Tips for delicious desserts

Nothing says loving like serving a sweet dessert, right? Here are some great suggestions to make you a baking whiz in the kitchen. Your family will thank you!

Tips for delicious desserts

Warm sugar

1. This important step in many a cake recipe — creaming the butter and sugar — can be a tedious and lengthy task. If the butter is cold, you can speed up the creaming process by warming the sugar a bit on the stovetop or in the microwave.

Egg substitute

2. If you're baking a cake that calls for one more egg than you have on hand, you can substitute five millilitres (one teaspoon) of cornstarch.

Replace one egg

3. Replace one egg in a cake or sweetbread recipe with one small mashed banana or a half-cup of applesauce. For chocolate cakes, try substituting mashed prunes.

Cake tester

4. If you don't have a wire cake tester, use an uncooked strand of spaghetti. Gently push the spaghetti into the centre of the cake and pull it out. If your spaghetti comes out clean, the cake is done.

Fun cake decorator

5. Use a clean plastic mustard or ketchup squirt bottle as a cake decorator. Fill it with icing or warm chocolate and then pipe scallops, flowers and other designs onto desserts with ease.

Make it flaky

6. Flaky pie crusts are the talented baker's hallmark. You can improve flakiness by replacing 15 millilitres (one tablespoon) of ice water in your crust recipe with15 millilitres (one tablespoon) of chilled lemon juice or white vinegar.

Absorb the juice

7. To keep the juice in fruit from seeping into the crust of a baking pie, crumble up something to absorb it. A layer of plain, crisp flatbread will absorb the juice and introduce a savory note to the pie, while biscotti or amaretti cookies will keep it tasting sweet.

Frozen yogurt pops

8. Lollipops and ice pops may be fat-free, but they're also mostly sugar. A custard-style frozen yogurt pop, on the other hand, is full of healthful stuff — and to most palates, a lot tastier. Making a yogurt pop couldn't be simpler. Just spray unflavoured cooking spray into a small paper cup, spoon in your favourite yogurt and freeze.

In about a half hour, insert a sturdy plastic spoon in the middle. Depending on the temperature of your freezer, the pops should be ready in about an hour. For a pop that will remind you of the fruity and creamy bars of your youth, blend vanilla yogurt with softened frozen orange juice concentrate and freeze as directed above.

Smooth cut

9. Your knife will glide through a meringue-topped pie if you butter it on both sides before slicing.

Chocolate stash

10. If you're a choco-holic, have extra freezer space and are always looking for ways to pinch pennies, this hint may be made for you. Buy chocolate Easter bunnies and Santas after the holidays when prices are slashed. Store them in the freezer and then melt them or shave off chocolate curls for use when baking. This tip also keeps you from eating all the chocolate at once.

Icy mocha delight

11. Use a yogurt cup to make this refreshing mocha icy dessert, similar to Italian ice. Pour freshly brewed coffee into several clean yogurt cups or similar small-size containers to freeze. Remove and then plop the frozen coffee into the food processor. Process on the frappe setting until crystals form. Spoon the crystals into the cups and freeze again for about a half hour before serving.

It's always fun to end off a good meal with a sweet treat. These easy, helpful tips for delicious desserts will have everyone at your table calling out for more.

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