Baked Goods Internal Temperature Chart

img_0350Insert the thermometer from the side of the bread. If the bread is in a loaf pan, insert it just above the edge of the pan directing it at a downward angle.

  • Quick Breads (Breads, Muffins and Cornbread) 200°F
  • Yeast Breads 200° to 210°F
  • Soft Breads/Dinner Rolls 180° to 190°F
  • Scones 200°F
  • Sourdough BreadsSourdough Breads 200° to 210°F
  • Cinnamon Rolls 190° to 200°F
  • Water temperature to add yeast 105° to 115°F


Insert thermometer in the center of the cake.

  • Cupcakes 205° to 209°F
  • Carrot Cake 205° to 209°F. Remember: The cooking process continues even after you remove the cake out of the oven. As the cake cools, the residual heat on the surface slowly penetrates to the middle.
  • Clafouti (with fruit) 160°F
  • Devil’s Food Cake – Red Velvet Cake 205°F
  • Molton Chocolate Cakes 160°F
  • Pound Cake 210° to 212°F
  • Tres Leches Cake, Three-Milk Cake 200°F
  • Upside-Down Cakes 190° to 200°F
  • Cheesecake When the internal temperature of a cheesecake rises beyond 160°F while baking, it will always crack. To prevent this from happening, Take it out of the oven when the cheesecake reaches 150°F  at the center to avoid over baking.


Insert thermometer a couple inches in from the edge of the pie.

  • Chocolate Cream Pie 165°F
  • Custard Pie – Cream Pies 170° to 175°F. Bake until the custard has set around edges but jiggles slightly in the center when tapped on the side with a wooden spoon.
  • Fruit Pies (Blueberry, Blackberry, etc.) 175°F. Fruit pies should be juicy and bubbling all over, especially in its center. The pie needs to bubble if it contains a starch thickener, otherwise the starch is not going to thicken.
  • Pecan Pie 200°F
  • Pumpkin Pie 175°F
  • Sweet Potato Pie 175°F
  • Meringue Pies 160° to 165°F

Puddings and Custards:

Insert thermometer in the centers. Begin checking temperature about 5 minutes before recommended time.

  • Bread Pudding 160°F
  • Creme Brûlée 170° to 175°F
  • Baked Custard (Old Fashion) 160°F
  • Flan 170° to 175°F

Holiday Tree Napkin Fold

The best part about these holiday tree napkin folds is that you can do them with almost any kind of napkin, from cotton ones to paper ones. Plus, they will be a fun conversation starter when your guests come to sit at the table.


  • Paper napkins or cotton napkins
  • Wood decorations (optional)
  • Wooden dowel
  • Cutting tool

How to

Step one: Open out the paper napkin so that it is in a square then fold it in half. Then, fold it in half again and turn it around so that all the outside corners face you.


Step two: Fold each corner up to the top, making each fold lower than the one before it.


Step three: Turn the napkin over and fold each of the outer corners to the opposite sides. You will be left with a pointy shape.


Step four: Flip the napkin over so the thickest part is at the bottom and the other side faces upwards.

Step five: Start at the top and fold each flap upwards. From the second one down, tuck the pointed tip under the flap above it so that you have a clean looking tree shape.


Step six: (Optional) Place a wooden decoration (such as a snowflake or star) at the top of your tree. Then, cut a two inch length of wooden dowel and place at the base of the napkin so that it looks like the tree trunk.





10 Secrets to Baking the Perfect Cookie

Why does butter temperature matter?

img_0282Butter acts like the ‘glue’ that holds together the other ingredients. Because of its structure, butter holds the key to the texture, aeration, and shape of cookies. Many cookies call for ‘creaming’ the butter and sugar together before adding dry ingredients. This ensures the butter will be distributed evenly throughout the cookie. For best results, creaming should be done for 2-3 minutes in most cases. Room temperature butter is best for this procedure. Avoid creaming butter and sugars together at a speed higher than medium. Too much friction will cause the butter to heat up and break down. For flaky cookies and many shortbreads you will need very cold butter. The cold butter globs settle between layers of flour and, when baked, melt leaving pockets of air which create layers and texture. For best results, cut butter into small cubes and place them in the freezer before starting dough. Consult the recipe and follow it closely.

