New Baking Uses
Parchment Paper as Muffin Tin Liner
When you're out of those pastel (and predictable!) paper guys, line each cup with a large square of parchment, allowing for ample overhang for a fresh-from-the-bakery look.
Tape as Scoop Scraper
Attach the sticky side of a shorter piece of masking tape to the sticky side of a larger piece. Then place the tape across the top of a container of, say, cocoa so that the ends adhere to the sides of the can. The next time you scoop, you can easily level off your helping and avoid cocoa-verload.
Cupcake Liner as Decorative Snowflakes
Create a winter wonderland in the entryway. Flatten white paper liners (foil ones will work, too), fold into halves or quarters, then snip out shapes along the folds. When you open them back up, voilà: snowflakes you can string from the ceiling.
Uncooked Spaghetti as Frosting Protector
Preserve a topnotch frosting job. Poke a few stiff pieces in the surface and sides of a dessert before wrapping it for easy transport.
Cereal Box as Sweets Carrier
Attention, PTA members: Here’s a practical Transport Alternative for the bake sale. Tape a cereal box closed, then cut away the front or back panel to create a tray for those top-selling brownies. Best of all, you can just "donate" the box.
Cupcake Liner as Mason Jar Lining
Secure a cupcake liner over the top of a jar with a rubber band. It can be a temporary fix if you’ve lost the lid, a pretty solution to keep flies out of the lemonade, or a cute topper for a gift-in-a-jar.
Cereal Bag as Crumb Maker
These durable bags can take a beating. Fill one up and give it a whack with a rolling pin to make crumbs out of crackers, cornflakes, or candy. Remember to twist the top closed to prevent flyaways.
Cupcake Liners as Candleholders
Nothing holds a candle to dining al fresco, unless it’s so dark you can’t see the food in front of you. Place tealights in foil cupcake liners for a little glow at your next outdoor party. They’re cheap enough to use by the dozen, and cleanup is a piece of (cup)cake.
Cake Stand as Display Stand
Show off. Display small photos and mementos, which look more important on a platform.
Cupcake Liners as Garland
Using a large sewing needle, thread a string through the alternating colorful cupcake liners to make a ruffled garland.
Paper Doily as Cupcake Holder
These cute patterns on cupcake liners are there one minute, gone the next—they virtually disappear in the oven. For a pretty touch, trim off the patterned edge of a large (12-inch) doily and wrap it around the cupcake liner. Seal with clear tape.
Cake Stand as Soap Dish
Glam up a bathroom or vanity. Stock soaps and washcloths on top, or showcase your prettiest perfume bottles.
Pastry Tip as Place Card
Set a sweet table and use scalloped pastry tips in fun colors as place-card holders.
Plastic Easter Eggs as DIY Maracas
Fill emptied plastic eggs with puffed rice cereal and silver-ball cake decorations to make impromptu maracas for kids.
Cake Stand as Counter Organizer
Curb countertop clutter. Drop keys and bills on the stand instead.
Cupcake Liner as Halloween Decoration
Show what a creative Halloween party “ghost-ess” you are. Turn white liners upside down, attach spooky googly eyes, and display them by a boo-fet of seasonally inspired treats.
Marshmallow as Candle Holder
Mini marshmallows may be too small for s’mores, but they’re a sweet way to catch wayward candle drips before they hit cakes and cupcakes—because it’s not so festive to find wax in your icing.
Chopsticks as Flour Leveler
Use a chop stick to easily level flour in a measuring cup. Leave it in the flour canister and you won't have to rummage for a clean knife.
Paper Doily as a Cake Decoration
You baked the cake. Now you’re expected to frost it, too? Take a break from the sticky stuff and use a doily to stencil on a pretty sugar topping. Press a doily flat on top of a round cake and, using a fine-mesh sieve, sprinkle confectioners’ sugar liberally over the surface. Use two hands to carefully remove the doily post-dusting.
Coffee Beans as Pie Weights
When prebaking a piecrust, use beans to keep it from puffing up or shrinking into the pie plate: Line the bottom and sides of the cold dough with foil and fill to the brim with beans.
Aluminum Foil as a Piecrust Protector
To prevent a piecrust from burning while the filling cooks, make a foil collar to deflect heat. Take a piece of foil about 25 inches long, fold it into thirds lengthwise, and fasten the ends with a paper clip. Halfway into the baking, slip the collar over the crust (as shown). Leave it on until the pie is done.
Baking Soda as Silver Polish
To polish silver: Wash items, then place on aluminum foil in the bottom of a pot. Add a baking-soda solution (¼ cup soda, a few teaspoons salt, 1 quart boiling water) and cover for a few seconds. The result? A chemical reaction that gets the black off the gravy boat.
