Top Secrets to Tasty Gluten-Free Baking

Gluten-Free-Flour

Gluten-free baking — think it’s impossible? Think again!

People choose to go gluten-free for a variety of reasons. Doctor’s orders, better digestion or healthier lifestyle choices always seem to top the list. Just one sweep through the grocery store and you’ll find plenty of options for gluten-free eating. If you love the art of baking at home, you’re not limited there, either. Many people think they have to kiss baking goodbye when they go gluten-free, but your oven doesn’t have to go into retirement the moment you switch.

Top Secrets for Gluten-Free Baking

  • Bigger is NOT better. Smaller batches crumble less than trying to push out three or four dozen cookies at once, for example.
  • Get sticky. Gluten is a sticky agent, so adding some gelatin or xanthan gum to your pizza dough will hold your crust together better.
  • Reduce the heat. Lower your oven temperature by about 25 degrees to keep your gluten-free baked goods from browning too quickly.
  • Be a flour chemist. Combine 2-3 different grains for the perfect baking mix. Try sorghum flour, brown rice flour, white and sweet rice flour, millet flour, buckwheat flour, quinoa flour, certified gluten-free oat flour and teff flour.

This chart helps explain the flavor profiles of different flours.

Guide-to-Different-Types-of-Flour_Small

 

Gluten-Free Fresh Baked Bread

Brown rice flour is the main ingredient in Clabber Girl’s hearty Gluten-Free Oat Bread. One slice, and you’ll never miss another white or wheat loaf again.

Ingredients:

1 c. rolled oats (quick cooking)
1 c. oat flour
2 tsp. Clabber Girl Baking Powder
1 tsp salt
1 c. boiling water
1 c. unsweetened almond milk
3/4 c. brown rice flour
1/4 c. flaxseeds (ground)
1/2 c. dates
2 tbsp. roasted almond butter (can use coconut butter)
1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar

Get the directions!

Gluten-Free Sweet Treats

If you love the smell of fresh baked sugary goodness, heat up your oven and try out these decadent and delicious Blueberry Corn Muffins and Banana Pancakes. Our honey peanut butter and jelly cookies are perfect for kids (or the young at heart)! Before your next camping trip or hike, try taking our vegan and gluten-free nutty granola with you to help pack on the protein.

Wiping gluten off the menu means eliminating the starch, not the taste. Living and baking gluten-free can seem daunting at first, but once you get the hang of things, you’ll discover a whole new world of favorite recipes.

50 State Cookies

 

State CookiesCrank up the ovens, break out those mixers and find the baking sheets… it’s cookie time. And if you’re still in a bind about which cookie to take to the holiday exchange this weekend, we’ve got you covered with 50 of the most unique cookies from the United States. Whether you stick to your state’s most prized cookie or try one from the opposite coast, these 50 state cookies are bound to be crowd-pleasers!

To find out what cookie matches your personality, take our cookie quiz!

Alabama: Alabama Cookies – This cookie has a little crunch both from the pecans and the rice crisp cereal. The cookie also has oats, so we find this a totally acceptable breakfast food.

Alaska: Wilderness Lodge Oatmeal Cookies – Alaska goes a little rogue from the traditional cowboy cookie recipe by adding some raisins. Any dried fruit will work as a substitute.

Arizona: Arizona Chocolate Chip Cookies – Lots of shredded coconut make this more than just your plain ol’ chocolate chip cookie, adding a little extra sweetness.

Arkansas: Almond Macaroon Cookies – With more than one cup of almonds, these cookies are more than just a little nutty. Enjoy with a fruity compote and you’re golden.

California:  Avocado Chocolate Chip Cookies – You read that right. These cookies have a little green in them. But avocados are good for you, so go ahead and treat yourself to a couple more!

Colorado: Cowboy Cookies – Cookies made especially for cowboys. And anyone else who enjoys oats, chocolate and walnuts in their cookies.

Connecticut: Spice Cookies – These cookies are sweet with a zip of extra flavor. It makes sense coming from a state known as the Nutmeg State.

Delaware: Strawberry Shortcake Cookies – Strawberries and cream are the theme of these sugary shortcakes. What could go wrong?

Florida:  Key Lime Cookies – It’s no secret that Floridians love their key limes. So we’re not surprised they add them to their cookie dough, too!

Georgia: Peaches and Cream Oatmeal Cookies – If there weren’t peaches in this state’s favorite cookie, it would be a crime! And the white chocolate chips? They’re just bonus flavor.

