Whether on the road, baking in foreign kitchens, or simply short on time, making your own mixes can be a great option. It allows you to use your most cherished recipes with ease and speed. If like me, you also have food allergies or intolerances, homemade mixes cut out the worry about ingredient cross-contamination in the kitchens of others. They also make great gifts for friends and family alike. We’ve given homemade mixes to newly diagnosed friends and it always gives a sense of comfort when starting a new diet such as celiac, especially when you know that it came from a kitchen that is gluten-free.
Of course, homemade mixes surely should not be limited to those of us with food sensitivities. The best part of homemade mixes is the fact that you can make it yourself with a handful of your favourite recipes. There are certain types of recipes that they work much better for than others- when all the dry ingredients are added at once, it works best. Otherwise, you need multiple bags or jars and that can become a chore, rather than a quick solution.
Start by labeling your ziptop bag with the recipe and the instructions. If using a jar, you can write an instruction card for it.
Then, gather everything you need. The dry ingredients necessary, a medium-sized bowl and measuring cups and spoons.
Folding over the edges of your ziptop bag can help to make sure everything gets in the bag rather than some powder escaping into the bowl. Having the bag in the bowl also helps to prop it up and prevent spillage.
Add all of the ingredients.
When you’re done, zip it up, shake it, and it’s ready to be stored for future use.
When it comes time to use, pour it into the bowl.
Then whisk it up and use as your recipe instructs!
For some great recipes to use as mixes, check out these links:
Gluten-Free Millet Biscuits (as pictured)
Fluffy Gluten-Free Pancakes
Gluten-Free Banana Bread
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I’m the kind of person who doesn’t check ingredients before starting a recipe. This is usually a problem. I’ll be in the middle of creaming butter and sugar when I realize I’m out of eggs, or measuring dry ingredients when I notice there’s only 1/4 cup flour left. I’m constantly at the grocery store buying new supplies.
Except baking powder.
I think we’ve been using the same tin for years now. It just never runs out! The other day I flipped it over and saw that the expiration date had long gone. Luckily, it’s simple to check your baking powder for freshness.
Fill a small bowl with warm water.
Measure out about a teaspoon of baking powder and dump it into the water.
The baking powder should immediately fizz and bubble, letting you know it’s fresh. If there’s no action, throw it out.
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I’m one of those people who loves to make and eat frozen desserts year round. When the snow starts falling, I start craving shaved ice. Halfway through January, I’ll churn up a batch of coffee gelato.
I’m in love with my ice cream maker, but I know plenty of people don’t own one. Nobody should be denied the crazy happy feelings that come with homemade frozen desserts – this method, which results in two kinds of sorbet without fancy equipment, helps hit the spot.
Start with your favorite sorbet recipe. Mine is lemon sorbet. Pour the sorbet into a shallow pan with a rim and let it freeze. Then drag a fork across it every half hour or so as it chills, scraping up the ice crystals.
Eventually, you’ll end up with a light, fluffy sorbet. The texture is like an Italian ice, crystally but not gritty, absolutely melt in your mouth.
If you prefer a smoother, creamier sorbet, just put some of the “shaved ice” sorbet into a food processor. It’s best if you’ve chilled the bowl and blades in the freezer beforehand, but will work either way.
Process the sorbet until it becomes smooth and holds together.
The two sorbets are quite different, but both are delicious. I like to use the first version as a palate cleanser, and the second version when I’m craving a scoop.
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It’s a Sunday afternoon and you’re baking a cake. Everything is perfect. From the mixing of the cake batter to the cake baking perfectly. You let the cake cool in its pan, and then you decide- “Time to take the cake out.”
Uh-oh. Half of the cake came out without a problem. The other half, on the other hand, is stuck to the bottom of the pan.
It’s happened to the best of us. Now, this is when we tell you that your future cakes will be fine and that they’ll always come out of their tins without a problem. “How?”, you say? Good question!
First, cut a square of baking parchment (read: DO NOT use wax paper) a little larger than the round pan that you intend to use.
Now, fold that baby in half vertically.
Take the bottom half and fold it up to meet the top corners.
Now, take one of the bottom corners (it doesn’t matter which) and fold it to make a triangle.
Once you have a triangle, fold it in half, making an even skinnier triangle.
Now, flip your cake pan over and find the center of the pan.
Place the tip of the parchment onto the center of the pan.
And cut straight across the triangle. Set aside.
Grease the bottom and sides of your cake pan.
Open the parchment triangle and place it on the greased pan, making sure it is sitting flat on the bottom of the pan.
Grease the parchment paper.
Then, sprinkle about a tablespoon of flour into the pan.
Now, move the pan around in a circular motion, so that the flour coats every bit of the pan (including the corners). This step can be done over your sink or over a round dish or cookie sheet to prevent a mess.
Tap the pan to release any excess flour.
And use as needed.
[click HERE for the slideshow]
• Another method to make a parchment round to line your cake pan would be to simply trace around the cake pan with a pencil and cut it out. Use whichever method you prefer.
• Some people also line the sides of their cake tin, but it’s sometimes unnecessary, as a small spatula or butter knife can easily release the cake from the sides.
If you feel that it is necessary:
Measure the circumference and the height of your cake tin and cut out a piece of parchment an inch larger than each of the dimensions.
Then, fold up one long edge about ½-inch, then unfold it, to leave a crease.
Use scissors to cut around the folded edge of paper, so that it make fit around the pan perfectly.
This piece of parchment would go in once the tin has been greased. The parchment round would go in after.
all photos © kamran siddiqi & the sophisticated gourmet
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When I go into the kitchen I typically have an idea of what I want to make. Sometimes it’s quite planned – like a birthday cake, and other times it’s completely dependent on a passing thought or a feeling. More often than not, I don’t set my eggs out hours before. Butter? Usually. Eggs? Not really. Not every recipe needs room temperature eggs, but when they do, you certainly want to oblige. It helps the chemistry of the baked good to work in the desired way.
If I haven’t set out my eggs hours before, I use this simple trick.
Place your eggs – however many you need – in a dish or glass. Something that is tall enough that the eggs will be fully covered in water. If there are just one or two, I tend to use a glass.
Turn on the water, and test for temperature. You want it to be warm, but not hot. If it is too hot, it will cook the eggs and then you’ll have to start all over again with fresh eggs. You don’t want that. It should be comfortable and warm to the touch.
Cover your eggs with warm water.
Let them sit for ten minutes, or until ready to use. The eggs should be at room temperature, and not cold if you turn them in your hands.
When they’re ready, carefully drain or remove from your dish.
Finally, use as your recipe instructs! You’re good to go now.
Photos © Lauren McMillan of Celiac Teen.
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