Measuring cups come in many materials, ranging from plastic to stainless steel. Individual cups are useful for measuring and leveling each ingredient as you go. Larger measuring glasses make it impossible to level dry ingredients like flour when not filling the glass to the top. Use an individual measuring cup for flour so that you can level off the top with the back of a knife for a precise measure. Use a separate scoop to measure out the flour as using the cup to scoop out the flour will pack the flour down in the cup, giving you way more flour than you actually need. Semi-liquid ingredients like sour cream or yogurt can be measured in a similar manner just make certain that the product is filling up all the space in the cup, including the rounded corners. Once packed into the cup, use the back of a knife to level off the top. Wrapped butter typically already has marking on it showing measurements, but if you are using butter from a tub or shortening from a canister, it is important to make sure that the ingredients are occupying all of the space in the cup.
While they are never as generous in portion sizes as other ingredients, spices are what make dishes on the menu stand out. Amounts are incredibly important when it comes to just the right amount of spices. Too much and your dish is overpowering. Too little and it will taste bland. Measuring spoons help make sure you are as accurate as possible. Leveling is the name of the game when measuring dry spices. Use the spoon to scoop out a little more than the desired amount on to the spoon, and then scrape off any of the excess using the back of a knife. Of course, with some spices, like cinnamon or dill, a little extra pinch won’t hurt anything, but when measuring items like baking powder or baking powder, it is critical to get the measurement accurate.