Hawaii: Hawaiian Cookie Balls – The crushed pineapple and coconut give these cookie balls the Hawaiian flair we all know and love.

Idaho: Potato Chip Cookies – Apparently in Idaho, potatoes have a place in every recipe. But don’t worry, this cookie has all of the sweet stuff, too—cocoa, peanut butter, coconut and chocolate chips.

Illinois: Date-Nut Cookies – If your family is a little nutty, these might be the perfect cookies to serve them.

Indiana: No Bake Cookies – No baking is required, just patience is as you wait for these cookies to cool. Can you resist the temptation?

Iowa: Iowa City Oatmeal Cookies – This isn’t just your any oatmeal cookie. With whole wheat flour, chocolate chips, walnuts and wheat cereal, these cookies cater to all you whole grain lovers.

Kansas: Amish Cookies – Standard sugar cookies with a twist— a hearty amount of powdered sugar.

Kentucky: Brown Butter Bourbon Cookies – Kentucky and bourbon? A perfect pair.  The rich bourbon accentuates the flavors of butter and vanilla.

Louisiana: Citrus Shortbread Cookies – These cookies are just as jazzy as the state they come from.

Maine: Cranberry and Orange Cookies – The bright red color and a sweet glaze makes these cookies perfect for any occasion, but especially so during the holidays.

Maryland: Chocolate Crab Cake Cookies – Your guests will not be eating crab meat in their cookie. We may not understand the name, but we do understand the desire for a chocolate-y, coconut-y cookie!

Massachusetts: Chocolate Chip Cookies – When you’re home of the original chocolate chip cookie, why would any other cookie be your go-to?

Michigan: Cherry Chocolate Chunk Cookies – Chocolate and cherries? Michigan knows how to make some good cookies.

Minnesota: Brown Sugar Butter Cookies – Brown sugar, chocolate chips, and toffee bits. Yes, please!

Mississippi: Mississippi Mud Cookies – No mud in these cookies; just chocolate and yummy marshmallows.

Missouri: Missouri Cookies – Fifteen minutes is all that stands between you and a delicious dessert.

Montana: Huckleberry Cookies – You put huckleberries in salads and pancakes, so why not cookies?

Nebraska: Rubber Cookies – As it turns out, rubber is code for molasses, cinnamon, apples and all sorts of other spicy deliciousness.

Nevada: Spicy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies – In the words of chef Emeril Lagasse, “Let’s kick it up a notch!” These cookies are certainly the way to do it.

New Hampshire: Orange White Chocolate Chip Cookies – When it gets too wintery to eat a creamsicle, put the flavors in a warm cookie instead.

New Jersey: Oatmeal Cranberry Cookies – Beautiful and bright, kind of like your holiday decor.

New Mexico: Bizcochitos (Biscochitos) – These state-recognized cookies have a little kick of flavor from anise seeds and brandy.

New York: Black and White Cookies – Famous in NYC, these cookies are bold and dramatic. Perfect for cookie lovers who can’t decide if they favor vanilla or chocolate icing

North Carolina: Sweet Potato Breakfast Cookies – A little pumpkin pie spice and maple syrup make these sweet potatoes even sweeter. And you can eat them for breakfast.

North Dakota: Honey Whole Wheat Cookies – For the grain lovers of the world, this one’s for you.

Ohio: Cappuccino Flat Cookies – We approve of any cookie that has coffee in it.

Oklahoma: Pecan Pie Cookies – Pecan pie is a favorite in Oklahoma, but pecan pie cookies are just genius.

Oregon: Hazelnut Cookies – Hazelnut coffee is good, but hazelnut cookies? Even better!

Pennsylvania: Chocolate Chip Cookies – You share a home state with Hershey, so this choice is obvious.

Rhode Island: Espiros – With only four ingredients, you can whip these up in no time.

South Carolina: Benne Wafers – Covered in sesame seeds, these cookies have a perfect, toasty crunch.

South Dakota: Triple the Ginger Cookies – One cookie equals three gingerbread men!

Tennessee: Tennessee-Style Marshmallow Cookies – Cookies with a marshmallow center and dipped in chocolate. What’s not to love?

Texas: Fritos Cookies – Drizzle peanut butter, corn syrup, and sugar over corn chips, and you’ve got a cookie.

Utah: Squash Cookies – Put this on your kids’ plate, and they may just eat their veggies. Especially when disguised in sweet cinnamon and nutty pecans.

