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Archive for June 17, 2011

COOKING VIDEO: Hibiscus Punch


Hibiscus is a popular ingredient in Africa, the Middle East, the Caribbean and Mexico. It’s used in beverages, salads, side dishes and desserts, among other things. It’s way overdue to break out in the U.S.

Along with our Top Pick Of The Week—hibiscus iced tea—try this hibiscus punch, known in Egypt as karkadé (pronounced kar-kah-DAY).

It couldn’t be easier to make the punch. If you can boil water, strain out the hibiscus leaves and add sugar, you’re there.

This recipe in the video doesn’t contain alcohol—Islam, the state religion of Egypt, doesn’t permit alcohol.

You can enjoy it as is, add your favorite white spirit (gin, vodka or tequila, for example), or substitute ginger ale for the alcohol.

  • Watch the video and see how quickly you can whip up an innovative (to Americans) hibiscus punch.
  • Make a saké hibiscus punch by adapting one of these saké punch recipes, or make the hibiscus punch recipe below (beneath the video).




  • 3 quarts water
  • 1/2 inch fresh ginger, finely sliced
  • 1-1/2 cups dried hibiscus flowers*
  • 1-1/2 cups sugar
  • Juice from one large lime
  • Optional: 1 cup alcohol (gin, vodka or tequila)
  • Optional: Lime wedges for garnish
    *Look for them at Latin or Caribbean markets. Also called roselle, flor de Jamaica and red sorrel, among other names. You can also buy it in an affordable bulk size online.

    1. Bring water and ginger to a boil. Remove from heat and add hibiscus flowers.
    2. Slowly stir in sugar until it has dissolved. Let steep 15 minutes.
    3. Strain into a large pot or a gallon pitcher. Add lime juice and set aside to cool.
    4. Refrigerate. When ready to serve, transfer to a pitcher. Serve over ice.

    NIBBLE TIP: You can make ice cubes from some of the punch, so the ice doesn’t dilute the drink.

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    RECIPE: Maple Bacon Muffins

    The last couple of years have seen a bacon frenzy: bacon chocolate, bacon brittle, bacon cupcakes, bacon mayonnaise and more (see our Best Bacon Gifts).

    Given that bacon is a favorite breakfast food, why not try bacon in a morning muffin?

    Kimberly Reiner and Jenna Sanz-Agero, authors of Sugar, Sugar: Every Recipe Has a Story, have created this yummy maple bacon muffin.

    The muffin itself contains maple bacon and maple syrup, topped with maple frosting and a piece of bacon.

  • What are you waiting for? Here’s the recipe.
  • More muffin recipes.

    Bacon muffins are a special occasion treat.
    Photo courtesy Kimberly Reiner and Jenna Sanz-Agero.



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    TIP OF THE DAY: For A Twist, Substitute Saké For Wine

    Summer saké punch with strawberries and
    cucumber: delicious! Photo courtesy


    For warm weather entertaining—like Father’s Day—serve something different and unexpected.

    Party drinks like sangria and punch are popular, affordable and easy to make.

    For a fun fusion, make them with saké.

    Saké, which many people think of as rice wine (we’ll skip the technicalities for now), can substitute for conventional grape-based wines in these recipes.

    How about saké sangria, an Asian twist on the Spanish original? Refresh yourself with:

  • Peach & Plum Sangria
  • Summer Saké Sangria, with watermelon and honeydew
  • Fruity Sake Sangria, with apple, honeydew and orange

    Would you rather serve a pitcher of punch instead of sangria?

    The key difference is that punch isn’t chock-full of fruit like sangria, and typically has effervescence added via soda water or ginger ale. Recipes include:

  • Ginger Plum Punch
  • Saké Berry Punch
  • Cool Sparkle Punch, with cucumbers and strawberries (our favorite among the six refreshing recipes)
    FOOD TRIVIA: The word “punch” is adapted from the Hindi word, “panch.” In India, panch was made from five different ingredients: sugar, lemon, water, tea or spices and an alcoholic spirit. The word for “five” in Sanskrit is panchan–hence the name. After carbonated water (soda water) became mainstream in the late 18th century, it was added to the punch for some effervescence.

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