How to Use a Pastry Mat

As an Amazon Affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

There are a few different ways of using a pastry mat:

  • rolling out dough
  • rolling out a butter layer
  • baking pasties
  • making fancy chocolates
  • making hazelnut spread
  • spreading caramel sauce
How to use a pastry mat

How to use a pasty mat to roll out dough

Put your pastry mat on a hard flat surface.

Put your dough on top of the pastry mat. There is no need to flour your pastry mat. Only flour your dough and the rolling pin.

Roll out your dough to the required length.

Peel the dough from the pastry mat and it’s ready to use for baking or your next step in your baking recipe.

how to laminate croissant dough

How to use a pasty mat to roll out a butter layer for croissants or puff pastry

Place your pastry mat on a hard flat surface.

Make sure your butter is at room temperature.

Using a spatula, put the butter on the pasty mat. Gently spread the butter outwards creating a rectangle. Continue spreading the butter until it’s the exact required measurement needed for your recipe. Use the spatula to make the edges a perfect rectangle.

Place the butter in the fridge for 30 min. You can now add your butter layer into your croissant dough or puff pastry dough.

How to make butter sheet

How to use a pasty mat to bake pastries

To bake pastries with a pastry mat, have your dough ready to bake.

Place the silicone pastry mat onto a baking pan. There is no need to grease the silicone pastry mat.

Put your pastry dough into shapes and place on the silicone mat.

Bake for the time your recipe calls for.

Remove the pastries from the oven and place on a cooling rack.

Clean the pastry mat by wiping it down with a wet cloth and some dish soap.

how to use macaron mat

How to use a pasty mat to make fancy chocolates

To make fancy chocolate decorations with your pastry mat, begin by melting your chocolate.

Place your silicone mold on a plate or baking pan.

Take a spoon and dip it in your chocolate. Using the back of the spoon, spread the chocolate into a leaf shape. It should be round and big at the bottom, with a narrow end. The narrow end doesn’t have to be a perfect point, or even. It’s beautiful to have the leaf going off to one side, and not uniform.

Repeat with how many leaves you want to make. Place them one in front of one another in a line.

Place the silicone baking mat in the fridge, taking care to have an object prop the chocolate up a bit to give it a leaf shape. The pastry mat only needs to be bent a little bit.

Remove from the fridge after 30 min to 1 hour until the chocolate is solidified, and then it’s ready to use as a fancy chocolate decoration.

How to use a pasty mat to make fancy chocolates

You can use this method to create many different chocolates. Try piping chocolate directly onto the mat. You can make snowflakes, hearts, writing, etc. in this way using your pastry mat.

How to use a pasty mat to make hazelnut spread

To make hazelnut spread, roast your hazelnuts and remove the skins.

Make caramel sauce by combining sugar and water over medium heat in a saucepan until it’s an amber-golden color.

Place the hazelnuts into the caramel sauce.

Spread the mixture onto a silicone pastry mat. Let it cool to room temperature to solidify.

Break the solidified caramel into smaller pieces and blend with a food processor. You can use this as hazelnut spread, or you can go further and create a hazelnut sauce by adding your hazelnut spread to heavy cream.

How to use a pasty mat to spread caramel sauce

Create your caramel sauce by heating sugar and water over medium heat until it’s amber-golden in color.

Spread your caramel sauce onto your pastry mat.

Let the caramel solidify at room temperature.

Your caramel is ready to use. You can break it into pieces and add it to the top of ice cream or desserts. You could also use it to make almond roca for a Christmas gift.

Science Behind Tempering Chocolate

As an Amazon Affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

The science behind tempering chocolate comes at the cellular level between breaking and reforming bonds of crystals.

When chocolate is in a solid brick form, the fat particles of the cocoa butter are in a crystalized hard form. 

When the crystals are warmed, the cocoa butter makeup breaks apart these hard bonds to create a liquid state. 

Once the chocolate is allowed to cool, the bonds will form a more solid structure again.

Science Behind Tempering Chocolate

Types of Crystals in Chocolate

There are 5 different types of crystals that can form and allow the chocolate to have different properties. 

If the melting temperature is too low, the chocolate will be crumbly and melt very easily. (Crystal type I)

If the melting temperature is too hot, the chocolate will be too hard. (Crystal type VI)

Chocolate that contains more cocoa butter will melt at a lower temperature.

Chocolate varies in their fat content, milk fat content, and shape of the fat molecules at a cellular level.

The best chocolate is made with Crystal type V.

Melting temperature for tempered chocolate

The melting temperature for Crystal type V in tempered chocolate is 34 degrees Celsius.

