Recipe for Making Desserts and Breads in the Slow Cooker
• A variety of delicious desserts and breads can be made in the slow cooker—creamy, perfect cheesecakes, cakes, breads, bar cookies, bread puddings, custards, and poached fruit are some examples.
• Making most breads and desserts requires a 6- to 7-quart slow cooker to accommodate the various sizes of pans and dishes used. You may need to experiment with recipe times a little, as various slow cookers cook a little differently. The shape and dimensions of the crock do influence cooking times; recipes will indicate a range of possible cooking times.
• Cakes and other baked goods may be a little "sticky" on top, but they can be frosted, glazed, or sprinkled with powdered sugar or cocoa.
• Test doneness of cakes and breads with a toothpick; test as quickly as possible so the lid of the slow cooker can be replaced to prevent loss of heat. If the cover is removed often, cooking time will be increased.
• Baked goods are best eaten the day they are made. They can be "refreshed" the next day with minimal microwave heating before serving.
• Most cake recipes can be cooked directly in a greased and floured crock in a 3-quart slow cooker. The cooking time will be less than if cooked in a pan, the edges may be a little dry, and if the slow cooker heats unevenly, one side of the cake may be more brown. You'll need to experiment a little!
• Many desserts are baked in a 7-inch springform pan. Fill the pan with water to make sure it doesn't leak or wrap the outside of the pan in aluminum foil.
• Place baking pans, casseroles, and souffle dishes on a small rack for best heat circulation and more even cooking. A tuna can, with both ends cut out, can be used as a rack.
• Some cakes and cheesecakes are cooked with 3 layers of paper toweling placed under the lid, which absorbs unneeded moisture and assures best quality.
• There are no general rules for adapting conventional cakes, cheesecakes, or breads to slow cooker cooking. Each item cooks differently, so it's best to use recipes that have been developed for the slow cooker.
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