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This Week's Question

I love making your Pecan Shortbread but I don't always have the time to roll out the cookies the same day. How long will the dough last in the refrigerator wrapped tightly in plastic wrap?

From Christine - Rio Rancho, NM

Unfortunately, if you chill the dough for too long and then try to bring it to a temperature where you can roll it out, the outside will be too soft and the center will be too hard. What you can do, though, is roll out the dough, cut out the cookies, and then refrigerate or freeze them until you have time to bake.

What’s the best way to soften butter?

From Ginny Krol - Buffalo, NY

When I need room-temperature butter, I leave it out on the kitchen counter for several hours, or even overnight, to make sure it is completely soft. 

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What size eggs do you use for baking? I'd like to make the Sour Cream Coffee Cake, but would like to know what size eggs to use.

From Lois Stark - Greenwich, NY

I use extra-large eggs in all my recipes. 

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I have one friend who is completely vegan. How do you handle this situation at a dinner party without having to cook two complete meals?

From Lynda - Little Rock, AR

I agree that you don't want to make two separate meals- both because it's too much work, but also because you don't want the guest who's vegan to feel "other." I might make a meat main course and lots of vegetable dishes, including one more substantial dish, like a grain or rice, and every can choose what they like for dinner! 

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I love the big white serving bowls and platters that you use. What brand are they and where can they be purchased?

From Rebecca - Amarillo, Texas

I get a lot of my serving bowls and platters from Williams-Sonoma and Crate & Barrel. They both have a huge range of white china. For example, my large serving bowls are Crate and Barrel brand, and my Pillivuyt and Apilco dishes are from Williams-Sonoma. I hope that helps! 

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For your onion dip recipe you say to use "good mayonnaise." Does that mean homemade or a specific brand?

From Nancy - Massachusetts

By "good mayonnaise" I mean a good-quality store-bought brand, such as Hellman's or Duke's.

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