homemade

post33 // berry melt

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there was a lot to celebrate this past month, most notably my big bro rob’s move up to the big apple. i’ve been hoping he’d make the move since, well since i moved up here and on saturday april 1st it came true! (a.k.a. it wasn’t some sick april fool’s joke.) he showed up with my other bro jake and i showed up with the best thing i could think of: pie.

pie, pie, pie. we really love pie in my family. probably because i really love making it. on summer weekends together, pie is my baking project of choice. i run out of hands when i start counting the number of friends and family i’ve made pies with.¹ so it seemed only right that upon my bro’s arrival, a pie would be a nice treat. not to mention, a really good mid-move snack.

fullsizeoutput_75fi had planned to make the pie saturday morning and bring it over to my bro’s new place that afternoon when they arrived. butttt my plans got a bit meddled after a night out on friday, spent very wisely at my favorite place in nyc – sid gold’s request room, which led to sleeping in on saturday.  who can blame me? needless to say, pie making was pushed a bit later in the day. and my brothers’ plans? they were actually arriving *earlier* than expected. not exactly what i wanted to hear. i got to baking right away.

2 hours later and the brothers had arrived in brooklyn as i was just pulling out a hot berry pie from the oven. wow it looked good. but how the hell was i going to get this thing over there? i live seven six stops away in manhattan requiring two trains to get to my brother’s new place. would i bring the pie on the subway? i thought about this. for like a second. hell no i was not taking a warm pie in the subway. how would i swipe my subway card and hold it? not to mention, this pie was still hot so i would have to hold it on a cookie sheet. the pie didn’t make it on the subway. instead, i went with uber. i was already late anyways so hopefully a car would get me there faster.

fullsizeoutput_760my uber driver was not happy with my entrance. i had to ask a random man on the street to open the car for me and i didn’t really think through being on nyc streets in a car with a liquid-y, bubbling pie. as i sat clutching the pie plate so hard, the dessert spilled and leaked onto the cookie sheet. one big pothole and that pie would’ve leaked all over my uber driver’s car. and boy was he noticing. “is that going to spill??” he kept asking me. “everything okay” came out of his mouth at each stoplight. i felt terrible, but what could i do! i needed to get the pie there! and i did. a few sticky fingerprints were left on my uber man’s car (sorry sir), but i made it and greeted my brother with a “welcome to new york city” shout and a pie shoved right into his face. a warm welcome right there.

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¹s/o to some special folks i’ve made memorable pies with: this thanksgiving apple w/ my mom, this lattice beauty with my bestie stella, this strawberry cream version w/ my dad, this low-res pie w/ another bestie yarbs (from my ig’s days of infancy), and this berry number showing off pie process with avh.

photography by catherine o’donnell/butter yellow.

post32 // butternut squash pie

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A new and “improved” food lifestyle seems to pop up every morning. At the rate we’re at now, I’m saying goodbye to vegetarianism as an alternative diet and hello to clean eating, raw diets, veganism, gluten-free diets, paleo, juice fasting, lacto vegetarianism, case-in free diet, locavorism, etc. A whole pool of evidence, both pros and cons, sit behind each of these lifestyles, luring or deterring joiners. As a cook, these fads function as a limiting tool for much of what I like to make: sweets. A cake with no flour? A brownie mix with no egg? A pie with no crust? Yes, those are the confines of some of the above-mentioned lifestyles, and while I lean towards a food regimen that consumes anything, I’m willing to dabble in someone else’s food restrictions.

I stepped, again, into the world of gluten-free baking with this recipe, a place where I have failed so many times before. The lack of flour or substitute flours that many gluten-free recipes boast tend to mix up the balance of a typical dessert, creating end products that are too eggy in many cases.

DCIM100GOPROThis recipe steers away from flour all together, a canny movie on author Emiko Davies’ part. Lacking the traditional crust, this butternut squash pie allows the pie filling to take center stage. If you’re a fan of pumpkin pie, this butternut squash variety will make you question your allegiances.

