How to Crack an Egg + A Giveaway of The Book That Taught Me | Cupcake Project

How to Crack an Egg + A Giveaway of The Book That Taught Me

I should know how to crack an egg.  Let’s look at approximately how many eggs I have cracked just making cupcakes for this blog:



Approximate years of blogging 3
   * Number of weeks per year 52
   = Approximate number of weeks of blogging 156
Approximate cupcake recipes baked per week 1
   * Average number of eggs per cupcake recipe 2
   = Approximate number of eggs used per week 2
Approximate number of cupcakes used for weekly blogging (approximate number of eggs used per week * number of weeks blogging) 312
Number of weddings for which I have baked cupcakes 3
   * Average number of eggs used per wedding 50
   = Approximate number of eggs used for all weddings 150
Approximate number of eggs used for cupcakes on this blog (approximate number of eggs used for weekly blogging + approximate number of eggs used for weddings) 462

I know that all of that math was a bit geeky. But, it only seems appropriate since my free review copy of Cooking for Geeks is where I learned how to crack an egg.

It turns out that I cracked all 462 of those eggs incorrectly – my skills with eggs weren’t all they were cracked up to be.  Way too often, I found myself playing the game of “Try to remove the eggshell bit from the cracked egg” (the baking version of the kid’s game Operation). 

So what’s the trick to the perfect crack?


Direct from Cooking For Geeks:

Tap it (the egg) on the counter, not the edge of a bowl.  The shell of an egg cracked on a flat surface will have larger pieces that aren’t pushed into the egg.  Eggs cracked on a sharp lip are much more likely to have little shards of shell poked into them that then end up in the bowl and have to be fetched out.

I had to try it myself:

Here’s how I have always cracked eggs – against the edge of a bowl.
Look at the crack.  See how there are lots of tiny pieces.
Here’s me cracking an egg against the counter.
Look how clean the crack is – no tiny bits!!

I can’t believe what a huge difference the counter method makes.  I am never going back!!


More on Cooking For Geeks

While Cooking for Geeks, by Jeff Potter, does have its share of recipes, it’s more of a book for people (geeks, specifically) who want to understand the whys, not just the how tos.  All of the recipes in the book include explanations about why they work, and Potter always starts with the very basics. He even teaches you how to test for doneness with a toothpick – for brownies, insert the toothpick 1″; for cakes, push the toothpick in all the way.

Other than learning how to crack an egg, I loved the section that talked about leaveners.  It has one of the best explanations that I’ve seen on the difference between baking powder and baking soda and when to use one over the other.  I also liked the section on sugar caramelization and how it relates to oven temperature – fascinating stuff for baking geeks.  It’s a book that you could easily sit down and read from cover to cover (I just read the baking sections, but I’ll come back to the others should I ever decide to actually cook).

How to Win a Copy of Cooking for Geeks

Update:  The winners have been chosen.  They are Sana Hurzuk and Virginia Chernick Belling.  Congrats!

Potter is offering two copies of Cooking for Geeks to Cupcake Project readers.  Here’s how to enter:

  • Leave a comment on this post with a story of a lesson you learned that changed the way you do something forever (like my egg cracking story).  It could be anything – maybe you learned a better way to fold a shirt or to keep track of coupons.  I’m sure we’ll all learn a lot from each other! Leave your email address in the comment so that I can contact you if you win.
  • Become a Facebook fan and leave a comment on this post on Facebook (it must be a comment on this post, not just a comment on my Wall) and tell me what makes you a geek in the kitchen.  

Fine Print

  • All entries must be in by Aug. 31, 11:59 PM CDT.
  • Only two entries are allowed per person (one on Facebook and one on this blog).
  • I will randomly draw one blog winner and one Facebook winner and post the winners on this post on Sept. 1. 
  • If I do not hear back from a winner within one week, I will draw a new winner.
  • Winners will have a choice of a print or eBook.  International winners are only eligible to receive the eBook.

One Parting Tip About Eggs

While I was working on this post and talking about fishing around for the little bits of cracked eggs, Jonathan told me that he always uses a big piece of cracked egg shell to scoop out any little pieces of egg shell.  The little pieces stick to the big piece and come right out.  I tried it and it works!  I can’t believe that he was holding out on me with that knowledge!

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140 Responses to How to Crack an Egg + A Giveaway of The Book That Taught Me

  1. Sara August 26, 2010 at 6:49 pm #

    I learned to use NextBus rather than just the bus schedule – it has GPS in the bus, so it lets you know where the bus ACTUALLY is rather than what the schedule says (which is often wrong if the bus is running late or early).

  2. Ron August 26, 2010 at 6:53 pm #

    When making bread with my breadmaker, I’ve learned to mix the water, sugar, and yeast first, then let sit for 10 minutes. Then I add the flour, salt and other ingredients. The bread ends up fluffier, which is how I like it.

    ron@rounds.org

  3. The Water Girl August 26, 2010 at 6:58 pm #

    When I learned how to fold a fitted sheet, I swear a light shone down from the heavens and the angels sang “aaaaahhhhh”.
    It. was. a. miracle.

  4. inthepit August 26, 2010 at 7:03 pm #

    i learned that when making pancakes with a pre-made pancake mix to use a little less water and add an egg for fluffier pancakes. also a trick i picked up from my father-in-law is to use good helping of oil in the pan to make them crispy. they are Alaska native and i take that this is so they are similar to the fry-bread they make in crispiness.

    inthepit (at) gmail (dot) com

  5. Elsa (elsa.macbebekin@gmail.com) August 26, 2010 at 7:04 pm #

    I have approximately ten million stories like this related to cooking, including the “how to crack an egg” story (it’s a huge difference, isn’t it?), but I’ll tell this one because I only learned recently and I’ve thought of it gratefully every day all summer long.

