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.