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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.

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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What's your favorite type of pepper mill?

From Claire St.Louis - Michigan/Florida

I have used a PepperMate pepper mill for years and highly recommend it. They are available at

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Can you tell me how you transfer Anna's Tomato Tart from the sheet pan to the chopping board? I know it's probably simple but I'm afraid the base will break up.

From Marilyn - England

Holding the sheet pan with your left hand, pull the parchment paper and the tart onto the board in one stroke with your right hand. Then, transfer in squares to a dish or serve from the board with the parchment underneath. I hope that helps!

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Do you have a foolproof way to melt butter for a recipe? I usually melt it in the microwave in a glass bowl, but sometimes it pops and causes a mess.

From Liz Kovats - Brielle, NJ

I melt butter on the stove in a small saucepan over low heat. It only takes a few minutes - and no mess! 

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You have two slightly different recipes for spinach in puff pastry: Spinach Pie from The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook and Spinach in Puff Pastry in Barefoot in Paris. Which of them do you prefer?

From Nicole Adams - Beaverton, Oregon

I love them both, but the one that I've made the most is the Spinach Pie in The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook. It's easy and delicious! 

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