    I used to use as little ice as possible to chill drinks, reasoning that the less ice I used, the less diluted my drink would get. WRONG! An acquaintance pointed out (assuming you’re not leaving it sitting around for long stretches of the hot summer day) the the more ice you use, the colder your drink gets and stays, and therefore the less diluted it becomes. As soon as I heard it, I knew it was obviously correct, but I’d never thought it through.

    I’ve been piling ice into my drinks lately, and the drinks stay cold and tasty and undiluted. So simple, so obvious, and so completely novel to me.

  6. Gary S August 26, 2010 at 7:06 pm #

    I learned the same tip about cracking eggs on the counter rather than the rim…from one of Alton Brown’s cookbooks!

  7. Anonymous August 26, 2010 at 7:20 pm #

    I learned how to properly cream butter and sugar for cakes once I got my KitchenAid and watched a video :)

    ajgauthier@gmail.com

  8. Gale Reeves August 26, 2010 at 7:20 pm #

    I’ve learned that rubbing the butter into the flour makes a GREAT tart crust. I’ve used the food processor method, and the pastry blender method, and the knife/knife method. This newfound method s great. Thanks for the cookbook giveaway!

  9. trang August 26, 2010 at 7:25 pm #

    I learned how to put everything in bags or ziplock bags so that it makes the transition to a new bag much more efficient and easier. My next learn how I’m trying to conquer is walking in sky high heels.

    picabo@gmail.com

  10. ashley August 26, 2010 at 7:25 pm #

    my grandmother taught me how to separate egg yolks from whites using just my hand when i was a little child. at the externship i did, we had to separate 48 eggs for cheesecake and doing this method saved me so much time

    ana153@students.jwu.edu

  11. Garilyn August 26, 2010 at 7:26 pm #

    I have learned to fold sheets so that the flat sheet wraps around the fitted and the pillowcases. This way when I need a set of sheets they are all together wrapped nicely.
    blessed.mama4 at yahoo.com

  12. Abby Elizabeth August 26, 2010 at 7:30 pm #

    I used to always make pancakes for my friends when I was in junior high and high school. It wasn’t until my senior year of high school that my dad pointed out that I should wait for the bubbles to form before flipping the pancake. Taking the guess work out of cooking always makes for a more satisfying meal!

  13. Lo August 26, 2010 at 7:32 pm #

    I learned to bake cookies and cupcakes at 325 degrees, that way it cooks evenly
    (or at least in my oven!)

  14. Jennifer Vega August 26, 2010 at 7:35 pm #

    While in boot camp I learned that if yu tie you laces left ovr right, its way easier and faster to tie them, you just pull and they all get tight at once….works great when your in a hurry.

  15. Anna August 26, 2010 at 7:53 pm #

    I took a baking bootcamp course recently and my favorite lesson was on making caramel. I was taught to gently nudge the melting sugar at the edges and adding in layers instead of dumping it all in at once and stirring to avoid clumping. Just watching someone do the same thing I’ve tried on my own so many times with frustrating results was a revelation. My caramel has been beautiful ever since.

  16. Becki Sue August 26, 2010 at 8:25 pm #

    Your egg cracking lesson is very helpful. I’ve been cracking eggs on the edge of a bowl for years. I had to fish 6 pieces of eggshell out of my last batch of Nutella Cupcakes!! No one complained, so I must have gotten all of the pieces out. I’m going to try your tip this weekend!!

    becki_sue (at) comcast (dot) net

  17. Ryan August 26, 2010 at 8:26 pm #

    My roommate bought me one of those “as seen on TV” egg crackers, it works great, haha.

  18. Kittie August 26, 2010 at 8:47 pm #

    What a great idea! And what a great book!

    I learned a great tip from my friend in the UK when Poaching eggs … put just a touch of vinegar in the water and make a big swirl with a spoon and the vinegar helps keep the egg more in tacked so you don’t get a lot of spidery pieces. It makes a lovely oval cloud of perfection.

  19. VirgSJB August 26, 2010 at 9:27 pm #

    I learned to get my buttercream icing so smooth that it looks like fondant:
    Put your icing on your cake (best to use this process 2x; once with a crumb coat and once as your final covering)
    Allow a little time for the icing to form a slight “crust”
    Use a piece of VIVA Paper Towel against the icing, rubbing your fingers on top of the paper towel along the top and sides of the cake. This gives you a Great Surface to decorate for your special occassion. MUST BE VIVA or you will get little bumps from the texture of the paper towel. Works Every Time! Ever since learning this trick, my cakes look professionally decorated – yours will to!

    VirgSJB@aol.com

  20. Stacy's Eclectic Kitchen August 26, 2010 at 9:34 pm #

    When moving into a new apartment, never set a cardboard box full of kitchen stuff on your new stove. The corner may catch the dial and turn it on so on the next armful, you arrive to an apartment full of smoke and a box of plastic on fire.

    stacy.rebek@washburn.edu

  21. Sandris August 26, 2010 at 11:49 pm #

    When cooking mexican rice my grandmother taught me to use 2 cups of water per cup of rice. One to blend the tomato, and onion, and one to add at the end before simmering.

  22. em August 27, 2010 at 1:26 am #

    When I was about 6 the man in the Clarks shoe shop taught me that wrapping the lace around twice, before the bow bit, keeps the lace tight when you are bowing it.
    I still use this technique now….And i have wonderfully tied shoes :)

    {would love this for my boyf – he is a geek and the chef out of us}

  23. LindsLovesMiles August 27, 2010 at 2:43 am #

    What an egg-cellent idea :)

    I learned how to calculate a tip at a restaurant. Take the first numbers, move the decimal over one space, and multiply by 2. So, if your bill was 20.00, take 2.00 X 2=$4 tip! I’ve never had to break out one of those tip calculators!

