Whether you are a novice in the kitchen or have been baking longer than many of us have been alive. Great baking tips are always welcome. I'm all about saving time in the kitchen... What would you do with some extra time?

Here are my top 10 baking tips. I use these tips as I bake and create new recipes on a daily basis.

1. Always use ingredients that are room temperature. This will allow your ingredients to combine evenly.

2. Measure your ingredients. Now is not the time for guessing amounts. Baking is a science, and ingredients need to be accurate in order to have your recipe turn out perfectly.

3. Never allow your pans to touch in the oven. Keeping space between the pans allows the hot air to flow freely, baking your food evenly.

4. Less sugar is better. Did you know that our sweet tooth is overly sweet? Most of the recipes you bake, if not all recipes that you bake-cookies, cupcakes, cakes, brownies, etc.-have double the amount of sugar that is necessary. Yes, some sugar is necessary, but you can reduce most recipes up to half of the amount of sugar listed and still have a perfect outcome.

5. When baking, always use unsalted butter. This will allow you to adjust the level of salt in your recipe. Butter can last up to six months in the freezer.

6. Never over mix your cupcake batter. Over mixing can make your cupcakes sink or not rise to that perfect round top. Gently mix the batter until combined, then scoop into your paper liners and bake.

7. Want a perfect cookie? If you chill your cookie dough in the freezer for 20 minutes or the fridge for a least 1 hour (best overnight) before baking them your cookies will be perfect every time.

8. No fail Chocolate Ganache. My favorite Chocolate Ganache recipe is: 1 cup heavy cream and 16 oz. semisweet chocolate chips or chunks. Heat your heavy cream until simmering and pour over chocolate chunks. Let stand for 1- 2 minutes and then stir until combined. It's a perfect covering for cupcakes, cakes, brownies, and ice cream!

9. Need a delightful gift? How about a container full of frozen cookie dough with the baking directions? Instead of baking the cookies yourself, make your favorite cookie dough, scoop, freeze, and place in a container. Tie with a bow and add the baking directions. It's the perfect gift for anyone, anytime.

10. To cut the fat in any baking recipe try substituting avocado for butter. The ratio is 1:1. Mash your ripe avocado and add to your wet ingredients. You may have to add a little more wet ingredients to compensate—otherwise bake as directed. One drawback? Your recipe may be tinted a little green unless you are using brown sugar. That can reduce the fat in any recipe up to half.

And finally, a bonus baking tip, my personal favorite: "There is always a reason to bake."

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