HELP­FUL HINTS

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - STYLE - Send a money- or time-sav­ing hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795000, San An­to­nio, Texas 78279-5000; fax to (210) 435-6473; or email Heloise@Heloise.com

DEAR HELOISE: What is the in­gre­di­ent that makes the dif­fer­ence be­tween soft and crisp cook­ies? — Kath­leen H., Camp Hill, Pa. DEAR READER: Kath­leen, high mois­ture does, as well as bak­ing time, and the tem­per­a­ture must be ad­justed to re­tain mois­ture. Bind­ing the wa­ter in but­ter, eggs and brown sugar ( which con­tains mo­lasses, which is 10 per­cent wa­ter) with flour slows its evap­o­ra­tion. There’s also a lit­tle more flour in a soft cookie. Vol­ume also helps cook­ies stay moist. A large cookie rather than a small spoon-drop cookie usu­ally will be softer. They’re baked for shorter time pe­ri­ods at a higher tem­per­a­ture.

DEAR HELOISE: I cook two scram­bled eggs in a very small skil­let to pre­serve the shape and size. I turn them once to cook on both sides, then I stack them on a saucer, cover and re­frig­er­ate. When ready to serve, I warm them in the mi­crowave on half power and top with diced fresh toma­toes, grated cheese or pre­cooked ba­con. It works well and saves time. — Lana D., Tay­lorsville, N.C. DEAR READER: Lana, now that’s a clever way to get break­fast in the morn­ing.

DEAR HELOISE: My boyfriend loves good cof­fee, and I’d like to serve him some cre­ative cof­fees, ex­cept that I’m a to­tal klutz in the kitchen. Do you have any ideas or recipes on how to make plain cof­fee a lit­tle more in­ter­est­ing? Please, noth­ing com­pli­cated or where I have to go buy a fancy ma­chine.

— Joan E., Maple­wood, Minn. DEAR READER: Joan, I have sev­eral recipes, but one of my fa­vorites is Mocha Cof­fee:

½ cup in­stant cof­fee gran­ules ½ cup sugar (or equiv­a­lent mea­sure us­ing a sugar sub­sti­tute)

1 cup pow­dered milk or pow­dered creamer (non­fat creamer also is OK to use) 2 ta­ble­spoons co­coa pow­der

Mix the in­gre­di­ents to­gether and store in a la­beled con­tainer. Just mix with hot wa­ter when ready to use.

DEAR READ­ERS: Freez­ing does not kill bac­te­ria, it only stops the growth. The only thing that will kill bac­te­ria and help to pre­vent food poi­son­ing is cook­ing food at high-enough tem­per­a­tures.

HELOISE

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