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As cousins in the gourd family, when mixed with butter and cinnamon, pumpkin and butternut squash pie filling become indistinguishable, giving way to torpedo spoons that rake and consume this dessert in minutes. Topped with powdered sugar for flavor and crunchy sliced almonds, this pie is a true trophy of gluten-free baking. IMG_3091Butternut Squash Pie

Adapted from Emiko Davies, Food52

Materials:

Large cutting knife

Mixing bowl

Saucepan

Mixer

Food processer (optional)

9-inch pie dish

Ingredients:

2 lbs butternut squash

1 pint milk

3 eggs, beaten

3 ½ oz soft light brown sugar

2 tbsps melted butter, plus extra for greasing

3 ½ oz almond meal

2 tsps ground cinnamon

pinch of salt

handful of sliced almonds

powdered sugar, for decoration

whipped cream (optional)

Directions:

  1. Remove the seeds and skin of the squash and chop into inch-sized cubes. This link offers a great tutorial for how to do that: How to Peel and Cut Butternut Squash.
  2. Place squash in saucepan with the milk. Simmer about 25 to 30 minutes or until soft. Drain and leave squash in a colander or sieve to drain and evaporate as much as possible until cool. Then transfer to a bowl and mash or purée the squash. I suggest using a food processer if you have one.
  3. In a separate bowl, beat eggs together with sugar, butter, almond meal, cinnamon and pinch of salt. Stir through the cooled squash/pumpkin to combine well.
  4. Pour the mixture into a greased 9-inch (23 centimeter) pie dish. Smooth over the top to sprinkle with the sliced almonds.
  5. Bake at 350º F (180° C) for 45 minutes or until golden on top and set. The sides will shrink away slightly. When cool, dust generously with powdered sugar and serve. Whipped cream is another smart topping.

post31 // sweet potatoes with thyme

DSC_0193Thyme-Infused Sweet Potatoes

Like many people, I have a sweet tooth. I love cakes, cookies, brownies, pies, cobblers, crisps, ice cream, floats, the list goes on and on and on. However, recently I’ve been trying to substitute these cravings of mine with smaller portion sizes and sugar I can benefit from. High in fiber, potassium, and Vitamins A and C, sweet potatoes are a starchy root vegetable that should be added to your grocery list ASAP. Low in grams, one sweet potato contributes an extensive amount of nutrients for its percentage of the recommended dietary allowment (RDA). Also beneficial, sweet potatoes are high in amylopectin, a digestible type of starch.

If those scientific benefits didn’t lure you in, then this taste will. Littered in thyme leaves and a kick from red pepper flakes, these sweet potato rounds are full of flavor. I promise they’ll keep you full for a long time and if you make the whole recipe at once, you’ll be able to add them to meals throughout the week!

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Thyme-Infused Sweet Potato Rounds

Adapted from Kathryn Matthews, Epicurious

Materials:

Large bowl to mix

Cutting board

Knife

Vegetable Peeler

Cup/spoon measurements

Baking sheet or baking dish (13X9)

Ingredients:

4 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 1/2-inch-thick rounds

3 tablespoons olive oil

4 large garlic cloves, minced

⅓ cup fresh thyme leaves, plus 6 thyme sprigs for garnish

½ teaspoon kosher salt

Extra butter or oil to grease pan

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 450° F. Grease your baking sheet or dish with butter or oil.
  2. Combine all ingredients and toss in large mixing bowl.
  3. Arrange potato slices in a single layer on baking sheet or dish.
  4. Place on middle oven rack and roast until tender and slightly browned, about 40 minutes.
  5. Serve warm or at room temperature, garnished with thyme sprigs.

post29 // an o’donnell family staple: clams and linguine

ImageClams and Linguine 

Over every college break, I go home and I eat a lot. It’s no secret that I love to cook and upon arriving in a large kitchen, I can’t help but meet the granite countertop with a smile. Nonetheless, I’ve got some steady competition in the kitchen at home: my mother and father. I guess I didn’t have to spell out that my two older brothers don’t frequent meal-making times because those of you who know them, well you already knew that.