Tempering chocolate with Crystal type V will give the chocolate that shiny and solid chocolate you’re looking for.

After chocolate has been tempered, chocolate will melt around 37 degrees Celsius.

How long does tempered chocolate last

Tempered chocolate should last up to a year.

Tempering chocolate temperatures

  1. Chocolate is warmed to 45 degrees Celcius to melt all of the 6 types of crystals apart.
  2. Chocolate is cooled to 27 degrees Celsius. This process forms Crystals type IV and V. 
  3. Chocolate is heated to 31 degrees Celsius. This gets rid of Crystal type IV chocolate and leaves Crystal type V chocolate only.

How to tell if chocolate is tempered

To tell if chocolate is tempered, look at the appearance of it. If the chocolate looks shiny and glossy it is tempered.

The chocolate should hold well at room temperature, and only begin melting at around 37 degrees Celsius.

How to tell if chocolate is tempered

How to store chocolate in summer

Store chocolate in the summer by placing it in an area that is between 15-17 degrees Celsius. You might store it in a crawl space, your basement, or a lower floor of your house. 

The ideal humidity for chocolate storage is <50%. This can be difficult in the summer, so try to put it in an airtight container to lower the humidity in the air around the chocolate.

How to use silicone molds for chocolate

Use silicone molds for chocolate by placing them right side up on your counter.

  1. Once your silicone molds are in a clear work space, temper your chocolate.
  2. Pour the chocolate into the molds. 
  3. If you’re filling the chocolates with a filling, only pour the chocolate molds half full. Tip the chocolate mold around to get the entire mold covered in chocolate. Place the mold in the fridge until the chocolate hardens.
  4. Remove the chocolate from the fridge. Gently spoon or pipe the filling into the molds, leaving a small gap to add more chocolate to the mold.
  5. Retemper your chocolate. Pour the tempered chocolate overtop of the filling. Scrape the excess chocolate using a knife. Place the chocolates in the fridge until hardened.
  6. Remove the chocolate from the fridge. Gently push the chocolate out of the silicone mold from the opposite side. 

How to store tempered chocolate

Store the tempered chocolate at 15-17 degrees Celsius in humidity of <50% for your chocolate to stay good up for a year. Place the chocolate in an airtight container. Chocolate can absorb aromas around it, so this will keep the chocolate from tasting anything like it should.

How to store tempered chocolate

Why does chocolate turn white

Chocolate turns white from absorbing moisture in the air from refrigeration or freezing the chocolate. This causes the fat particles in the chocolate to come to the surface, giving the chocolate a white look to it.

Cookie Decorating Ideas Easter and Spring

As an Amazon Affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Spring Cookie Cutters

Here are some decorating ideas for Spring or Easter using Wilton’s Spring Cookie Cutters.

The cookie cutters range in size from 3-3.5″. They are all roughly the same size so the baking time will be the same for all of the cookies.

They are a perfect size for someone who wants a decently sized cookie, and they are big enough for you to decorate.

How to care for your Spring Cookie Cutters

Wilton’s Spring cookie cutters are made of metal, so they will last you if you treat them with care. Metal cookie cutters need to be washed with soap and water with a cloth, and fully dried before putting them away. Metal cookie cutters have the risk of rusting when water is left on them for too long. Leave them out overnight on a towel to fully dry them.

Cookie decorating ideas for Spring:

  • Grey and blue umbrella
  • red/yellow tulip
  • butterfly

How to decorate Easter cookies

  1. Use royal icing to decorate your cookies for Easter so they will dry fully and be stackable.
  2. Flood your cookies and leave overnight to dry.
  3. Come back the next day with your royal icing in different colors and get ready to pipe your designs.
  4. Select your cookie and design – Easter cookies could include: a cross, Easter egg, or a Bunny.
  5. Decorate your Easter cookies using a theme of colors – 3 colors works best. With your white bunny, you can add pink accents in the ears and the nose. Draw the face on with an edible marker or black icing for the eyes and mouth. For the Easter egg, pipe your color contrasting color in zig zags across the egg on either end of the egg. In a separate color, put 2 strips of icing in the middle of the egg.
  6. Add sprinkles to your cookies before the icing dries.
  7. Let your cookies dry overnight.
  8. Store your fully decorated Easter cookies in an airtight container.

Wilton’s Spring cookie cutters include:

  • tulip
  • bunny
  • egg
  • butterfly
  • umbrella

Heart Shaped Cookie Decorating Ideas

As an Amazon Affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases.
heart shaped cookies decorating ideas

You can decorate heart shaped cookies with almost any cookie recipe.