Vermont: Maple Syrup Cookies – Maple syrup is a state staple!

Virginia: Candied Lemon Ginger Cookies – Don’t even try to resist this combination of lemon and ginger.

Washington: Apple Peanut Butter Cookies – Our favorite fruit all wrapped up in a tasty treat.

West Virginia: Ginger and Molasses Cookies – Warm, comforting flavors for the holiday season.

Wisconsin: Cheddar Cheese Cookies – With only three ingredients, these cookies are quick and simple, not to mention savory!

Wyoming: Wyoming Whopper Cookies – These peanut butter, oats, and raisin-filled cookies are enjoyed most after a long day hiking in the woods.

“Spirited” Recipes – Baking with Liquor

Liquor Blog

Most cooks know that the secret to a tasty meat sauce is a cup of red table wine; but, did you know that alcohol can also enhance the taste and texture of your baked goods, too? Get creative with cake batter or kick it up a notch with tipsy toppings. You can even add a blast of flavor by soaking your fruit ingredients in a cold vodka or sweet liqueur.

Tips for Spiked Sweets

Now, baking with spirits doesn’t mean you can just go and pour a bottle of whipped cream vodka into your brownie batter and expect a miracle. Alcohol affects texture, moisture and flavor. It’s mixology at a whole new level. Here are seven handy tips and tricks to keep in mind when baking with liquor.

  1. Vodka makes a great flake. Add a couple tablespoons of cold vodka to your pie crust recipe for a dough that’s easier to roll out. The vodka keeps the dough from developing too much gluten, leaving you with a light, flaky crust.
  2. Alcohol alters flavor. Bourbon packs smoky and honey flavors, easy for the palate to notice right away. Vodka is subtler, better used as a wet ingredient than for taste.
  3. Bourbon makes vanilla bloom. Bourbon is the key to a smooth, oak flavored homemade vanilla extract.
  4. Better bottle means better baking. Avoid the cheap stuff and go for the gold. The better quality alcohol, the better impact it will have on your baked goods.
  5. Cream curdling cooking? No thanks. Alcohol can curdle cream, so it’s immensely important that you use a carrier when adding booze to creamy baked goods. Soaking raisins in rum, cherries in vodka and apples in brandy will result in all flavor and no curdle.
  6. Put the rum in the coconut and whip it all up. Add dark and smoky spiced rum along with savory coconut to heavy cream as you whip up soft, white peaks.
  7. Test before serving the kiddos. Worried about alcoholic baked goods around the kids? These recipes have a high burn-off ratio, but it’s always better to double check before serving up a slice to anyone under 21. Typically, after an hour or so in the oven, more than 80 percent of the alcohol has evaporated.

Baking with alcohol can be as much fun as drinking it! Try any one of these dishes out on your friends, and you’re sure to come home with an empty cake tray and a plateful of recipe requests.

Mexican Chocolate Bundt Cake with Tequila Almond Liqueur Ganache

Bundts are time-honored crowd pleasers, and this one will have your friends and family begging for the recipe.

Irish Pub Brownies

These brownies call for a cup of stout beer and are frosted with a buttercream icing. They a great for celebrating St. Patrick’s Day.

Chocolate Raspberry Cake – flourless and gluten-free

Heading to a potluck party and not sure of any dietary restrictions? You can be a hit with this sweet and savory flourless cake, packed with a subtle rum punch.

Baking and Crafting with Kids

Iced Rolled Gingerbread Cookies

It’s two weeks before Christmas, and you need to distract the kiddos while you finish some last minute wrapping (don’t forget our handy Printable Gift Tags!). Or, maybe you just want to see something in their hands other than a video game controller. Either way, Christmas break is the perfect time for kitchen and crafting adventures.

No longer tied to their school desks, children are turbo charged with good cheer while at home for the holidays. You can channel some of that excess energy and get the whole family in the holiday spirit with just a few easy craft and baking projects.

Felt Christmas Stockings

Fido and Tom Cat need stockings, too! Your kids can make and decorate personalized felt stockings for the four-legged members of your family. All you need are a few simple materials you can find at any drugstore.

Instructions:

1. Cut two pieces of felt into identical stocking shapes.
2. Staple the edges, then glue trim along to them cover up.
3. Add decorations, such as buttons, ribbon, felt, cotton balls… anything can be décor!

