Chat Room/Questions

Jan 13, 2017

Trying to Keep Up

With over 300,000 views every week between my website and youtube, from 200 different countries, I simply can’t to keep up with the growing number of questions. I never expected this when I started sharing my recipes and I want this to be the best experience for everyone but it’s become overwhelming.

I am a one-man operation, doing the best I can, but here is the reality: If I don’t get to 25 questions in one day, the next day it’s 50. Another couple of busy days and it’s 100 and by then I can’t catch up. I need time to work on my recipes, take the pictures, perfect the details, and share what I love. I also need time to focus on my philanthropy.

It’s wonderful to see how popular my recipes have become and I want to always be there but it’s become impossible and that makes me sad. This is my creation. I take a lot of pride in it and want it to be perfect so please know I am doing the best I can. I hope everyone understands and there are ways you can help:

  1. Understand if I am not able to answer your questions.
  2. Please do not ask a question that you can research online.
  3. Please do not ask about changing my recipe as I only make them the way I post them.
  4. If a recipe didn’t turn out, please look at the FAQs before asking what went wrong.
  5. Please continue to share your helpful comments, especially if you’ve tried something different with one of my recipes and it turned out well. That’s helpful to all of us.

My sincere thanks to everyone for understanding. I have no immediate plans to make more videos but I hope to in the near future. – Jenny Jones

Feb 10, 2016

Have Questions?

qqqIt’s hard for me to keep up with questions so before asking please look for answers to commonly asked questions using the “Questions” link at the top. If the answer is not there, please go to the specific recipe page and post your question or comment there. To see the FAQs click here.Jenny Jones

Feb 9, 2016

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Website, social network and Internet concept with question mark sign and icon on colorful hanged tags on white background.

BEFORE ASKING A QUESTION… please see the links below on the most commonly asked questions.  I am not always able to keep up with questions so please also look through the recipe comments from other cooks, or maybe you can research your question online.

Still have a question? Please understand if I am not able to respond. To send your question, click here.

Apr 21, 2015

Flour Basics

Flour1200_2077 copy 2“Which flour do I use for bread, or muffins, or cookies?” “Can I substitute one flour for another?” “Why is my flour mixture so dry?” I hope this helps clarify any questions you have about flour. By the way, with all baking the amount of protein in flour matters. The lower the protein, the softer the baked goods. So here is my simple guideline to baking with flour:

How to Measure (& Aerate) Flour
Flour must be aerated before measuring because it often settles in the bag or container making it heavy  and compact, resulting in too much flour being measured. Aerating basically means fluffing it up and is not the same as sifting. Flour should not be sifted before measuring unless the recipe states to do so. Otherwise sifting will result in too little flour being measured.

If you dip into flour without aerating, you will be getting too much flour and your dough will be too dry. To aerate flour you simply stir it around with a spoon before measuring. To measure, be sure to use a flat-topped dry measuring cup like in my photo. You can see how I aerate flour in my Easy One Bowl Chocolate Cake video: http://www.jennycancook.com/recipes/easy-one-bowl-chocolate-cake/

After aerating, there are two ways to measure the flour: 1) Scoop & Level – Gently scoop the flour up with a spoon and sprinkle it into your measuring cup until it’s mounded above the rim. Do not tap the cup or the container of flour. Finally, level off the excess flour with the back of a knife. 2) Dip & Level – Gently dip your measuring cup into the flour until it’s mounded above the rim and level off the excess flour with the back of a knife. A properly measured cup of flour weighs 4 1/4 ounces.

The Difference Between Flours

Whole wheat flour (about 14% protein/gluten)
Whole wheat flour is not the same as whole wheat pastry flour and should not be substituted for whole wheat pastry flour. Whole wheat flour is milled from hard winter wheat and is best used only for yeast breads. A loaf made entirely with whole wheat flour will be a dense and somewhat heavy loaf. For a softer loaf, it is often combined with some all-purpose or bread flour. Whole wheat flour is not suitable for other baking like cookies and cakes. *Since it contains the germ of the wheat which contains oil, once opened, this flour should be kept refrigerated in a tightly sealed container.

Whole wheat pastry flour (about 10% protein/gluten)
Also called whole grain pastry flour, this flour is good for most recipes that use all-purpose flour when you want to add fiber. Whole wheat pastry flour is milled from a soft summer wheat and is best for baking cookies, brownies, pancakes, waffles, quick breads, and some cakes. Results will not be as light and soft as using all-purpose flour but you can also mix part whole wheat pastry flour and part all-purpose flour for soft baked goods with added fiber. (I use this flour the most in cookies, brownies, even pancakes & waffles for extra fiber) This flour is not a good substitute for whole wheat flour and is not suitable for baking yeast breads. Don’t have whole wheat pastry flour? Regular whole wheat flour is not a good substitute – your baked goods will be dense and heavy. Look for whole wheat pastry flour at health food stores or you can order it online. Once opened, it should be kept refrigerated in a tightly-sealed container.

Bread flour (about 14% protein/gluten)
This flour is designed for yeast baking. It helps create more gluten for a better rise in yeast doughs. Use it for yeast bread and pizza dough for a chewy texture and good structure. However, all-purpose flour works almost as well with yeast. From my experience, if you don’t have bread flour, all-purpose flour can be used as a substitute in yeast bread and pizza dough.

