COOKIES - Taste of Home Cookies, Cakes, & Pies - Editors at Taste of Home

Taste of Home Cookies, Cakes, & Pies: Bake up 368 sweet sensations with three cookbooks in one - Editors at Taste of Home (2017)

COOKIES

It’s a 3-in-1 Cookbook!

Bake up the perfect treat for any occasion with Taste of Home Cookies, Cakes & Pies. Divided into three sections, this handy cookbook is truly like having three cookbooks in one. Need a recipe for your Christmas cookie exchange? See the chapter Cookies: Christmas Classics. Want to make a showstopping cake for your next birthday celebration? Turn to Cakes: Layered Cakes & Tortes. Have a bounty of raspberries? Look through the chapter Pies: Fruit Pies. Plus, in the next six pages read top tips on getting your cookies just right, baking the best cake ever and preparing a pie crust that looks as good as it tastes.

HANDY ICONS:

5 INGREDIENTS With the exception of water, salt, pepper, oils and optional ingredients, you only need a few items for these recipes.

FREEZE IT With a little planning, you can stash these sweets in the freezer for last-minute fun! What could be easier?

BIG BATCH are real crowd pleasers, perfect for potluck dinners, parties and classroom treats. are real crowd pleasers, perfect for potluck dinners, parties and classroom treats.

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COOKIES 101

Whether you like them crisp and buttery or soft and chewy, there’s no denying the crowd-pleasing appeal of cookies. Here are some tips to make sure you bake up a batch that turns out just right.

Before You Begin

Read the entire recipe and check to see that you have all the required ingredients. Also, make sure you understand the cooking techniques.

Preheat the oven for 10 to 15 minutes before baking. Use an oven thermometer to verify the accuracy of your oven. If the set oven temperature and the oven thermometer do not agree, adjust the oven temperature accordingly.

Get the Oven Ready

Position the oven rack so the baking pan will be in the center of the oven, unless the recipe directs otherwise.

Mixing It Up

Always prepare the ingredients before you start mixing. Let the butter soften, toast the coconut, chop the nuts, etc. Measure the ingredients correctly. Prepare the recipe according to directions. Avoid overmixing the cookie dough. If  it’s handled too much, the cookies will be tough. For even baking, always make cookies the same size and thickness.

The Right Pan

Use heavy-gauge dull aluminum baking sheets with low sides for cookies. Pans with high sides can deflect heat and make it more difficult to remove the cookies once they are baked. It’s best to use the size of pan called for in the recipe.

When a recipe calls for greased baking sheets or pans, grease them with shortening or cooking spray. For easy removal, line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper and grease the paper.

Unless the recipe directs otherwise, place cookie dough 2 to 3 inches apart on a cool baking sheet.

While Baking

Leave at least 2 inches between the baking sheet or pan and the oven walls for good heat circulation. For best results, bake only one sheet of cookies at a time. If you need to bake two sheets at once, switch the position of the baking sheets halfway through the baking time.

Unless otherwise directed, let cookies cool for 1 minute on the baking sheet before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

Let baking sheet cool before placing the next batch on it. Otherwise, the heat will soften the dough and cause it to spread.

Storing Cookies

Cookies tend to change texture after storing—soft cookies get hard and crisp cookies get soft. Check out these tips to keep morsels at peak freshness.

✵ Allow cookies and bars to cool completely before storing. Cut crisp bar cookies while slightly warm. Allow icing on cookies to dry completely before storing.

✵ Store soft and crisp cookies in separate airtight containers. If stored together, the moisture from the soft cookies will soften the crisp cookies. Flavors can also blend during storage, so don’t store strong-flavored cookies with delicate-flavored cookies.

✵ Arrange cookies in an airtight container with waxed paper placed between layers.

✵ Store cookies in a cool, dry place. Cookies with a cream cheese frosting should be covered and stored in the refrigerator.

✵ If your crisp cookies became soft during storage, crisp them up easily by heating them in a 300° oven for 5 minutes.

✵ For longer storage, freeze cookies for up to 3 months.

✵ Wrap unfrosted cookies in plastic wrap, stack them in an airtight container, seal and freeze.

✵ Thaw the wrapped cookies at room temperature before frosting and serving.

Problem-Solving Pointers

Cookies Spread Too Much

□ Place cookies on a cool baking sheet.

□ Replace part of the butter in the recipe with shortening.

□ If using margarine, check label and make sure it contains 80% vegetable oil.

Cookies Don’t Spread Enough

□ Use all butter instead of shortening or margarine.

□ Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of liquid, such as milk or water.

□ Let dough stand at room temperature before baking.

Cookies Are Tough

□ The dough was overhandled or overmixed; use a light touch when mixing.