Cake Stand as Candle Holder
Create a candle centerpiece to light up your wedding (or you dinner table) by using cake stands as platforms for votive and pillar candles in assorted sizes.
Cake Stand as Appetizer Server
To cut down on waiting time for hors d’oeuvres, stack a small cake stand on top of a larger one to increase your surface area for canapés or crudités and free up precious table space.
Can as Biscuit Cutter
Most biscuit cutters make overly wide biscuits, anyway―more beret than top hat. Use a tomato-paste can to achieve the proper size. First, scoop out the paste and freeze it in Tupperware or a storage bag. Then remove both the top and the bottom with a can opener and wash the interior. To prevent sticking, dip the can in flour before each cut.
Candy Canes as Cupcake Decorations
Remove the cellophane wrapping from the canes and form hearts by placing them hook to hook and tail to tail on a nonstick baking sheet or one lined with parchment paper. Bake at 350°F for 2 to 4 minutes (depending on the canes’ size) or until they stick together when you pinch the ends lightly. Cool thoroughly and remove with a spatula. If you want to make flat hearts with psychedelic stripes, bake for 8 to 10 minutes.
Candy Corn as Cookie Mix-In
Chop leftover chocolate candy or candy corn and use in place of chocolate chips for cookie recipes.
Coffee Filter as Prep Bowl
Avoid dirty dishes when baking by lining the bowl you’re using to mix dry ingredients with a clean filter. Then simply trash it when you’re done. You can make the same cakes, just with less cleanup.
Cookie Cutter as Candle Stencil
Repurpose mini alphabet cookie cutters as monogramming tools for pillar candles. Hold the candle steady, position the letter, and tap it lightly with a hammer. Do just an initial or go wild and spell out JOYEUX NOEL or HAPPY HANUKKAH.
Cookie Cutters as Ornaments
When you just can’t bake another batch of holiday cookies, turn the tin cutters―angels, bells, stars―into sun catchers or tree ornaments. Mix shapes and sizes, string them with various lengths and colors of ribbon, and tack the ribbons to the window casing.
Find more easy holiday decorating ideas here.
Cookie Cutters as Cake Decorating Stencils
To stencil designs on frosted or unfrosted cakes, place cookie cutters on top and fill with sprinkles, powdered sugar, or cocoa powder. (Warning: This technique may convince guests you've taken a master class in cake decorating.)
Cupcake Liners as Light Embellishments
For a string of minilights that takes the (cup)cake, poke the pointy bulbs through foil cupcake liners. Use them for the tree or around your little girl’s bedroom mirror to make her feel like a holiday star.
Desk Organizer as Cupboard Divider
Sort cookie sheets, cutting boards, and jelly-roll pans in the kitchen for easy access (and no more cymbal-crashing sounds) in an overstuffed cabinet.
Fork as Pouring Helper
Use fork tines to poke holes in the foil seals of oil and syrup bottles to better control the way (and the amount) they pour.
Gift Box as Cupcake Carrier
If the forecast calls for iced roadways, stabilize your sweet cargo by cutting X’s into the tops of gift boxes and inserting the cupcakes. (A shirt box will hold about eight.)
Golf Tees as Food Markers
Is that a blueberry or cranberry muffin? Eliminate all the guessing at your next brunch by using colorful tees to denote which is which. (Also handy when distinguishing medium-rare from medium patties at a cookout.)
Grater as Muffin Saver
Revive burned muffins and cookies by running the charred bottoms lightly across the grater to help them rise from the ashes. Your baked goods will look golden brown, even if you forgot to set the timer.
Hair Dryer as Cake Decorating Tool
To gloss the frosting on a freshly baked cake, lightly blow warm air over the top and the sides of the cake until the frosting melts a little. When it cools, the surface will stay shiny for a professional finish.
Aluminum Foil as Muffin Tin Liner
Shield a muffin tin from burned-on batter drips by laying a foil sheet across it, snipping an X over each cup, then popping in liners.
Aluminum Foil as Baking Pan
Need a pan in a pinch? Use aluminum foil. Rather than struggling to dislodge your rustic apple masterpiece from its (supposedly) nonstick pan, bake it on a cookie sheet, supporting its sides with a doubled-over strip of foil. Secure the foil with a paper clip.
Chopstick as Pie Crust Measure
To ensure a uniform piecrust, roll the dough until it is as thick as the widest part of a chopstick.
