Holiday Cooking Tips

Hey Soul Food Lovers! Welcome to the fourth edition of our special Holiday Newsletter. Every week leading up to the holidays, I will be sending you this newsletter to help you prepare for the holidays. So sit back and enjoy!


Holiday Cooking Tips

· Start now by gathering recipes from cookbooks and recipe cards for your holiday meal. You can even start organizing your shopping list early by writing down items you need before hand.

· Always read your recipe all the way through before you start cooking so that you will fully understand each step.

· When baking, make sure the oven has been preheated for at least 10 minutes before placing food in to bake unless the recipe instruct you to do something different.

· Always use the best ingredients: Unsalted butter, pure vanilla, and other extracts, fresh unsalted nuts, fresh eggs, good chocolate, and cooking spices that have not expired.

· Allow eggs and butter to become room temperature before using. If butter is too cold or too warm it can change the temperature of the dough or batter and can alter the baking time.

· Make sure you have measuring spoons, cups, appropriate bowls, and cooking supplies in reach before you start cooking.

· Store cookbooks and recipes that you will use most often in front for easy access.

· To reduce holiday shopping, purchase non-refrigerated items a few weeks in advance. For example, semi-sweet chocolate chips, pecans, brown sugar, cake flour, vanilla extract, etc.

· Start your holiday grocery shopping early. Sometimes stores run out of popular items quickly and inadequate planning may cause you additional trips to the store.

· Plan to shop at less busier times of the day or evening. That way, you will avoid large crowds and extended time shopping.

Tips on Baking a Perfect Cake

1. Fill cake pans two-thirds full and spread batter into corners and sides, leaving a slight hollow in the center.

2. Cake is done when it shrinks from the sides of the pan or if it springs back when touched lightly with the finger.

3. After removing a cake from the oven, place it on a rack or cake plate for about 5 minutes. Allow cake to finish cooling.

4. Do not frost cakes until thoroughly cool.

5. Icing will remain where you put it if you sprinkle cake with powdered sugar first.

Tips on Baking a Perfect Pie

1. Pie Crust will be better and a lot easier if all ingredients are cool.

2. The lower crust should be placed in the pan so that it covers the surface smoothly. Air pockets beneath the surface will push the crust out of shape while baking.

3. By folding the top crust over the lower crust before crimping will help keep juices in the pie.

4. When making a custard pie, bake at a high temperature for about 10 minutes to prevent a soggy crust. Then finish baking at a low temperature.

5. When making a cream pie, sprinkle crust with powdered sugar in order to prevent it from becoming soggy.

More Baking Tips

Cooking and Baking Center


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Soul Food Holiday Newsletter

For more exciting recipe ideas, please check out our Recipe Center:
Recipe Center

Soul Food Cookbook: Great Recipes for the Holidays
Soul Food Lover's Cookbook

Questions, Ideas or Comments:

Until next week!

Cassandra Harrell is the editor of Soul Food Lovers’ Newsletter, author of the new Soul Food Lovers’ Cookbook, and this Special Holiday Edition, 2008.

Cassandra Harrell
Editor & Soul Food Advisor
(c) copyright 2008