How To . . .

Dec 8, 2016

How To Freeze Pecan Balls

Guess what? There is no difference between frozen and freshly made pecan balls. I tested them myself and asked two other people to do a blind taste test and no one could tell the difference. This is good news because anything you can make ahead for the holidays is helpful. I’m sure there is more than one way to freeze these delicate Christmas snowball cookies but here is how I did mine:

  1. Once they were completely cool and after the second roll in powdered sugar I gently placed them in a freezer bag so they were not touching.
  2. I removed as much air as possible from the bag and placed them gently in the freezer.
  3. To thaw I let them thaw overnight in the refrigerator and then brought them to room temperature.
  4. Then I gently rolled them in powdered sugar again to freshen them up.

So there it is. This is how you can freeze your homemade pecan balls and have extra time for…. making more! Click here for the recipe.  – Jenny Jones

Aug 20, 2016

How To Line a Square Pan with Parchment Paper

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When making granola bars, lining the pan with parchment paper is not easy because it won’t always stay in place, but I found an easier way to do it… with binder clips. You can get them at a stationery store and since they’re metal, they can go right in the oven. Cut two parchment paper pieces a little bit wider than your 9-inch pan and lay them in, criss-crossing each other, clipping the ends down as you go. It will keep the paper in place and you won’t have to wash the pan! – Jenny Jones

Aug 19, 2016

How To Share My Recipes

Here’s how to share any of my recipes. Just above each recipe on the right side look for these buttons:

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With the first two buttons, you can share a recipe on your facebook page or email it to anyone, even yourself. And when you click on the Screen Shot 2016-08-19 at 3.43.00 PM you will see this:

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Now you can share on any of the apps that pop up. But wait, there’s more. When you click on the Screen Shot 2016-08-19 at 3.46.36 PM look what else pops up:

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How exciting! I’d be even more excited if I knew what they all were. 🙂 But if yours isn’t here, it probably doesn’t exist. So now you can share any of my recipes you like. The more people cooking at home, the better! – Jenny Jones

Sep 22, 2015

How To….

How To Store Tortillas:

If your flour tortillas are too hard and won’t bend, it could be from not rolling them thin enough, the pan not being hot enough (cast iron is best), or not storing them properly. I store mine in a zip top plastic bag (put them in while they are still warm) and then close it up and remove all the air. Mine are always soft and every time I remove one, I close it back up, air removed each time.

How To Store Tortillas

How To Store Celery:

I got tired to throwing away half of my celery when it went bad so I found a way to keep it twice as long. Here’s how:

  1. Separate and wash the celery.
  2. Pat it to remove excess water.
  3. Lay down a large sheet (about 18 by 18 inches) of heavy duty extra wide aluminum foil.
  4. Wrap the still damp celery in 2-3 paper towels and place in the center of the foil.

Celery1200_02875. Wrap the celery in the paper towels and then the foil, starting with the long side and then fold in the ends.

Celery2_1200_02826. It’s easy to open and re-close the celery packet when you use heavy duty foil. The paper towels continue to keep moisture away from the celery, allowing it to stay fresh much longer. The worst thing to wrap celery, or any other high-moisture vegetables in, is plastic.

How To Measure (& Aerate) Flour:

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Flour must be aerated before measuring because it often settles in the bag or container making it heavy  and compact. (Aerating basically means fluffing it up) 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. 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.

How To Freeze Pesto:

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Drop some pesto in each compartment of an ice cube tray but not all the way to the top. Then cover each one with a little olive oil, just enough to cover the top completely. This will keep the pesto from turning brown. Freeze the tray and once the cubes are frozen, remove from the tray and store in zip top freezer bags.

How To Toast Nuts:

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Place raw nuts (walnuts, pecans, or almonds) on an ungreased baking sheet and bake in a preheated 350 degree F oven for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring a couple of times. Cool completely before using. Toasting greatly enhances the flavor of nuts. Always toast nuts before chopping.