We recommend using sugar cookies to decorate on because they cut easily with cookie cutters, and usually turn out well.

After your cookies have been cookie cut by your favorite heart shaped cookie cutter, bake them for the required time according to your recipe. Let the cookies cool on a cooling rack for about 20 minutes.

Once your cookies are fully cooled, you can flood them with royal icing.

At this point you can add a few sprinkles all over the heart shaped cookie and you can be finished decorating it.

Or if you want more decorations, let the cookies fully dry overnight or about 8 hours.

Separate your icings and colors and you’re ready to pipe more decorations on them.

You can put a rose or flower off to the side of the heart cookie. Add a couple of leaves to the flower. Then you’re ready to pipe writing onto your heart shaped cookie to personize it or give it a theme.

heart shaped cookies decorating ideas

For this heart shaped decorated cookie, we had the idea of putting some ruffled edging around the cookie. We love the contrasting color combination. Add your personized message of theme of your cookies to the center of the heart shaped cookie.

heart shaped cookies decorating ideas

For this cookie, we used only white icing, and put a writing on the center of the cookie, as well as a bit of decoration on the edge of the heart cookie.

heart shaped cookies decorating ideas

There are countless ways to decorate heart shaped cookies! Use your imagination to come up with color combinations and use your piping tips to try out different shapes on your cookies. If you don’t want to commit to piping on your cookie, you can always try piping first on parchment paper.

Beginners can learn step by step on how to decorate sugar cookies with royal icing if this is your first time using it. Royal icing is preferred when decorating cookies because they will dry fully and become stackable. If you decide to use buttercream icing place the cookies side by side so they will not smudge your freshly piped buttercream icing.

heart shaped cookies decorating ideas

What is a Pastry Blender Used For

As an Amazon Affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

What do you use to cut fat into flour?

A pastry blender is used for cutting fat into flour. A pastry blender is a tool that bakers use to cut fat into small pieces for a buttery flaky effect for specific baked goods.

What is a good substitute for a pastry blender?

A good substitute for a pastry blender is 2 butter knives. Use the knives parallel to each other and cut away from each other. This should create strips of butter. Turn the bowl in the opposite direction and repeat until you’re butter is in pea sized pieces.

Is a pastry blender necessary?

A pastry blender is necessary for recipes like scones and pie crusts. You can use alternatives, but it will take you longer, and you may not be able to cut the butter as small. Pastry blenders are able to cut butter into the appropriate sizes effortlessly.

What can you use instead of a pastry blender?

Instead of a pastry blender, you can use 2 butter knives to cut your butter into small pieces for your recipe. Alternatively, you could use a potato masher, but it’s very difficult when the butter is cold. Typically when you’re cutting in fat to flour, you want the butter cold, so try the 2 knives method first.

What does a pastry blender make?

A pastry blender makes fat (butter, etc.) into small pieces in baking recipes. A pastry blender makes scones and pie crust flaky.

What is a pastry blender used for

A pastry blender is used for baking scones and pie crust. The butter is cold when you’re adding it to your recipe – coarse crumbs of butter.

A pastry blender creates a flaky effect with the butter for your baked goods. A pastry blender cuts fat into small pieces which melt in your dough. This creates a thin layer of fat which flakes the pastry dough.

For recipes that have cut in fat, the dough is not meant to be manipulated too much. It’s meant to be only mixed until just combined. If you mix too much the dough will be too stiff. Only mix until it’s combined, and stick it in the oven to bake. When it comes out of the oven, you’ll see the flakes of butter have melted into your pastry.

What does a pastry blender look like

A pastry blender looks like a U shape, with slats of metal on the bottom end. The separated slats of metal cut hard butter to create smaller pieces resembling coarse crumbs.

how to use a pastry blender
what coarse crumbs looks like after using a pastry blender

Learn what is the best pastry blender is and how to use it for your next baking recipe.

What is a Cheese Calzone

As an Amazon Affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

A cheese calzone is a calzone that has it’s base a mixture of cheeses. Typically a cheese calzone would consist of mozzarella, ricotta, and parmesan cheeses. The cheeses are mixed with breadcrumbs and herbs to give it a good base before placing the cheese filling in the calzone dough. A cheese calzone can also be mixed with meats including salami, ham, prosciutto, or pepperoni.

how to seal dough securely

How do you seal a calzone?

