Lately, I have been cutting through lots of different things that are dense, sticky, gooey or hard, often using a shape cutter to do it. After much frustration and a little trial and error, I have come up with some solutions to getting a good, clean cut.
Often super sticky items need something dry to keep the knife or cutter from getting stuck. For doughs, that means always dipping your tools and your hands into flour ( cookies, bread doughs and gnocchi ). For my marshmallows, I use a blend of confectioner’s sugar and cornstarch to absorb some of the sticky moisture and give me a clean edge every time.
When cutting through a dense chocolate item, such as a flourless chocolate cake, or fudge, dipping the knife into hot water allows you to slice through more easily. The heat melts the chocolate slightly, letting the knife or the cutter glide through. If that melted edge isn’t clean enough for you, try spraying your tools with cooking spray. Make sure to wipe the blade between cuts to avoid build up to keep your slices much cleaner.
Flakey items, such as tart crusts, benefit from a serrated knife and a gentle sawing action at the edges so that crust doesn’t crumble. Once you have gone through the edge,more assertive slicing is usually fine. This holds true for anything delicate, like cookies, or breads and cakes with a fine crumb.
When cutting through hard things, like a big block of chocolate, use a heavy knife and cut with a rocking motion. This will allow you to gradually slice through it, without it snapping and cracking.
Photo: Glasshouse Images
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