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  1. #41
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    For chocolate chip cookies, I just use the recipe on the back of the Hershey's chocolate chip recipe and underbake it by two minutes They come out great every time.

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    I flunk at pie crust. The things I have to pass off as pies make me cry.

  3. #43

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    For those talking about pancakes, the last batch I made looked as good as anything I have ever seen at an IHOP and the trick was to NOT GREASE THE PAN. I recently bought one of these and its a true non stick surface. If you grease the surface then you will get an uneven color on the pancake. I think in my next batch I may use some cake flour along with all purpose and see if that gets them even lighter. Pancakes are an obsession of mine but I don't want to have to go to IHOP every time I want some.
    -Brian
    "Michelle would never be caught with sausage grease staining her Vera Wang." - rfisher

  4. #44

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    Quote Originally Posted by Impromptu View Post
    Chocolate chip cookies - to keep them from going too flat, put the dough in the fridge for a while before you put it on the cookie sheet; don't put them on a hot cookie sheet from the oven; also I subsitute about a 1/4 cup of sour cream for 1/4 of the butter, which also keeps them fluffier and softer.
    Some people will flame me for what they perceive as heresy, but ditch the butter altogether. The original Toll House Cookie was made with shortening (Crisco), not butter, and in this case I think they got it right. For the classic chocolate chip cookie, it's Crisco, not butter that you should be using. It makes a far better cookie in this rare case. Other cookies, go for the butter, but not in this instance.

    Meanwhile, I'm with Southpaw. I have yet to successfully cook dried beans; I think I need to lower my heat and cook them more slowly. I'm not giving up yet though.

  5. #45

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    I can usually bake what I set my mind to do - m next project will be to make croissants, it might take a few tries...

    I have yet to perfect bagels, the last time I had way too much baking soda in the poaching liquid, they tasted a bit like pretzels

    I have a hard time with gravy - usually turns out too thin.

    As for savory pie crusts most recipes need a bit of pre baking for them not to turn mushy.

  6. #46
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    For beans, I always soak and then cook them for 1.5-2 times longer than any recipe says to, which often means pre-cooking them separately.

    A friend told me never to add salt to beans until they are cooked all the way through. Otherwise they'll stop cooking.
    "The team doesn't get automatic capacity because management is mad" -- Greg Smith, agile guy

  7. #47

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    Quote Originally Posted by nubka View Post
    Gravy! How could I forget about that? I can make a white flour/meat fat/milk gravy, but when I try to make roast, chicken, or turkey gravy it never works...
    To me chicken/turkey gravy is incredibly easy, all you need to do is whisk constantly. It's best to start with less flour and then add more. I usually add salt, pepper, and some wine or broth.

    However, I usually cook chicken and turkey in a broth/wine mix loaded with garlic. This means that I'm starting out with a consomme rather than just the fat.

    But the recipe is one that has never failed.

  8. #48

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    Quote Originally Posted by kwanfan1818 View Post
    For beans, I always soak and then cook them for 1.5-2 times longer than any recipe says to, which often means pre-cooking them separately.

    A friend told me never to add salt to beans until they are cooked all the way through. Otherwise they'll stop cooking.
    I cook beans (pinto, navy, etc.,) in a crock pot. Super easy and they turn out great every time. I put in salt at the start and have never had a problem.
    Nubka - Unpaid Slave Laborer...

  9. #49
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    Bread where you have to use yeast. Don't know why or how, but I manage to kill the yeast every single time and end up w/flatter than flat bread. My last try could have doubled for a door stop.

  10. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by nubka View Post
    Gravy! How could I forget about that?
    Add me to this list.

    I wish I could invite many of you over for breakfast. I throw down on some pancakes.

  11. #51
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    I can cookmost things, but I cannot scramble eggs.

  12. #52

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    Dried beans are easy: start with pouring over boiling water and soak them 1-2 hours (no need to use cold water overnight as many places say, I don't have patience). Then cook for about an hour before following be rest of the recipe if you, though many already accommodates this. If you are making black bean soup, for instance, you can start with the beans + bay leaf + ham hock and just let the beans soak up all the flavor.


    See this recipe, for instance: http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/black_bean_soup/

    I love simply recipes, my favorite cooking blog, I have hardly ever run into trouble following her directions. (Except making gravy, bah!!)

  13. #53

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    Quote Originally Posted by Grannyfan View Post
    I'm not much of a cook anyway, but I simply cannot make good chocolate chip cookies.
    Quote Originally Posted by emason View Post
    Some people will flame me for what they perceive as heresy, but ditch the butter altogether. The original Toll House Cookie was made with shortening (Crisco), not butter, and in this case I think they got it right. For the classic chocolate chip cookie, it's Crisco, not butter that you should be using. It makes a far better cookie in this rare case. Other cookies, go for the butter, but not in this instance.
    Absolutely no to that! Even if I could find shortening where I live, which is doubtful, I wouldn't do it. If anyone has trouble with chocolate chip cookies, just use this David Lebovitz recipe (the nuts are optional). It's the last chocolate chip cookie recipe you'll ever need.

    I don't know how to make candy, and I really want to. But anything involving thermometers terrifies me, so I'm doomed to a caramel-less existence.

    ETA: since Simply Recipes has been mentioned - make their Nutella cookies. Again, the nuts are really kind of optional and the cookies are incredibly good.
    Last edited by Zemgirl; 12-05-2012 at 06:40 AM.

