The incredible egg is a staple when it comes to holiday baking. Have fun in the kitchen while making life a little easier with these helpful egg hacks.
- USE ROOM TEMPERATURE EGGS. Be sure to let the eggs for your recipe sit at room temperature for 20 to 30 minutes before starting so they are ready for mixing. Cold eggs added to some recipes can harden the fat and cause the batter to curdle.
- ADD EGGS ONE AT A TIME. After creaming butter and sugar, eggs should be added one at a time. Thoroughly beating before the next egg is added, this helps the mixture retain more trapped air bubbles that contribute to leavening.
- SEPARATE COLD EGGS, WHIP ROOM TEMPERATURE EGGS. Eggs are easiest to separate when cold, but whites reach their fullest volume when whipped at room temperature. Room temperature egg whites absorb more air than cold ones.
- MIX YOUR MERINGUE. Sugar serves to increase the stability of the foam. It must be added slowly so it doesn’t decrease the volume. When beating your meringue, it is important to check to make sure your sugar has dissolved into the egg whites. To test, rub a bit of meringue between thumb and forefinger. If sugar is dissolved, it will feel completely smooth and if it feels grainy or sandy, continue beating.
- MAINTAIN THE FLUFF. Did your perfect meringue lose its fluff? The air beaten into egg whites can be lost quite easily. A small amount of an acidic ingredient, such as cream of tartar, lemon juice or vinegar, acts as a stabilizer and will help keep your fluff intact. Remember to spread the meringue over the filling when it is hot – this prevents weeping and keeps the two layers from sliding apart. Be sure to anchor the meringue to the crust all around the edge of the pie to prevent the meringue from pulling away from the edge during baking.
- DIVIDE THE COOKIE DOUGH. When rolling and cutting cookies, work with half of the cookie dough at a time. Keep the other half refrigerated. It is easier to roll out and too much handling can make the cookie dough warm. Chill cookie cut outs before baking to keep their shape.
- WASH & SHINE. Lightly beaten eggs, whether whole, separated, plain or combined with water or milk, can be used as an "egg wash.” Brush the egg mixture on the surface of breads, pastries, cookies, pretzels or biscuits to help them attain a beautiful shine when baked.
- STORE COOKIES FOR OPTIMAL FRESHNESS. Don't combine different kinds of cookies in one container because the chewier cookies make the crispier ones soggy. Baked cookies and bars can be frozen up to 3 months. Most cookies and bars freeze well and can be made ahead, delicate cookies or cookies that are dipped in chocolate are better made last. Cookie dough can be stored in the refrigerator up to 4 days or frozen up to 2 months.