  24. Michelle Vandergrift August 27, 2010 at 2:55 am #

    I’ve learned to crack those eggs on a small piece of paper towel so I don’t get egg all over my counter. I also pre-cut my sticks of butter into tablespoons so I can just grab as many as I need.
    (vplus10@earthlink.net)

  25. Jessie August 27, 2010 at 3:54 am #

    I’ve learned to trust my instincts when cooking. Just because a recipe calls for a certain amount of cooking time doesn’t mean it’s going to take that long or short in my oven and I need to keep an eye on it instead of just going by the recipe.

  26. leighshel August 27, 2010 at 4:18 am #

    I’m a terrible egg cracker..there I’ve said it. But now I know the right way and knowing is half the battle!

  27. Sourkraut August 27, 2010 at 4:53 am #

    I had a hard time believing that egg cracking trick when I first heard about it but I agree that it really works. The tip I learned was from a King Arthur Baking Company class about how to measure flour. If you fluff up the flour in the bag with a spoon before measuring it can throw the whole thing off if the recipe didn’t specify for you to do so. That said, not all recipes are so precise, which is why I generally prefer the ones that give you dry measurements by weight.

  28. Quiltingdaisy August 27, 2010 at 4:54 am #

    I’ve learned that if I throw a handful of chocolate chips into quick breads made with veggies; like zucchini, then I can get them to ‘give it a try’.

  29. MomLaur83 August 27, 2010 at 4:57 am #

    Oh goodness! This book is PERFECT! I just started baking cupcakes and was going to do it for a hobby but ran into legal issues…anyway, I learned a little about the baking powder and flour ratio and how to make your cupcakes less dense and more fluffy by adding more baking powder. Well, I’ve never looked at cupcakes the same! I’ve also learned how important it is to have ingredients at room temp, and to warm the milk when adding it! I’m totally a baking geek now :D

  30. cfiggee August 27, 2010 at 5:08 am #

    One of the best tricks I’ve learned baking through the years came from my mom. She is also an avid baker. We were tired of those little lumps of flour, baking powder, etc that turned up sometimes. Now we take all the dry ingredients in a recipe and gently sift them through a medium mesh strainer – no fancy equipment necessary. It’s really improved the quality of our baked goods.

  31. Kristen August 27, 2010 at 5:13 am #

    My grandma was a home economics teacher for 40 years and she managed to teach me a bunch of sneaky tricks for all kinds of things. One of my favorites is her stain removal technique. If you spill something on an article of clothing don’t rub directly on the stain to remove it. Lay the article stain down on a white rag then use another white cloth dipped in water/stain remover and rub the *opposite* side of the stain. (i.e. the inside of your shirt directly behind the stain). As you rub, the stain will be transferred from the article of clothing to the white rag which you can just bleach. Easy peasy!

  32. Stephanie August 27, 2010 at 5:27 am #

    Interestinggggg! I’ve been cracking eggs incorrectly this whole time! I always thought my fiance was a weirdo cracking the egg on the counter, but I guess he was right! I’m sure he’d like to thank you for proving he was right!

  33. Becky August 27, 2010 at 5:35 am #

    This is going to sound so common sense, but I learned to taste my food as I go from watching the Food Network. I’m normally such an exact recipe follower that I would just follow the recipe exactly and if I didn’t like it, that was the last of that recipe… Now I know that I can taste as I go and adjust…. it was like a revelation. :)
    Becky
    rma910 (at) gmail (dot) com

  34. Anonymous August 27, 2010 at 5:40 am #

    I love blueberries and anything with blueberries in them. My blueberry coffee cake and blueberry pancakes call for folding the blueberries into the batter. When done, the blueberries sank to the bottom of the cake/pancakes. I learned how to prevent blueberries from sinking to the bottom of baked goods. If I lightly flour the berries, just a dusting, before adding them to the batter the blueberries remain suspended and evenly distributd throughout the cakes/pancakes. I made my blueberry cake last weekend. When I cut pieces, it looked so pretty to see blueberries throughout the cake, and not all down at the bottom of the cake. Libby

  35. AKG August 27, 2010 at 6:10 am #

    Cookie related tips

    *get an air bake pan, cookies hardly ever get burned on the bottom

    *make your cookies as evenly sized as possible to get more evenly cooked batches

    *parchment paper!! even tape won’t stick!

    (annagibsonphoto@aol.com)

  36. Sana Hurzuk August 27, 2010 at 6:19 am #

    I learnt how to cook a potato in the microwave and it changed my life! Whenever I needed a potato for a recipe I would boil it on the stove top and it would take so long. Now I just pop it in the micro and its done in 5 mins!

  37. Missy August 27, 2010 at 6:20 am #

    I don’t remember where I read or heard of this but this tip has helped me organize my linen closet. After I have folded a clean set of sheets, I keep one of the pillowcase unfolded and use it was a storage “container” for the rest of the sheet set. Now my linen closet has neat stacks of sheets sets all contained in one of their own pillow cases.

  38. Kim August 27, 2010 at 6:31 am #

    I “re”-learned the egg trick from America’s Test Kitchen. I used to do it that way when I was a small girl in my parents’ kitchen. Until my dad showed me “how you’re supposed to do it”.

    Besides that one, I learned so many great tricks or how-to’s from all you wonderful foodies with blogs! Over years definetely too many to count or remember. But I’m grateful every time I cook for them being part of my routine now.

  39. Avanika [YumsiliciousBakes] August 27, 2010 at 6:38 am #

    I learnt that you don’t need all kinds of fancy gadgets for eggs, fingers are the absolute best separator!!

  40. supposedtobemysymphony August 27, 2010 at 7:03 am #

    I hate to be a copycat but I learned that egg trick recently and it has totally changed my baking life!!