Should you use paper or foil lining?

img_0283Lining baking sheets is one of the easiest ways to ensure the right type of baking and also makes for simple clean up. Parchment paper is the standard choice for most cookie baking, but it is not always the right choice. For thin cookies with a crispy bottom choose foil. Use the less-shiny side up in the bottom of your baking tray. The foil will radiate heat back up toward the cookie and non-porous nature of the foil will keep the fats near the bottom of the cookie creating a crispier bottom. In either case, allow the cookies to cool so you can peel them away from the liner if necessary. Tip: look for flat pre-cut parchment sheets at restaurant supply stores. They fit perfectly in pans and do not roll up on the ends.

Why does it matter how I cool my cookies?

img_0284It comes down to how long the cookies should continue to cook. For many standard cookies, which are somewhat soft on the inside and a bit crisp on the outside, cooling for just a minute or two on the tray before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely is the right answer. However other cookies, including many shortbreads, require cooling completely on the tray for best results. The additional contact with heat allows the cookie to cook more completely on the inside and creates a more sturdy bottom. As ever, consult the recipe and follow it closely.

How do I bake a baker’s dozen?

img_0285While baking cookies is a fun pastime, nobody wants to spend unnecessary time watching the oven. Using a baker’s dozen layout for your cookies will allow you to get more cookies done in less time. Plus, that leaves one extra cookie for the cook. Use the layout in the photo above. Start by placing the first ball of dough in the very center of the pan. Make a diagonal line from there across the cookie sheet with four more dough balls evenly spaced. Use those balls as the guide for the remaining rows of cookies.

Do I really need a cookie scoop?

img_0286The short answer is no. You don’t really need a cookie scoop unless you are making cookies that will be sandwiched together. However, if you want cookies to be of consistent size and shape it is the best way to ensure good results. Further, using a cookie scoop is often less messy than scraping from a spoon. Cookie scoops come in a wide variety of sizes. Pick up a few for differently sized cookies.


What’s the best way to measure flour?

img_0287Measuring flour properly is one of the most critical steps in consistent cookies from time to time. Also, improper measuring can result in a cookie that is too dry or tough. For best results use a scoop to gently shake the flour into your measuring cup. Then use a knife or offset spatula to scrape the flour level with the top of the cup. Tip: Although not commonly used in the U.S., the best method for measuring in baking is with a kitchen scale. For consistent results, measure ingredients from your recipe in grams. Make note of the measurements on the recipe for future reference.

Can I make cookies without a mixer?

img_0287You can and you should in many cases. The single most common cause for tough cookies is over mixing. The mixer is great for creaming together butter and sugars, but beyond that most cookies require very little beating. Dry ingredients and extras such as chocolate chips, nuts and dried fruit generally only need to be mixed just until the ingredients are incorporated. Of course, there are some exceptions.

Why do recipes call for refrigerating dough? Do I really need to do it?

img_0289The typical reason for this is two-fold. First, in some cases the flour needs time to work its magic. Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, refrigeration is often recommended to allow the butter to come back to a hardened state. Even if the recipe doesn’t call for chilling, consider chilling and bringing the dough back to room temperature before baking. Cookie dough that has been allowed to rest and chill overnight often has better flavor and texture.

How can I bake more cookies in less time?

img_0290It’s all in the rotation. If you are going to make many cookies consider purchasing at least four baking sheets. Tip: Standard professional, rolled-rim baking sheets are readily available at restaurant supply stores and often far less expensive than gimmicky ones sold in retail stores. For maximum baking production arrange your oven racks in the center of the oven. Place a tray on each rack and set a timer for about a quarter of the overall expected baking time. To estimate the time add 4-6 minutes to the baking time in the recipe as if you were only going to bake one sheet at a time. At the end of the first time, take the bottom tray out and place it on the stove, turning the front of the tray to the back. Remove the middle tray and put it on the bottom, also turning it around. Move the top tray to the middle and turn it. Place the tray on the stove top on the top rack. Continue setting the timer and rotating the trays in the same manner until they are done.

How to Gelatin-Clarify Oil


For each quart of oil:

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon powdered gelatin


  1. After deep-frying, allow your cooking fat to cool to room temperature or slightly warmer.
  2. Measure into a small pot half a cup of water for every quart of used oil. Sprinkle it with one teaspoon of powdered gelatin per half cup of water, and let the gelatin hydrate for a few minutes.
  3. Bring the water to a simmer (you can do this on the stovetop or in the microwave), stirring, until the gelatin dissolves.
  4. Stirring vigorously and constantly, pour the gelatin/water mixture into the dirty oil. It should look very cloudy and relatively homogeneous at this stage.
  5. Cover the pot and place it in the refrigerator (or transfer the mixture to a separate container before refrigerating), then allow it to rest overnight.
  6. The next day, pour the oil from the top of the pot or container into a separate clean, dry pot.
  7. Discard the disk of gelatin that remains.
  8. The clarified oil is ready to use.

