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Crisping cookies

While some baking websites suggest using only the egg yolk to make crispy cookies, many more disagree with that theory - with good reason. Egg whites generally give crispness and dryness to the final texture of baked goods. Egg yolks contain most of the egg's fat, so they contribute richness and a softer, cakier texture.

Instead, look at sugar and butter. Brown sugar is more moist; white sugar causes dryness. So you want a recipe that has more white sugar than brown sugar. Likewise butter makes cookies crisp while shortening makes them softer.

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Start cookin'

General Mills' Progresso has introduced a line of five canned Recipe Starters cooking sauces, sold next to its canned soups. They are creamy Parmesan basil, creamy roasted garlic, creamy three cheese, fire-roasted tomato and creamy portabella mushroom.

Simple sauces

No additions are called for with Campbell's six new aseptic-pouched Skillet Sauces: toasted sesame with garlic and ginger, creamy chipotle with roasted corn and black beans, scampi with white wine and garlic, Thai green curry with lemongrass and basil, marsala with mushrooms and garlic, and fire-roasted tomato with red bell peppers and chiles. The 9-ounce pouches say "just add" chicken, beef or shrimp, brown the meat, add sauce and cook.

Wine of the Week

2009 Oddero Barbera d'Alba

Region: Piedmont

Price: About $19

Style: Easygoing

What it goes with: Salumi, grilled sausages, chops, pasta dishes.

Piedmontese winemakers aren't drinking Barolo and Barbaresco every day; they're drinking Barbera. And this Barbera d'Alba from the Barolo house Oddero is everything it should be: ruby red, lush and velvety, with soft tannins and the bright taste of cherries and dark berries.


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