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You can buy this from specialist cake decorating shops. Read our review of food mixers. Plus, they can come with different attachments to help with non-baking tasks, too. This type of paper is ideal for wrapping food, particularly greasy or fatty foods. It's often suggested as a suitable wrapping for fruit cake before placing it in a tin. It can be used in the freezer as well as the microwave and oven.

If you are using it for lining a cake tin, you should also lightly butter or oil the paper before spooning in the cake mix. Read our review of food processors. Useful for so many functions both sweet and savoury, the food processor can also be used for many cake recipes and is good for rubbing fat into flour when making pastry. If you like to decorate cakes with marzipan or sugarpaste, then spacers will help you achieve an even thickness. These can be bought from specialist suppliers.

Read our review of measuring spoons. People often under or overestimate the size of a teaspoon or tablespoon. Measuring spoons ensure an accurate amount is used. If you like to use American recipes, it's also worth buying a set of measuring cups to avoid tricky conversions.

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Baking recipes often include oil, milk or other liquid ingredients, so a measuring jug is essential for getting the quantities right. As a measuring jug is needed for so many cooking purposes, it's always useful to have one to hand. Read our review of mixing bowls. It's useful to have at least two large mixing bowls as many recipes require more than one.

41 DESSERT AND BAKING HACKS

Choose glass, metal or plastic according to preference but it's worth having heatproof ones so that you can put them in the microwave or over simmering water when melting chocolate. A palette knife is a long, thin implement with a rounded end. It has a wide range of uses, including smoothing on icing or cake fillings, scraping bowls and cutting butter into flour. Read our review of pastry brushes. A pastry brush can be used to glaze your pastry with egg wash or milk or for brushing filo pastry with melted butter. It's also good for brushing off excess icing sugar when cake decorating.

A fine sieve made from metal or plastic is ideal for sifting flour and icing sugar, which is highly recommended when cake-making. It can be easier to use a small tea strainer to dust surfaces and decorate desserts with icing sugar or cocoa. Read our review of rolling pins. You can buy one-piece rolling pins or the type with a fixed handle at either end, depending on which you find easiest.

For really smooth results make sure the pin is wide enough to fully cover the width of dough or icing you are rolling out. A metal skewer will help you determine whether your cake is cooked. If you insert it into the cake and it comes out clean, your cake is ready. Read our review of digital weighing scales.

As accuracy is key in baking, a good set of scales are necessary for measuring out ingredients. Choose from digital or manual — we like digital as they can usually accurately measure right down to a gram or two.

20 Genius Baking Hacks (Don't You Feel Smarter Already?)

Read our review of graters. It's handy to have a zester, fine grater or microplane, as many baking recipes require citrus zest. The latter two can also be used to grate nutmeg. Read our review of spatulas. A wooden spoon is a great all-rounder in the kitchen. If you don't have a food mixer, use it for beating your cake mixes. A large metal spoon is handy for folding in flour or whisked egg whites. Read our review of whisks. A balloon whisk is a hand-held tool with metal loops that form into a bulb shape at the end of a long handle.

It's always handy to have one of these in the kitchen as an addition to whipping cream, whisking egg whites and gently folding in flour, and you can also use it to remove lumps from sauces. An electric whisk or a food mixer make short work of whisking and creaming. The food mixer, with its different attachments, is more versatile but also much more expensive.

Read our review of hand mixers. Electronic hand mixers — sometimes called beaters — are a good choice for people lacking storage space in the kitchen. They make quick work of creaming butter and sugar, whipping cream or whizzing batters, and take up a fraction of the space of stand mixers. Read our review of bundt cake tins. The ultimate speciality bake tin with truly stunning results. These decorative pans have a distinct ridged design in a traditional ring shape. What baking kit do you rely on? I even took a cooking class in Italy with Flavours Holidays.

Feeling Down? Scientists Say Cooking and Baking Could Help You Feel Better

I still have a long way to go, but, at least my confidence is growing. Perhaps we just have more time. Or, maybe, we see baking or cooking as a form of therapy — a way of taking our minds off of our everyday concerns. Many of us simply want to eat healthier food. The other day, one of our members asked her Sixty and Me sisters whether they still love to cook and bake. I hope that they inspire you to reconnect with your inner-chef. Please take a look and join the conversation. Martagc talked about the reasons that she loves cooking.

I also bake at least once a week. I want to eat healthy and making your own food with good ingredients is a great way to do this.


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I am an accomplished cook, but, there is still so much to learn. I spent the last six months learning about sourdough starters and refining recipes. I always have some in the freezer for a quick breakfast.


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  4. I make sauerkraut, ricotta, mozzarella, granola, pickled vegetables and so much more. I have never enjoyed cooking as much as I do now. My mid-life career change was to open a restaurant. I sold it five years ago and subsequently taught a culinary class at a local college. I am not a vegan, but, I have eliminated cane sugar and gluten — except for the sourdough, which has a long, slow ferment that significantly breaks down the gluten. I love learning new techniques and developing new recipes in my own kitchen for family and friends. I am fortunate that my two children are excellent cooks.

    They live in another state, but our common love of cooking keeps us in almost daily communication as we share our food photos and ideas. My husband and I have moved to a retirement community and there is a lot of socializing, so, I get opportunities to share. In addition, we are living closer to our children and grandchildren now, so, there are a lot more family get-togethers.

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    Do you find that you are enjoying baking or cooking more now? Why or why not? What do you love to cook?