Simple baking tips

Nov 1, 2012 at 4:30 p.m. ET

Every now and then you may encounter a problem while baking and not know how to solve it without starting from scratch. However, some problems are fixable and, with just a few simple tips and tricks, you’ll have perfect baked goods every time.

Baking with kids

Problem #1

Hard brown sugar

I have run into this problem more than one time but there is a simple quick fix: place the hard brown sugar in a microwave-safe bowl with a bowl of water next to it; microwave it for about 1 minute, or until brown sugar is softened (you also can place a damp cloth over the brown sugar when microwaving).

To prevent this problem altogether, make sure to store brown sugar in an airtight container in a cool, dry place. You can also store it in the freezer and defrost it at room temperature a few hours before using.

Problem #2

Burnt bottoms

This is very common problem in many kitchens, the tops of your cookies, brownies, or cupcakes are perfectly fine, yet the bottoms are charred black. Instead of throwing them away, you can salvage most of them.

Try the most obvious solution first: scrape or cut off the burnt part, this will most likely save your sweets. If the burnt part is really bad, then scrape off what you can and crumble the rest to use as toppings on ice cream.

To prevent burning, line the bottom of the baking pan with parchment paper to prevent the pan from getting super hot. You can also bake the cookies on the top or middle rack in the oven to keep them farther away from the heating coil. Keep a close eye on them and you will enjoy perfectly baked sweets all the time.

Problem #3

Hard cookies and brownies

If your cookies and brownies become hard after a day or two, add a slice of bread to the cookie jar when you store them, this will keep cookies soft. You also should store them in an airtight container to ensure the moisture stays in.

Problem #4

Too much liquid added

If you accidentally measure incorrectly and add too much liquid to the batter or dough and you know how much extra liquid you added, just double the recipe. Otherwise, simply stir in a few teaspoons of cornstarch or cake flour until the batter thickens.

Problem #5

Too much flour added

Adding too much flour to your batter can make your cakes, cookies, and brownies extra dense and cakey. If you have added extra flour, add a little extra liquid (like milk, juice,extracts, or water); be sure not to add too much or the batter will be too thin.

No bake cookies

No bake chocolate oatmeal cookies

These no bake chocolate oatmeal cookies are quick, easy, and delicious!

More baking tips

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How to make the best brownies
6 Tempting desserts