I’m lucky enough to go to a college that still fits an Easter break into their academic calendar. This past Easter break, my first meal home was Clams and Linguine. As my brother Jake’s favorite meal, it’s a no-brainer that this dish is a family staple in the O’Donnell household. It was definitely a part of the rotationhamburgers, pork and saurkraut, sausages and peppers—that made up my dinners growing up. As seafood lovers, pasta fans, and Italians at food-heart, Clams and Linguine is a perfect fit for the O’Donnell’s. Both easy to make and beautiful to serve, we pull our Clams and Linguine recipe from The Silver Palate Cookbook. We typically use littleneck clams and at times disregard the bottled clam juice. The clam juice you buy in the store can hold a lot of unnecessary sodium so to replace, we will use white wine and olive oil as our base. To take the recipe up a notch, you can buy homemade linguine to anchor your clams in. Our favorite place to buy the pasta? Vace’s in Washington, D.C.

Intertwined in a pool of linguine, the clams are abundantly spread within, beneath, and above the pasta. The meal transforms from a simple seafood dish to a full-on Italian meal with garlic, oregano, parsley, and plenty olive-oil to flavor. I couldn’t recommend an effortless course tastier than this, so make sure you jot the recipe down!

Linguine with White Clam Sauce

Serves 6

Ingredients:

¾ cup best-quality olive oil

6 garlic cloves, peeled and minced

4 dozen small clams, such as Littlenecks or Cherrystones, scrubbed, shucked, and chopped coarsely, all liquor reserved

About 2 cups bottled clam juice

½ cup finely chopped fresh Italian (flat-leaf) parsley

1½ teaspoons dried oregano

Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

24 fresh clams, in their shells, for garnish (optional)

1 pound linguine

Directions:

1. Heat the olive oil in a deep heavy pot over low heat. Add the garlic and cook until golden, about 5 minutes.

2. Combine the reserved clam liquor and enough bottled clam juice to make 3 cups. Add this to the pot along with the parsley, oregano, and salt and pepper. Simmer, partially covered, for 10 minutes. The sauce may be prepared ahead to this point.

3. Meanhwile, scrub the garnishing clams, if you are using them, and put them in another pan with water to a depth of 1 inch. Cover, and set the pan over high heat. Shake the pan or stir the clams and remove them as they open. Reserve them in their shells. Discard any clams that don’t open.

4. Bring 4 quarts salted water to a boil in a large pot. Drop in the linguine and cook until tender but still firm.

5. Meanwhile, reheat the sauce if you have allowed it to cool. Add the chopped clams and heat gently; clams should not overcook or they will become tough.

6. Drain the linguine and toss it with the sauce. Serve it in the pot, topped by the clam garnish, or transfer to individual wide soup bowls and garnish each serving with the clams in their shells.

1. Heat the olive oil in a deep heavy pot over low heat. Add the garlic and cook until golden, about 5 minutes.

Recipe taken from The Silver Palate Cookbook: http://books.google.com/books?id=pokLqCAZFh0C&pg=PA91&lpg=PA91&dq=linguine+with+white+clam+sauce+silver+palate&source=bl&ots=gziX–Z8sE&sig=ZWpeREXd34X3udDyiN7oIPYfUYo&hl=en&sa=X&ei=LgJfU4PUMZHLsQSJyoCgDA&ved=0CEEQ6AEwAw#v=onepage&q=linguine%20with%20white%20clam%20sauce%20silver%20palate&f=false.

