Any Tips for Baking Without Recipes?

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Q: I was wondering if you had any advice on how to create recipes for baked goods. I cook pretty much all meals without recipes, unless I'm trying out something brand new, but when it comes to baking I limit my edits to adding chopped up fruit, a pinch of cinnamon or putting less sugar than the recipe asks for. 

Do you have any advice on how to get started creating sweet recipes? Experimenting with savoury dishes means I can taste as I go, but I'm wary of wasting eggs/butter/sugar by mixing random ingredients in a bowl without knowing what it'll look like coming out of the oven. I'd love to hear any tips you have!

Sent by Adeline

Editor: Adeline, many bakers rely on specific ratios of flour, fat, eggs or liquid as starting points when they make cakes, muffins and other sweet recipes. Michael Ruhlman's book Ratio is a great resource for bakers (and cooks) looking to break away from recipes. Here's some more info and a link to the book on Amazon:

Readers, do you have any tips for baking without recipes?

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Related: How Can I Reduce the Sugar in Baking Recipes?

(Image: Sticky Lemon Rolls with Lemon Cream Cheese Glaze/Faith Durand)

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