  41. Lena S August 27, 2010 at 7:35 am #

    After accidentally losing a bit of an egg shell into cupcake batter, I realized that I could prevent that (rare) problem by using a custard cup or other container to put the egg into before transferring to the batter. It makes fishing out that shell much easier without having to dig through the batter!

  42. Melody August 27, 2010 at 8:17 am #

    I love it! I’m going to start using the counter method from now on. I’m a reformed egg cracker :)

  43. Smitten in the Mitten August 27, 2010 at 8:47 am #

    I know just about everyone knows this already, but I was a little slow to the game on this one. Use hairspray to get pen ink off clothing and furniture. I am the worst with getting ink all over things when writing, it saved my life! And my couch!

  44. C&C Cakery August 27, 2010 at 8:47 am #

    Finally understanding how to activate yeast – It took a couple years of flat breads, but I’ve finally mastered it!

    cccakery@gmail.com

  45. C&C Cakery August 27, 2010 at 8:47 am #

    Finally understanding how to activate yeast – It took a couple years of flat breads, but I’ve finally mastered it!

    cccakery@gmail.com

  46. C&C Cakery August 27, 2010 at 8:47 am #

    Finally understanding how to activate yeast – It took a couple years of flat breads, but I’ve finally mastered it!

    cccakery@gmail.com

  47. C&C Cakery August 27, 2010 at 8:47 am #

    Finally understanding how to activate yeast – It took a couple years of flat breads, but I’ve finally mastered it!

    cccakery@gmail.com

  48. Emily August 27, 2010 at 8:49 am #

    Someone once told me that if you put vaseline around the edges of your fingers before painting your nails the polish comes right off of your skin. This is very true and makes me messy life a little bit cleaner.

    e.e.den@hotmail.com

  49. Steph August 27, 2010 at 8:58 am #

    I learned that refrigerating your pie crust dough before forming is the real key to awesome pie crust.

  50. linz August 27, 2010 at 9:10 am #

    I learned to just buy a whole dozen eggs instead of a half-dozen if I only need eggs whites or egg yolks, because I will inevitably screw up the separation process.

  51. Anonymous August 27, 2010 at 9:15 am #

    I’ve seen on TV, some chefs use 2 bowls to check for bad eggs. After all these years, I’ve never cracked a bad egg.

    Few months ago, for the 1st time, I cracked a bad egg that went into a bowl with other eggs.

    Now, I use 2 bowls. ha ha

    tala minari @gmail.com (no spaces)

  52. Joy August 27, 2010 at 9:27 am #

    One technique I love was to let the sugar soak in the egg whites when I make a merginue. I have been successful each time I made one.

  53. Elaine August 27, 2010 at 9:57 am #

    My mother taught me to ALWAYS sift my flour…3 times if you want it right.

    http://www.eatingwithelaine.blogspot.com

  54. Evan Thomas August 27, 2010 at 10:13 am #

    I learned to weigh ingredients instead of measuring and everything bakes better.

  55. Kim August 27, 2010 at 10:32 am #

    I add a couple of cubes of chicken bouillon to the water when cooking pasta to add flavor. I also love cooking apps for my iPhone – I have ones from Epicurious, Allrecipes, and others. Finally, I’ve learned to accept compliments on my cooking and not say “Oh, thanks but I spilled half the pasta down the drain so I had to add more mushrooms and chicken.” That’s just an example – I’ve never done that. hehehe.

  56. katiebot5000 August 27, 2010 at 10:40 am #

    I failed repeatedly at making the french macaron, until a lovely person introduced me to sifting. I sift everything now, and it makes my life sooooo much easier.

    Also, using room temperature ingredients when baking!

  57. Stephanie August 27, 2010 at 11:26 am #

    I learned how to SWYPE on my new DroidX. It completely changed my life and the way I text!

  58. Clausal August 27, 2010 at 11:34 am #

    I learned that my food disposal can’t handle avocado pits… after I had broken it a few times. But all’s well that ends well because after I learned this lesson they reinstalled it with a much heartier food disposal that CAN break down pits. Does this count?

  59. charlene020 August 27, 2010 at 11:51 am #

    My mother taught me to use a potato ricer instead of a mixer to make mashed potatoes – they are never gluey and perfect every time. Thanks for the chance to enter! Have a great week-end!

  60. Candice August 27, 2010 at 12:09 pm #

    All these tips are so handy! I’ve always cracked my eggs on the counter…nice to know I’ve been doing it the right way, haha.

    I finally learned my lesson in keeping a clean kitchen as I work! Get out alllll of the ingredients beforehand and put away after you use each one. I guess this isn’t really a tip, more like forming a new habit. But it makes baking so much nicer to deal with! Also, making sure my eggs, not just the butter, is room temperature insures fluffy outcomes!

  61. lauramil August 27, 2010 at 12:12 pm #

    i used to try to get every last egg white drop by banging the egg seperater on the bowl. The white part (chalazae)would drop into the bowl and i think thats why my egg whites never whipped up right! Now i gently shake the egg seperator and it works out perfect!! mfeely3@wi.rr.com

  62. Sarah August 27, 2010 at 12:50 pm #

    When I first got married, I learned that my husband folded shirts differently than I did–and his way took up a lot less space than mine did, which was very helpful when we spent an entire summer moving from place to place!

  63. Tibik August 27, 2010 at 12:59 pm #

    I learnt to peel garlic by pressing down on the clove with the flat side of a knife. No more garlic press.

  64. Anonymous August 27, 2010 at 1:37 pm #

    I had always wondered why my cookies were always so flat after baking when I rolled them into tall piles on the cookie sheets. I’ve learned that the amount of butter the recipe suggests could probably be reduced and the result is a stiffer, thicker cookie.

    kellyctang@me.com

  65. violet78 August 27, 2010 at 2:33 pm #

    You can also crack your egg on the inside wall of a small bowl, instead of the rim. Keeps the mess off your counter. And using a small, separate bowl makes it easier to find any shell bits.

