Sharing: Baker's Secrets

By: Mark Levine
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Aside from constantly practicing the craft, what better way to become a better baker than engage in the swapping of secrets?  Before we pick your brain, we wanted to share a few from Rachel Allen...

Irish Cooking Queen, Rachel Allen, knows baking better than most.  She left home at age 18 to study at the Ballymaloe Cookery School in County Cork, Ireland.  Along the way, she learned some great baker's tips and we couldn't wait until Cooking Channel launched to share one or two.

1) Great Foundations To Cheesecake

You can experiment with all kinds of (dry) cookies for the base; just place in a food processor and whiz until quite fine. Alternatively, place them in a plastic bag and bash with a rolling pin. Try using a chocolate cookies or wafers for a base. [Just don't forget to mix the crushed cookies with melted butter before you press down evenly into the base of the cheesecake tin.]

2) Baking with Butter

If using butter straight from the fridge, you can grate it into the flour and mix it without having to rub it in.

3) Naked Carrot Cake ( Rachel has a great, moist carrot cake recipe here.)

Un-iced, carrot cake is also delicious sliced and buttered.

You can find a bunch of other tips and great recipes on Rachel Allen's site or catch Rachel Allen: Bake! which debuts on Cooking Channel, beginning May 31st.

That said, we'd love to hear from you.  What are some of your better baker's secrets?
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