Tis the season to be hungry!
As the holidays are coming our way, now is the perfect time to bake goodies for your friends and family as homemade gifts, or for yourself as a treat to enjoy after working hard in your Fall Quarter classes! I tested out 3 holiday based recipes (Gingerbread Whoopie Pies, Pumpkin Pie, and Peppermint Kiss Thumbprint Cookies) to see how I would do and share some overall commentary and tips for each recipe I made!
Overall Tips on Baking
– Plan ahead of time to see when you are able to bake with no distractions or no plans!
– Whenever you plan on baking something, be sure to read the whole recipe to see what ingredients you have already at home and get all of the necessary ingredients that you need a day or two days before baking.
– Always take your time! There is no such thing as rapid baking so patience is key to bake successfully! Otherwise, your goodies will not turn out the way you would like them to. Trust me, I have learned that the hard way.
– After planning and preparing your ingredients, remember to have fun with your recipe! Even if you are trying to follow the recipe as accurately as you possibly can, you are able to enhance the recipe in your own ways!
– Optional: If you are a cautious baker like me, you understand my struggling feelings when following the exact temperature and bake time for recipes; I get scared of following them because every time I do, I end up getting my goodies burnt! So my personal tip is to lower the baking temperature a little bit (i.e 425 degrees to 400 degrees). You can never be too careful!
– If you are planning to bake multiple recipes (including this one), I suggest you prepare the dough for this recipe before any other recipe because the gingerbread dough has to be refrigerated for about 3 hours before baking.
– Although it is titled “Lemony Gingerbread Whoopie Pies Recipe,” I did not use the recipe given for the lemon flavored filling because I forgot to buy lemon extract BUT I did use a similar recipe for the filling.
– After 3 hours of refrigeration, the recipe states that you are supposed to shape the dough into one inch balls and roll them in sugar. I chose NOT to roll them in sugar due to the fact that I did not want to make the pies too sweet. So I kept them how there were and put them on my cookie sheets (which I sprayed cooking spray, even if the recipe said to use “ungreased” baking sheets).
– A trick I always use whenever I am working with dough is that I keep a bowl of flour next to me and flour my hands so that I am able to shape the dough without getting it sticking on my hands. I also decided to flour the glass cup that I used to flatten the balls with.
– I changed the temperature and lowered it from 350 degrees to 325 degrees.
– If you are not a person who likes to eat things with filling in them, fear not! The gingerbread by itself is just as good! So if you would like to save some time or choose to not make the filling, do not worry!
– You have to be careful with baking when it comes to pumpkin pies and pre-made pie crusts because the pie itself may look great but the crust itself might have a burnt problem! What’s on the inside matters as much as the outside!
– Because this is my first time making a pumpkin pie, I thought it was way too simple to make! However, I did misread the recipe and the pie crust of my first pumpkin pie attempt was very burnt!
– There are two different temperatures that you have to use in order to bake this pumpkin pie successfully! Do not make the mistake I did and stuck with one temperature! I changed the first temperature from 425 degrees to 400 degrees and the second temperature from 350 degrees to 325 degrees for my second attempt of baking a pumpkin pie.
– Remember that after 15 minutes, the initial temperature of the pie gets lower and stays in the oven for about 30 more minutes!
– Out of all three recipes, so many people that I asked to try my baked goods out have chosen this one as their favorite!
– Remember to slowly combine the dry ingredients with the wet ingredients because if you do it quickly, the dough itself will not be as smooth as when you put it in slowly. Slow and steady wins the race (and gives delicious cookies)!
– After having the cookies cool down for a couple of minutes, be sure to immediately put in the melted chocolate in the center of each cookie and top it with a peppermint kiss! Otherwise, the melted chocolate will dry and you will not be able to top the cookie with a kiss!
I hope you will have as much fun as I did when I baked all of these recipes! Happy baking!