Cookie Cutter Ornaments

For the top of the tree or on the top of a gift, handmade ornaments can really amp up the holiday cheer. The best part is — the kids can do all the work! Sit them down at the table with cookie cutters, cardboard, glue, ribbon, markers and a hole punch. Don’t forget the toppings! Confetti, glitter and bits of wrapping paper make the perfect decorations.

Instructions:

1. Use the cookie cutters to trace shapes on the cardboard and cut out the shape.
2. Cover it with wrapping paper or white or brown butcher’s paper.
3. Decorate!
4. Punch a hole in the top and add ribbon for hanging.

Hot Cocoa Spoons

For quick gift (or an afternoon activity), whip up some easy hot cocoa spoons. Simply melt some chocolate (milk, dark or white…just be sure it’s sweet!) and coat the end of a plastic or wooden spoon, as if you were stirring the chocolate. Then it’s time to decorate! Sprinkle on festive jimmies, roll in crushed peppermint or add a few mini marshmallows. When you’re ready to drink, stir the spoon into a mug of warm hot cocoa for an extra chocolate kick!

Gingerbread Men

No holiday table is complete without happy holiday gingerbread men. The reward of warm gooey cookies is an easy way to get kids away from the TV and into the kitchen. From cracking eggs to decorating faces, gingerbread men are easy for kids to tackle from start to finish.

Ready to bake? Get the instructions here!

Festive Holiday Bars

All those piles of red and green candies are more than just snacks; they’re festive ingredients. You can mix them up in batter for brownies and cupcakes, or try out Clabber Girl’s amazing holiday bars. The taste of the crunchy edges and chewy center is only surpassed when the decadent chocolate morsels melt right in your mouth!

Ingredients:

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup shortening
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons Clabber Girl Baking Powder
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups colored chocolate candy pieces

Get the directions here!

Really want to go nuts? Try it with walnuts!

For more edible Christmas craft ideas – like Marshmallow Pops, Homemade Gumdrops and Reindeer Fudgefollow our Pinterest board!

DIY Baking Mix

 

We can’t control what our family eats during the day. Sure, we can try, but the one real shot we have is when we all sit down at dinner for a healthy, happy home-cooked meal.

But who has time for that?

From your full-time hectic job to balancing homework and soccer practice, there is hardly time to take a breath, let alone cook a healthy dinner. It may seem far easier to throw some tube biscuits in the oven; however, with a little planning ahead of time, you can be the home-cooked dinner hero, bringing warm, delicious homemade bread straight to the table in minutes.

Baking mixes are an easy way to get bread to the table fast. In the grocery store, baking mixes come in little bags or boxes, some labeled with ingredients you can hardly pronounce. But it’s incredibly simple to create your own baking mixes at home. Start with this simple one:

Clabber Girl Basic Baking Mix

Ingredients:

9 c. all-purpose flour (may substitute up to half of the all-purpose flour with whole wheat flour, whole wheat pastry flour or your choice of bleached or unbleached flour)
1/3 c. Clabber Girl Baking Powder
1 tbsp. salt
1 tsp. cream of tartar
1/4 c. granulated sugar
2 c. shortening

Instructions:

In a large bowl combine flour, Clabber Girl Baking Powder, salt, cream of tartar, and sugar. Stir together until thoroughly combined. Cut shortening into mixture with a pastry blender until it resembles coarse crumbs. Place mix into a sealed container to be stored, in a dry place (plastic containers work fine).

Storage Tips:

  1. Place mix into a tightly sealed container in a dry place. Plastic containers work fine.
  2. Counter or cupboard: 3 months
  3. Refrigerator: 6 months
  4. Whole grain mix: store in a refrigerator to avoid spoiling.

This basic blend is the first step in creating a warm, relaxing kitchen, filled with Blackberry Oatmeal Bars, Cinnamon Swirl Coffee Cake and savory Garlic Cheddar Biscuits.

Click here for more recipes that use the basic baking mix!

Secrets to Using a Cast-Iron Skillet

Ingredients for cooking and empty cast iron skillet
Ingredients for cooking and empty cast iron skillet

Inexpensive and durable, naturally nonstick and nearly indestructible, cast-iron skillets are a kitchen essential.

They last for generations, so the same skillet that brought you grandma’s juicy fried chicken now helps you whip up a decadent Apple Pecan Skillet Cake. The best part? The more you use it, the better it gets.

Cast-irons season over time. The oils and flavors from everything that’s touched its surface help the skillet become naturally nonstick. Regularly seasoning your cast-iron skillet will keep it in prime condition to bake for years. Here’s a quick how-to:

1. Wash the skillet with warm water and a sponge or stiff brush. Only use soap if you’re preparing to season it. Otherwise, use only water!

