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    THE NIBBLE’s Gourmet News & Views

    Trends, Products & Items Of Note In The World Of Specialty Foods

    This is the blog section of THE NIBBLE. Read all of our content on TheNibble.com,
    the online magazine about gourmet and specialty food.

Archive for Holidays & Occasions

RECIPE: Easter Yogurt Parfait

bunny-parfait-yoplait-230

A basic Easter parfait. Make yours more Easter-like with pastel-colored yogurt layers. Photo courtesy Yoplait.

 

Here’s an Easter weekend breakfast suggestion from Yoplait:

A yogurt parfait with Annie’s Honey Bunny Grahams.

Just layer yogurt with colorful fruit and top the parfait with the bunny-shaped graham cracker bites.

Variations:

  • Use yogurt in pastel “Easter colors,” like blueberry, peach and strawberry flavors.
  • Use different layers/flavors/colors of yogurt.
  • You can use a touch of food color to turn any flavor into a pastel; for example, turning Yoplait Key Lime Pie yogurt pastel green.
  • Consider other “Easter” toppings: green-tinted coconut for “grass,” and a few miniature jelly beans. (Hey, it’s Easter!)
  •  
    TO MAKE GREEN COCONUT “GRASS”

    1. PLACE shredded coconut in a plastic sandwich bag. Add a drop of green food color and shake. Add more food color as desired.

    2. SPREAD the coconut on a plate to dry.

     

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Homemade Chocolate Bacon Bunnies

    What are you giving your favorite bacon lover for Easter? Oscar Mayer created these foodcraft projects: bacon-stuffed chocolate bunnies and an Easter basket filled with “bacon grass” and hard-boiled eggs—fun for breakfast on Easter Sunday.

    Go buy lots of bacon and get started!

    RECIPE 1: BACON-STUFFED CHOCOLATE EASTER BUNNY

    Ingredients Per Small Bunny

  • 1 hollow chocolate bunny
  • 2 strips bacon
  •  
    Tools

  • Frying pan
  • Paper towels
  • Sharp knife
  •  
    Preparation

    1. COOK the bacon to desired crispness. Pat dry with paper towels and set aside.

    2. REMOVE and discard any wrapper on the bunny. Heat a knife by running the blade under very hot water; then quickly dry the knife completely. Using the dry, warm knife…

       

    bacon-bunny-2-230r

    Hide bacon in a chocolate rabbit. Photo courtesy Oscar Mayer.

     

    3. GENTLY CUT the bottom off of the bunny; set it aside. Insert the bacon slices into the hollow bunny, breaking the bacon into smaller pieces as needed to completely fill the hollow cavity.

    4. REPLACE the bottom piece of chocolate on the base of the bunny. Heat the original knife or a smaller knife as in Step 2. Slowly run the flat side of the knife back and forth over the seam, melting the chocolate to reseal the bottom. Cover in plastic wrap and store in the fridge for up to five days.

     

    bacon-easter-grass-230

    Bacon “grass” for an Easter basket. Photo courtesy Oscar Mayer.

     

    RECIPE: BACON EASTER GRASS

    Depending on the size of the Easter basket, even a small basket can require a lot of bacon. We recommend having some Easter grass or shredded paper on hand to stuff the bottom of the basket, under the layer of bacon.

    Ingredients

  • Thick cut bacon (8 to 12 slices)
  •  
    Tools

  • Kitchen shears
  • Frying pan
  • Tongs
  • Paper towels
  • Easter basket and colored* hard-boiled eggs for serving
  •  
    *Here’s how to color Easter eggs.

     

    Preparation

    1. CUT each bacon strip lengthwise into three long and skinny strips, using kitchen shears. Cook them in a frying pan over medium heat. Use tongs to stir the bacon and fry them in squiggly shapes to the desired crispness.