    As for things I’ve learned…I now use my space bar when reading long internet pages. Works like the “page down” button, but easier to find.

  66. Alicia August 27, 2010 at 3:31 pm #

    When I was in college, we used to stick a beer with a full beer in to the cavity of a chicken to roast on a grill. It made the chicken very moist and tender. Somehow I started applying this to Jambalaya (a cajun meal of rice, chicken or sausage, etc.) and plain rice and adding half beer and half water when cooking the rice. The rice comes out soo fluffy and no beer taste! I love it!

  67. Cindy d August 27, 2010 at 4:08 pm #

    I JUST learned yesterday that you can oven-roast ears of corn. I had no idea! I’ve been grilling (unshucked) or boiling (shucked) ears my whole life. I was baking a casserole and threw the unshucked ears of corn on the oven rack next to the casserole and they were perfectly cooked in the same 30 min. it took the casserole to bake. So easy and so good!

  68. vivian mac August 27, 2010 at 4:27 pm #

    This is actually an egg lesson I learned from my grandma. While I was making Tamarin Ice Cream, she taught me to tap the bottom of the egg on the counter to create a small indentation. Then, using the opening, I let the egg white flow out, keeping the yolk inside. This is a much cheaper way than buying an egg separator!

    mercedesbenz431@optonline.net

  69. MelissaJane August 27, 2010 at 4:27 pm #

    I learned to test recipes in advance. Coincidentally enough, I found this blog because soon I’ll be baking 300 or so cupcakes for my niece’s bat mitzvah, and I’m gathering ideas for flavors, etc. I just tried a chocolate cupcake recipe (excellent; from Cooks Illustrated, so no surprise) and a butterscotch buttercream (OK, but not nearly as good as the more complicated PITA caramel buttercream I prefer) and will keep testing and refining for the next few weeks as I get my act together for this.

    Also, I learned to let yeast doughs sit 10 minutes when you’re trying to shape them, to let the gluten relax.

  70. House of Sawyer August 27, 2010 at 5:28 pm #

    Awesome! I’ve learned that it’s not really neccessary to sort the kids’ clothing before washing. Just throw them all in there and wash them. They come out just fine and saves lots of time sorting, etc.

  71. Justin August 27, 2010 at 5:37 pm #

    I salivated the first time I saw a remote, digital thermometer, and got one as a gift for Christmas, but it was a cheap one, and only lasted a couple times. I bought myself a good one. Now, I can put a pork loin on the grill, and come inside to do other prep, while the meat cooks. I don’t have to keep running outside to lift the lid (losing heat) and check on it visually.

  72. Sylvia August 27, 2010 at 5:48 pm #

    Hmmm… Someone has beaten me to both the sheets in the pillowcase trick and using hairspray (the cheaper the better) to get out ball point pen ink, so I’ll guess I’ll have to go with using packing tape to get broken glass off of a floor instead of a broom. The tape will get even the tiniest bits and doesn’t fling the shards anywhere.

  73. Laura August 27, 2010 at 6:16 pm #

    Being a self-taught baker, I’ve learned mostly by trial & error (and by reading blogs like yours!). It’s a general rule, more than a specific technique, but the most important thing I’ve learned is that having the right tool makes a world of difference. Zesting is a breeze with my microplane, I conquered caramel armed with a heavy duty stainless post and good thermometer, and…I could fill a page with more! :)

  74. Denise August 27, 2010 at 7:14 pm #

    My Mom taught me always to “look back to where you were” when leaving somewhere out of your usual routine. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve looked back at restaurants, airports, parks, etc., and realized I’d left something behind – books, jackets, glasses, even my purse a time or two!

    denisedoez@hotmail.com

  75. Mike August 27, 2010 at 7:19 pm #

    I’m a geek in the kitchen because love telling (or showing!) people *why* (chemically/scientifically) certain things in the kitchen work the way they do (e.g. ‘egg whites thickening’, or ‘beef braising’), and why these things turn into delicious end products. Cooking/baking is one of the few sciences that I can think of that has such tasty outcome!
    murrdogg3 (at) yahoo dotcom

    Thanks! :)

  76. Jen August 27, 2010 at 9:04 pm #

    I learned my favorite party tip just recently: when prepping a cooler for bottle/can drinks, fill it halfway with ice, add water, and 1/2 cup of salt. Those drinks will stay nice & cold for the entire night!

  77. Josh August 27, 2010 at 9:54 pm #

    This:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ANpsYl7adxY

    But I also learned the egg thing years ago and love it.

  78. Hunni Bunni August 28, 2010 at 2:30 am #

    I learned a super fast method to tie a tie on a japanese show. Such a handy time saving tip when I need to use a tie at work.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cJ22zbi2BwU&feature=related

  79. Katherine August 28, 2010 at 2:49 am #

    I learned to simmer rice rather than boil it – far less likely to go sticky. Why do the talk about boiled rice?

  80. Kt August 28, 2010 at 3:57 am #

    I learned to add a few drops of baby shampoo to tempura paint before I let my girls do any outdoor painting project…much easier clean up!

    klynnxc03@yahoo.com

  81. michelle August 28, 2010 at 5:18 am #

    i was flicking though a cookbook at the shops and saw a hot tip for egg poaching which makes the whole process alot less daunting!

    line a ramekin with cling wrap with some hanging over the edge and coat it with a little oil. pop the egg in and twist the top closed then simmer it on up and youve got yourself a perfectly formed poached egg!

    this topic was such a great idea, i love all the suggestions, especially the vaseline nailpainting thing!