2. Rinse and dry the skillet thoroughly, then coat it with a thin layer of vegetable oil or shortening.

3. Bake in a 325 degree oven for 1 hour. Let the skillet cool completely, then store away.

Here are four ways you can put the cast-iron to work in your own kitchen.

Searing and Sautéing

Take advantage of cast-iron’s reputation for being stovetop and oven-friendly. Begin cooking dishes in the piping hot skillet on the stove, and finish the process in the oven.

Braising that Bursts with Flavor

Since cast-iron skillets heat evenly, and at a steady temperature, they’re perfect for braising meat or vegetables in stock and spices. Try this Braised Winter Vegetable Gratin as a comforting side dish.

Baking – Browned and Buttery

Because the surface of a cast-iron heats evenly and continuously, breads come out toasty and moist, while pies swell with rich, golden crusts. Baking with cast-iron creates sweet and savory dishes that everyone will enjoy. We love the rustic touch of Skillet Buttermilk Biscuits, slathered with warm honey butter. You could also pair a hearty stew with this Easy Mexican Cornbread or finish off a meal with this Blackberry Lime Cobbler.

Frying – The Golden Standard

With cast-iron’s steady, even heat, just an inch or so of oil is all it takes to conjure up some Home Made Corn Dogs or Fried Chicken Wings, two of the most delicious comfort recipes we know.

Using a cast-iron skillet with some of your favorite recipes can open a new world of flavor to your food. A cast-iron skillet that’s well-used and well-loved is more than a kitchen utensil – it’s a treasured family heirloom.

Top 3 Biscuit Mistakes

Skillet-Biscuits-Full

It’s almost Sunday morning – time for biscuits! The mouth-watering smell of rising dough fills the house. Every second the aroma strengthens, enticing you to nibble on that flaky, buttery goodness. The timer goes off and you eagerly open the oven door, only to feel your mitt-clad hand lower and your mouth dry up. The dough is all spread out and hard as a rock, not to mention the burnt bottoms. Something obviously went wrong, but you followed the recipe to the letter. So what happened?

Even the best cooks have their moments. Environment and equipment play just as important of a role as ingredients and recipes. That’s why the baking experts here at Clabber Girl have come up with some clever solutions to the most common biscuit-baking mistakes.

1. I could build a house with my biscuits! They’re just too hard.

Overcooking or high oven temperatures yield brick-like biscuits that can appear to look just fine on the outside. Sometimes, using too many dry ingredients can harden the dough, too.

Solution: Lining your tray with parchment paper can help reduce the hardness. Also think about reducing the heat or cooking time. If this is a repeat offense, your oven is likely the culprit. Placing a thermometer inside will reveal if your oven needs calibrating. Try tweaking your process with these simple Skillet Buttermilk Biscuits.

2. My entire baking tray morphed into one giant, shallow biscuit. How do I keep my biscuits from spreading?

Using too much butter or hot baking trays can cause the dough to glide across the pan like molten lava. Overeager cooks too impatient to let the oven adequately preheat can also incur the dreaded biscuit spread.

Solution: Let the dough cool in the fridge for about 20 minutes before baking and make sure your baking pan is cool or, at least, room temperature. Try your new techniques on these savory Cheddar and Chive Drop Biscuits, the perfect companion for soup night. If your biscuits still spread, try substituting half the butter with shortening. They’ll have the same rich flavor, minus the soft spreading agent.

3. My biscuits have the perfect shimmer of light brown on top, but the bottoms are burnt to a crisp.

If your oven is too hot or you’ve placed the tray too close to the heating element, your biscuits can look golden on top, but black on the bottom.

Solution: If your oven doesn’t heat evenly, try turning the tray at the halfway point and also place it on the middle rack, not the bottom. Parchment paper can also help prevent burnt bottoms. Pick up a roll as you grab the ingredients for Clabber Girl’s incredible Smoked Bacon Biscuits.

Biscuits are a food that should make you just as happy baking as eating. Few things are as disappointing as a baking disaster. Making these few simple adjustments can turn your biscuit breakdown into a kitchen conquest!

Summer Baking With Blueberries

BlueberryCornMuffin

Did you know that blueberries are so phenomenal that an entire month is dedicated to celebrating this super fruit? That’s right – July is National Blueberry Month and we know a thing or two about how to maximize the benefits of this tiny little fruit that packs plenty of power.

