When finishing a tub of Gookie Dough, the main thought that goes through your head is to pop it in the bin and that's the end of it. However, have you ever thought that our tubs could actually be way more useful to you? Here at Gookie Dough, we're going to start a blog series which tells you how to recycle your pots and handy little hacks which shall benefit you! Today, we're talking about a DIY knotted rope hanging planter.
(Image credit: ETSY)
Grab your Gookie Dough empty containers which have been washed out and the label removed
String, twine, cotton, hemp or nylon
Plants of your choice
Sand/pebbles for plant drainage
What to do
(Image credit: Pinterest)
Cut your twine or string into eight equal lengths which are approximately 24-34 inches and knot the ends. Lay out the string on a flat surface and divide the eight strings into 4 pairs. Knot each pair 3 inches from the base. Take the two ends (left and right) and knot them as well to complete the circle.
Continue creating knots by repeating this step 2-4 inches about your first row of knots. Do this by knotting together two strings from alternating rows so that the second row consists of the opposite pair of strings.
(Image credit: Inhabit)
Test the size of your knotted hanger by draping it over the Gookie Dough pot and continue if needed. Now plant your plant. Add a layer of sand or pebbles to the bottom of the container and cover the pebbles with a layer of soil and gently add the plant.
Now gently pull your new knotted spring plant hanger up over your recycled container. The final step you need to knot all eight strands together at the top for hanging. Add a hook to hang from a window or shelf. (Credit: Inhabit.com)
A stylish and minimalistic look to your home and perfect if you have a lot of wall space!
The best part of baking has to be the chocolate! Apart from licking the bowl and spoon clean and drooling over the consistency and sweet smell, there may be some terminology you're unsure about. Knowing the difference between types of chocolate can make a significant impact on your result so let's go.
(Image credit: Reader's Digest)
This chocolate is the easiest because it is pure chocolate without any added sugar, cocoa butter or milk products. This means that the chocolate is very bitter and isn't something you'd want to nibble on. It's usually used in recipes that use added sugar and other dairy products to enhance its sweetness.
Dark and bittersweet chocolate
Bittersweet chocolate contains at least 35% of pure chocolate and has a small amount of sugar added. Usually, it has a cacao percentage of more than 60%; this is typically listed on the bars of the chocolate. Dark chocolate is just a term that can mean anything from semisweet to bittersweet chocolate. Can be somewhat confusing, right?
(Image credit: waferltd.co.uk)
Semisweet chocolate is the piggy in the middle. This is because it is half sweet milk chocolate and a bitter dark chocolate. It contains at least 35% of pure chocolate with both sugar and cocoa butter added. This is a go-to for a lot of recipes and is usually the form of chocolate in chocolate chips.
Milk chocolate is the sweetest chocolate and is always on the shelves of supermarkets when it comes to Cadbury's and other well-known brands like Gookie Dough and our gorgeous chocolate chunks! It contains cocoa butter and sugar but also milk solids. Typically there is 10% chocolate liquor (sounds fancy) and at least 12% of milk products.
(Image credit: The Happy Foodie)
White chocolate is the liar of the lot. It's technically not classed as a chocolate product because it doesn't include chocolate liquor and is a combination of cocoa butter, sugar, milk and flavouring such as vanilla. Products on the supermarket shelves can catch you out when it comes to white chocolate because if the ingredient label doesn't contain cocoa butter, then it isn't white chocolate and just a flavoured baking product.
So, now you have more of an idea of how your favourite tasty treat is made up of and how true to cocoa it really is! If you need to melt chocolate of any form, it's important to do it on a low and slow level, so the chocolate doesn't harden (I'm talking to you white chocolate in particular!). The best method is in the microwave on 50% power in 30-second stages and stirring each time! Happy indulging!
So you've been dying to make this cake all week, you've bought all of the ingredients, popped it in the oven and wow. An anticlimax. Something has gone wrong here, but what? Here are the most common baking mistakes and how you can fix them, so you have a perfect treat every time!