The calzone dough is sealed with a bit of egg and then pressed down with a fork to seal the edges.

how to seal pastry edges
how to seal puff pastry with water

Calzone Dough vs Pizza Dough

Calzone dough and pizza dough are actually same type of dough. Usually people make calzones with their leftover pizza dough. To use pizza dough for calzone dough, roll it out into a rectangle. Cut strips of dough that are quite wide ~6 inches wide & 12 inches long. It doesn’t have to be perfect, it depends how large you want your calzones. Place the filling on the bottom half of your cut rectangles. Fold and stretch your calzone dough over your filling and seal the edges with water or a bit of egg. Then using a fork, seal the calzone dough around the edges and you’re ready to bake them.

Calzone fillings that are vegetarian

  • spinach
  • onions
  • peppers
  • mushrooms

Do calzones have ricotta?

Calzones can have ricotta in them, along with a mixture of other cheeses like parmesan and mozzarella. Ricotta calzones can also be mixed meats and other vegetables to be a more balanced meal for dinner.

Calzone fillings with ricotta

Do calzones have sauce?

Calzones don’t usually have sauce, but you can serve marinara sauce with your calzones for dipping sauce. Another sauce to serve with your calzones is garlic butter to dip your calzone into.

Do calzones have sauce?

What goes good with a calzone?

There are countless foods that go well with calzones. You’ll want to balance out the flavors of your calzone to the side you are picking for your dinner. Don’t pick two similar foods, try to select complimenting foods for your meal.

  • Butternut squash soup
  • potato leak soup
  • minestrone soup
  • Caesar salad
  • corn on the cob
  • green salad
  • marinara sauce

What to Eat with Almonds

As an Amazon Affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Almonds can be eaten on their own or with foods that compliment its flavor. You can eat foods like fruit or cheese with almonds. You can also eat granola with almonds. Try adding almonds to your daily breakfast, even if it’s just eating toast and peanut butter. A few almonds on top of your peanut butter will give you added calories and make you feel full longer.

What goes good with almonds

Almonds go well with several different types of food including:

  • Brie cheese
  • Granola
  • Bananas
  • Apples
  • Chocolate
  • Garnish for Salad

Almond recipes for baking

You can make a variety of baking almond recipes right at home. Some of them require your almonds to be slivered, sliced or chopped. You may need to purchase a different cut of almonds for your recipe. Sliced almonds are perfect for almond croissants because the will lie flat on the croissant giving them a beautiful eye catching look to them. In foods like muffins or cakes usually you’ll want them quite small – so chopped would be your best bet. Be aware of your supply of almonds before taking on a new baking recipe!

Almond recipes for baking

Recipes using almond meal flour

Almond meal flour is a delicious substitute for regular flour. There are countless baking recipes nowadays for anything from sugar cookies to chocolate chip cookies using almond meal flour. Try them out for a unique hint of almond flavor in your baking.

What to do with stale almonds

You can do a lot with stale almonds just sitting in your cupboard. You can even revive your stale almonds by simply toasting them. You can use your stale almonds that have been roasted again for muffins, cookies, and cakes.

How to store almonds and walnuts

Store your almonds and walnuts in an airtight container in your cupboard. Room temperature is the best to store your almonds and walnuts because it prevents your nuts from getting damp. When you put your nuts in the fridge or in the freezer, this can make your nuts wet and potentially go moldy – which would render them unusable. Keep them their best by leaving them at room temperature.  

Recipes with chopped almonds

Recipes with chopped almonds are typically breads and muffins. You can also make salads with chopped almonds to make your salads more filling.

What are the 4 Parts of a Salad

As an Amazon Affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

The 4 parts of a salad are:

Base: The base of a salad is the lining of greens on the serving dish that the salad will be served in. The body of the salad sits on top of the base of the salad. These leaves are usually more decorative and are a different kind than the body of the salad. An example of a base lettuce is red oak lettuce. It’s a darker red color, and it is quite decorative on the top of the leaves which makes it a perfect base for a salad.

Body: The body of a salad are the main contents of the salad. The body of a salad consists of lettuce, meat, vegetables, fruit, herbs, etc. The main parts of the salad are included in the body of the salad.

Dressing: The dressing of a salad is the liquid that will be dispersed throughout to coat the body of the salad. The dressing could be a vinaigrette, creamy dressing, or oil and vinegar. 

Garnish: The garnish of a salad is a food or herb that will go on the top of the salad for added decoration and color, and enhance the flavor of the salad. The garnish should be eye-catching and appeal to the person eating the salad.

How many types of salad are there

List of 23 Salad Garnish Ideas

A few salad garnish examples for you to try out to bring your salad to the next level.

