Tuesday's Tip: Toothpicks - FamilyEducation

Tuesday's Tip: Toothpicks

March 30,2010
Sweet Pea Chef
Jessica Efird

Jessica, aka the Sweet Pea Chef, is a former U.S. Senate staffer/weekend gourmet turned full-time mom/family gourmet. She lives in Columbus, Ohio with her husband and two sons.

We always have a huge box of toothpicks in our kitchen cabinet, but I venture to guess that we use less than 1% of them for their intended use. Toothpicks are a kitchen heavy hitter, something I always have on hand to help with various tasks. For this week’s Tuesday’s Tip, I want to share a few of my favorite tips for using the tips of toothpicks: *Toothpicks are the perfect “doneness” tester for many baked goods. Muffins, quick breads and cakes all can be determined to be done by a simply inserting a toothpick into the middle of the item. Does the toothpick come out clean? Your item is fully baked! A toothpick with batter indicates you need to give the item awhile longer in the oven. *To plan where you may want to decorate a baked good, you can trace a line or shape on the baked item with a toothpick before you frost it, or in some cases, before you even bake it. This makes writing letters, shapes or designs much easier. *For cakes, cookies and cupcakes that are iced or frosted, transporting them on a plate or tray can be made easier by propping up any plastic wrap you are using with a few toothpicks. Toothpicks will prevent the plastic wrap from touching and smearing all the decorations on top. Pick a few spots on the tray of goodies where you can inconspicuously insert a few toothpicks a wee bit and then drape your plastic wrap over the ends of the toothpicks. *My garlic press get a good work-out in out kitchen, and often there is garlic skin or goo left inside the press that it is difficult to remove. A toothpick works perfectly to remove garlic from a garlic press or any other kitchen item that has small grooves or areas to clean. *And last but not least, we use toothpicks for making food fun and easier to eat. Tortilla rolls are held together better and mini-fruit kebabs can be made, both with toothpicks. What is your favorite way to use toothpicks other than in your mouth? SPC