Cook’s Notes

The first time you use the clarified oil, you’ll find that as it heats up, it will start to bubble a little bit. This is okay. Swirl the pan gently as it bubbles to help release any remaining droplets of water. It will eventually settle down until it’s ready for frying.

Chocolate “Wax” Seals

Chocolate "Wax"SealsIngredients

  • 2/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • Parchment paper
  • Cup filled with crushed ice
  • Metal wax seal stamps


  1. Gently heat chocolate in a double boiler or in the microwave at 30 second intervals; be careful to not over heat.. Stir smooth.
  2. Transfer chocolate to a clean bowl. Let it stand 3-5 minutes or until it’s barely warm to the touch. It’s important the chocolate is not too hot when you make an impression with the stamp. The heat from the chocolate will warm the metal stamp and it will cause the chocolate to smear.
  3. Place metal wax seal stamps in the cup filled with crushed ice. The stamp bottoms need to be thoroughly chilled.
  4. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  5. Drop dime-size amounts of chocolate onto the parchment paper.
  6. Remove a stamp from the ice and quickly wipe it free of water droplets with a towel.
  7. Place the stamp onto a mound of chocolate, press down gently then release.
  8. Let the stamp stand pressed in the chocolate for 3-5 seconds.
  9. Press down again very gently but firmly once more before you lift the stamp. You should be left with a clear impression in the chocolate.
  10. Replace metal wax stamp into the crushed ice until it is thoroughly chilled and repeat with remaining melted chocolate.
  11. Refrigerate finished chocolate seals until firm.

This Trick Will Free You From the Frustrations of Rolling Out Cookie Dough

img_0242Many sugar cookie recipes will ask you to chill the dough post-mixing—and for good reason. Room temperature butter is more likely than cold butter to glom onto the work surface (and, consequently, to require extra flour protection, leading to less tender cookies). Plus, when the dough rests under refrigeration, the protein strands relax and it becomes less susceptible to shrinking as you roll it, cut it, and bake it.

Instead of rolling the cookie dough post-chilling — roll it out pre-chilling, but between two sheets of parchment paper instead of on a floured work surface. Sandwiched by parchment, your very-pliable dough has no chance of latching onto your rolling pin or your kitchen counter. Once you’ve got it at your desired thickness, you can carry the flattened dough right on over to the refrigerator, where it can chill until firm. (If the dough slab is going to be too large, just cut it into pieces and stack them up with parchment dividers.)

You needn’t have an expanse of clean marble or incredible forearm strength for nice-looking cookies! With parchment as protection, rolling out cookie dough has never been easier or neater.

And, bonus tip — since the dough is already on parchment paper, you can cut out the shapes you want, then let them remain in their same place: By pulling away the scraps around the cuts rather than trying to transfer the cookies themselves (in other words, by messing with the negative space and leaving the positive space alone), you’ll keep your reindeer and snowmen perfectly intact. Reroll the scraps later.

Use Gelatin to Improve Store-Bought Stocks


Store-bought broths and stocks are certainly convenient, but they lack the silky texture and mouth feel that you get from simmering bones for hours on end, extracting all of that wonderful collagen. To make the box stuff taste and feel more homemade, just add a little gelatin.

It may not be the most glamorous ingredient, but gelatin can vastly improve the texture of a variety of foods, from silky pan sauces to juicy meatballs but perhaps the most useful shortcut is for jazzing up a pot of boring broth:

So, when you’re not up for brewing a whole potful of gelatin-rich broth, you can simply bloom some powdered gelatin in boxed or canned stock—about one and a half teaspoons per cup of stock will do the trick. A quick simmer and a pat of butter later, you’ll have a mouth-coating white wine and fines herbes or creamy morel mushroom pan sauce with a restaurant-quality texture.

Just like that, watery sub-par broth becomes a warm, rich soup or sauce, adding a decadent element to a chilly weeknight meal.


  •  1 cup stock
  • 1 teaspoon butter
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons powdered gelatin


  1. Sprinkle the granules of gelatin over the surface or 1/4 cup cold surface of cold stock  Do not dump them in a pile, as the granules in the middle won’t dissolve.
  2. Let stand for 5 to 10 minutes.
  3. Add the stock to gelatin mixture
  4. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer stirring until dissolved. To verify the granules are melted, lift the stirring utensil and make certain that there are no undissolved granules clinging to it.
  5. Stir in butter and cook at a hard boil until emulsified, about 30 seconds. Remove from heat and set aside.