You do not measure your ingredients properly
I will admit, I'm bad at this. Maths isn't my strongest point, and you look at the scales and think 'yeah, that'll do'. Then all the ingredients get thrown into the bowl without a second thought. It's time to change that bad baking habit! Too much flour or sugar can have a significant negative impact on your finished product, so, ensure that you follow the exact measurements, buy reliable scales and use measuring spoons that are made to give you the most accurate amount.
Creaming, beating and folding confusion
If you're not a pro at baking, it can be slightly confusing when it comes to the recipe telling you to beat, fold or cream. Do they mean the same thing? Should I just mix? NO!
Creaming is when you mix butter and sugar together, this is always at the beginning of a recipe. The result should be pale and fluffy and is best when using an electric whisk. Creaming allows air to be trapped in the mixture which means your cake will have a better texture. When you see beating, this is a process of adding eggs to your creamed sugar and butter. Simple, right? A top tip is to beat your eggs separately first. Lastly, is folding. We fold the flour and other dry ingredients; this preserves the air that has been created and allows rising to take place in the oven. It's important not to use an electric whisk or be heavy-handed for this step because the air will disappear.
Hands off the oven door!
It's so tempting to check on your beloved baking but opening that oven door could be the cause of your failure. Opening that door = sunken middle. A common error is finding that the cake isn't cooked and opening the door every few minutes to check. However, this makes the oven lose heat and will make cooking time even longer.
The actual recipe
It's important to know that not every recipe you find is legitimate. I've had recipes where the cooking time has been wrong, ingredient measurements don't add up, and some are even missing vital ingredients. This doesn't mean you should improvise but just read through your instructions before you even attempt to get started. Here at Gookie Dough, it took us forever to perfect our recipe!
Recipies don't tell you a specific tin size for no reason. So you don't have the right sized tin but have one similar? Don't even contemplate it. A cake tin which is too small leads to burning or overflowing and guess what, the middle still isn't cooked. Yeah, we've all had that disaster! A tin that is too big could result in the mixture being super thin and unedible.
Room temperature ingredients
A recipe will state that they would like your butter at room temperature. It's easily ignored but what you didn't know is that it could be affecting your baking. When creaming sugar with butter to make cookie dough, the sugars gritty texture allows air pockets to be made within the butter. The air pockets then let the baking powder to expand and create that delicious texture. We want fluffy dough and trust us; we're experts!
Move your masterpiece!
So you've popped your baked goods into the oven, and now you can chillax for half an hour. Unfortunately not. No matter how posh your oven is, they don't always distribute heat at even levels which means that one part of your creation is exposed to more baking than the other. Ensure that you turn the tin/tray halfway through to allow best results!
You don't realise how long you've had that bag of flour or baking powder in your cupboard. Check the dates! More often or not, it is out of date (and for quite a long time, gross!). Using poor quality ingredients will mean that your flavour won't be top-notch, the product won't rise as well and the texture will be a bit naff.
Are chocolate chips not being your friend? Are they swimming to the bottom and being a pain? We feel you. A pro tip is to dust your chocolate chips with flour before throwing them into your mixture. If the chocolate chip is heavy, then make sure you add them last minute, so they have less time to sink! This is why our original dough is so chocolatey!
Too much cookie dough? No problem
It's easy to make too much cookie dough, and it's sad times if it's not edible, unlike our collection! A quick and easy fix is to freeze it instead of baking it. Not only does this save money, but it also means that you're free to bake cookies whenever you feel like it without the preparation hassle!
Level the mixture
Whether it's cake, cookies or any other sweet treat, you always need to level the mix once it's in the tin. We don't want to end up with a wonky cake, and for something that takes two seconds to do, it really is worth it. Just simple tilt the tin from side to side until the mixture seems even. Of course, dollop it in as uneven as you want, but please make it neat.
So, now you will never have an excuse for a failed batch of cookies or cupcakes! Baking should be fun so embrace your creations and with these simple steps, you're on your way to perfection.