Baking Tips – Easy As
by News Canada
(NC)—The old saying goes "easy as
pie", so why are so many of us reluctant to try baking our
own? Most of us just don't
have the time to spend hours shopping for ingredients, making
the pastry from scratch and preparing the filling, especially
during the holidays.
Some recognized brand names are making it easy. You
can now get, for example, two lines of frozen, unbaked pies –
Oven Fresh and the Signature Selections by Sara Lee – that are
ready to pop into the oven. Here are some additional hints from
Sara Lee for baking all kinds of pies:
- • If you make pumpkin pie, watch it carefully. When
properly baked, the outer edges of the filling will be
firmly set and slightly brown. The four- to six-inch centre
circle should have a soft set and shake like
- • Avoid baking your holiday pie with your turkey or
ham. Pies require a higher temperature, so try to bake your
pies the night before.
- • For a golden brown crust, brush the top of the pie
with milk or egg before you put it in the oven. (To avoid
burning, be careful not to brush the crimped edge of the
- • To keep edges from burning, place aluminum foil
strips around the edges of the pie prior to baking. Remove
foil for the last 15 minutes.
- • For a high-gloss finish, brush apricot preserves on
top of your pie just after baking.
- • Always preheat the oven for about 15 minutes at 350º
to 375º F, depending on your oven.
- News Canada
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Save Time with No-Bake Cookies
Dennis R Weaver
Whether you don't want to heat up the kitchen or the demands
of getting the kids out the door are upon you, it's nice to
have a few no-bake cookie recipes on hand. We thought we would
share some of our favorites with you.
Cranberry Coconut Bars
This first recipe, Cranberry Coconut Bars, is more of a big
kid cookie—it has too much fruit and too many nuts in it to
suit most youngsters. But it so scrumptious and easy, we had to
include it. If you are making a lunch for a spouse or a
teenager, we think this will be a hit. Of course, it doesn't
have to go in a lunch pail.
This is a microwave cookie that can be mixed right in the
baking pan. How's that for convenience?
If you are not fond of dried cranberries, consider
substituting dates, raisins, or chopped apricot pieces in this
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 cup quick rolled oats
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup sweetened flaked coconut
1/2 cup walnut pieces
1. Place butter in an 8-inch square, microwave-safe baking
dish. Microwave until the butter is melted.
2. Stir in the brown sugar until dissolved. Stir in the rest
of the ingredients. Press the mixture firmly into the dish.
3. Microwave for three to five minutes or until lightly
browned. If your microwave does not have a rotating carousel,
rotate the dish twice during cooking.
4. Let the cookies cool and then cut them into bars with a
sharp knife. Wrap them individually to pack in a lunch.
This recipe will make sixteen 2 x 2-inch squares.
This next recipe makes a great kid cookie. It's almost
confection-like but is so packed with energy and hearty oats
that you won't mind giving your youngster a few. This cookie is
best with a tall glass of milk.
Chocolate Peanut Butter Drops
This is a range-top cookie. Because it is a no-baker and so
full of energy, it makes a great camping cookie.
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup butter
2 1/2 cup quick oats
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract
1. Combine sugar, milk, butter, and cocoa in a medium
saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until
the mixture comes to a boil. Cook for two more minutes stirring
constantly and then remove the pan from the heat.
2. Stir in the peanut butter and vanilla, then the oats.
3. Let cool for several minutes and then drop spoonfuls onto
waxed paper. Let the cookies cool completely before removing
them from the waxed paper.
When thinking of no-bake cookies, don't forget the perennial
favorites, Rice Krispie Treats and Frosted Graham Crackers.
We're assuming everyone has the recipe for Rice Krispie Treats.
Consider adding chocolate chips, dried fruit pieces, or
cinnamon candies for a little pizzazz.
To make Chocolate Rice Krispie Treats, melt 2/3 cup
chocolate chips (for a recipe calling for six cups of cereal)
with the marshmallows and butter. This is a real favorite—our
kids like these more than regular Rice Krispie Treats and they
are no more difficult to make.
For Frosted Graham Crackers, simply pick your favorite
frosting and sandwich that between two graham cracker squares.
Pick a frosting with a powdered-sugar base that will set up
firm and won't be messy.
Dennis Weaver is the general manager at The Prepared Pantry (http://www.preparedpantry.com) with
recipes, ideas, and the best selection of mixes and
ingredients. Visit the free Bakers' Library for more
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