Whenever I bake cookies, the recipe says to mix all dry ingredients together before adding them to the wet ingredients. Why can’t I just add all of the ingredients together in one bowl? Also, how can I make my cookies all the same size so that they look good enough to sell at a bake sale? Delores
The reason why dry ingredients such as salt, baking soda and flour are mixed separately is too avoid clumps. Imagine eating a cookie and suddenly having a mouth full of baking soda. Yuck! Stirring (or whisking) the baking soda in with the flour breaks up the pieces and ensures evenness in your baking.
As for consistently shaped cookies, purchase a retractable ice cream scoop (they come in different sizes). Not only will each cookie end up the same size, but you will notice that your cookies don’t flatten out as much because the dough is rounded, plus cookie scooping is much faster with a retractable scoop vs. two spoons. Another option is to bake cookies inside of silicone muffin pans; they will all turn out the same shape.
I just bought a bulk bag of socks and after the first wash they had little balls of thread on the outside. Why do my socks pill and how do I prevent this from happening? Disappointed, Ruth
The cause of pilling is abrasion and friction; in other words, fibres get damaged through either wear and tear or in the washer. Poor quality cotton is more likely to pill than cotton with a high thread count such as denim. This is not to say that high quality fibres such as cashmere doesn’t pill — soft fibres are also prone to pilling. But typically high quality clothing has less chance of pilling due to the fibers being stronger and less likely to separate. Purchasing higher quality socks will help and so will turning them inside out before washing. If pilling does occur, fabric shavers are the safest and fastest way to get rid of them.
I often make cupcakes for my kid’s lunches. I am wondering if you have any advice about the best way to pack one single cupcake so that the frosting does not get ruined by the time they sit down to eat. Thanks, Nancy Jane
Dear Nancy Jane,
You know how you go to restaurants and order drinks that come in a plastic glass with a straw? After you finish the drink, clean the plastic cup. Next time you need to carry a single cupcake somewhere, place the cupcake onto the lid of the cup. Put the cup upside down over the cupcake and secure the lid. This is a good way to transport one single cupcake. Or better yet, save plastic sundae cups and lids from your favourite ice cream restaurant for transporting cupcakes. But for lunch bags, save the plastic containers that muffin liners come in, use that container and lid to transport cupcakes for lunches. As well, if you know that you will be transporting one or more cupcakes, make Decorator’s Icing because it isn’t as smushy as regular buttercream. An icing that hardens slightly on top is much easier for transport. You can also top cupcakes with candies (i.e. chocolate chips or candy corn), doing this prevents the lid from attacking your cupcake and distributing frosting onto the lid (instead of inside your mouth). Or melt a small amount of chocolate and dab it underneath the cupcake(s) in the holder. This helps temporarily glue cupcakes in place. Lastly, there are single and multiple cupcake carriers available for purchase in stores and on-line.
Fabulous Tips of the Week:
• Whenever I feel a cold coming on, I eat two cloves of garlic and my cold immediately goes away. Submitted by: Anonymous
• Stop yourself from getting shocks as you walk across your carpet. Into a spray bottle add: 1 part liquid fabric softener and 4 parts water. Lightly mist the carpet.
Reena Nerbas is a rural Manitoba home economist is a lab coat - and she’s not afraid to use it. Keep your questions coming:
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition July 12, 2012