quickly. This is why I like to bake early in the morning or in the evening when the outside temperature is lower.

Choose recipes with shorter baking times. In keeping with minimizing the heat from your oven, look for baking recipes that don’t require lots of oven time. A simple cake or a pan of mini cupcakes will bake more quickly than a Bundt cake or even a pan of brownies. If you’re a cookie baker try baking a pan at a time to avoid having the oven on for all the time it takes to bake dozens of cookies. You can refrigerate the dough between batches or even freeze the dough to bake when your cookie cravings strike.

Refrigerate cookie dough and pie crusts. Speaking of cookie dough, keep in mind that a warmer kitchen will also make your cookie doughs warmer. If the butter in the dough begins to melt, you could end up with flat, tough cookies. You can try scooping and baking your cookies quickly, but if you refrigerate the dough before baking and between batches you will avoid these issues. This applies to pie crusts as well. It’s not unusual on a warm day to end up with a too warm, too soft pie crust once it’s rolled out, placed in the pan and the edges fluted. When this happens, just put the pie pan in your refrigerator for a bit to let it cool and rest.

Keep an eye on softening butter. With a warmer kitchen butter will soften faster. The warmer it is the faster butter will soften. If you’re using a recipe that contains softened butter, remember to check for softness sooner than normal to ensure that the butter doesn’t get too soft and affect the texture of your baked goods.

Humid days can definitely affect your baking. If you are baking something with a lot of liquid in it, then it may take longer to bake than usual. Keep an eye on whatever you’re baking and follow the recipe’s directions and your best judgement to check for doneness.
Fresh berries and stone fruits are one of summer’s gifts and it is nice to bake with them. There are so many easy ways to bake with summer fruit. A simple fruit crisp or cobbler is always a welcome treat on a summer day. They are also wonderful garnishes for many desserts like cheesecake and pound cake.

Frosting and heat generally don’t mix well. If you’ve made a cake or cupcakes that are frosted you may want to keep them in the refrigerator until it’s time to serve them. Bring them to room temperature before serving. Refrigerating these types of desserts isn’t a bad idea year-round, especially if the dessert won’t be eaten within a day or two.

No bake desserts may be the way to go. Skipping the oven time can still yield amazing desserts that are perfect for the season with their cool, creamy flavors, and textures. From ice cream to cheesecakes to pies and a whole lot more, you can find plenty of ways to satisfy your sweet cravings.

Support your local bakery. If you are lucky enough to have a great local bakery, take advantage of it. A simple pound cake can be turned into something special with just some fresh fruit and sweetened whipped cream. Brownies can be dressed up in a big way with a scoop of ice cream, a drizzle of caramel sauce, and a sprinkling of nuts. Your grocery store can help, too, with shortcut ingredients like puff pastry.

“Work With What You Got!”

©Tiny New York Kitchen © 2020 All Rights Reserved

Keep It Light

January 7, 2017

Generally animal products are higher in fat than plant foods, but it’s not necessary to cut out all meat and dairy products to keep your fat intake reasonable. Low-fat dairy foods, lean and well trimmed meat, and skinless poultry provide the same amounts of vitamins and minerals as their fattier counterparts. Skinless poultry, fish, dry beans, and split peas are the “slimmest” foods in this category. By removing the skin from poultry, you reduce the fat by almost one half. Most seafood is low in fat and also contains beneficial omega-3 oils, which have been linked to lowering blood cholesterol. Dry beans also provide the body with fiber, which is necessary for digestion.

You can enjoy red meat if you choose lean cuts and trim away all the visible fat (marbled fat cannot be trimmed away). Here are some good choices:

*Beef eye round, top round, tenderloin, top sirloin, flank steak, top loin, and ground beef. Choose ground sirloin; it’s 90 to 93 percent lean.

*Veal cutlets (from the leg) and loin chops.

*Pork tenderloin, boneless top loin roast, loin chops, and boneless sirloin chops.

*Lamb, boneless leg (shank portions), loin roast, loin chops, and leg cubes for kabobs.

Here are some suggestions to make trimming excess fat from your diet easier:

*Choose lean cuts of meat and trim off all the visible fat before cooking. Remove skin from poultry before or after cooking.

*Broil meat on a rack so the fat can drop away.

*Substitute ground chicken or ground turkey for ground beef. Look for ground turkey breast or chicken breast; otherwise, it may contain skin and therefore have as much fat as ground beef.

*Substitute protein-packed dried legumes, like beans and lentils, for meat in casseroles.

*Chill soups and stews overnight so you can remove all the hardened fat from the surface.

*Be skimpy with fat. Use nonstick pans and nonstick cooking spray, or sauté in a small amount of broth or water. Don’t just pour oil into a skillet; it’s easy to add too much. Measure or use a pastry brush to coat pans with a thin layer of oil. When baking, coat pans with a spritz of nonstick cooking spray instead of oils or fats. Kitchenware shops carry oil sprayers you can fill with your favorite oil.

*Experiment with low fat or skim milk, low fat sour cream and cheese, and nonfat yogurt. They provide the same amounts of calcium and protein as the whole milk varieties, but with less fat or none at all.

*When making dips, substitute nonfat plain yogurt for sour cream.

*Use fresh herbs and zesty seasonings literally.

*Choose angel food cake instead of pound cake, especially when making cake-based desserts like trifle.

*To reduce fat and cholesterol, you can substitute 2 egg whites for 1 whole egg in recipes, but don’t substitute egg whites for all the whole eggs when baking. The dessert will have better texture and flavor if you retain a cold or two.

*Replace sour cream with buttermilk or yogurt in recipes for baked goods.

“Work With What You Got!”

© Victoria Hart Glavin Tiny New York Kitchen © 2017 All Rights Reserved

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