□ Too much flour was worked into the dough.

□ Add 1 or 2 tablespoons more shortening or butter or sugar.

Cookies Are Too Brown

□ Check the oven temperature with an oven thermometer.

□ Use heavy-gauge dull aluminum baking sheets. Dark baking sheets will cause the cookies to become overly brown.

Cookies Are Too Pale

□ Check the oven temperature with an oven thermometer.

□ Use heavy-gauge dull aluminum baking sheets. Insulated baking sheets cause cookies to be pale in color.

□ Use butter, not shortening or margarine.

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CAKES 101

Are you ready to create gorgeous bakery-quality cakes at home? Follow the pointers here to ensure baking success every time. Then just grab an apron and get started!

4 Tips for Baking Success

1. Select and Prep Pans

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1. Grease the pan as the recipe directs with shortening or cooking spray.

Use and grease the type of pan and the size of pan stated in the recipe. In general, baking pans are filled two-thirds to three-fourths full.

2. Mix It Up

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2. Cream until light and fluffy.

Follow the mixing directions as they are written. Altering the method may affect how the final baked good looks and/or tastes.

3. Check Doneness

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3. A cake is done when it bounces back to touch.

Check for doneness at the shortest time given in the recipe using the stated doneness test. If the baked good does not test done, continue baking and check again.

4. Take Time To Cool

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4. Cool most baked goods for 10 minutes before removing from the pan.

Cakes need to rest for 10 minutes in their pans. The resting time helps prevent them from crumbling when they are removed. Angel food cakes and chiffon cakes baked in tube pans are cooled completely in their pans. Some baked goods are delicious warm, but others should cool completely for frosting or easy slicing.

Mixing Methods

Have you ever been unsure about the meaning of a term in a recipe? After all, when it comes to baking, there is more to mixing ingredients than you might think! This brief list may help when whipping up your next batch of baked goodies:

✵ Beat: To make a mixture smooth by rapidly mixing with an electric mixer, fork, spoon or wire whisk.

✵ Combine: To place several ingredients in a single bowl or container and thoroughly mix.

✵ Cream: To beat butter, margarine or shortening alone or with sugar using a spoon or mixer until light and fluffy.

✵ Moisten: To add enough liquid to dry ingredients while stirring to make a wet but not runny mixture.

✵ Soft peaks: To beat cream or egg whites until soft, rounded peaks form when the beaters are lifted.

✵ Whip: To beat rapidly by hand or with an electric mixer to add air and increase volume.

STIFF PEAKS

To beat egg whites until stiff, pointed peaks form when beaters are lifted.

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Choosing Bakeware

Baking pans are made of metal. Aluminum pans with dull finishes give the best overall results. Pans with dark finishes often cook and brown foods more quickly. If you use pans with dark finishes, you may need to adjust the baking time and cover tops of baked goods with foil to prevent overbrowning. Insulated pans and pans with shiny finishes generally take longer to bake and brown foods.

Baking dishes are made of ovenproof glass or ceramic. If you substitute a glass baking dish in a recipe calling for a metal pan, reduce the oven temperature by 25° to avoid overbaking.

To determine your bakeware’s measurements, use a ruler to measure from one inside top edge to the opposite inside top edge. To measure height, place a ruler on the outside of the dish and measure from the bottom to a top edge. For volume, fill the pan or dish to the rim with measured water.

For best results, use the pan size called for in the recipe. However, the chart below offers some practical substitutions.

If you don’t have this pan(s):

One 9x5-in. loaf pan

One 8x4-in. loaf pan

One 9-in. round baking pan

Two 9-in. round baking pans

One 10-in. fluted tube pan

One 13x9-in. baking pan

Use this pan(s) instead:

Three 5 3/4x3x2-in. loaf pans

Two 5 3/4x3x2-in. loaf pans

One 8-in. square baking dish

One 13x9-in. baking pan

One 10-in. tube pan or two 9x5-in. loaf pans

Two 9-in. round baking pans or two 8-in. square baking dishes

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PIES 101

Nothing beats a pie made from scratch. Prepare a pie with a homemade crust and create a beautiful dessert that looks just as good as it tastes. You’ll be blue-ribbon bound in no time!

Making and Shaping Single- and Double-Crust Pie Pastry

1. Accurately measure the flour and salt and combine in a bowl. Using a pastry blender or two knives, cut in the shortening until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs (the size of small peas).

2. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of cold water over the mixture and toss gently with a fork. Repeat until the dry ingredients are moist and the dough holds together. Use only as much water as necessary.

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3. Shape into a ball. (For a double-crust pie, divide pastry in half so that one ball is slightly larger than the other.) On a floured surface or a floured pastry cloth, flatten the ball (the larger one if making a double-crust pie) into a neat circle, pressing together any cracks or breaks.