  82. Gemma August 28, 2010 at 8:29 am #

    I learnt to keep a magnet on me when I’m sewing. That way when I drop a needle or some pins I can just pass the magnet over the area to pick them up rather than worrying about jabbing myself as I try to find them.

    gem at eatbake dot com

  83. Alisha August 28, 2010 at 11:12 am #

    I love to bake your cupcakes and many other sweet treats. One of the best ways to make sure the cupcakes, muffins, or cookies are evenly sized is to use a scoop. I have 3 different sized scoops so I always have the right size. And, the scoop is usually not as messy as using a spoon.

    oetting@yemons.com

  84. Kristin August 28, 2010 at 11:30 am #

    Ohh, what a cool book, my birthday is the 1st, that would be a cool present to win. =)

  85. The Hrudowsky Family August 28, 2010 at 11:58 am #

    I’ve learned that cupcakes should rest in the pan for at least 10 minutes before you place them on the cooling rack.

    michelle-0207 (at) hotmail (dot) com

  86. c. simpkins August 28, 2010 at 1:05 pm #

    I’ve learned that not measuring liquids for flaky baked goods like pie crust and biscuits actually works better–I just drizzle and stir after adding the fat until the dough is crumbly and barely holds together.

    I also just learned how important it is to knead biscuit dough to make it flakier–folding it over a few times totally made a difference!

    quitecaro (at) gmail (dot) com

  87. Anonymous August 28, 2010 at 3:59 pm #

    I learned to toss chips and nuts in flour so they don’t sink in breads and cakes. cynthiavanessa@hotmail.com

  88. Martina's Moments August 28, 2010 at 4:23 pm #

    I learned that I can’t let cooking magazines just pile up or I won’t try new recipes. As soon as I get a magazine I pull out the recipes I know that I would be inclined to try and put them in a notebook organized by type. Each Sunday I select one or two to try . This habit has been the catalyst for trying more recipes.

  89. Rachael August 28, 2010 at 4:32 pm #

    I know it sounds silly- but learning that toothpaste can get rid of pimples changed my way of thinking about things. I now use all sorts of unusual home remedies to get lighter hair (lemon juice), prettier skin and hair (apple cider vinegar) and even get rid of ants! (vinegar, cinnamon)
    : )

  90. Anonymous August 28, 2010 at 5:22 pm #

    I also learned about cracking an egg on the counter but another reason that I was told was that it minimized the germs on the outside of the eggshell getting into whatever you are mixing…sort of like washing the outside of fruit before you slice into it.
    The book you mentioned reminded me of a website – Cooking for Engineers – which I check out occasionally as it cracks me up and both my husband and I are engineers.
    Jere james106@snet.net

  91. ..gabrielle.. August 28, 2010 at 8:18 pm #

    I am a geek because I went home and tried to crack an egg this way, even though I didn’t have anything to use the egg for!

  92. Heather August 28, 2010 at 8:59 pm #

    I learned it’s better not to over mix your hamburger meat and seasonings when making hamburger patties! You should just lightly shape the patties just enough for them to hold together. I honestly don’t remember the reason/science behind it (I’ve been doing it for so long now!) but I do know that it really does make the burger more flavorful and juicy!!
    mistressdanzig (at) gmail (dot) com

  93. Anonymous August 28, 2010 at 9:18 pm #

    Speaking of eggs I learned that when peeling hard boiled ones to roll it on the counter before you peel it, it makes it so much easier!

    Nolie13(at)hotmail(dot)com

  94. grace August 29, 2010 at 1:58 am #

    my tip involves pancake making–i always make a tiny little pancake as the first one and use it to spread the fat around my griddle. i call it the sacrificial sopper (and it’s delicious).

  95. AmandaLp August 29, 2010 at 8:29 am #

    Once I started learning about how flour works (mainly through blogs and King Arthur Flour), I stopped mixing flour so hard. My batters are barely mixed once the flour gets added.

    This makes making methods such as “dissolved sugar” and what I am calling the “vegan gluten method” (where you have to make gluten because it is the only structure that the cupcake has) so weird for me!

    amanda @ attemptedcooking.com

  96. Laura August 29, 2010 at 8:48 am #

    When I learned what buttermilk did to pancakes I vowed to never use regular milk again! They are sooo FLUFFY!

  97. Melissa August 29, 2010 at 9:21 am #

    I have learned that lemon juice is a great stain pre-treater. I always tend to make a mess of myself when wearing white and I spilled soy sauce all down the front of me at a sushi lunch the other day. I just rubbed a lemon slice on the stain until it looked fairly removed and tossed it in the wash a couple days later and voila! no stain and no need to go buy a new white top :)

  98. Caroline August 29, 2010 at 9:52 am #

    I learned that whole milk mixed with lemon juice or white vinegar can be used to replace buttermilk- which is great because I hate to buy an extra perishable ingredient that I don’t really need!
    carolineb at uchicago dot edu

  99. Cathy August 29, 2010 at 10:38 am #

    I’ve learned to use my digital meat thermometer. I often cook meat from frozen (due to lack of advance planning) and I’m never sure if it is done when I think it should be. Now I check with the thermometer and don’t have to send everyone away again after calling them to the table — only to find that the roast is still raw inside!

  100. Sarah@Neoteric.Traditional August 29, 2010 at 11:04 am #

    I’d have to say that for my style of cooking learning to add hot liquid to cornstarch in the end rather than adding cornstarch to cold liquid in the beginning has been a big help.

  101. tzigane August 29, 2010 at 11:07 am #

    i learned that egg cracking tip when i was little from my mom and grandma and that is always how i crack my eggs. something that i “learned” recently was that my daughter really wants to learn how to cook and bake. and that it is not easy to get a 2 year old to hit the egg just hard enough but not too hard on the counter to crack it! he likes to help and the last time he cracked it so hard that it smashed and went everywhere!