    2. TRANSFER the cooked bacon strips to a paper towel-lined plate. Blot dry and let cool completely.

    3. FILL a small Easter basket with the fried bacon Easter grass and serve with hard-boiled, dyed Eater eggs nestled on top. If you’re not planning to eat your creation right away, cover it in plastic wrap and store in the fridge, for up to five days.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Easter Bread

    tsoureki-eggs-artisanbreadinfive-230

    Tsouréki, a braided yeast loaf with red-colored
    hard-boiled eggs. Photo courtesy Artisan Bread
    In Five
    .

     

    Modern bakers make loaves and rolls shaped like rabbits. But from early times in Europe, rich, festive breads were baked as a celebration of the end of winter. Later they became associated with Easter.

    Often they were yeast breads, filled with luxurious ingredients such as almonds, candied citrus peel and other candied and dried fruits, cinnamon, and saffron. Some loaves were decorated with colored eggs or sugar, elaborately braided or shaped into doves. Most are sweet, some are savory.

    Most of the recipes are European, with a few South American specialties. Add one or more of these 21 Easter breads to your celebration. Head to a bakery in your town, or find recipes online.

    BABKA FROM EASTERN EUROPE

    Babka is a rich yeast loaf that is now enjoyed year-round. Made with butter, eggs and raisins, is native to Poland and the Ukraine. A savory version is made with cheese.
     
    CHIPA FROM PARAGUAY

    This cheese bread has a dense, chewy texture, similar to a bagel or bialy.

     
    CHOEREG FROM ARMENIA

    This rich, sweet dough, topped with sliced almonds, is sweetened with the mahleb, a spice ground from wild cherry pits that’s also used in the tsouréki yeast bread from Greece (below).
     
    COLOMBA DI PASQUA FROM ITALY
    The dough for is similar to panettone, with flour, eggs, sugar, yeast and butter. Unlike panettone, it usually contains candied peel but no raisins. The dough is then fashioned into a dove shape (colomba in Italian) and topped with pearl sugar and almonds. Some modern versions use a chocolate topping.
     
    FOLAR DE PÁSCOA FROM PORTUGAL

    Also called Five-Egg Easter Bread, this round yeast loaf is sectioned into five triangles, each with a hard boiled egg nestled on top.
     
    GUBANA FROM ITALY

    From the Friuli region, this strudel-like bread is made from a cocoa dough and filled with pine nuts, raisins and walnuts.
     
    HORNAZO FROM SPAIN

    This savory yeast loaf is stuffed with hard boiled egg and sausage—typically chorizo.
     
    HOT CROSS BUNS FROM ENGLAND

    Commonly found in the U.S. as well, raisin-filled yeast buns are marked with a cross of white icing.
     
    KOULOURAKIA FROM GREECE

    These crisp breakfast biscuits, originating on the Aegean island of Ikaria, are sweetened with honey.
     
    KOUZNAK FROM BULGARIA

    An eggy dough is mixed with lemon zest, nuts and raisins. It can be oblong or round, or braided and studded with eggs, like Greek tsouréeki.

     

    KULICH FROM RUSSIA

    This dome-shaped yeast bread is brushed with an egg wash or white glaze, and typically garnished with brightly colored sugar, candied orange peel, chopped almonds and currants. The dough can be mixed with candied citrus, cardamom, nuts, raisins and saffron (photo at right).

    PANE DI PASQUA FROM ITALY

    This means “Easter bread,” a generic term that can take many forms. One popular shape is a braided ring with a red-tinted hard boiled egg in the center—a riff on Greek tsouréki. Also see torta pasqualina, below.

     
    PAO DOCE FROM PORTUGUAL

    This lightly sweet, golden loaf is scented with saffron.
     
    PAASBROOD FROM HOLLAND

    Almond paste is the signature filling of this sweet loaf, along with golden raisins (sultanas) and candied lemon peel.
     
    PAASSTOL FROM HOLLAND

     

    kulich-russianmomcooks-230

    Kulich, Russian Easter bread. The baker used her decorating skills to create chocolate scrollwork instead of a simple garnish of dried fruits. Photo courtesy Russian Mom Cooks.

     
    This yeast bread is filled with currants, glacé fruits and raisins are first soaked in brandy. It can also include almond paste.
     
