Kitchen Tip: Using Leftover Dough

I was recently making a tart for an upcoming story in Sunset and an editor walked by and asked, “What do you do with the extra dough?”

Usually, there isn’t that much, so I just toss it. But this time, because I was making a few tarts, I ended up with a lot once I mushed them all together.

Here are two things that I like to do. The first—and the easiest—is to make cookies. I form it into a ball and chill it again.

Then I reroll it and use decorative cutters to cut out shapes. I sprinkle them with sugar before I bake them or bake them plain and sandwich them together with whatever I have around that might taste good. Peanut butter is my usual preference, but frosting, good-quality jam, or even sweetened cream cheese works perfectly.

The other option—which I only do when I have time or have someone special coming—is to make little tartlets. I have a few of these mini tart pans that I bought on vacation in France, so using them is always a treat. I just press the soft dough into the inside of the pans using my thumbs, dipped in flour. Brush your thumb across the edge to clean up any rough bits of dough.

To make it even easier, I like to set another empty tartlet pan into the first, pinching the dough between the two pans. This is way easier than blind baking by filling each little mold with beans. (Good grief, who has time or patience for that!) Bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes in a 350° oven.

I fill them with fresh fruit or jam or whatever I have around (Again, usually peanut butter, but with chocolate chips mixed in.). They’ll stay fresh in a sealable container for about 4 days.

For ways on how to clean your tartlet pans, go here.

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