  • Fresh berries – blueberries, strawberries, raspberries
  • Cheddar Cheese
  • Blue Cheese
  • Feta
  • Parmesan crisps
  • Olives
  • Grapes
  • Pomegranate seeds
  • Onion crisps
  • Wonton crisps
  • Nuts
  • Arugula
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Sesame seeds
  • Dried cranberries
  • Dried raisins
  • Strips of tortillas 
  • Crostini
  • Sliced radish
  • Grated carrots
  • Grated bell peppers
  • Sliced avocado
  • Mint leaves
Salad Garnish Ideas examples

How many types of salad are there

There are 4 types of salad including:

Tossed: A tossed salad is a green salad.

Bound: A bound salad is one that has a cooked ingredient in it, such as meat, eggs, pasta, or potatoes.

Vegetable: A vegetable salad consists only of raw or cooked vegetables.

Fruit: A fruit salad consists of fruit and/or a sweet or sour dressing.

Combination: A combination salad is a mixture of the 4 types of salads.

What are the 4 parts of a salad

What’s the difference between a sauce and a dressing

The difference between a sauce and a dressing is that a sauce is a liquid that has been cooked, and a dressing is uncooked. Both a sauce and a dressing are used to coat foods to give them more flavor, or enhance the flavor. A sauce or dressing is either sweet, tart, or savory depending on its makeup and the food it is complimenting. A dressing is usually put onto cold foods like salad, whereas a sauce is typically used on foods that are served warm like gravy on mashed potatoes. 

How to Make Chocolate Spirals

As an Amazon Affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

To make your own chocolate spirals at home, you’ll need a potato peeler, and your choice of chocolate. Select a piece of chocolate that has a long edge to it – at least 2-3”. This because, the only the chocolate edge, the bigger your chocolate spiral will be.

How to Make Chocolate Spirals

Remove your chocolate from it’s packaging, hold the chocolate in your hand so the longer edge is on top. Holding the chocolate steady, go in a quick motion by using the potato peeler to peel away from the chocolate to create a chocolate spiral. You should get the hang of it after a couple of chocolate spirals.

Experiment with different speeds to see how fast you ideally need to go.

For a shorter chocolate spiral, use the shorter end of the chocolate.

Make sure your fingers are no where near the potato peeler is going to go when you’re peeling the chocolate layers away. Even though potato peelers are not that sharp, it does still have the potential to cut you if you’re not careful.

Ideas for Too Many Potatoes What to Do with Them

As an Amazon Affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

If you have too many potatoes on hand, you need to figure out what you’re going to do with all of them. You need to decide if you want to store them, cook them, or freeze them.

How to Store Potatoes

To store your potatoes at room temperature, place them in a dark, dry area. They will stay good for a couple of weeks.

If you’re wanting your potatoes stored for longer, there are a couple of other options.

How to freeze chopped potatoes

You can freeze chopped potatoes that have not been cooked in an airtight container, or a sealed plastic bag. The potatoes will turn brown in the freezer, but they will retain most of their flavor. Thaw your frozen chopped potatoes in the fridge overnight and cook them up for hash browns.

How to freeze cooked potatoes

You can freeze cooked potatoes by baking them in the oven and then letting them cool. Next, you can grate, slice, or chop your potatoes. Grating your cooking potatoes is the easiest way. You don’t have to worry about the size as your grating. It’s much simpler than making sure your slices or chopped potatoes are all of similar sizes. Frozen grated cooked potatoes are a great additive for making soup, curry, stew, breakfast casseroles, and hash browns.

How to freeze shredded potatoes

Once you have your potatoes shredded, place them in an airtight container and freeze them. To thaw your frozen shredded potatoes, place them in the fridge overnight and use them the following day for your recipe.

How to keep potatoes fresh after peeling

To keep potatoes fresh after you’ve finished peeling them, place them in a bowl of cold water. They will not go brown, since they are not exposed to air. Therefore, oxidation will not take place. The potatoes will keep fresh after peeling them and putting them in water for a couple of hours.

What to do with potatoes before they go bad

  • hash browns
  • roasted potatoes with parmesan
  • scalloped potatoes
  • smashed potatoes
  • parmesan garlic potato wedges
  • potato casserole
  • baked potato rounds
  • mashed potatoes
  • broccoli and cheddar potatoes
  • twice baked potatoes
  • potato latkes
  • Greek lemon potatoes
  • Breakfast hash brown and bacon casserole
  • potato pancakes
  • potato bread
  • French fries

What can you make with potatoes for dinner

too many potatoes what to do