Citrus Peel as Brown Sugar Softener
Avoid rock-hard brown sugar and preserve the moisture by dropping a three inch-long orange peel into the bag.
Coffeemaker as Chocolate Melter
Soften chocolate for baking without having to drag out the double boiler. Instead, put the chocolate in an ovenproof bowl, set the bowl on the heating plate, and turn on the machine.
Colander as Flour Sifter
Avoid overly dense baked goods by sifting flour through a fine mesh colander.
Dental Floss as Cake Slicer
When a recipe calls for splitting a cake in two horizontally, use a two-foot piece of waxed dental floss to make a clean straight cut. Just make sure it's the unflavored type!
Ice Cream Scoop as Baking Measure
Dole out dry ingredients. Most standard ice cream scoops double as 1/4-cup measuring devices.
Toothpick as Frosting Protector
Prevent plastic wrap from smudging a birthday cake by sticking toothpicks in the top before covering.
Zippered Plastic Bag as Crumb Catcher
Crush graham crackers for a pie crust (without all the mess) by filling a bag, then running a rolling pin over it.
Zippered Plastic Bag as Frosting Dispenser
If you don't have a pastry bag, you can use a plastic bag to decorate a cake or cupcakes. Scoop frosting into the bag, seal it shut, snip off a tiny corner, and start piping.
Tea Strainer as Powdered Sugar Duster
Decorate baked goods by filling the basket with sugar and lightly tapping it over brownies or lemon bars for a sweet finish.
Ice Cream Cones as Cupcake Holders
Bake your cupcakes directly in the ice cream cones. Fill 24 flat-bottom cones two-thirds full with cake batter. Place the cones in a high-sided 9-by-13-inch baking pan and bake in two batches at 325° F for 30 minutes. Let cool, then frost with two 16-ounce cans of frosting. You can have your cake and eat its holder, too.
Ice Cubes as Bread Fresheners
Easily revive stale bread by rubbing an ice cube (or drizzling water) across unsliced bread until the crust is damp, then bake at 370° F for 12 minutes. You've just saved yourself a trip to the supermarket.
Jewel Case as Recipe Card Holder
Easily display a recipe card during meal prep by opening the CD case and bending it back as shown, then place the card (after cutting it to fit, if necessary) on top.
Ketchup Bottle as Dessert Decorator
Run an empty plastic ketchup bottle through the dishwasher, then fill it with your favorite sauce or condiment. Drizzle some rosemary-scented olive oil across a bowl of white bean soup, a squiggle of fudge or raspberry sauce around the rim of a dessert plate. (If calligraphy is not your strong suit, practice on a paper plate or stick to abstract designs.) You'll have a five-star-chef presentation in less than five minutes.
Ketchup Bottle as Pancake Batter Dispenser
Portion pancake batter with precision―without the usual mess of transferring batter from the bowl. Squeeze out baby-size or plate-size rounds, or add Mickey Mouse ears to a batch of silver dollars.
LifeSavers as Birthday-Candle Holders
These sweet treats are perfect for holding birthday candles. Make sure you buy the original rolls of candy for a snug fit. (The LifeSavers sold in big bags are slightly larger and don't work as well.) Secure the candles inside the candies, then place on top of the frosting, all without making holes in the cake.
Marshmallow as Brown Sugar Softener
Toss a couple of marshmallows in the bag or canister to keep the sweet stuff from turning rock-hard.
Marshmallow as Cupcake Frosting
Try this sweet, no-icing-necessary method. When your cupcakes have about three minutes left to bake, pull out the tin and place one marshmallow on top of each cupcake. Return the tin to the oven for the remaining time (or until the marshmallows are slightly melted but still fluffy).
Muffin Tin as Cooling Rack
Increase your baking capacity by using an upside-down pan as an extra cooling rack. The space between the molds lets the cool air flow freely.
Salad Spinner as Cake Dome
Even if you bake a layer cake about as often as Halley's comet swings by, you'll eventually need a cake cover. How better to preserve that buttercream still life you've created? Just invert the outer bowl of your salad spinner over the cake. To transport, put the cake on a large base and use masking tape to secure the dome.
Wine Bottle as Rolling Pin
Sure, you can fork over the $40 for something you use only at Thanksgiving, but why would you when a wine bottle works just as well? Sandwich your pastry between sheets of plastic wrap or wax paper to prevent sticking. Press down firmly on the bottle with one hand; grip the neck and steer with your other. (If you chill the dough to firm it up, do so briefly: Slightly firm dough is easiest to control.)
Ice Scraper as Pastry Dough Lifter
Lift sticky pastry dough from the work surface. Next to ice, this job really isn't quite so hard.