I make more granola bars than almost any other recipe and I always have them available to take along as a snack in my purse or in the car. The best way to store granola bars is to wrap each one in a separate snack size plastic bag with all the air removed. Then keep them refrigerated and they last for weeks. Whenever I leave the house, I put one in my purse, or I put a few in my purse to give as gifts. Everyone loves a homemade granola bar so if you make them, consider giving them as gifts. By the way, these little plastic bags can be re-used. If you want to make these delicious and easy homemade granola bars, click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones
Yeast has a short shelf life and once any package of yeast has been opened, it should be kept in the freezer. I always use the small packets and I find that using a butterfly clip, the kind you can get at an office supply store, is a good way to seal up the packet for freezing. A paper clip would also work. I snip off the corner of the packet, measure what I need, fold the open corner over twice and seal it with the clip. Then I pop it in the freezer. – Jenny Jones
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 the bag back up, air removed each time. I keep them refrigerated this way for as long as 10 days. If you want to make your own fantastic homemade tortillas, click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones
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. 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.
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.
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:
Separate and wash the celery.
Pat it to remove excess water.
Lay down a large sheet (about 18 by 18 inches) of heavy duty extra wide aluminum foil.
Wrap the still damp celery in 2-3 paper towels and place in the center of the foil.
6. 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.
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. To make your own healthy homemade pesto, click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones
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… 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.
Most doughs rise faster in a warm and humid environment. Here are some ideas on warm places to let your dough rise:
1. Oven – a) Turn on the oven for about one minute and turn it off. Place dough in the warm oven. b) Place a pot of boiling hot water in a cold oven. Place the dough inside with the hot water. These will only work until you need to preheat the oven to bake. If you have a second oven, you can keep the dough in there longer.
2. Heating Pad – Set the dough on top of a heating pad and set the pad to low or medium temperature.
3. Lamp – Turn on a reading lamp and set the dough under the bulb.
4. On Top of Fridge – Your refrigerator generates heat so it’s usually warm on top of the fridge so you can place the dough there.
5. Microwave – Bring a cup of water to boil in the microwave. After it boils, put the dough in the microwave with the cup of hot water and close the door right away. This creates heat and humidity.
6. Neck Wrap – If you have a neck wrap that you heat in the microwave, you can heat it up and wrap it around the container that holds the dough.
7. Bowl of hot water – Fill a bowl with very hot water and put a flat top on it like a plate or pizza pan. Place the dough on the plate and drape a towel over the dough and bowl to keep the heat in.
8. Window – If the sun is coming through a window in winter, place the dough next to the window in the sun.
9. Hot Car – If your car is parked in the hot sun, put the dough in the car.
Did I miss any? If anyone has other suggestions, please post them below.
When making granola bars or bar cookies, 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. To save money, since parchment paper costs more than aluminum foil, here is another way:
Line the pan with foil first. Then cut a strip of parchment paper the same width as your pan, either 8 or 9 inches, and lay it on top of the foil, clipping in place. This way is easier, parchment paper releases food well, and you’ll save money! – Jenny Jones