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Archive for October 14, 2011

COOKING VIDEO: Candy Corn Cones For Halloween

 

Candy corn is great as a garnish during Halloween season.

  • Cupcakes: Use it as a cupcake topping. Create a circle of candy corn kernels around the rim of the cupcake. You can stand one kernel in the middle of the cupcake. Or create your own patterns. It’s a fun party activity or after-dinner dessert activity for kids.
  • Jack-O-Lantern Cake: Make a carrot cake with cream cheese frosting and filling, and cover the sides with a mixture of candy corn and chopped nuts (if it’s a loaf cake, cover the top). Use the nuts to cover most of the cake and press in candy corn at intervals. You can also use candy corn to make the eyes, nose and mouth of the Jack-O-Lantern, on the top of the cake.
  • Sundae: We love a scoop of vanilla ice cream topped with hot chocolate sauce and sprinkled with candy corn.
     
    Here’s a Paula Deen recipe that decorates ice cream cones with candy corn. Ms. Deen uses them as place card holders.

    But after dinner, you can turn the cones right side up and add vanilla ice cream or pudding for dessert.

    Vanilla ice cream or pudding pairs best with the sweet candy corn.

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    FOOD 101: The Difference Between Ascorbic Acid & Citric Acid

    Ascorbic acid prevents cut fruit from turning brown. Citric acid provides tart flavor. And dipping apple slices into honey is delicious. Photo by Tova Photography | IST.

     

    In the previous post, we discussed how to make your own lime juice cordial. The recipe contains citric acid.

    One of our colleagues wondered, “What’s the difference between citric acid and ascorbic acid? Aren’t they both in lemon juice?”

    Yes, but the two products are not interchangeable.

    Citric acid and ascorbic acid are both found in citrus juice, as well as in numerous other fruits and vegetables. But they have different properties.

  • Ascorbic acid is vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant. It is the more versatile of the two acids. Among its many uses, it keeps cut fruits and vegetables from turning brown. Another major use is in baking bread: It promotes the growth of yeast, which gives bread a finer texture and greater volume. In commercial food processing, it is used as a preservative. Its chemical formula is C6H8O6 (sorry, we can’t figure out how to turn the numbers into subscripts).
  • Citric acid is a less potent antioxidant. It has one more oxygen atom than ascorbic acid (chemical formula C6H8O7). But it has little nutritional value. Its value is its tartness. Citric acid is used commercially to enhance or provide tart flavor in products from tart candies to soft drinks. So much of it is added to cola that it can soften the teeth of heavy consumers. Some bakers use it in sourdough bread to produce an especially assertive tanginess.
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    Now that you know the difference, put it to work.

    Start by serving sliced apples with a honey dip or drizzle. Use ascorbic acid—dip the sliced fruit in a lemon juice-water mixture—to keep the flesh from turning brown.

    For citric acid: make some lime juice cordial!

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Make Your Own Lime Juice Cordial

    Back in June we wrote about grenadine: How most commercial brands are made of high fructose corn syrup and artificial flavors and colors, and how you can make your own natural (and better tasting!) grenadine with pomegranate juice and sugar.

    The same is true with lime juice cordial (also called lime cordial, and essentially lime syrup).

    Rose’s is the lime juice cordial most of us are familiar with. It’s lime juice concentrate and water, sweetened with high fructose corn syrup. The yellow-green color comes from Blue 1, an artificial food color. Sodium metabisulphite is added as preservative.*

    In the U.K., this type of concentrated fruit syrup is called squash or cordial, and is made from fruit juice, water and a sweetener. (The more sophisticated flavors contain herbal extracts, such elderflower and ginger.)

    For a soft drink, the cordial is mixed with club soda or water, in 1:5 proportion. Try it in ginger ale and cola, too.

     

    For a gourmet touch, make your own lime cordial. Photo courtesy Rose’s.

     

    The most popular use for the syrup in the U.S. is mixing with alcohol in a cocktail recipe. You can’t have a Gimlet or a Vodka Lime without lime juice cordial.

    *When Rose’s product was patented in 1867, sugar was used as a food preservative. Rose’s enabled fresh lime juice to be preserved without the addition of alcohol. Today, the brand is owned by the Dr Pepper Snapple Group. In the U.S., the sugar has long been replaced with HFCS. In the U.K. and Canada, sugar is still used: The regulators in those countries are not keen on HFCS.

    RECIPE FOR LIME JUICE CORDIAL

    This recipe makes about 3 cups. It has a shelf life of one to three months in the fridge. If you won’t use all of it, bottle it and give it to a cocktail- or soda-loving friend.

    Ingredients

  • 1-1/2 cups water
  • 3/4 cup sugar or 1/2 cup agave nectar (a low-glycemic alternative)
  • 3/4 teaspoon citric acid (also called sour salt, available near the Rose’s in large supermarkets, some pharmacies and online)
  • 3/8 teaspoon tartaric acid
  • 3/4 cup lime juice (4-5 limes, depending on size)
  • Rind of 3 limes, cut into strips
  • Optional: 1 tablespoon of vodka as a preservative
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    †Cream of tartar, a derivative of tartaric acid, isn’t acidic enough for this recipe.

    Preparation

    1. Heat water to boil.
    2. While water is boiling, whisk together sugar, citric acid and tartaric acid in a small bowl.
    3. Add to boiling water and whisk until sugar mixture completely dissolves. Add lime juice and rind, and stir.
    4. Heat mixture for 2 minutes on high heat; cover and cool to room temperature, then mix in vodka.
    5. Refrigerate overnight in an airtight container. Strain out rind and return mixture to fridge.
    6. Extra step to extend the life of your cordial: Sterilize the bottle and lid by boiling for 10 minutes or heating in the oven at 180°F for 15 minutes.

    WHEN NOT TO USE LIME JUICE CORDIAL

    Sometimes you want the flavor of lime juice cordial, sometimes you don’t.

    Because it’s easier and cheaper, some bars substitute lime juice cordial when fresh lime juice is called for—in a Cosmopolitan, Margarita or Mojito, for example. If you order a drink and anticipate a refreshing lilt of lime, you may be disappointed if the bar uses lime juice cordial.

    Ask if fresh-squeezed lime juice is used, and if not, request that yours be made with it. Every bar has fresh limes. The fresh juice makes a big difference.

      

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