 

post24 // a valentine tradition in the making: dark chocolate raspberry pie bars

ImageIf you are not a baker, keep reading. While other recipes that I’ve posted on my blog have proved difficult but reaped delectably rewarding results, this recipe cuts to the chase, blending a perfect ratio of raspberry pie with dark chocolate crumbly excellence. The triple-layered bars feature a pie crust bottom, a thick layer of dark chocolate, and a sprinkled pie crust crumble topped with halved fresh raspberries and mini chocolate chips. The ingredients, with the exception of the raspberries, are all common pantry holders so you’ll have no excuse for leaving this recipe in your to-do list. The prep time churns unbelievably quickly and the oven time leaves you with enough time for a fast nap, if you can wake up!

Kate and I wanted to make a Valentine themed baked good around the holiday to give away to both our single friends and some admirers. We naturally turned to the lovely Pinterest and found a slew of dessert recipes that ranged from drunken chocolate cherry cake to gooey red velvet s’mores bars. Though overwhelming, our choice was made on dark chocolate raspberry pie bars from the dessert blog, Deliciously Sprinkled. We figured a straight-forward recipe would be easy to duplicate for the growing audience of #Bakedby2Kates!

With the help of our friend Natalia, Kate and I successfully baked almost fifty of these sugary delights, each batch calling for a full can of sweetened condensed sugarmy Peruvian favorite! I will not advertise the bars as a “healthier dessert option,” but it was for Valentine’s Day, a sublime twenty-four hours of sugar. In any case, my most lasting image of baking this recipe was the environment outside. I trekked over to Kate’s apartment as half a foot of snow was blasting down on Davidson, North Carolina. For those who fail to venture far south of the Mason-Dixon line, six inches is unheard of in these parts. Seriously, if I had told you it would snow six inches when it was 60 degrees two days before, you would not have heard me. We baked in the middle of an uncharacteristically wintry scene, indulging in the warm pie bars as the sun went down. In my most melodramatic of words, that frosty afternoon will be one of my best memories at Davidson.

Some of you may now be adding events together and realizing that what! Valentine’s Day was on a Friday this year! Where did all the baked goods go? Who saved them for the special day? Well, in an attempt to make a Valentine’s Day treat, our pie bars were inhaled by every friend possible, two full days before the holiday. The last-standing individual was the boyfriend of Natalia, who, due to snow, received his bars in the mail the Monday after Valentine’s Day. Despite time and space, the air-tight seal of Tupperware and love had him send a dazzling report back.

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From Jenn Kurkiewicz with Deliciously Sprinkled Blog:

Dark Chocolate Raspberry Pie Bars

Prep time: 20 mins; Cook time: 45 mins
Ingredients
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup packed light brown sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
  • ¾ cup fresh raspberries, semi crushed and sweetened with a little sugar.
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Generously spray 9×13 inch baking pan with non-stick baking spray. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, using an electric or stand mixer, mix butter until creamy. Mix in brown sugar, flour and salt continue mixing until crumbly. Press 1¾ cups of crumb mixture into prepared baking pan. Set remaining crumbs aside.
  3. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until lightly golden. Remove from oven.
  4. While crust is baking, pour sweetened condensed milk in small sauce pan and add one cup of dark chocolate chips. Stir over low heat until chocolate has melted and mixture is smooth.
  5. Pour over warm crust.
  6. Sprinkle remaining crumbs evenly over chocolate layer. Spoon raspberries over crumb mixture and top with mini chocolate chips.
  7. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes. Let cool before cutting into bars.

post22 // the unfailing and nausEating union of chocolate and peanut butter takes the form of a whoopie pie

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Let’s launch our minds back to a favorite childhood film of mine, The Parent Trap. I can imagine that when my mom reads said movie title, she will remember the 1960s film where two campers discover their twin identities and plot to reunite their divorce-stricken parents. While the key blocks of the plot remain unchanging, I come from a different age where The Parent Trap means a pre-house arrest Lindsay Lohan playing each twin, a dazzling love between Elizabeth James and Nick Parker, credits running as “This Will Be (An Everlasting Love)” blares from the television, and most importantly, a beginning to my obsession with eating chocolate and peanut butter in symphonic unison. I don’t know many girls my age who could forget the following scene:

Hallie: [takes out a box of Oreos] Want one?

