From a recent online chat:
Q: My nephews are attending college. When they lived close by, they always seemed to enjoy my cookies. Can you suggest some recipes that might hold up well for mailing? They don’t like chocolate, and one can’t eat peanuts, so I’m stumped.
A: Bar cookies are terrific packers and keepers; think about blondies or gingerbread. Oatmeal cookies and shortbread are other good choices.
As important as the recipe is the way you pack the cookies: Make sure to keep the crisp ones away from the soft ones, and pack only four to six cookies together in each little packet.
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Q: My recipes for lemon squares or bars call for an ungreased pan. They taste terrific, but they stick to the pan - badly. If I grease the pan, will it cause other problems?
A: You shouldn’t have a problem greasing the pan. You can also make a sling for the bars: Line the pan with parchment paper and leave an overhang on two sides. When the bars are cooled, you can either gently lift them out of the pan with the help of the parchment “handles” or you can cut them in the pan without marring the bottom of your baking dish.
Q: I’m planning to make and freeze a ham-and-cheese quiche. I’ve never frozen a quiche before. How long should I bake it before freezing?
A: I’d fully bake the quiche and let it cool completely, then wrap it airtight and freeze. You probably could go straight from freezer to oven when you’re ready to reheat, but I think it might be better to defrost it (still wrapped, overnight, in the refrigerator) and then reheat. I don’t have experience doing this, but I think it will work.
Q: I’m baking two apple pies for my son’s birthday. The party is about 1 1/2 hours away. Do you think I can assemble on Friday and bake on Saturday? If so, how would you store overnight?
A: I’d assemble the pies whenever it’s most convenient for you and pop them into the freezer. When they’re solid, wrap them airtight, then unwrap and bake them directly from the freezer on a baking sheet.
Q: Can you bake with frozen (then thawed) bananas? I have two very ripe bananas but no butter or shortening to make banana bread with.
A: Absolutely! Freezing bananas for a rainy day is a great thing. Thaw. Bake. Enjoy!