  14. #54
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    Shortening works better in some cookies and butter in others.

    "cookies made with shortening and no extra water added, for example, are higher and lighter, while butter cookies are flatter and crispier. This is because butter has a lower melting point than shortening, causing them to spread faster and more in the short time it takes to bake a cookie."

    I think that is why shortening might work better in a cookie with brown sugar, chocolate, nuts, etc. You don't rely on the cookie part to give all its flavor. Shortbread on the other hand needs butter to have flavor.

    I like roll out sugar cookies with shortening - the cookie stays even - with butter the edges are lower and crispier.

  15. #55

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    Brownies I followed hundred recipes and just can't do them right.

  16. #56
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    Quote Originally Posted by nubka View Post
    I'd love to have your pie crust recipe!
    This is from a book called Earth to Table. I've made it many, many times now, and used the crust for pies, quiches and pot pie toppings. For savoury pies, you can mix in a bit of fresh herb such as thyme or some cayenne pepper - pretty and delicious! Warning: it is VERY buttery.

    For two crusts, easily cut in half for one:

    2 1/2 cups all purpose flour (I like unbleached)
    2 tsp salt (I find this way too much so only do 1 tsp)
    1/4 tsp granulated sugar (I use raw sugar, no problem)
    1 cup cold unsalted butter
    1/4 to 1/2 cup ice water (this will vary)

    Now here's the trick - as already mentioned, everything must be as cold as possible. This is to maintain the texture of the fat, which results in a flaky crust. When I'm about to make this, I put the butter in the freezer while I do everything else, and all the utensils in the fridge, then I wash my hands in as cold water as possible. LOVE the idea posted above of putting a few ice cubes in the water!

    Then, instead of going through the trouble of cutting up the butter with two knives or using a pastry blender - both of which can be time consuming, resulting in the butter starting to melt - you use a box grater and grate the butter through the larger holes. Then, you toss it by hand with the dry ingredients like a salad, so each shred of butter is now coated. Then gradually add the water and knead until it all comes together. Shape into two fat disks, wrap in plastic (I just put them in ziplocks and squeeze out the air) and chill for 30 mins, or even a day or two (very handy when entertaining to get this done in advance!). Then roll out (having it disk shape helps this) and away you go.

    Just don't ask me how to shape the crust, because as I said I'm a disaster at that.

    And for those who like to do pies sweet and savoury, this is a lovely, fun and very good book on the subject - The Book of Old Tarts.

    Quote Originally Posted by ArtisticFan View Post
    I can cookmost things, but I cannot scramble eggs.
    There are so many ways to make scrambled eggs - what is the issue, and maybe we can help?

    Quote Originally Posted by Citlali View Post
    Brownies I followed hundred recipes and just can't do them right.
    What kind do you like? Gooey or dry? Icing or no icing? Cocoay, dark chocolate, more milky chocolate? Again, so many recipes out there, maybe we can help point you in the right direction.

    I have an old clipped out recipe from Cosmopolitan that I used to make - very, very rich with tons of chocolate squares, eggs, sugar and cream. Haven't tried this one that just popped up on Facebook this morning, but Bon Appetit is usually good - Cocoa Brownies.

    I confess that it's been so long since I really baked much that the last time I wanted brownies (Super Bowl party), rather than buy a bunch of ingredients I won't use again, I just bought a box of Betty Crocker and threw a ton of walnuts into it. As a child, when my mom asked what kind of birthday cake I wanted, I often said brownies - so she's make a box with extra walnuts, and then ice it with a simple mix of icing sugar, unsalted butter and milk. *drooling at the thought*

  17. #57

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    I can make any kind of gravy. To add flour I mix it with water or milk, stir it up, & use a sieve when adding to the pan. No lumps!

    For choc chip cookies I use 1/2 butter & 1/2 shortening.

    My downfall is brisket. I've never cooked one that was tender. And my beef roast is almost as bad.

  18. #58
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    Quote Originally Posted by taf2002 View Post
    And my beef roast is almost as bad.
    Taste? Texture? Doneness?

    I have to say buying a meat thermometer saved my marriage. Seriously - the first time we tried to roast a chicken many years ago we carefully calculated the time and followed all the hints about poking it, colour of juices, whether the thigh is loose etc, and it was just awful. Didn't make another one for years. Ditto roast beef - all that calculating, and it never turned out right. With a meat thermometer, it's perfect every time.

    Also, try to buy really good beef that has fat in it, because it will be more juicy. Roast it low and slow - about 325 degrees. We put it on a rack, and add a little water (and re-add) to the pan for extra moisture. For seasoning, we do just a dusting of English Prime Rib Rub to enhance the flavour, and it turns out beautifully every time with a nice tasty crust and perfect doneness inside.

  19. #59

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    Quote Originally Posted by taf2002 View Post
    And my beef roast is almost as bad.
    I don't eat roast beef, but I've been told the ones I make are fabulous.

    The trick I learned from MamaHabs is to melt some butter in the roasting pan, liberally sprinkle the raw roast with seasoned salt and pepper, and then brown all sides of the roast in the melted butter on top of the stove. When the outside is brown (takes just a few minutes), cover the roaster and pop it into the oven to slow roast in low heat - 300-325 seems to work well.

  20. #60
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    For me it's Yorkshire pudding! It is just never consistant - add to that the fact that my husband's grandmother was from Yorkshire and made the BEST Yorkshire pudding ---well, you get the picture

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