The Tiny Miracle That’ll Make Baking Just a Little Bit Neater

published Jan 3, 2018
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(Image credit: Ayumi Takahashi)

Even if you don’t believe in miracles, you probably believe in tiny miracles. They’re the little things that, against all odds, happen and make a huge difference in our lives. A tiny miracle can be a recipe that gets dinner on the table during the most hectic weekday, the little hack that finally organizes your fridge, a newfound motto that helps you stay on top of kitchen messes, or anything else that seems like a gift from above. To help us all start the new year off right, we asked some influential bloggers and cooks to share their biggest tiny miracles.

Cheryl Sousan’s blog may be called Tidy Mom, but that doesn’t mean she wants to spend any more time cleaning than the rest of us! And while she may be a self-proclaimed “clean freak,” Sousan is just as interested in finding shortcuts and avoiding cleaning as the rest of us. Her tiny miracle is small but mighty: a way to cut down on cleaning when you’re baking.

“I bake as often as a few times a week, and use my mixer for everything from homemade bread and pizza dough to cakes and frosting, brownies, cookies, and more,” says Sousan. She has a KitchenAid stand mixer, the kind that many of us love to display on our countertops — and because she keeps hers on the countertop, she finds that she uses it more often than she might if it were kept in the cabinet.

While the mixer itself is not particularly tough to clean, the process of baking can be messy. “The messiest recipes are ones with powdered sugar, like when you’re making frosting,” says Sousan. “If you’re not careful, you can end up with powdered sugar dust all over your kitchen, your face, or both.” Flour is another tough ingredient that goes everywhere, and it’s notoriously hard to clean because it gets gummy when you try to wipe it with a sponge.

So Sousan came up with a shockingly simple workaround: Drape a kitchen towel over the mixer while you’re adding the ingredients.

(Image credit: Tidy Mom)

“The towel trick keeps the dust contained to the mixer and not on your counter and cabinets,” says Sousan. She started doing this at a time in her life when she was making a lot of frostings, and no matter how careful she was, she still ended up with dusty counters every time. “It’s been so long now that I can’t even remember where the inspiration came from!” Since then, the trick has become part of her routine.

“I just use a large, dry towel, though a damp one could work, too. I make sure it’s large enough to cover the mixer without falling in and jamming it up,” Sousan says. The towel drapes over the side of the mixer and the bowl, leaving a small opening at the front for adding in ingredients. One thing to note: “I keep an eye on it while it’s covered. I don’t leave it unattended in case something goes wrong and the towel gets inside the bowl.”

See the tip: Place a Towel Over Mixer to Avoid Messes at Tidy Mom

Afterwards, the towel just goes straight into the wash, as it gets pretty dusty. The trick has made her more likely to get excited about making foods with messy, dusty ingredients. “This trick definitely cuts down on cleanup, so I’m much more likely to say, yes, let’s make frosting!” Sousan says.