  102. Katherine August 29, 2010 at 11:11 am #

    One of the many things I’ve learned from Alton Brown is how to temper eggs, and why it has to be done. This has been a turning point in my cooking.

    Katherine_Garretson@hotmail.com

  103. Glenda August 29, 2010 at 1:28 pm #

    I used Italian style Panko bread crumbs and 1 Tbls of red pepper flakes to my meatballs. The flavor is amazing and it’s the only way I make them, now.

  104. Lisa August 29, 2010 at 1:51 pm #

    Guilty pleasure confession: I LOVE chocolate chip cookies. Homemade. I learned about 2 years ago to refrigerate your cookie dough for at least 24 hours before baking. The result is sublime and amazing. Oh, and sprinkle a dash of sea salt on top. You’ll never go back.

    lisa.tilory at gmail dot com

  105. Shay August 29, 2010 at 2:55 pm #

    I can’t decide if the best lessons learned are those through experience or those that have been words of advice. My most recent lesson learned that I seem to be turning to lately is that of taking notes when baking and cooking. I live writing directly on the recipe card of little alterations or additions, consistency, and also crowd approval!
    shaywoman15@yahoo.com

  106. newteacherwife August 29, 2010 at 3:26 pm #

    My MIL taught me that you really have to brown a roux, otherwise it tastes like raw flour, which really has no taste. Also, she taught me how to fold a fitted sheet…hard to explain, but it is a life saver!!

    newteacherwife(@)gmail(dot)com

  107. Jenn August 29, 2010 at 5:17 pm #

    I never knew how to properly scramble eggs until I got a job as a short order cook and had to cook them.

  108. Valerie August 30, 2010 at 4:13 am #

    I’ve learned that even if I’ve missed a piece or two of an eggshell, my co-workers will happily eat any free food that I bring in : )

  109. Shelly August 30, 2010 at 5:03 am #

    One great lesson that I have learned is that even though it can be horribly messy, and cleanup takes about twice as long, the fun of having my 5 year old in the kitchen “helping” me cook is TOTALLY worth every bit of extra effort!

  110. Melinda August 30, 2010 at 5:38 am #

    I learned to steam eggs to hard cook them instead of boiling from “Good Eats”. Put about an inch of water in at pan, bring it to a boil. In the meantime, put your eggs in a veggie steamer basket. When the water’s boiling, put the basket in the pan and put on a lid. 11 minutes later, perfectly hard cooked eggs. Take them out of the steamer and submerge them in ice water until cold.

  111. Anonymous August 30, 2010 at 8:45 am #

    I learned to seperate the ingredients in the bowls, when adding them. that way…when your kids distract you can sort of see what you have allready added. I love it
    Mary
    ladefly@aol.com

  112. SolDucky August 30, 2010 at 8:48 am #

    I learned to always check the oven before turning it on. I learned that the hard way a couple times. Also, those times made me learn not to store baked goods in the oven…

  113. Erin August 30, 2010 at 9:30 am #

    I learned I was over mixing the flour!! I resist the urge to over mix once the flour is added!

  114. Anonymous August 30, 2010 at 9:37 am #

    I learned to use a fine mesh sieve when sifting flour, powdered sugar or cocoa powder. I was using my old fashioned sifter and getting major hand cramps for 2 tablespoons of sifted ingredients!

    msmigdal@hotmail.com

  115. holly's 101 cuppycake challenge August 30, 2010 at 10:50 am #

    Wow!!! I just started my blog literally like a couple of weeks ago and there a lot of things I have learned lately when it comes to baking. I learned the different between baking soda and powder. Oh this is a great one-that one stick of butter is only half a cup!! Lol! I’ve made a couple recipes with about half the amount of butter needed  so that was a big break thru there. I guess attention to detail is something I am really learning to take on.

  116. Tracy August 30, 2010 at 12:19 pm #

    I learned to ALWAYS pierce the potato before putting it in the oven. Cleaning potato shrapnel out of the oven is no fun.

  117. Evan August 30, 2010 at 12:45 pm #

    I learned that by using more of a pinch grip you can actually maintain far better control over a kitchen knife. My Dad still gets angry about my doing this, claiming that you can get far better results by holding it like a bayonet and putting more weight on it. The real proof is that he doesn’t notice that all of his knives are dull and chipped, while mine are still razor sharp and actually function.

  118. Mandy August 30, 2010 at 12:48 pm #

    My “ah-ha” moment would have to be when I learned to make freezer jam. It’s so quick and easy, especially if you use the No-Cook pectin from Ball. Now I always have home-made jam on hand, and won’t ever go back to the store bought stuff.

  119. Alexandra August 30, 2010 at 2:16 pm #

    I learned (or the coffee addict in me learned) how to make the perfect cup of coffee. I can’t count the number of times I’ve made myself a pot of coffee, sat down, taken a sip, and spluttered at how such a good thing could go so wrong. I was told that for every cup of water in your pot you add 1 tbsp of coffee then one more at the end (ie. 4 cups of water, 5 tbsp coffee; 6 cups of water, 7 tbsp coffee)

    Works like a charm

  120. Imee August 30, 2010 at 3:43 pm #

    How sweet of you to include international readers in your giveaway!

    The one magic tip I learned is how to cure hiccups. Just try really, really hard to hiccup, and they’ll disappear! Really!

    rieyll at yahoo dot com

  121. aznlily95 August 30, 2010 at 4:23 pm #

    I learned that instead of just waiting for the flour and milk mixture for this frosting I was making to turn into a “ball” which will apparently take 20-30 min to do (O.O), I should melt a bit of butter, mix it with the flour, then add milk, and it took under 5 min to become a “ball” YAY

    wizardnita@gmail.com

  122. Christine August 30, 2010 at 4:54 pm #

    Lovely! This book has been in my Amazon cart ever since I heard the author on NPR. It sounds right up my alley. One of the best things I ever did for my cooking was to buy an oven thermometer. It was unbelievable how off the oven was, and ever since I’ve been able to bake accurately because I can actually see at what temperature my food is baking!