    PINCA FROM CROATIA

    Also known as sirnica, this sweet, eggy, buttery bread especially popular in Dalmatia and Istria. Pinca is similar to a briche and is traditionally shaped into a round loaf with a cross cut into the surface, like hot cross buns. Flavorings citrus zest, raisins and rum. Similar to hot cross buns, it is eaten on Good Friday to celebrate the end of Lent.

     
    PULLA FROM FINLAND

    This braided loaf is infused with cardamom.
     
    TORTA PASQUALINA FROM ITALY

    In Liguria, the special Easter bread is savory, consisting of thin layers of unleavened dough alternating with a stuffing made of sautéed chard, spinach and/or artichokes plus eggs and cheese, accented with nutmeg. Arugula, asparagus, chicory and radicchio can also be used.
     
    TSOURÉKI FROM GREECE

    This classic Greek Easter bread dates back to Byzantine times. By the Christian era, red-colored boiled eggs, symbolizing the blood and rebirth of Christ, were tucked into the braids. The rich yeast dough is flavored with orange peel and a charming spice called mahleb (mahlepi, makhlépi), ground from the pits of wild cherries. Other traditional spices include anise seeds and mastic (photo at top).
     
    VELIKONOCNI KRUHKI FROM SLOVENIS

    These sweet buns are flavored with candied citron, cardamom, ground almonds, lemon zest and raisins, vanilla and brushed with an egg wash.
     
    VELKYOS PYRAGAS FROM LITHUANIA

    This sweet yeast bread is studded with golden raisins (sultanas).

     
    If we haven’t included your favorite Easter bread, let us know!

      

    Comments

    EASTER: Filled Chocolate Eggs From Chocolat Moderne

    There’s still time to order these luscious, hand-painted Easter eggs from Chocolat Moderne.

    Decorated with splashy and colorful abandon in the style of Fauvism, each egg measure 3″ x 2″ and weighs 46g, the average size of four of bonbons.

    You can buy an assortment ($49 for six eggs or $27 for three eggs) or a smaller box containing one egg ($10). There are:

  • Pink Rose Swirl Eggs, filled with creamy dark chocolate ganache infused with raspberries
  • Purple Rose Swirl Eggs, filled with sea salted caramel (the salt is the famed Halen Môn sea salt from Wales)
  • Yellow Rose Swirl Eggs, all chocolate, pure chocolate ganache made from 72% Venezuelan cacao
  •  
    Make someone happy. Head to ChocolatModerne.com.

     

    chocolat-moderne-eggs-2015

    Large, hand-painted Easter eggs. Photo courtesy Chocolat Moderne.

     

      

    Comments

    BOOK: The Macaroon Bible

    the-macaroon-bible-230

    A gift for cookie lovers, gluten free observers and Passover hosts. Photo courtesy Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

     

    Before there were macarons, French meringue oookie sandwiches, there were macaroons.

    The soft, gluten-free coconut cookies are a delight year-round, but especially appreciated by Passover observers. Made of shredded coconut, sweetened condensed milk and egg whites—without the flour or leavening that are verboten during this holiday—they happily replace other baked sweets.

    Dan Cohen of Danny’s Macaroons and author of The Macaroon Bible, is a great macaroon baker. Starting with his grandmother’s plain and chocolate dipped recipes, he’s brought macaroons into the new flavor age. You can order them online at (the cookies are made with kosher ingredients, but are not certified kosher for Passover). We’re big fans.
     
    RECIPES IN THE BOOK
    Amarena Cherry, topped with an semi-candied cherry
    Baileys McRoons Macaroons
    Bourbon Macaroons
    Black Chocolate Stout Macaroons
    Chocolate Almond Macaroons
    Chocolate Banana Nut Macaroons
    Chocolate Caramel Macaroons
    Chocolate Dipped Macaroons
    Chocolate Malted Macaroons
    Guava Macaroons
    Jamstand Surprise Macaroons (with spicy raspberry jalapeño jam)
    Maple Pecan Pie Macaroons
    Peanut Butter & Jelly Macaroons
    Plain Coconut Macaroons
    Red Velvet Macaroons
    Rice Pudding Macaroons
    Spiced Pumpkin Macaroons
    Stoopid Macaroons (coconut macaroons filled with potato chips, pretzels and Butterfinger, then drizzled with dark chocolate)

    Get the book at Amazon.com.

