Alie & Georgia: Baking Tips to Prevent a #PinterestFail

06/05/2014 at 12:53 PM ET

Alie & Georgia's baking tips
Getty; Inset: Courtesy Alie & Georgia

Alie Ward and Georgia Hardstark, a.k.a. Alie & Georgia, host Cooking Channel food-travel series Tripping Out with Alie & Georgia. Visit PEOPLE.com every Thursday for their playful spins on celebrity recipes, cocktails, entertaining ideas—and, of course, lots of laughs!

Baking — it’s an intimidating craft. One only needs to look at the baking section of Pinterest Fail (which we highly recommend) to see that best intentions count for exactly nothing when it comes to baking.

While we’re no experts, just enthusiasts who love the smell of fresh baked cookies, we have picked up a few tricks from catastrophes past (see: accidentally using olive oil in place of veggie oil). Utilize these simple steps to take your baking from FAIL to OMG.

Sift More
This trick was instilled in Georgia at a very young age by a very knowledgeable grandma who was known for her perfectly crisp mandel bread and light as air zucchini muffins. You know that step where you dump the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, etc.) into a separate bowl to mix before adding to the wet ingredients (eggs, vanilla, etc.)? Use a fine mesh sifter on the dry ingredients to aerate and fluff, and you’ll end up with a much finer base, which will lead to lighter batters and dough, get rid of clumps and also be helpful in our next tip…

Stir Less
Look, stirring is fun. I have to be restrained when a pot is bubbling on the stove lest I stir it for hours…true story. But when it comes to baking, less is more. We know you want to make sure all those little flour clumps are smooth, but the oven will take care of that. Over-mixing causes batter and dough to become tough and chewy because you’ve stirred out all those lovely little air bubbles and strengthened the gluten proteins in the flour. Air bubbles are your friend! Use a light “folding” technique to incorporate all the ingredients, and you’ll be rewarded with light, fluffy baked goods.

Let it Set
You’ve slaved away in the kitchen, restrained yourself from over stirring (not to mention eating all the batter) and now your house is filled with the delicious scent of baked goods. Who in their right mind wouldn’t grab a knife and, ignoring the slight burns you inflict on your fingertips, cut themselves a thick slice of freshly baked bread? We’ve done it, we get it, we have the fingertip burns to prove it. But wait! If you just hold off another 30 minutes and let the bread or cake or cookies cool on a wire rack, you’ll be rewarded greatly. The rack lets the baked good cool off all over, so the steam coming off doesn’t make everything soggy, and then heat from the still-hot pan doesn’t overbake, causing a dense, chewy treat.

Now that we’ve taught you a few tricks to help with your baking woes, we expect to be rewarded in baked goods. Kidding…kind of.

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The Latest Craze in Disco Styles Is See-Through Jeans—but Beware of Foggy Bottoms

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The Latest Craze in Disco Styles Is See-Through Jeans—but Beware of Foggy Bottoms

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On a clear day, you can see forever—or at least that’s the wicked thought behind L.A. designer Agi Berliner’s transparent idea: see-through jeans. Exhibitionists notwithstanding, most folks wear them over bathing suits or as attention-getting evening wear with halters, garter belts and body stockings. Created for the disco crowd, the $34 jeans are selling like, well, hot pants. In just six weeks, 25,000 pairs have already been sold in such major department store chains as Macy’s, Bonwit’s and Saks.

“What’s limiting American designers is that we’re afraid to do something different,” says Berliner, 32, a Hungarian émigré who fled with her family to the U.S. in 1956. Agi thought up the gimmick in London while marveling at the way plastics were being employed by designers of punk fashion. In her L.A. office, where she designs for La Parisienne junior sportswear, Agi spent five days on the phone and six weeks testing to come up with the right plastic.

Agi herself tried out the French-cut jeans with the zipper in front, and quickly found several problems: Some plastics tore away from stitching, others wouldn’t bend and all fogged with perspiration. The ideal material proved to be a vinyl supplied by a bookbinder. The steam was eliminated with a series of vents behind the knees and in the crotch. “They’re no hotter than polyester pants,” claims Agi, “and if you wear them with tights, they won’t stick to your legs.”

Whatever the discomfort and despite the problem of Saturday night feverishness, discomaniacs report one major advantage of the plastic pants: no laundry bills. To keep Berliner’s see-through jeans clear, all the wearer needs is a little Windex.

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Celeste on

So THAT explains years of #BrownieFails. Thank you!

Kat on

Great tips! Thanks!

AmyRene on

I love these two.They are hilarious,informative..and adorable!

Anonymous on

Two more good tips are #1 Make sure your Baking Powder isn’t expired and #2 Buy better quality flour. My baking improved GREATLY when I started using Costco’s high quality all purpose flour and bread flour for their specific purposes.

Edwin Hoeser on

Clayton Diamico on