  123. Jes and David August 30, 2010 at 5:38 pm #

    I’ve learned that when you want things to work out and you’re stressed about them they’ll never work out. When it’s just for you it’ll be perfect!! Therefore, I don’t stress!

  124. Prateek August 30, 2010 at 6:06 pm #

    i’ve recently learned that you can boil an egg easily by bringing cold water to a boil with an egg in it and then letting it sit covered for 7minutes for a soft boil. Hasn’t sent me astray yet!

    But that big eggshell piece to take out a small eggshell could be a new winner!

    pjshukla @ gmail. com

  125. Yawen August 30, 2010 at 6:50 pm #

    i’ve learnt to not grease the pan when baking chiffon cakes. The cake needs to cling on to the sides to climb and the bottom needs to stay stuck to the pan when cooling upside down so the cake won’t collapse

    yeoyawen@gmail.com

  126. MrsWright22 August 30, 2010 at 7:14 pm #

    At summer camp when I was 11, the counselors told us to open bananas from the bottom rather than from the stem at the top–they said that’s how monkeys do it, and that it’s much easier. And you know what? It is! I’ve been opening bananas from the bottom ever since. You know how sometimes you get a difficult banana and you end up twisting and pulling on the stem to get it to peel, and when you finally get it to peel, the top is all mushy? Just turn the banana over, pinch at the bottom, and it peels soooo easily! Plus, then you can take off that little spike at the bottom right at the start and you don’t have to worry about eating it with your last bite of banana.

  127. Jennifer August 30, 2010 at 7:47 pm #

    putting an apple with potatoes prevents them from getting eyes!

  128. Ms. Lollipop August 30, 2010 at 8:10 pm #

    I learned how to cut onions without crying! (by refrigerating them at least 30 mins prior)!

    catharine.ellie [at] gmail [dot] com

  129. Emily August 31, 2010 at 6:56 am #

    Something that always annoyed me was trying to halve recipes that call for a single egg. Instead of cracking an egg and only using half of it, get some egg white powder and mix it up with a little water – much less wasteful! Egg powder and milk powder are also useful in making homemade ‘just-add-water’ style mixes: now I can make my faourite drop scones in less time and barely any washing-up. 8)

    emilyvcoombs@gmail.com

  130. Mia August 31, 2010 at 7:47 am #

    I am engaged to a chef, so the number of things he teaches me (like how to use a slotted spoon to get yolk out of whites) astounds me.

    But your egg thing changed my life….i bake a LOT and usually have to fish a shell out. No more! Yay!

  131. Raquita August 31, 2010 at 7:49 am #

    my mom hates for you to crack an egg on the bowl rim – I never knew why til today sweet!!

  132. Edana August 31, 2010 at 8:44 am #

    I’ve made panna cotta twice ever. The first time I intended to unmold it, and the second time I wanted to have it in teacups. The recipes, however, seemed to think I was going to do the opposite–one was definitely written to stay in its cup, the other was written to unmold. The one I unmolded fell apart, and the other one sat in perfect form on the spoon. From now on, I will use those two amounts of gelatin depending on what I plan to do with the panna cotta, not what the recipe says!

    vivalaevolution at gmail dot com

  133. Sunmi August 31, 2010 at 9:56 am #

    Amazon recommended this book to me a while ago, based on the fact that I am, in fact, a geek who cooks and bakes. :)

    A couple of years ago I came across this way of folding shirts:

    http://howtofoldashirt.net/

    and have never since looked back.

    Also, just because I’m a student: When a professor provides the PowerPoint files, you can take notes directly in the file by using the “presenter notes” feature. If you are given a pdf of the slides, then you can take notes in “comments.”

  134. Jack August 31, 2010 at 10:02 am #

    I was once at a friends house making a pie with a cookie crust, but he didn’t have a food processor to make the crumbs. I thought about it for a second after trying to smash them up in a bowl and asked him for a thick ziplock bag and a rolling pin. And we were on our way with some nice crumbs! The pie was delicious!

    jacekkuz@gmail.com

  135. ButterYum August 31, 2010 at 10:44 am #

    I was going to share the egg shell trick that you wrote about in the bottom of your post, so I’ll have to share this one instead.

    To easily separate egg whites and yolks, crack all the eggs into a bowl, then simply scoop out each yolk using your finger tips. Be patient while the egg whites fall away from the yolks.

    :)
    ButterYum

    Thanks for hosting this giveaway – I’m hosting one too, stop by and visit.

  136. Rachael August 31, 2010 at 6:02 pm #

    My husband has had all kinds of stains in his clothes due to his work. One day he came home with a tar like substance on a good shirt and asked me to get it out. After trying for about an hour, I tried the “Fast Orange” hand lotion and “poof” out it came. He didn’t think I could get it out, but I did. Now I try “Fast Orange” first on all of my stains.

  137. Courtney August 31, 2010 at 7:45 pm #

    I learned a MUCH easier way to scramble eggs!
    I used to break the eggs into my already hot frying pan, and then rush to frantically scramble them before I ended up with plain ole fried eggs. This was a stressful event for me.
    But then my mom told me that I was just being silly, and said that she had always just broken all of the eggs she was going to use into a SOLO cup and scrambled them up with a fork while they were still in the cup. Then she dumps the scrambled egg concoction into the frying pan, and voila, stress-free scrambled eggs. Life is much simpler now.

    cjpeacockbird at gmail dot com

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