The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Lifestyles

December 6, 2012

Cheryle Finley: Baking tips aid homemade cookie making

JOPLIN, Mo. — I used to think making slice-and-bake cookies was the easiest way fill the cookie jar. Then they came out with pre-cut cookies that are ready to be placed on the cookie sheet. Opening the package is the hardest part.

But what if you want to whip up a batch of homemade cookies for a holiday gift, or just because they sound good? Yahoovoices.com gives some tips for making sure your cookies are the best they can be:

  • First, make sure you start with fresh ingredients. While sugar will keep quite a while, other ingredients, especially flour, baking soda and flavored extracts, can lose flavor and become stale over time.
  • Preheat your oven. Don't stick that first batch in the oven when it's only 225 degrees. Wait until the oven has reached the desired temperature of 350 degrees.
  • Invest in insulated cookie sheets. My friend, Carolyn Phillips, recently asked me the difference between a cookie sheet and a baking pan. A cookie sheet has smooth sides for easy exits and a baking pan has a lip all the way around that can result in undercooked tops and overcooked bottoms of your cookies.
  • Your second batch will not take as long to bake as your first batch, if you don't cool down the cookie sheet between batches. That second batch will start cooking as soon as you put the dough on a hot sheet.
  • Don't use substitutions unless you are sure it's going to work. You don't want to risk wasting a bunch of ingredients because you decided to experiment. If you want to try a different flavor, remove a small amount of batter and try it on that.
  • Recipe calls for butter? Make sure it's softened to room temperature. Be careful if you try to soften it in the microwave. I've found recently if I zap it for 12 seconds, stop the microwave, then zap again for 10 seconds, a stick of butter is just right for mixing.

    All microwaves are different, so you will need to figure out the ideal settings for your softening needs. If you need melted butter, that might be a good time to try to soften first. That way, if you go too far, it's not a total loss.
  • Be sure to add the ingredients according the the directions. Cream the butter and sugar then add eggs, etc. In a separate bowl, mix the dry ingredients together, then add the dry ingredients to the mixed wet ingredients.
  • Like microwaves, ovens cook at different rates, so be sure to set your timer for a couple of minutes less than suggested to make sure you don't overcook. Consider the suggested time a guideline, not a hard-fast rule.

Text Only
Lifestyles
  • r070714palacedrinks2.jpg Spirits school: Drink-making lessons taught at downtown bar

    Some patrons have dubbed it "Drinks with Daniel," but the official name is "Cocktails 101," which has been attracting "students" for the last several weeks.

    July 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • 071114_steve cindy head.jpg New exhibit combines works of married couple

    Steve and Cindy Head create different types of art, which means they can be each other's best mentor. Steve makes mixed media works assembled from photographs, headlines and more; Cindy paints vivid patterns and fanciful scenes with bold color palettes.

    July 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Tantric tours in support of latest studio album

    "37 Channels," the latest album from Hugo Ferreira's band, features a lineup of guests including Hinder's Austin Winkler, Shooter Jennings, 3 Doors Down drummer Greg Upchurch, Uncle Kracker guitarist Kevin McCreery, Saving Abel guitarist Scott Bartlett and Leif Garrettt.

    July 11, 2014

  • mug_joe-hadsall-112613.jpg Globe Phone Test: Concept is clever, but transitions tricky with Asus PadFone X

    It's kind of embarrassing to point this out, but "Candy Crush Saga" is one of the best ways to illustrate how well the Asus PadFone X, a smartphone and tablet combo really works.

    Anyone who has more than one device will understand this situation completely: Let's say a player fires up "Candy Crush" on his tablet computer and really digs the game. A lot. So much so that he downloads it to his smartphone.

    Only there's one problem: All the progress made on the tablet is stuck on the tablet. The smartphone has a completely separate path of progress, meaning the player has to play each level twice. This makes progress through the game twice as long. (This problem can be fixed by signing up for the game on Facebook, but no one really wants their Facebook friends to know they spend so much time crushin' candy.)

    The Asus PadFone X is the dream solution to this nightmare of a problem.

    Available exclusively from AT&T, the device is actually two devices. A standalone smartphone can be plugged into a tablet computer, meaning the owner can take his pick of how he wants to play the game, and all the progress he makes is saved on one device's hard drive.

    AT&T loaned us a device that we tested for more than two weeks -- didn't like having to send it back -- and we found a lot of its qualities and quirks.

    July 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • 071014_sugar rush1.jpg Sweet summer: Candy factory opens floor for tours, tasting

    When family from Kansas City came to visit Christy Albertson in her family's Webb City home, she wanted to find something entertaining for five kids.

    July 10, 2014 1 Photo

  • images_sizedimage_108172906 Benji Tunnell: 'Transformers' reaches new level of terrible filmmaking

    Then there's "Transformers: Age of Extinction," a film so bereft of originality, spontaneity and life that one would assume its creator must be a talentless hack. That's when you remember that it was directed by Michael Bay.

    July 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Marta-mug.jpg Marta Churchwell: Crystal Bridges' coup makes art world cry foul

    I find Eastern art snobs insufferable. I have little patience for their pretentious eyebrow-raising over anything unworthy of their refined tastes.

    July 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Jermiah-Tucker-020812.jpg Jeremiah Tucker: Power pop plays perfectly for Fourth of July

    One of the best bits from the long-running -- and sadly now defunct -- "Best Show on WFMU" with Tom Scharpling was the character Power Pop Pop Pop. The independent call-in and comedy radio show explored this menacing, Godfather-like figure of the power pop community via one of his minions, played by the brilliant indie rock drummer and comedian Jon Wurster.

    July 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • mug_joe-hadsall-112613.jpg Joe Hadsall: Found-footage tornado movie may be terrifying

    Funny how all it takes is one little thing to bring back the full onslaught of tornado-related dread, desolation and depression. This time, it was a movie trailer.

    July 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • aisha-sultan-mug.jpg Aisha Sultan: Study shows popular kids peak too early

    It was, of course, a popular mean girl who made my life miserable in middle school.

    July 10, 2014 1 Photo

Speaking of Gardens

Facebook
Poll

New Kansas teaching license regulations would allow some individuals who have ample expertise but do not have education degrees to become secondary school teachers. Do you agree or disagree with that change?

Agree
Disagree
     View Results
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter