- Use your hands! Dampen them slightly when shaping cookies into a ball.
- A hand-held electric whisk is useful for whisking and beating mixtures together but, failing this,use a balloon whisk for whisking and a wooden spoon for creaming.
- If you don't have a tin of the size that is specified in the recipe, you can often improvise. A quantity of mixture designed for a square tin will fill a 2.5 cm/1 inch larger round tin and vice versa. When making bar cookies, recipes that specify a particular size of tin can equally be made in a tin with different dimensions but the same capacity.
- Use a food processor for rubbing fat into flour,but when the eggs or liquid are added make sure you blend them quickly, as overworked dough will be tough.
- When preparing a tin for baking brownies and bar cookies, especially one that is not shallow, line with baking paper , letting it hang over the edge of the tin . This makes it easier when lifting and removing the brownies or cookies later.
- If a recipe asks for roasted nuts and you do not have any, you can toast them yourself.
To toast nuts
Preheat the oven to 180oC/350oF/Gas mark 4. Spread the nuts in a single layer on a baking sheet and cook in the preheated oven for 5-10 minutes, turning and watching them carefully until golden brown.
To melt chocolate
In a bowl
Many recipes require you melt chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water.This is safest way to melt it because it will not overheat and become dry. Make sure the bowl does not touch the water.
in a microwave
Break the chocolate into a heatproof bowl and cook on low until the chocolate is soft on top. As a guide 100g/3 1/2 oz will take about 4 minutes. Check and stir every minute.