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Bake Like a Pro

Although I would hardly call myself a professional baker, I have a love for baking. Over many years, I have learned techniques, tips, and tricks that have elevated my baked goods to the level of a professional. With the winter season upon us, we spend more time indoors. Time to stock the freezer. There is nothing like a hot up of cocoa or coffee to go with a freshly baked pastry. Happy Baking! 

Here are some basic dos and don’ts when baking:

  1. Always line your baking pans with parchment paper.  This allows for easy removal of your pastries.
  2. Don’t overmix your batter. Once the flour is incorporated, stop mixing. Overmixing will result in a tough batter.
  3. Measure accurately. Baking is a science. It needs to be exact to receive consistent results. Level off your dry ingredients with the back of a knife or offset spatula. 
  4. Always preheat over your oven.
  5. Use a cookie scooper to get cookies that are uniform and always the same size.
  6. For chewy cookies, remove the cookie sheets from the oven when the cookies’ edges are golden, and the centers are just set. They will continue to bake from the heat of the pan.
  7. Always use light colored pans. Dark pans will burn before the center is baked.
  8. Most baked goods freeze well. Just let them cool. Wrap in parchment paper and then in plastic for up to three months.
  9. Always use fresh ingredients. Expired baking soda or baking powder will result in flat cakes and cookies.
  10. When trying a new recipe, read the entire recipe before starting to ensure you have all of the ingredients and are familiar with the steps.


Guilt-Free Biscotti

These biscotti are highly addictive. They are so delicious that even kids love them. The trick is to slice them super thinly.


1 cup sugar

3 Eggs

2 tsp. vanilla extract

2 cups wholewheat flour

½ tsp. baking Soda

½ tsp. baking powder

pinch of salt

½ cup craisins

Cinnamon and sugar


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Mix all ingredients until they form a thick batter. Place on cookie sheet and form a log. Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar. Bake until the log is golden brown and firm – about 30 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Slice thin, about, 1/8 inch. Place single layer on a cookie sheet and bake at 250 degrees for 18 minutes. Flip and bake again for 18 more minutes until golden and toasted.


Basic Brownies


These brownies are great. They yield a chewy and fudgy center. The brownies can also be dressed up by adding simple mix-ins like sandwich cookies pretzels, chocolate chips, or swirls of caramel. They can also be served warm with a scoop of ice cream on top.


¾ cup plus 2 Tbsp.  oil

3/4 cup  plus 2 Tbsp. sugar

1 cup flour

½ tsp. baking powder

2 tsp. vanilla

4 eggs

2/3 cup cocoa

pinch salt



Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9 by 9-inch pan with parchment paper. Mix sugar and oil. Beat in eggs one at a time. Add vanilla. Add flour, baking powder and salt till combined. Pour into pan and bake for 40 minutes.

Vanilla Crinkle Cookies

For anyone who knows me, I’m famous for these cookies. I have made thousands of them. The trick is to refrigerate the dough for at least 24 hours.


2 cup of  Sugar

4 eggs

2/3 cup of  oil

1 Tbsp. vanilla extract

2 tsp. baking powder

2 ¾          cup flour

1 Packet instant vanilla pudding

Confectioners’ sugar


Combine all ingredients except confectioners’ sugar and place in a refrigerator overnight. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Using a tablespoon size scooper, shape dough. Roll balls into confectioners’ sugar and place on cookie sheet 2 inches apart.  Bake 11 minutes or until edges are slightly brown and center is set.

Cinnamon Crumb Cake

Everyone needs that perfect moist crumb cake in their recipe collection, and this recipe is definitely it.  I like to bake this cake in two loaf pans, one to enjoy right away and one for the freezer.


1 stick margarine (room temperature)

½ cup oíl

3 cup flour

1 Tbsp. vanilla sugar

½ cup sugar

3 tsp. baking powder

2 tsp. cinnamon

10     oz. whip topping

3 eggs



Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two loaf pans on a 9×13 pan with parchment paper.  Combine first 7 ingredients.  Remove one cup of crumbs, add eggs, and whip. Mix until just combined. Place in lined pans. Add the reserved crumbs to the top of the cake.  Bake for 50 minutes or until the center of the cake is firm and set.

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