All-purpose flour (about 10% protein/gluten)
The name says it all. Use it for cookies, cakes, quick breads, yeast breads, pies, pancakes, etc.

Pastry flour (about 9% protein/gluten)
This flour falls between all-purpose flour and cake flour and can be used in pastries, cookies and cakes. This flour is not suitable for baking yeast breads.

Cake flour (about 8% protein/gluten)
This very fine grain flour is good in light and airy cakes like angel food cake. However, if a recipe does not call for cake flour and you decide to use it, you would use more (2 tablespoons more per each cup). Conversely, if a recipe calls for cake flour and you don’t have it, you can make your own: For one cup of cake flour, measure one cup of all-purpose flour, remove 2 tablespoons of flour and replace that with 2 tablespoons of cornstarch. I do not use cake flour – I don’t find it necessary. This flour is not suitable for baking yeast breads.

Self-rising flour (about 8 % protein/gluten)
This soft flour is similar to pastry flour but has salt and baking powder added. Many southern recipes call for this flour in biscuits and pancakes but if the recipe calls for all-purpose flour and you substitute self-rising flour, you will need to adjust any added salt and baking powder. (one cup of self-rising flour contains 1 ½ teaspoons of baking powder and ¼ to ½ teaspoon of salt) This flour is not suitable for yeast breads.

I hope these simple flour basics are helpful. – Jenny Jones

Feb 11, 2015

Can’t Print a Recipe?

I assume you are using a desktop computer. For some reason, in some browsers (like Google Chrome), the “print menu window” appears to load faster than the actual recipe page you’re trying to print. To address this problem please close the print window and then click the Print button again. I hope this helps. You can also right click on any recipe page and select the “Print” option from the dropdown menu. Another option is to use the “Share” buttons at the upper right of each recipe to share any recipe or to email it to yourself.

Jan 1, 2015

Chat Room

AskMeAnything_Icon_2BEFORE ASKING A QUESTION... please look in the FAQs at the top for answers to many commonly asked questions. Or maybe it’s something you can research on your own or find in the recipe comments.  I can’t always keep up with responding so thank you for understanding.

Nov 10, 2014

My Colorful Kitchen Gadgets

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I find most of my colorful tools and gadgets at Sur La Table, Pier One, World Market, Bed, Bath & Beyond, Target, Walmart, and even some drug stores, hardware stores and vintage shops. I’d rather go shopping for spatulas than shoes!

Nov 4, 2014

My Cookbook

There is no need to try purchasing my cookbook, which is likely out of print by now. I am posting almost all of the recipes from the book here on the website. It was always a dream of mine to publish a cookbook.  When it finally came out in 2006 I donated 100% of my profits to City of Hope for breast cancer research. I just wanted to share my recipes. In 2013, the publisher, John Wiley & Sons, was kind enough to let me share all of the recipes in the book here on my website. But it’s been over ten years and during that time I have become a better, more efficient cook. I make those same recipes but today they are simpler and easier. So there is no need to purchase the book. All of the best recipes from the book are here – exactly the way I make them today.

If you’re curious, the book is available as a free download. Just click here.

Aug 23, 2014

Parchment Paper vs. Wax Paper

Are parchment paper and wax paper the same?

My response… Parchment paper and wax paper are very different. Wax paper is actually coated with wax and not intended for use in the oven. The wax would probably melt in there anyway and wind up on your food. It’s good to use for messy work like breading or you can sift dry ingredients on it to save washing a bowl. Parchment paper is grease and moisture-resistant and is made for use in the oven. Even in the hottest oven at 500 degrees F, the edges of the paper may turn brown but it’s still safe to use. And it saves a lot of cleanup. If your parchment paper sticks, it’s likely an inferior quality paper. The only brand I use is Reynolds and it never sticks.

Jun 22, 2014

Why Do Cookies Spread Too Much?

Linda asks… Hi Jenny….love your cooking videos…when I see that a new one is available, it is like Christmas around here.       My question is this:     I love making chocolate chip cookies but sometimes the dough spreads so thinly in the oven at 375o   and tends to burn on the outer rim and be a little raw in the middle.   I have tried lowering the temp to 365 but it still happens.    I am wondering what the reason(s) might be for this?

My Response… It’s a common problem and there are a few things I can suggest…

1) Oven is not hot enough. Before placing cookies in the oven, make sure it has reached 375 degrees. You may not be waiting long enough for it to reach 375. An oven thermometer is very handy for this. I usually preheat my oven for 30 minutes.

2) Baking pan is too greasy. It makes sense that things will slide around on a greasy surface so try not greasing your pan and using parchment paper. The added bonus is there is no cleanup.

3) Baking pan is warm. There are two reasons this could happen. One is if you keep the baking pan on the stove while the oven preheats and the pan gets warm. The other is that you don’t let the pan cool completely when making a second batch.

Some other solutions are to shape the cookies and chill them in the fridge for 15 minutes or so. Then put them straight into the oven. If your pan fits, you can shape the cookies on the pan and put the whole thing in the fridge to chill, then put the cold pan in the oven. Also, don’t over-beat your dough. And avoid any substitutions like using whipped butter, etc. If this information doesn’t solve your problem, please send me the EXACT recipe as you make it and I will try to help.

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