The first day of October kicks off two lesser-known holidays that every oven-owning homeowner should celebrate! Not only is October 1st National Homemade Cookie Day, it’s also the start of National Pizza Month, making it one of the most important days in food-related holiday history – next to Thanksgiving, of course.
To honor these events, APHW has a list of five oven maintenance tips that can help you keep your oven primed for boiling, braising, and baking all your favorite meals and desserts. Plus, a yummy cookie recipe to try out as a bonus.
Discover tips on lovin’ your oven so it’s in tiptop shape for years to come. And always remember: Turn your appliance off before doing any DIY oven maintenance.
Scrub it inside and out twice a year
Experts recommend giving your oven a thorough cleaning twice a year to ensure leftover food doesn’t continue to burn and create a big, stinky mess. What’s more, this leftover food and grease can affect how well your oven works.
There are a number of cleaners that can do the job quickly, but for a more natural approach, cover any hard-to-clean areas with baking soda, give it a few squirts of vinegar, and let it sit for 20 minutes. Once the mixture has done its work, wipe away the mess and you’re done!
Inspect and replace broken burners
A broken burner can cause big problems in the kitchen if it isn’t replaced. If you notice debris building up, burners looking deformed, or parts (or all) of the burner not working properly, it may be time to find a replacement.
Replacement burners can be found in most home improvement stores and online at reasonable prices. Just make sure to replace yours with the correct one and you’ll be back to cooking in no time.
Clean the knobs carefully
Oven knobs can get dirty and sticky very fast. However, you’ll want to take some precautions while cleaning them. To avoid getting electrocuted – or shorting out your oven’s electrical system on top of it – use caution when cleaning your oven’s knobs and never remove them for wiping or soaking.
Wipe down your oven’s knobs using the least amount of cleaner possible. Any excess cleaner could trigger your oven’s electrical system, causing it to fry the electronics and the person cleaning it. This is also a great time to remind you that unplugging your oven before cleaning is always the best approach.
Wipe down the hood and wash the fan filter
Your oven’s hood is made to catch grease, but it can get clogged over time, making it much less effective. If you haven’t cleaned your hood and filter for some time (or ever), fill a sink with hot water, add baking soda and de-greasing dish soap, then scrub the grease away.
You can even use the mixture to wipe down your hood so it’s sparkling clean. Repeat this every month or so to keep the grease and grime from building up.
Use your oven’s self-cleaning feature
If your food runneth over, most ovens come with a self-cleaning feature that makes it easier to clean by baking off spills, leftovers, and grease at high temperature. While the oven is self-cleaning, it gets superheated, so you’ll want to be home to ensure the process goes safely and smoothly.
After the self-cleaning cycle finishes, let your oven cool for at least six hours before giving it a good wipe-down. Also, please consult your owner’s manual or contact the manufacturer if you’re unsure how to use this feature.
Bonus Homemade Cookie Recipe: Chocolate Mint Candies Cookies
Here’s a delicious cookie recipe from All Recipes that can help you celebrate National Homemade Cookie Day the right way!
Ingredients you’ll need:
- ¾ cup butter
- 1 ½ cups brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons water
- 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
- 2 large eggs
- 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 ¼ teaspoons baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 3 (4.5 ounce) packages chocolate covered thin mints
- Add the sugar, butter, and water to a saucepan on medium heat. Once they’re melted, remove from heat and stir in the chocolate chips. After the chips are fully incorporated, let the mixture cool for 10 minutes.
- Pour the mixture into a large bowl. Beat eggs into the mixture one at a time. Then add the flour, baking soda, and salt to the chocolate mixture. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least one hour.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Roll cookie dough into walnut-sized balls and place them on a greased cookie sheet two inches apart.
- Bake the cookies for 8-10 minutes. Just be sure to keep an eye on them so they don’t overbake. Once they’re ready, remove them from the oven, press a mint wafer into each cookie, and let them cool for one minute. BON APPÉTIT!
Even if you’re lovin’ your oven, it won’t last forever. That’s where an APHW home warranty comes in. With an APHW home warranty, we’ll work with your preferred contractor to get your oven back in good condition, or help you set up a replacement. Learn more about APHW home warranties to see what else we cover!