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Helpful Hints: Cookies, Brownies & Bars

Cookies:

  • Unbaked cookie dough can be covered and refrigerated for up to 24 hours or frozen in an airtight container for up to 9 months.
  • Bake one cookie sheet at a time on the middle oven rack.
  • Decorate cookies with chocolate by placing cookies on a rack over waxed paper. Dip the tines of a fork into melted chocolate and wave the fork gently back and forth to make line decorations.
  • Some cookies need indentations on top to fill with jam or chocolate. Use the rounded end of a honey dipper.
  • Dip cookie cutters in flour or powdered sugar and shake off excess before cutting. For chocolate dough, dip cutters in baking cocoa.
  • Tin coffee cans make excellent freezer containers for cookies.
  • If you only have one cookie sheet on hand, line it with parchment paper. While one batch is baking, load a second sheet of parchment paper to have another batch ready to bake. Cleanup will be easier.
  • When a recipe calls for packed brown sugar, fill the correct size measuring cup with sugar and use one cup size smaller to pack the brown sugar into its cup.
  • Cut-up dried fruit often sticks to the blade of your knife. To prevent this problem, coat the blade of your knife with a thin film of vegetable spray before cutting.

Brownies & Bars:

  • Instead of folding nuts into brownie batter, sprinkle on top of batter before baking. This keeps nuts crunchy instead of soggy.
  • Only use glass or shiny metal pans. Dark or nonstick pans will cause brownies to become soggy and low in volume.
  • When making bars, line pan with aluminum foil and prepare as directed. The bars can be lifted out, and cleanup is easy.
  • Cutting bars is easier if you score the bars right as the pan leaves the oven. When the bars cool, cut along the scored lines.
  • Use a double boiler for melting chocolate to prevent it from scorching. A slow cooker on the lowest setting also works well for melting chocolate, especially when coating a large amount of candy.
  • Parchment paper provides an excellent nonstick surface for candy. Waxed paper should not be used for high-temperature candy.