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Modifying Your Recipes, More or Less

Recipes are wonderful guidelines when you want to try making a new dish. But they can lock you into making a specific quantity of food unless you know how to modify them successfully. Deirdre Jones offers some useful advice on changing recipes to suit your requirements:

You just found that great recipe that you have been trying to find for over year. And now you're dancing around your kitchen in glee! That's when you notice that it makes enough to feed a small army, but you only need to feed two.

Or perhaps, it only makes enough for two; and that's just not going to cut it for your family of five. You REALLY want to prepare that recipe for your family and/or friends. So what's a cook to do?

Well, you'll be happy to know that it's a cinch to reduce a recipe or increase a recipe. And most of the time you only need to reduce the ingredients by half for less or double the ingredients for more.

  • Reducing Recipes To Make Half A Recipe...
  • It's pretty easy to reduce a recipe by half; you just use half of each ingredient. If the recipe calls for 2 tablespoons, you would use only 1 tablespoon.

    It can get a little tricky with ingredients like eggs though. I mean, it seems kind of hard to come up with half of 1 egg, at first. But here's the trick. If the reduced recipe calls for less than 1 egg, beat one whole egg. Measure out what you need with a tablespoon. You can use the egg that is left in scrambled eggs, sauces, or discard it (but if you're like me, you hate to waste food).

    Remember, the size of your baking pans must be reduced also. The pans should measure about half the area of those for the whole recipe.

    Oven temperatures won't change. However, approximate baking time will be the same or maybe slightly less if the proportions of the pan are different.

  • Increasing Recipes To Double A Recipe...
  • When doubling a recipe, you do just that - double it! You'll use exactly twice the amount of each ingredient. And you'll need to add an extra minute of beating for cakes.

    Remember, when doubling recipes, you only add the top numbers of the fraction. For example, 2/3 cup plus 2/3 cup equals 4/3 cup. If you're good with numbers, then you can convert this to 1 and 1/3 cups.

    However, if you're terrified of fractions like a lot of people, simply use a 1/3 measuring cup and measure out your ingredients until you have filled your 1/3 measuring cup 4 times and added it to the recipe.

    You will need to use twice as many pans of the same size indicated for the original recipe or a pan double in area. The batter should be the same depth in the pans so that the same baking time and temperature may be used.

Have fun!

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