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Kitchen Tips: The Best Hacks For Baking And Cooking Of 2012

12/16/2012 08:49 pm ET | Updated Dec 19, 2012
Flickr: various brennemans

If there's one thing that we really loved about 2012, it's all the kitchen tips we learned throughout the year. Cooking, baking or just general kitchen maintenance is too time consuming -- but these hacks make it infintely easier. Honestly, we don't know how we got through the day without them. And to make your life easier in 2013, we've assembled our favorite kitchen hacks in one simple list. It's our holiday gift to you.

1.) Make boxed cake mix taste like it was made from scratch. You can make a boxed cake mix taste homemade with seven easy tricks, like adding extra eggs. Because really, who has time to make one from scratch anymore.

2.) Save your salty soup. If you tend to over-salt your soups -- some of us have no restraint with that salt shaker -- you can use a potato to make it better. Add a peeled potato to the salty soup for 15 minutes, and then discard it. The potato will have soaked up a nice amount of salt.

3.) Use a syringe to decorate cookies. Decorating cookies can be hard. And working with a pipping bag is infuriating. Why bother with it? Use a syringe for surgical decorating presicion and ease.

4.) There's a new way to cook bacon. And some say it's better then using the frying pan, oven or even microwave: give it a try in your waffle maker.

5.) Yes, burnt cookies can be saved. If you've ever burned your cookies, you know how disappointing it can be. Not only was your time and effort wasted, but you also don't get to eat freshly-baked cookies. If you own a boxed grater, burnt cookies are no longer an issue. Just grate off the burnt part. It's that easy.

6.) Never peel hard-boiled eggs again. If you don't need a whole hard-boiled egg, you can forego the headache of peeling altogether. Cut the egg in half with a knife, and scoop out the two halves with a spoon.

7.) There's a secret to having a no-stick cake. If you have problems with your baked cakes sticking to the pan, but you don't want to buy those fancy miracle-release products, make your own with vegetable shortening, vegetable oil and flour.

8.) You don't need an oven to bake cookies, just a stove top. If your oven is busted or you just don't have one, "bake" your cookies on the stove. It's very similar to making pancakes -- you even have to flip them.

9.) There's a fast way to chill wine. When we want something, we want it now. And that's definitely true when it comes to our wine. With a bucket, ice and salt, you can chill wine in just six minutes.

10.) Even if you can't face the nightmare of working with frosting, you can still decorate cakes and cupcakes. With a piece of lace, you can make your cakes and cupcakes look just as pretty as frosting can. Lay the lace down on the baked good, sift powdered sugar or cocoa on top, and gently remove the lace. A pretty pattern will be left behind.

11.) Stop garbage disposal stink with vinegar ice cubes. Disposals see a lot of garbage; it's normal that they should start to stink from time to time. To get rid of that smell, throw in a couple of ice cubes made with vinegar. Vinegar is the ultimate in odor problem solving.

12.) You. Can. Freeze. Avocados. We know, this blew our minds too. You can freeze your avocados when they're in season to enjoy them all year long. The texture will change slightly, but the flavor stays the same. This means you'll be enjoying a lot more guacamole come wintertime.

13.) Frost cupcakes like a professional. If you've ever wanted pro cupcake skills, now you have them. With two frostings, two piping bags and just one tip, you can make a swirled frosting for your cupcake.

14.) Make hard-boiled eggs in the oven. If you ever need to make a lot of hard-boiled eggs, like when deviled eggs are on the menu, you can get the job done a lot easier if you cook them in the oven.

15.) Keep your fridge clean with cling-wrap. If you're tired of scrubbing your fridge because of the inevitable spills and messes, just line the shelves with cling-wrap. Once it gets dirty, just throw out the cling-wrap and lay down a new layer.

Want to bake a cake to celebrate all those great new hacks you learned. Check out these cake baking tips before you get started.

Cake Baking Tips

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