Measuring Flour or Weighing Flour - My best advice is no matter what type of flour you are baking with the only way to be accurate and consistent is to weigh out the flour. If you don't have a scale, the holidays are coming and this would be a perfect addition to your tools in the kitchen.
Parchment Paper - Used it to line your pans so there is no need to grease and butter the baking sheets or cake pans. Simply tear off enough to cover a cookie sheet. When lining your cake pans no matter what shape, draw around the bottom of the pan on the parchment paper and cut out. Place it on the inside of the pan. This will save you time and cleanup along with knowing your cake will easily be removed from the pan. Parchment paper is a bit pricey so don't throw it out after one use. I reuse mine several times with out any issues.
To Prevent Over browning of Cookies: - Baked goods made with brown sugar, honey, molasses or corn syrup brown very quickly in the oven. Cookies, because they are small and thin, can over brown or burn before they are finished baking. My solutions is a sil pad, they line your baking sheets and prevent burning. If you don't have one double pan each baking sheet. Simply put one cookie sheet on top of another and bake according to the directions. The double panning slows the heat to the bottom and although they usually take a few minutes longer to bake, they will be perfect when finished.
To Make Buttermilk or Sour Milk - To make a substitute for buttermilk or sour milk called for in a recipe, remove 1 tablespoon milk and add 1 tablespoon lemon juice or vinegar to a cup of whole or 2% milk. It will probably curdle but that is fine. If you make kefir, you can use it instead of the buttermilk, use the same amount as called for in the recipe.
Toasted Nuts - Nuts add great flavor, take the extra time to toast them it really enhances their flavor. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, spread the nuts out in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet and toast for 7 to 12 minutes depending upon the nut. Be careful not to burn them, so stay close to the oven. If you smell them remove them from the oven and allow to cool before adding to the recipe.
Cookie Additions - Sometimes it's hard to get the chocolate chips or any additions to the batter mixed evenly. Save about 1/3 cup chips out of the batter. When you get to the bottom of the bowl where there aren’t as many chips, stir them in. That way the last cookies will have the same amount of goodies as the first ones baked.
Pastry Like a Pro
Helen S. Fletcher