Here's a holiday baking Q&A that should help you improve any project, from pies to cookies.

Q: When melting chocolate what can be used as a double boiler if I don't own one? I'm making fudge and need to know!

A: To melt chocolate without a double boiler: Microwave, medium, in 30-second increments, stirring between.

Q: I know molasses + sugar = brown sugar in a pinch, but what's the proper ratio for light and dark?

A: Light brown = 1C granulated sugar + 1.5TB molasses. Dark brown = 1C granulated sugar + 1/4C molasses.

Q: How do you not burn the bottom of cookies but ensure the middle is cooked?

A: Rotate baking sheets halfway through. Run sheets under cold water b/w batches. Don't use a thin, dark-bottomed baking sheet.

Q: My pie crusts never seem to be as flaky as I would like. I've tried a million recipies. What is the trick?

A: For flaky crust, don't overwork dough. There should be pea-sized pieces of butter visible. All ingredients should be cold.

Q: Any tips on frosting a layer cake? I've always had a problem making it look nice.

A: Once layered, cover with thin coat of frosting to seal in crumbs. Chill cake for 30min before applying next coat.

Q: How can I tell if my baking soda is good to use? Is there an alternative?

A: Combine 1/4 tsp baking soda with 2 tsp vinegar, and if it fizzes, you're good to go! If not, buy new, there's no good sub sadly.


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