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Ina Garten's Cookie Cutter Technique For Adorable Soup Toppers

Ina Garten smiling
Ina Garten smiling - Noam Galai/Getty Images

Ina Garten has many kitchen tips that make everyday recipes easier, more relatable, and, dare we say, cuter? Well, this time, the Food Network star and renowned cookbook author is aiming to elevate your soup game, showcasing her brilliant technique for making "puff pastry crouton" soup toppers using cookie cutters.

That's right, the Barefoot Contessa herself shared that she often tops her popular Chicken Pot Pie Soup with adorable puff pastry stars and hearts, calling the dish "no ordinary chicken soup" on her Instagram feed, and she included the surprise revelation that basic cookie cutters provided the special touch that helped take this dish to the next level. That's right, using your cookie cutters to make a puff pastry version of croutons can give you an ingenious method of stepping up your soup presentation with buttery-rich puff pastry and your choice of adorable cookie cutter shapes to suit any season. Can you say, "soup-er cute?"

Read more: 11 Of The Best Cooking Tips From Bobby Flay

Using Cookie Cutters To Create Puff Pastry Croutons

puff pasty soup croutons with bowl of soup
puff pasty soup croutons with bowl of soup - Sarah Biesinger/Getty Images

The good news is that store-bought puff pastry will work perfectly for soup toppers, and choosing the right frozen puff pastry — butter-based instead of shortening-based — prevents you from having to sacrifice quality or taste. But whether store bought or homemade, it's important to remember that puff pastry is somewhat delicate. So for the best results, keep your dough pliable, while not over-handling, and lightly flour your surface when working with puff pastry. Also, puff pastry should be worked with when it's cold, so be sure to keep it away from the heat of your oven, not let it sit out too long, and use only your fingertips to touch it, as they are the coolest part of your hands.

When you're ready to cut your shapes, remember to punch straight down and not twist the cutters, so the layers don't stick together and keep it from rising. After cutting, you can brush your toppers lightly with an egg wash (traditionally, 1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon of water) before baking for a golden sheen.  Oven temperature matters, too — a higher temperature will cause your toppers to puff more, lower will result in flatter toppers.

Additionally, you can pre-bake your soup toppers and store them in an airtight container in your refrigerator, where they will stay fresh for around two to four days. Simply reheat them for a few minutes in your oven or air fryer — but it's important that you don't microwave them, as they will likely become soggy.

Easy And Delicious Ways To Use Puff Pastry

hot dogs wrapped in puff pastry
hot dogs wrapped in puff pastry - Slawomir Fajer/Shutterstock

Wondering what you should do with that leftover thawed puff pastry after last night's soup toppers slam dunk? You're in luck — as it turns out, puff pastry can be used in a myriad of other ways to elevate your next meal or appetizer. You can use the leftover dough as the crust for homemade puff pastry pizza — just make sure you keep the sauce light so you don't make the dough soggy. Throw it atop a casserole dish for a savory chicken and artichoke pot pie, or get creative at Halloween by making vegan potato puff mummies.

As for The Barefoot Contessa, puff pastry has inspired its way into many of her other comfort food staples as well. She layers slices of ham and cheese with it for an elevated Hot Pocket, if you will. She rolls it with butter, cinnamon, raisins, and brown sugar to make easy sticky buns, and she even uses puff pastry to roll up and bake hot dog wieners.As long as you wrap the thawed sheets tightly in plastic, refrigerate, and use them as soon as possible (in the next few days), you can wow your family a few more times and get some major cooking creativity points.

Read the original article on Daily Meal.