Baking on a Budget
Do you love sweets? Has the economy made it more difficult for you to fill that sweet tooth craving? You might have to stop buying your cookies from the bakery, but you can still enjoy those sweets by baking them yourself. Here are some tips to bake on a budget while also making your sweets taste and look professional.
* Buy in bulk. Get ingredients like cocoa powder, rolled oats, flaked coconut, nuts and spices in bulk. These ingredients are easy to store.
* Don't be afraid to use things that are about to spoil. Do you have some bananas which are past their edible state? Use them in some banana bread. Do you have some leftover cooked rice? Turn it into rice pudding. Even leftover mashed potatoes can be used in your baking by making potato fudge.
If you have bananas about to turn but don't want to make banana bread or muffins, then freeze the bananas peel and all so you can use them for baking in the future.
* Use your pantry. Just the basics from your pantry can be transformed into a great sweet treat. With some peanut butter and brown sugar you have the basis for a peanut butter cake. Add some oats, flour, baking soda, shortening, egg, vanilla and chocolate chips and you've got what you need. Or how about some peanut butter cookies that don't even need flour? Just add some egg and vanilla and you've got a simple peanut butter cookie. Do you have some canned pineapple and some raw carrots? Then you can make a Pineapple carrot cake.
* If you don't have buttermilk for a recipe, just make your own sour milk by pouring a tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar in a cup of regular milk. Let it sit for a few minutes. It's the perfect substitution for buttermilk. Check online for more substitutions when you're missing an ingredient.
* Save energy. If you don't need a huge amount of cookies, then use the toaster oven instead of your oven to bake it in. It uses much less energy. On the other hand, baking in bulk and freezing for later can be energy efficient too. Do all of your baking at once and have dessert from your freezer for months to come.
* Use seasonal foods. During the fall and winter months when apples are in season, use them in your baking. Don't forget that pumpkin. You can get a lot of tasty sweet treats in the fall and winter out of pumpkin. In the summer, adding strawberries to things makes for a tasty treat. An angel food cake with strawberries is divine. Think strawberry shortcake even.
Baking on a budget can really be quite simple. It's so easy to save by doing all of your own home baking too. And don't think that just because you haven't been able to bake before that you can't now. The more you do it, the better you get. It's like anything else that is learned - practice makes perfect. So keep trying; you just might find that you can make some really sweet treats.