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4. Roll the dough with a floured rolling pin from the center of the pastry to the edges, forming a circle 2 inches larger than the pie plate. The pastry should be about 1/8 inch thick.

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5. To move pastry to the pie plate, roll up onto the rolling pin. Position over the edge of the pie plate and unroll. Let the pastry ease into the plate. Do not stretch the pastry to fit. For a single-crust pie, trim the pastry with kitchen scissors to 1/2 inch beyond the plate edge; turn under and flute as in step 8. Either bake the shell or fill according to the recipe’s directions. For a double-crust pie, trim the pastry even with the edge of the plate. For a lattice crust, trim pastry to 1 inch beyond the plate edge.

6. For a double-crust pie, roll out the second ball into a 12-inch circle, about 1/8 inch thick. Roll up pastry onto rolling pin; position over filling. With a knife, cut slits in top to allow steam to escape while baking.

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7. With scissors, trim top pastry to 1 inch beyond the plate edge. Fold the top pastry over the bottom pastry.

8. To flute the edge, position your thumb and index finger on the inside of the crust. Place your index finger or knuckle of your other hand on the outside edge and pinch pastry around it to form a V-shape and seal the dough together. Continue around the edge. Bake according to recipe directions.

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Pie Pastry Pointers

Whether you’re a beginner or well-seasoned baker, you’ll appreciate these practical pointers for creating homemade pastry for pies and tarts.

Starting from Scratch

✵ Classic pie pastry recipes are prepared with solid shortening. Lard or butter-flavored shortening can be substituted for plain shortening if desired.

✵ Measure all ingredients accurately. Combine the flour and salt thoroughly before adding the shortening and water. Be sure to use ice-cold water. Add an ice cube to water and measure before adding it to the flour mixture.

✵ To produce a flaky crust, avoid overmixing when adding the water to the flour and shortening mixture. Overmixing develops gluten in the flour, causing the pastry to become tough. Chill pie pastry dough for 30 minutes before rolling to make it easier to handle.

✵ A floured surface is essential to prevent sticking when rolling out pastry. A pastry cloth and rolling pin cover are good investments—they will keep the pastry from sticking and minimize the amount of flour used. The less flour you add while rolling, the flakier and lighter the pie pastry will be.

✵ Choose dull-finish aluminum or glass pie plates for crisp, golden crusts. Shiny pans can produce soggy crusts. Because of the high fat content in a pastry, do not grease the pie plate unless the recipe directs.

✵ Use dried uncooked beans or rice atop heavy-duty foil to weigh down a crust when it’s prebaked. The beans or rice prevent the sides of the pie crust from shrinking and slipping down the pie plate during baking. Note: Do not eat the beans or rice.

Decorative Pie Crusts

A fold here, a twist there—with some simple but snappy finger work, you can turn out a pie or tart that’s as yummy to look at as it is to eat.

An eye-catching, well-woven lattice top gives a pie a fancy finishing touch. And although it may look difficult, you’ll find it’s a cinch to complete.

To help unravel the mystery behind making this appealing crust, we’ve compiled simple-to-follow instructions here so you can create your own at home.

Lattice Top Crust

A lattice top crust is suitable for a double-crust pie. Line bottom of a 9-in. pie plate with half the pastry and add the filling. Roll the remaining dough into an 11-in. circle. Cut 1-in.-wide strips using a knife, pizza cutter or clean pinking shears for a scalloped edge. Lay half the strips across the pie, about 1 inch apart.

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Fold back every other strip about halfway. Lay a strip of dough across center of pie at a right angle to the other strips. Unfold strips over the center strip.

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Fold back the alternate strips; place second cross strip in place. Continue to add strips until the entire pie is covered with lattice.

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Trim all but 1 inch of the overlapping dough; fold the edges under bottom crust. Pinch dough around edge of pie to form a decorative edge.

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Cookies

YOU DON’T NEED TO WAIT FOR THE WEEKEND OR A SPECIAL OCCASION TO WHIP UP SOME TREATS! WITH EASY SLICE-AND-BAKE AND EVEN DROP-COOKIE OPTIONS, YOU CAN HAVE A BATCH DONE IN NO TIME. YOU’LL ALSO FIND EXCELLENT CHOICES FOR LARGE YIELDS THAT ARE PERFECT FOR BAKE SALES AND POTLUCKS AS WELL AS A VARIETY OF TRADITIONAL HOLIDAY FAVORITES THAT ALMOST LOOK TOO GOOD TO EAT!

Slice & Bake

Drop Cookies

Cutout Treats

Sweet Sandwiches

Shaped Sensations

No-Bake Delights

Christmas Classics

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