Annie: Oh, sure, I love Oreos. At home, I eat them with… I eat them with peanut butter.

Hallie: You do? That is so weird.

[takes out a jar of peanut butter]

Hallie: So do I!

Annie: You’re kidding! Most people find that totally disgusting.

Hallie: I know, I don’t get it.

Annie: Me either.

I don’t get it either Hallie and Annie. Instead, I adore the peanut butter and chocolate combination, so much so, that I couldn’t resist making these ever-scrumptious chocolate peanut butter whoopie pies, adapted from a Martha Stewart recipe that dates back to her 2005 Holiday Cookies segment. As part of Bakedby2Kates, my friend Kate and I rotate who picks the recipe for each week. As my second pick, I prolonged my calorie-popping dessert choices with these two rounded chocolate cookies smushed together by a spoonful of fluffy peanut butter buttercream. The whoopie pies were nauseatingly rich but unbelievably delicious. One was definitely enough but that didn’t stop some of our friends from enjoying a second helping.

Baking the cookies was simple enough. Although we didn’t have an electric mixer with a paddle attachment, our hand-mixing of the batter—using a wooden spoon—worked perfectly well. Other changes we made to Martha’s recipe were using a store-bought vanilla buttercream mixed in a 1:1 ratio with spoonfuls of creamy peanut butter (Betty Crocker and Jif respectively), replacing our parchment paper deficiency with buttering the cookie pan, and microwaving the bittersweet chocolate in lieu of heating it on the stove. Oh yeah, and we ate the pies less than ten minutes after piping on the spiral chocolate pattern!

If you had the chance to taste one of these whoopie pies, I hope you enjoyed every bite! If not, I suggest giving this recipe a try, chocolate and peanut butter can never fail you.

Adapted from Martha Stewart, Holiday Cookies 2005:

Peanut Butter Whoopie Pies

Ingredients

  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch process)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup vegetable shortening
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed dark-brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Peanut Butter Buttercream *we combined a store-brand vanilla buttercream with creamy peanut butter at a 1:1 ratio
  • 2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside. Sift together flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt into a small bowl; set aside. *You can butter the baking sheets if you don’t have parchment paper

2. Add butter, shortening, and sugars to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; cream on high speed until smooth, about 3 minutes. Add egg; beat until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add half the flour mixture, then the milk and vanilla; beat until combined. Add the remaining flour mixture. Beat together, scraping down sides of bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. *You can use a wooden spoon to mix if you don’t have an electric mixer

3. Drop 12 slightly rounded tablespoons of batter 2 inches apart on each baking sheet. Use a metal spoon to slightly flatten the cookie dough into rounder circles. Bake the cookies in the upper and lower thirds of over, 10 minutes; switch the positions of the baking sheets, and rotate each one. Continue baking until the cookies spring back to the touch, 2 to 4 minutes more.

4. Remove from over; let cookies cool on baking sheets, 10 minutes. Transfer with a metal spatula to a wire rack; let cool completely. Meanwhile, line a cooled baking sheet with a new piece of parchment; repeat process with remaining batter.

5. Spread 1 scant tablespoon buttercream on flat sides of half the cookies. Top each with one of the remaining cookies, flat side down, and gently press together. Transfer pies to a tray. *We gave our pies a little more buttercream in the middle, I’d suggest it!

6. Melt half the chocolate in a saucepan over low heat, stirring until smooth. Remove from heat; add remaining chocolate, and stir until melted and smooth. Transfer to a pastry bag fitted with a plain round tip (Ateco #2 or #3) or a small parchment cone. Pipe chocolate in a spiral pattern on top of each pie. Let chocolate set before serving, about 1 hour.

post21 // a recipe for bean fiends: cappuccino swirl snickerdoodles

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In our second week of Bakedby2Kates, we decided on a recipe that would be easy to multiply and deliver yummy results. Unlike the rich marshmallow-oozing brownies of the week prior that left my stomach in need of deflating rehabilitation, these snickerdoodles were the perfect dessert to enjoy without over-indulgence (OK, I did have two…

…or three).

