Kids Cooking Club Tip: When measuring dry ingredients, it’s important to level off the top of the measuring cup or spoon. A great way to do this is by using the flat side of a butter knife.
Common Dry Ingredients for Baking
Flour – This ingredient adds structure! You may find recipes that call for all purpose, whole wheat, cake + bread flour. Gluten free recipes may call for tapioca, almond, coconut + oat flour (to name a few).
Sugar – This ingredient adds flavor and texture! The most common types of sugar are granulated, brown + powdered (aka confectioner), however, you may find recipes that call for turbinado or coconut sugar.
Leavening – These ingredients help your baked goods rise! Recipes may call for baking soda or baking powder (or a combination of both) to rise quick breads, cakes, cupcakes, cookies + muffins. Yeast can be used to rise sandwich bread, brioche + rolls.
Cocoa Powder – This ingredient adds flavor! Dutch process cocoa has a slightly milder flavor than baking cocoa. Both can be substituted for one another in recipes.
Spices – These ingredients add flavor and (sometimes) color! Common spices you may find in Pearls + Girls recipes include cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice, salt, pepper, granulated garlic, chili powder + tumeric.
Herbs – These ingredients complement spices! If a recipe calls for herbs, most likely they will be added at the end of the recipe or just before baking. Flat leaf parsley, basil, mint, cilantro, oregano, rosemary + thyme are just a few examples!
How to Combine Dry Ingredients
The most effective way to combine dry ingredients is using a large sifter. While the hand crank variety can be a lot of fun for kids, I like to use a sifting set that comes in a few different sizes for versatility. Sifting helps to combine the ingredients evenly and get out any lumps before adding to the wet mixture.
Kids Cooking Club Tip: Measuring spoons can be used for dry or wet ingredients. However, for measurements larger than a tablespoon, liquid measuring cups should be used. Since we often bake together, one of the girls will hold the measuring spoon while the other one pours. However, these mini beakers are a great alternative to measuring spoons because the rubber bottom provides stability for pouring + they are super duper cute!!!
Common Wet Ingredients for Baking
Milk – This ingredient provides moisture! Recipes may call for whole, 2%, buttermilk, soy, coconut + almond milk. Sometimes sour cream, yogurt or water can be substituted for milk in recipes.
Cream – This ingredient provides color or texture! Sometimes a Pearls + Girls recipe may call for cream to be brushed on top of scone or biscuit dough to help in brown during the baking process. Heavy cream can also be whipped with vanilla + powdered sugar to make whipped cream for adding to a trifle, shortcake + baked meringue.
Juice/Zest – This ingredient adds flavor and texture! Common types include orange, lemon, lime + grapefruit. Zest will often be used in cake batter or dough and can be added to a vinaigrette. Fruit juice can be used to thin a glaze or frosting + make frozen desserts such as sorbet or granita.
Eggs – This ingredient adds structure! Eggs are a common ingredient in baked goods as well as custards + puddings. The yolks are often used to make ice cream, while egg whites are whipped to make meringue + folded into a mousse or soufflé. Sometimes applesauce or yogurt can replace eggs in a recipe.
Butter/Oil – These ingredients add flavor, texture + moisture! Most Pearls + Girls recipes will call for unsalted butter. Butter can be creamed, melted + browned to give baked goods a nuttier flavor. Butter is also the key ingredient for flaky pie dough + puff pastry. Some frosting recipes will call for shortening or chilled coconut oil. Dough can also be fried in canola, peanut, coconut or sunflower oil.
Vinegar – This ingredient adds stability and flavor! Adding a splash of vinegar to whipped egg whites will help them hold their shape. This is especially important if you are going to pipe the meringue into disks or decorations. Vinegar also reacts with baking soda, causing batter or dough to rise. White and apple cider vinegar are used most commonly in baking, however, a balsamic vinegar reduction is a sweet compliment to fruit desserts, such as a peach cobbler or strawberry shortcake.
Coffee – This ingredient adds flavor and texture! Coffee can be added to chocolate to enhance the flavor. It can also be used to thin a glaze or to dip ladyfingers for tiramisu. Instant espresso or espresso powder are sometimes used in Pearls + Girls recipes.
Vanilla – This ingredient adds flavor and (sometimes) color! Most recipes call for vanilla extract, but you can also purchase vanilla paste + vanilla pods. The latter is often used in custard + ice cream where the flecks of vanilla beans add color.
Other Extracts – These ingredients add flavor! Examples include almond, maple, peppermint + coconut. Pearls + Girls recipes typically call for citrus zest instead of lemon, lime or orange extract. The flavor of an extract is extremely concentrated, so a little goes a LONG way!
How to Combine Wet Ingredients
Combining wet ingredients can be a bit tricky because there are so many ways to do it! Butter and oil are often added to sugar, eggs and vanilla at the beginning of a recipe (i.e. cookie dough, cake batter) while other recipes may call for it to be gradually added at the end of a recipe (i.e. brioche bread dough, pizza dough). Typically wet ingredients will be whisked together before adding to previously sifted dry ingredients.