What is the one thing everyone enjoys at Christmas time? Arguably it could be sweets. There is nothing like a cookie, slice of cake or gum drop around the holidays. Here are some tips to make sure that those delectable morsels are just as tasty as their sugarplum visions.
Working with Chocolate
- When you create a recipe that calls for chocolate, it is so easy to go wrong here. Instead of using the store-bought chocolate syrup, make your own. Buy the chocolate bricks and melt them yourself. Keep the heat under the saucepan low so that the chocolate doesn’t burn while it melts.
- Dark chocolate is the new healthy chocolate for the 21st century. It is full of antioxidants and great taste. Use it for decorating cakes, cookies, breads and pies. Use some of that melted chocolate in a plastic bag to pipe out all sorts of cool designs onto wax paper. Once they cool, you can carefully place them on any dessert that you wish.
- The rest of the year, this word gets sneer and jeers, but at Christmas, it is spot on. There is no substitute for using regular butter in your dessert recipes. Well, there is but it won’t give you the same taste or texture in your sweets. To compensate, eat a little less of each dessert, but by all means taste them all.
- When working with margarine, part of it is water. It says that on the box. Water evaporates when baking and can partially dry out your recipes. Butter is also creamier when softened and whipped. It keeps your cakes, breads, cupcakes and cookies moist like they need to be. Unless the recipe calls for stiff butter, let it come to room temperature on the counter before using.
- Apple pies, peach cobblers and blueberry blintzes are all great during the holidays. Fruit can be expensive since most of your choices are out of season. If you can’t find fresh at a reasonable price, opt for frozen choices. It’s as close to fresh as you can get.
- If you keep your fruit in the fridge to prolong freshness, make sure that you allow them to come to room temperature before using them in delicious dessert recipes. Fruit will juice better when warm. Scalding fruits with removable skins helps the skin to peel off easier so you don’t have to ruin the look of the fruit doing it the hard way.