Before I begin delving into the recipe details, let me make an announcement. If you consider yourself a baker or are aspiring to that position of self-identity and enjoy the art of transforming bland grocery store products into the Mona Lisa’s of your everyday sweets: this recipe is for you. If you’re looking for a quick cookie recipe and have not ever heard of Cream of Tartar, I would just steer clear. While the recipe is clean and easy to follow, I am the first to say it is not the quickest cookie baking experience. Yet, the final product of these coffee-infused delights is unforgettable: a sweet and energizing three-bite cookie that takes snickerdoodles to a cinnamon-sugar covered next level.

Although Kate and I didn’t have baking paper to line the cookie sheets and we failed to purchase cornstarch (you can tell our brains were awake at the grocery store), the cookies turned out great! The original recipe yields 30-40 cookies but given our love for sharing alongside the fact that we like big cookies, we doubled the prescription and made 60 cookies. Kate and I looked to the internet to help save us from the cornstarch absence. This website has a great write-up on how you can replace flour at a 3:1 ratio for every tablespoon of cornstarch you’re missing, http://www.myrecipes.com/how-to/cooking-questions/constarch-substitutes-00420000013001/. In terms of time, eight minutes seemed to do the trick for each batch. Like the last recipe I followed and posted on here, I cannot be more adamant about the need to follow the recipe! When it calls for both instant and ground coffee, that means they are not interchangeable. Buy both.

While I am not the biggest coffee fiend (unlike Miss Kate Sanford), these cookies were delicious! In general, we feed college students who in general, drink a lot of coffee. These were a huge hit across campus so please scroll your eyes down to the delicious recipe. It could be your next project!

Adapted from the TopWithCinnamon Blog:

Cappuccino Swirl Snickerdoodles
makes 30-40 cookies

10 tbsp (5 oz / 140g) butter
3/4 cup + 2 tbsp (7 oz / 195g) sugar
2 tbsp corn syrup / golden syrup
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg + 1 egg yolk
2 tbsp ricotta
3 tbsp cornstarch *see link for substitutions if necessary
1 3/4 cups (8 oz / 225g) flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp instant coffee
1 tbsp very hot water
3/4 tsp ground coffee

1/2 cup (2 oz / 55g) sugar
3 tbsp cinnamon

Melt the butter in a medium-large sauce pan over a medium heat. Keep cooking the butter, swirling the pan often, until the butter foams up, smells nutty and you can see beige solids in the bottom of the pan. Take it off the heat straight away and stir in the sugar.
Next, stir in the corn syrup and vanilla extract. Leave this mixture to cool whilst you preheat your oven to 340 degrees F (175 degrees F) and line a cookie tray with baking paper.

To the cooled butter mixture, add the egg and egg yolk. Beat them in well, then beat in the ricotta and cornstarch. Add the flour, baking powder, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt, then stir together until it just forms a dough. Remove half the dough to a medium bowl.

In a small bowl, dissolve the instant coffee in the very hot water. Add this and the ground coffee to the cookie dough in the bowl, and stir it in until the majority of the dough has turned a beige colour.

In a shallow bowl, combine the 1/4 cup (2 oz / 55g) of sugar and the cinnamon.

Take a slightly heaped teaspoon of the vanilla dough, and a slightly heaped teaspoon of the coffee dough, stick them together and roll into a ball. Roll this in the cinnamon-sugar mixture, then place on the lined cookie tray. Repeat, placing cookie dough balls about 1 1/2” away from each other on the tray, until the tray is full. Flatten the cookie dough so it’s about 1/2″ thick, and bake for 7-9 minutes, when the cookies should be set on top, but still a a little soft in the centre. Transfer the cookies to a cooling rack. Repeat this whole step until all the dough has been used up.