Baking and Gifting Christmas Cookies
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Aida shares tips on how to bake cookies and package and give them as gifts.

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Baking and Gifting Christmas Cookies Hi, Aida Mollenkamp here from Food Networks “Ask Aida.” I’m shooting some video for foodnetwork.com right now but I wanted to take a minute to answer some of your burning questions, and help make your holiday baking easy as pie. Speaking of pie, the first question is from L who submitted through the blissfully delish spot Blog. L wants to know about pie crust. She says, “I can make the fillings just fine but the pie crust gives me every single time. Is there an easy way to roll it out so it’s close to round and then how I can transfer to the pie plate without it falling apart? I can manage the bottom, cut the crust somewhat but laying the top crust over the filling and attaching eludes me every time. I make tasty but ugly flat pies. Help please. L, I am here to help, okay? Let’s concentrate on the pie problems that you’re having. First of all, once you mix your pie crust together, keep it nice and cold. Let it chill out for a little bit and then it will be a little better to you once you roll it. So wrap it in plastic, put in the fridge about 30 minutes. After that, go ahead and put your pie dough down on a nice flour counter, lightly floured and then start from the middle and go out in every single direction, keep turning it, keep turning it until you have actually rolled it into a round. So you’re basically going to move clockwise in every single direction, 360 degrees. Once you got it rolled, all you do is put your pie -- put your rolling pin down and start rolling the dough back onto the rolling pan as if it were you’re rolling up a sleeping bags. Let’s say on that rolling pan, and then all you’ve got to do is unroll it on top of your crust. Hopefully that will help, so when you do your double crust pies, they are looking beautiful as there tasting. The next question comes from the Blog Baking Bytes. Where Laura’s asked with exactly the difference between the effects of baking powder and baking soda? Laura, I get this question all the time, so I’m so glad you sent it in. Let’s start with baking soda. It’s the simpler of the two, just by carbonate. It just needs an acid in already kicked in two, it’s leavening action. Because both of these are leaveners but the difference is that the baking soda wants an acid likes a butter milk because a classic example. To get it starting to do it’s little bubble them and get the leavening power is coming out. Baking powder however, already has everything built in, so the minute that the baking powder hits water, leavening starting to occur. So if you don’t have an acid in your recipe that’s and you should be baking powder. Here is one from the Blog Simple Mom. Where many readers have said they have a hard time getting yeast bread to rise in they’ve -- getting yeast to rise in their breads. How do you get yeast to rise successfully to bake dinner rolls that aren’t the consistency of cardboard, such a good question. This is one that my stepfather is handling all the time. And I think that the most common problems I see of this. Usually my step father has yeast for just a little bit old. So what you do to check that? Is put the yeast in some water, if its not bubbling in a couple of minutes, change out your yeast. Go back to the store to get some new stuff. If it is bubbling, then make sure you have all the right conditions for those rolls to rise. What you want to do is putting a nice oil bowl, cover that in a damp -- damp towel or some nice plastic wrap. That’s from the start cream and nice warm environment and then always let your dough’s warm -- always let your dough’s rise around room temperature. So a 70 to 85 degrees, if it’s really cold because it’s winter time, you know just turn your oven for a few minutes and then turn it off and that ambient heat the oven will make things great. So try that out. Okay. I’ve got time for one more before I got to get back on the set. Michelle at five minutes from all I’m ask. When baking cookies, is there a difference between real butter and margarine, sweet cream or salted? And yes Michelle, there is. So margarine is actually -- you know, vegetable product and -- sorry. So I guess Michelle, there is a difference. Butter itself is actually a cow’s milk product and margarine is made out of vegetable oil. So the two are -- you know, different if you have that say kosher or some kind of dietary restriction then you can use the margarine instead to put. I love the taste of butter. As for a sweet cream versus salted, the salted had salted it but you don’t know exactly how much different people with different amounts of salt in their salted butter. So I stick to that precise saver recipes and my toast and your sweet cream butter in my baking recipes. That way, I’m sure that my cookies are never too salty. If you have many questions of your own, visit FoodNetwork.com/AskAida and submit them to be answered on my show.