Freeze cookie dough
Have you ever premade cookie dough and either froze or refrigerated it until you wanted to bake it (like the Pillsbury rolls, etc.)? Do you thaw it for any specific time before baking it, or do you bake it directly from the fridge or freezer? — Kaki, Louisiana
I’ve chilled cookie dough many times, always making sure to use it within 24 hours of refrigerating it. Cookie dough freezes well, too. You can roll it into logs, wrap it in plastic wrap and place it in a freezer bag. When you’re ready to use the dough, thaw it in the refrigerator for a couple of hours, then slice and bake. You can also place cookie dough in each compartment of an ice-cube tray for freezing and thawing. If it’s for cutouts, form the dough into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap, and place it in a freezer bag or storage container.
You can freeze baked cookies, too. Be sure that they’re cooled, then place them in a plastic storage container, freezer bag or a tin. Use wax paper between layers so they don’t stick together. Use a cookie scoop or roll the dough into balls and drop them close together onto a wax or parchment paper-lined cookie sheet. Freezing for about an hour will harden them so they hold their shape, then you can transfer them into plastic baggies and freeze. If you choose, you can thaw them for half an hour at room temperature when you’re ready to bake, but there’s no need to thaw them before baking.
Is there anything I can use to sift flour other than a flour sifter? — Megan, Massachusetts
You can sift flour with a fine-mesh stainless steel strainer or sieve, or use a whisk or fork. You can also simply shake the ingredients in the container or fluff the flour with a spoon or small measuring cup in the container to introduce air. Oftentimes, recipes don’t really need ingredients to be sifted.
I use ice packs frequently and so was glad to read your advice on making them at home. Your directions were a bit sparse, however, and I’m wondering exactly how much Dawn dishwashing liquid one would use in making up a quart of gel. — Vishnu, email
I didn’t give specific measurements because it depends on the size of the freezer bag. There’s only one ingredient, so I eyeball it. Pour water into your baggie until it is about three-quarters full. In your case, you can use a quart-sized baggie, but fill it with only three cups versus four. If you use gallon-sized bags, buy a 50-ounce container of dishwashing liquid. You want to leave some space for the bag to flex. You can test this before you even freeze it to ensure that the bag contours against your hand, arm, leg, etc. You can also fill a freezer bag with popcorn kernels (don’t stuff it full). They’ll stay cold for a long time and the bag will be flexible enough to conform to wherever you apply the ice pack.