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Quick Tips: Desserts

  1. AK Home Cooking SolutionsFor clean slices, dip your knife into hot water each time you make a cut through the meringue topping on pies.

  2. Use an electric knife to slice soft cakes like angel food or jelly rolls. The speed of the blade prevents pressing down on the cake and crushing it.

  3. To easily serve ice cream to a crowd, pre-scoop it several hours ahead of time onto a wax paper- or parchment-lined baking sheet that's been pre-frozen for at least 30 minutes. Once scooped, return the baking sheet to the freezer until ready to serve.

  4. Coarsely crush red and white peppermint candies in a resealable plastic freezer bag with a meat mallet and use as a garnish on cupcakes, brownies, cakes and sundaes.

  5. To make chocolate shavings for garnishing desserts, use a vegetable peeler to slowly "peel" curls off a bar of milk chocolate (Hershey's« chocolate bars are perfect for this).

  6. It's easier to chop big blocks of chocolate with a large serrated bread knife than with a straight-edge chef's knife. The knife's serrations cause the chocolate to crumble into small bits.

  7. Many dessert recipes call for special liqueurs, but it can be expensive to stock up. Instead buy small "airplane" size bottles from liquor stores.

  8. Chocolate can scorch very quickly so it's important to stir it often while melting. Take it off the heat or out of the microwave while still a little lumpyŚresidual heat will melt the last bits in no time.

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