How To Keep Cookies Crisp:

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  • Cool cookies completely before storing.
  • Do not store soft cookies together with crispy cookies.
  • Glass containers are good for storing crispy cookies.
  • Do not store in plastic bags but use a covered container.
  • Refrigerating cookies will help keep them crisp.
  • If you freeze cookies they will be crispy if you eat them frozen.
  • Cookies that have softened will be never become crispy when stored no matter what tricks you use.
  • Cookies can be re-crisped in a 300 degree F oven for 5-10 minutes.
  • Add something to the container that absorbs moisture like rice or baking soda.

I usually put about 1/3 cup of baking soda in a coffee filter, staple it together and place it in the bottom of my container, layering the cookies on top. The baking soda absorbs moisture and the coffee filter is made of a porous material full of tiny holes that lets the air circulate easily and allows the baking soda to absorb any moisture.

How To Keep Brown Sugar Soft

Brown sugar gets hard when its moisture escapes. The best way to keep brown sugar soft is to use a small clay disc and it works really well. Here’s an example below…

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It costs less than $5 and you just soak the disc in water for 15 minutes and then put it into a fresh bag of brown sugar. Seal up the bag tightly and you’re done.  Mine stays soft until I finish the bag. You can even use a piece of broken clay from a pot as long as it’s unglazed.

Mar 27, 2015

How to Make Beef Stock

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Due to the overwhelming popularity of my beef stew recipe, which I make with homemade beef stock, I thought I would share my recipe for beef stock. I only make this stock every few months because I freeze it for later use, like when I make the stew or some of my soups like beef-barley or minestrone. By the way, my beef stew recipe got so many pins (123,000 so far plus tens of thousands more shared through pinterest) that we had to increase the space for pins on the page!

Keep in mind that a stock like this is very flexible and you may have to adjust the recipe to accommodate the size of your pot. Mine is an 8-quart (7.5 litre) so after I put in all the bones and vegetables, it will still hold 5 1/2 quarts of water. If your pot is smaller, just use less of everything. But make sure you cook it for three hours because time is what gives it such a rich flavor. And be sure to use marrow bones because they are the best ones to use for soups. I’m making it right now and it smells amazing!!

If you haven’t made my stew, you’re really missing it.
Just look at the comments – no one is dissing it.
If you make my stew and you want it to rock,
Get veggies and bones and make your own stock.

Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones

Dec 27, 2014

How To Store Parsley

I’ve had this parsley for over a month! If you’re tired of throwing away wilted parsley, you will love this easy way to store fresh parsley. Just put it in a glass of water and cover it loosely with a plastic produce bag. I use the bag I brought it home in from the store.
IMG_0418Fresh parsley is great to use in cooking but I only use a little at a time. I used to keep it in the vegetable drawer in a plastic bag but I always had to throw it away before I could use it all up. There had to be a better way. So I tried putting it in a glass of water in the fridge and it kept a little longer but after a few days it was drying out.

The solution to drying out had to be plastic so I tried putting a light weight plastic produce bag loosely over the parsley and glass and I could not believe how long it lasted. I put it away on November 23rd. That was five weeks ago! And look at it today…

IMG_0695I’ll be using this parsley until 2015! I’ll let you know when it finally runs its course – probably six or seven weeks. I just had to share!

Sep 11, 2014

How to Bake Soft Cookies

Parvin asks… Hello Jenny, how can i bake soft cookies? Thank you

My Response… There are a few things than help to make soft cookies:
1. Bake them for the least amount of time, even if they seem soft in the middle.
2. Don’t use dark baking pans, only shiny metal ones.
3. Try reducing the flour just a little.
4. Try adding an extra egg yolk.
5. Use more brown sugar and less white sugar.
6. Use butter and not oil.
7. Replace part of the butter with shortening.
8. Remove cookies immediately from pan when done.
9. Cool the cookies on a flat surface and not a wire rack.
10. Store them in an air-tight container. If needed, put in a piece of white bread.

