It’s that time of the year again: holiday baking time. Whether you’re feeling cozy and craving something sweet or you’re baking for the neighborhood, taking time to make something from scratch can doesn’t have to be stressful. Just find your favorite recipe and read up on our favorite tips and tricks to make sure your baked goods are gift-worthy and delicious.

photo: Aaron Fulkerson via flickr 

1. Sub butter in your next boxed cake recipe for a super rich and luscious cake. You can even just melt it to make sure it incorporates easily.

2. You can also sub an avocado for butter if you want something dairy-free and heart-healthy. Use a one avo to one stick of butter ratio. And if you run out of butter (or avocado) you can use applesauce in its place. 

3. When making pies, freeze your butter and then grate it into your flour mixture, instead of trying to crumble it with your fork. This will help integrate it more evenly and keeps the butter cool.

photo: rawpexel via Unsplash

4. If you run out of food coloring, Use Jello to tint decorative icing.

5. Use a wine glass to measure out perfectly even biscuits or sugar cookies.

6. Measure out your cookie dough with an ice cream scoop. And then chill them on the pan for a bit before baking (you can even freeze them, which means you can do this all ahead of time, bake the cookies the morning-of and you actually get a better cookie). If you can’t afford the time (or space) just chill the bowl of dough for 20 minutes in the freezer before you start to scoop.

photo: Couleur via Pixabay

7. Put a pan of water in the bottom of the oven to give your bread a crisp, browned crust.

8. If you’ve “sorta” burned your cookies, use a box grater to shave off the darkest parts.

9. Add a marshmallow to the top of your cupcakes 5 minutes before you take them out of the oven for a gooey, perfect topping, no-frosting required!

photo: Jennifer Palliian via Unsplash

10. Want soft gooey cookies? Underbake them slightly. If the recipe says 12 minutes at 375 degrees, pull them out at 10.

11. Sprinkle just a little bit of sea salt on your chocolate chip cookies before baking for that sophisticated professional flavor. 

12. Use tongs to make an even crimping pattern along the edge of your pie crust.

13. Gently place aluminum foil around the edges of your pie crust to keep them from burning.

photo: RitaE via Pixabay

14. If your recipe calls for powdered sugar but you are plum out? Use a spice grinder or food processor and pulverize white granulated sugar’s powder.

15. Create a makeshift piping bag by snipping the very corner off of a ziplock bag. And be sure you fill that bag without a mess by placing it in a pint glass or mug (roll the bag over the edge of the cup, like you’re placing a garbage can liner in) before filling.

16. Use a muffin tin to make sure your cookies turn out uniform in size.

photo: Alpha via flickr 

17. Slice your cheesecake with dental floss (but not the minty kind).

18. Sub a little of your water for vodka and your piecrust somehow comes out flakier.

19. If you want your chocolate chip cookies to have a more caramel flavor, sub out ½ cup of white sugar with additional brown sugar. If you want them with a more sugar-cookie like taste, leave out all the brown sugar and use only white (most recipes call for some of each).


20. Soften your butter BEFORE you mix it into your cookie dough batter, and try using salted butter instead of sweet cream.

Great! You’ve got the hacks. Now you need the recipes. Here are our favorite 35 insanely popular cookie recipes.

Rather not guess too much? Try out one of these baking kits and baking subscription boxes that come with everything you need to make a masterpiece.

Got any great baking or cookie hacks for us? Share them in a comment below! 

—Amber Guetebier


baking hacks