by Nicole Lisson
– The Capitol Hill Times –
It’s time to stash away your little pink bikini, and shrug on your baggiest sweater because the holiday food fest is upon us. Every year, once October 1 hits, I test and plan my party menu for Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas. Not everybody is as overzealous as I am, but, in my eyes, there is nothing worse then serving a lackluster meal. And to keep things interesting, I always mix it up. Turkey may be served one year, the next, orange duck. For dessert, however, most of the time I arrange a huge platter of cookies for my guests to nibble on with coffee.
You can do numerous variations on the standard cookie. Toffee, chocolate chip, peanut butter, s’more, tea cookies, Mexican cookies, the list goes on and on. The best part is that you can make the cookie dough months in advance, and then freeze it so that when a holiday arrives, you simply let it thaw and pop it in the oven. It’s pretty much foolproof unless you over bake your cookies, which turns them into rocks. But no worries, I am here to help! Unless you have a strange fetish about munching on jaw breakers, my advice should lead to chewy, perfect cookies every time.
Number one: Always check on your cookies while they are baking in the oven, before the time indicated in your recipes is up. Meaning, don’t get wrapped up in a spellbinding episode of Greys Anatomy. Fold laundry or some other boring task.
Number Two: You want a light, golden exterior. Just because the cookies don’t look done doesn’t mean that they’re not. Since the heat of the pan will continue to bake your cookies, it is better to err on the side of caution by taking the cookies out of the oven while they are still slightly gooey in the middle.
Number Three: Let the cookies cool on the pan for 10 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack, then serve with a cold glass of milk or coffee spiked with rum, whatever floats your boat. I won’t judge.
And that’s it! You will be known as the cookie queen by this time next week. Please feel free to submit your own kitchen conundrums to firstname.lastname@example.org, and we will figure out how to conquer the kitchen together.