Native to North America, blueberries are not just super foods, they’re super soldiers. Studies have shown blueberries can help fight cancer, improve memory, reduce the effects of aging, decrease depression and benefit nervous system and brain health. This is all due to the massive amounts of antioxidants crammed into each little blue sphere.

The super-food breakdown:

  • Around 80 calories a cup
  • 14% of your daily fiber
  • 25% of your daily Vitamin C
  • Lowers LDL (the bad cholesterol)
  • Eating one cup each week can lower your blood pressure and rev up your metabolism

Blueberries are grown all over the Americas, from Mexico to Argentina, California to Maine. The freshest blueberries can be found from May thru October, but you can freeze them and enjoy them year round. Freezing blueberries is pretty easy, but the more thought you put into your process the quicker they’ll thaw and the better they’ll taste.

Eat them by the handful, sprinkle them in yogurt or smash them up in a cocktail. Need even more inspiration? Get creative with some of our favorite recipes, like our mouth-watering Blueberry Crumble Bars or these Gluten-Free Blueberry Corn Muffins. Why not try this simple, delicious Clabber Girl Open-Faced Blueberry Pie? It’s one of our favorites for July 4th celebrations for its vibrant patriotic color. Enjoy your month full of blueberries!

Perfect Pie Crust At Your Fingertips

pecan-pie (4)

Let’s face it: few things are as loved and as feared as homemade pie crust.

We love it because at its best, it’s perfectly flaky, yet perfectly tender, and it reminds us of Grandma and the comforts of home. But many novice bakers have avoided mastering this kitchen repertoire staple because it has the reputation of being very difficult.

The truth is, pie crust is a little tricky, but not nearly as scary as it may seem. Let’s walk through some of the basics that will help you make a perfect pie crust from scratch.

Fats

Some people love butter, others prefer vegetable shortening, and still others swear by lard. You can use any or a combination of all of these fats. Butter doesn’t give pastry quite the flakiness that shortening does, but the flavor is much richer. Shortening generally makes the dough a little easier to handle, but you do sacrifice some flavor. Lard produces a flaky crust as well. Combinations of fats often create the best results.

Keep Ingredients Cold

Whether you opt for shortening or use Grandma’s recipe that calls for lard, one secret to flaky crust is to keep your ingredients cold. Flaky crust is created by pieces of un-melted fat rolled between layers of flour, which then melt during the baking process, leaving crispy pockets. Chill fats, water and even your flour thoroughly to maximize flakiness.

Mix Properly

Cut fats into dry ingredients before adding liquids. Using a pastry blender, a couple of forks, or the paddle attachment of a stand mixer, combine fats and dry ingredients until coarse crumbs form. Then add cold water a bit at a time until the dough holds together. Don’t overwork your dough. Too much kneading will make it tough.

Flour Thoroughly

Be sure to flour your work surface before rolling out the dough. The last thing you want is for your perfectly rolled pastry to stick to the counter top! Dust the surface liberally with flour, and rub flour on your rolling pin, as well. Alternately, you can roll crust between pieces of parchment paper.

Handle With Care

Don’t handle the dough any more than necessary. Heat from your hands will transfer to the pastry, causing the fats to melt and sabotaging your flaky texture. To safely transfer your dough to the pie plate, gently roll it up over the rolling pin and slide it off into place.

Chill Before Baking

Pie dough has a tendency to lose its chill once its been rolled, shaped and fitted to the pie plate. It never hurts to pop the entire plate, dough and all, into the freezer for one last chill. Thirty minutes in the freezer will allow the fats to solidify again and help keep the dough from shrinking once it goes into the oven.

‘Baking Blind’

For pies with a cream filling, you will need to pre-bake your pie shell, also known as “baking blind.” To keep the crust from shrinking in the pan, it’s helpful to line your formed shell with a piece of parchment paper and fill with ceramic pie weights or dry beans. Remove them before cooling.

Top Crust

Don’t attempt to put a top crust over warm pie filling. Your dough is essentially glued together with butter and water and will quickly fall apart if placed over hot filling. Also, some recipes call for an egg wash, which will give your crust an attractive shine. Another option is a milk wash, which is often paired with a sprinkling of sugar to create a nicely browned crust.

So break out your rolling pin, tie on that favorite apron and stride confidently into the kitchen. You’ve got this! With these helpful hints and a bit of practice, you’ll be serving up your own perfect pie crust in no time.