I would like to
send a package of cookies to a relative overseas. Can
you recommend a few recipes that will keep well? What is
the best way to package them?
Certain cookies tend to ship
better than others do. We recommend that you do not mail
cookies with custard or custard-like fillings or
toppings, including Cheesecake Bars or Nanaimo bars. The
custard could spoil, making a very unwelcome gift.
Cookies that have a crunchy or hard texture such as
Biscotti, Mexican Wedding Cakes, Crisps,
Shortbreads make excellent choices for mail
delivery. They tend to be fairly sturdy, so you don't
have to worry too much about breakage. And since they
already have a fairly dry texture, drying out isn't much
of an issue.
Pack cookies in a sturdy tin or
airtight container. On the bottom of the container place
a piece of bubble wrap, then line the container with
parchment paper or cellophane, leaving enough to tuck
over the top once the container is fully packed. Place
one layer of cookies in the container. Cover with
parchment paper. Arrange another layer of cookies,
followed with more parchment paper, and continue this
layering until the container is full. Tuck the
cellophane or parchment paper over the top, then place
another piece of bubble wrap on top, and seal your
Is there anything I
can use as a substitute for shortening?
In a cookie recipe, you can easily
substitute butter or margarine for the shortening. The
flavor will be a little bit richer, the cookies will be
crispier, and they may spread a little bit more in the
I would like to get
an early start on my Christmas cookies this year. How
long can I safely freeze cookies or dough?
Many cookies can be made ahead and stored in a tin for a
couple of months. Some of these are Biscotti, Springerle,
Lebkuchen, and Fruitcake cookies. Any refrigerator
cookies are best frozen as dough and then baked fresh.
Drop cookies can be scooped onto a cookie sheet, frozen,
and then transferred to resealable freezer bags until
time to bake. Cookie dough can be frozen for up to six
weeks. This will keep the cookies tasting fresh, and the
house smelling like you have worked all day.
The recipe I've
chosen calls for parchment paper to line the cookie
sheets. Is there an alternative to using parchment
If you cannot find parchment paper at any stores in your
area, simply grease your cookie sheets to prevent
sticking. If the cookies are particularly sticky, you
can line the cookie sheets with aluminum foil for easy
clean-up and cookie removal.
What can I use to
substitute for cream of tartar?
Normally, when cream of tartar is used in a cookie, it
is used together with baking soda. The two of them
combined work like double-acting baking powder. When
substituting for cream of tartar, you must also
substitute for the baking soda at the same time. A
teaspoon of baking powder will substitute for 1/4
teaspoon of baking soda plus 1/2 teaspoon of cream of
tartar. If there is additional baking soda that does not
fit into the equation, simply add it to the batter.
When cream of tartar is used in whipping egg whites,
it acts as a stabilizer. There is no exact substitute,
but you can add a pinch of salt instead. Salt has a
lesser stabilizing effect.
I noticed some of
the recipes call for sour milk. Can I make sour milk?
To make your own sour milk, add a tablespoon of vinegar
or lemon juice to a cup measure and fill the remainder
of the cup with fresh milk. Let the mixture stand for 5
minutes before using it in a recipe.
I often find myself
adjusting recipes in order to make enough for my family,
but it doesn't quite work for some recipes. Do you have
any advice for me?
Changing recipes in order to make more or less
servings is called "recipe scaling." Whenever you alter
the amounts of ingredients for a given recipe, you may
also need to adjust the cooking temperature, cooking
time, pan size and seasonings. But for food chemistry
reasons, recipe scaling simply does not work well for
some dishes: delicate foods such as soufflés, baked
items requiring yeast such as breads, and recipes for a
single large item that is meant to be later divided into
smaller portions such as cakes, pies, breads and whole
Recipe Scaling Page will give you a reliable
framework for successful recipe scaling: It offers detailed
guidelines for recipe scaling.