Baking and cooking tips for the holidays

Food Network KitchensDecember 1, 2012 

These baking and cooking tips will help make your holidays a little easier:

• Give a boxed brownie mix a holiday makeover: Sprinkle chocolate chips over the brownies straight from the oven. Let sit for a few minutes, then spread the melted chocolate. Sprinkle immediately with crushed peppermint candies, pressing in the candies to adhere. Let cool completely before cutting and serving.

• Drop-cookie dough is great for freezing (and thus, baking a cookie when a craving strikes!). Portion out the dough onto a parchment-paper-lined baking sheet, freeze, then transfer to a covered container and refreeze. When you’re ready, bake as usual, tacking on an extra minute or two as needed.

• When separating eggs, do them individually before adding the separated white and yolk to the other ingredients. Consider this a quick and easy measure worth taking to avoid contamination of the bowls due to a yolk accident.

Cool baking sheets in between baking batches of cookies by running cold water over the underside of each sheet – placing raw cookie dough on a hot baking sheet will lead to uneven baking.

• For recipes that call for melted butter, try browning the butter for a nuttier flavor: Melt the butter and cook until it turns a hazelnut brown, then pour into a heatproof bowl immediately to stop the cooking. Use while still in liquid form.

• Store soft and crisp cookies separately to prevent the crisp cookies from becoming soft, too. Store soft cookies with an orange

peel or apple wedge to keep them soft. The apple will need to be changed daily.

• For a shiny, glossy crust, brush dough with an egg wash made from an egg beaten with water.

• For extra-crisp latkes, wrap the shredded potatoes in a clean kitchen towel and wring out as much water as possible.

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