Aug 12, 2014

How To Measure Ingredients

Professional bakers generally weigh ingredients but I don’t consider that practical so I do what I think most of us do, which is use measuring cups and spoons. Measuring liquids is pretty simple and requires a glass or plastic cup with markings that should be viewed at eye level, but dry ingredients are where recipes are affected the most. The proper way to measure flour is to first stir the flour in its container in case it has settled too much and become compacted. Then you are supposed to spoon it into your dry (stackable) measuring cup. Since I bake so much I keep my flour in a covered container but I always stir it first before measuring. My method is “dip and level” meaning that after I stir the flour around in the container, I dip my measuring cup into the  flour, do not tap or shake the cup, and then I level off the top with a knife. I dip and level with sugar also but it does not tend to settle as much as flour. With small dry ingredients like spices, baking powder, etc. I just dip in the measuring spoon, scoop it up and then level off with a knife. I think most failures in baking happen by not stirring and aerating the flour first.

Here’s some advice I have based on some mistakes I have made:

1) Never measure liquid things like vanilla or oil in a measuring spoon over the bowl you’re working in – it can easily spill over into your bowl and there’s no way to fix it.

2) Never break an egg directly into a batter but always into a small bowl or cup first. You’d be surprised how often you’ll find a piece of egg shell.

3) When baking with cocoa powder sift it together with the other dry ingredients because it’s not always easy to incorporate it later.

I also found a couple of helpful links below…

http://allrecipes.com/video/30/how-to-measure-ingredients/detail.aspx

http://sallysbakingaddiction.com/measuring-101/

Jan 28, 2014

How To Make Perfect Hard Boiled Eggs

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I make a lot of hard boiled eggs.  A lot. There are some in my fridge right now… perfect, easy to peel, no green ring, hard boiled eggs for snacking, breakfast, deviled eggs, and egg salad. I’ve learned a few things about how to make foolproof hard boiled eggs so here’s what I know…

1) Really fresh eggs will be harder to peel so use your older eggs for boiling.

2) Place eggs in a pot and cover completely with cold water.

3) Do not crowd too many eggs in the pot or they may not cook.

4) If you see a stream of bubbles coming out of an egg in the cold water that means it’s cracked. Remove the cracked egg and save it for cooking.

5) Add ½ teaspoon of baking soda to the water. If you don’t have baking soda, use salt.

6) Bring the water to a full, rolling boil.

7) Cover the pot and turn off the heat, leaving the pot on the warm burner.

8) Set a timer for 17 minutes. Prepare a bowl of ice water.

10) After 17 minutes remove the eggs from the hot water using a slotted spoon and place them in the ice water for 2 minutes. They will still be warm inside after two minutes.

11) Serve immediately or keep refrigerated.

11) Freshly boiled, warm eggs will be easier to peel than cold ones.

12) Peeling them under running water makes peeling easier.

13) Start to peel at the fat end of the egg for easier peeling.

So that’s all I know about making perfect hard-boiled eggs. Now here is why I eat them: Eggs are a great source of….

~Protein, B vitamins, and minerals.

~Choline, which reduces inflammation, protects against breast cancer, and supports brain health.

~Lutein and Zeaxanthin to ward off macular degeneration.

~Sulphur for shiny hair, strong nails, and glowing skin.

~New research tells us that egg yolks contain dietary cholesterol but they do not raise blood cholesterol. For the latest research on eggs from Prevention Magazine, click here.

So that’s everything I know about making perfect, easy to peel, no green ring hard boiled eggs. Now here’s as quiz: Q: Why do brown eggs cost more than white ones? A: Because the hens are bigger and it costs more to feed them. Nutritionally, there is no difference.

Oct 3, 2013

How to Prevent Sinking Cupcakes

Debbie asks… Hi lately my cupcakes have become wrinkled and flat once out of the oven can you to me what might cause this please.

My Response…

Baking is such an exact science that almost any small change in a recipe can cause it to fail. Here are a few possible explanations:

  • Your baking powder or baking soda is expired.
  • Your ingredients are not room temperature.
  • Batter was over-mixed.
  • Oven door was opened during baking.
  • Batter was too liquid.
  • Improper measuring.
  • Oven was not preheated long enough.
  • Oven temperature is not accurate.

Make sure you follow your recipe exactly, right down to the size of the eggs (usually large) and use fresh ingredients. I hope this helps. Does anyone else have cupcake advice for Debbie?

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