Now's the Time For Fruit Pies & Chocolate Chip Cookies
Fruit pies and chocolate chip cookies are two of the most versatile desserts that you can serve up any time of the year, no matter what the festival or the season. Here are some kitchen tips to make these desserts even more scrumptious.
Retain the unsweetened juice from frozen or canned fruit to use instead of water in fruit filling for any dessert. Only use unsweetened juice, however, because juice with sugar will make the dish too sweet.
For a richer filling, add some fresh butter to the fruit after it has been cooked for a pie or cobbler. As an alternative, dot the filling with butter before putting the top crust on the pie.
Leave apple pieces in larger chunks for pies, cobblers and other baked desserts. Thin slices tend to disintegrate and lose their flavor.
Give cherry pies extra appeal. Add a little red food coloring and one or two drops of almond extract to the pie filling before baking. It's surprising how much the almond extract brings out cherry flavor.
A teaspoon of lemon juice in apricot and peach pies enhances the fruit flavor. If a brighter color is desired, add a little yellow food coloring.
Don't overcook pie fillings, especially those made with corn starch for thickening. Overcooking fruit is the main cause of watery fillings in fruit pies. Remember that the fruit will cook some more inside the pie.
Chocolate Chip Cookies
Refrigerator chocolate morsels and add them last to the cookie dough. Don't over mix or they will melt when baking.
Learn to cream shortening and sugar well. This is the key to outstanding cookies.
Use two baking sheets to make cookies so that one can cool while the other one is in the oven. Cook baking sheets well between batches of cookies, or they'll come out too brown on the bottom.
For a new taste treat, try chocolate-cherry cookies. Replace half the chocolate morsels with cherry-flavored morsels. The cookies will taste like chocolate-covered cherries!
To make soft-center cookies, use an ice cream scoop to drop extra-thick mounds on the cookie sheet. Press down the mounds slightly, and then cool the cookie sheet in the refrigerator for about 20 minutes. Bake the cookies at 375 degrees until the edges are slightly browned. Remove and cool slightly before eating; the centers will be soft and delightfully chewy-gooey!
Consider alternative varieties of dough for chocolate chip cookies. Add a little powdered cocoa to traditional dough and you have a chocolate-chocolate chip cookie. Or add chocolate morsels and chopped nuts to oatmeal cookie dough. The combination of warm oatmeal and chocolate is to die for- ask anyone who's ever tried one.
Never eat a cold chocolate chip cookie, even one from a professional bakery. Heat releases the full flavor of the chocolate and nuts, so warms a plate of cookies in the microwave for a few seconds. If you have more time, put the cookies on a baking sheet and warm them up in a 300-degree oven for five minutes. Then pour some tall glasses of cold milk and enjoy one of life's greatest food pleasures with family and friends.