    And take a look at the history of macaroons and macarons.

      

    Comments

    FOOD FUN: Best Decorated Easter Eggs

    Can’t decide how to decorate your Easter eggs?

    Check out this gorgeous array of 16 ideas collected by BehindTheCookie.com.

    We like these gold foil-accented eggs, but we’re creating a craft contest for our Easter guests—before the meal begins—from the Humpty Dumpty idea.

    Don’t tell them, but everyone who completes a Humpty Dumpty design gets a prize (a chocolate egg, of course).

    Take a look and decide on your favorite. The contest is optional.

     

    gold-foil-easter-eggs-behindthecookie-230sq

    Add some gold foil to your Easter eggs. Photo courtesy BehindTheCookie.com.

     

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Wines For Easter Dinner

    lacryma-christi-mastroberardino-230

    Lachryma Christi, “Tears Of Christ,” a
    delicious red for Easter. Photo courtesy
    Vinmoldova.md.

     

    What’s a holiday feast without memorable wines? THE NIBBLE’s wine editor, Kris Prasad, has come up with special recommendations for your Easter dinner.

    Whether your main course is lamb, ham, beef or poultry, these affordable red wines are not only tasty, they’re clever: You’ll have an anecdote to share with your guests as they taste and comment.

    Here are three wines with religious significance that should be on your table.

    RED WINE FROM ITALY: LACHRYMA CHRISTI, “TEARS OF CHRIST”

    With lamb or ham, you need a medium-bodied red wine.

    Legend has Lucifer grabbing a piece of heaven as he was being cast out of it; he dropped it near Naples. When God found that a piece of heaven was missing, He shed tears and vines grew where his tears landed—on Mount Vesuvius.

    The vines bear both red (Aglianico) and white (Coda di Volpe, Falanghina, Greco and Verdeca) grapes that produce wines called Lachryma Christi, “Tears of Christ.”

     
    The grape variety is mainly Aglianico, one of the noble red grape varietals of Italy (along with Nebbiolo and Sangiovese).

    If you can’t find the Lachryma Christi from the producer Mastroberardino, substitute another producer.

    RED WINE FROM FRANCE: ST. JOSEPH “OFFERUS”

    This red wine from the acclaimed Rhone producer Jean Louis Chave has a religious reference to Joseph of Arimathea. St. Joseph, canonized by the Catholic Church in the Middle Ages, was allowed to remove Christ’s body from the cross and bury him; he was supposedly present at the time of the Resurrection.

    According to the Gospels, Joseph, a man of wealth, donated his own prepared tomb for the burial of Jesus after his crucifixion.

    This is the St. Joseph for whom the great northern Rhone wine appellation is named—a west bank appellation that primarily produces red wines from the Syrah grape, along with some white wines made from Marsanne and Roussanne. There’s a faint illustration of him behind the print on the label.

    The doubly-aptly-named “Offerus” is a wonderful Easter offering. Pair it with either lamb and beef.

     

    WHITE WINE FROM GREECE: MERCOURI REFOSCO

    A Greek wine for Easter? Absolutely! There are important connections.

    The very word “Christ” is the Greek equivalent of the Hebrew word “Messiah,” the Anointed One. Paul the Apostle spread the gospel throughout Greece.

    Refosco is a grape variety indigenous to the Friuli region of northern Italy. In 1870, Theodore Mercouri imported Refosco cuttings and planted the first vineyard in the western Peloponnesian Mountains of Greece.

    This wine has velvety tannins and uncomplicated red cherry fruit flavors, which pair well with lamb.

    FOOD TRIVIA: The Peloponnese region of southern Greece is known for its currants—the Mercouris also grow them. The word “currant” derives from the nearby port of Corinth, from where the currants were shipped.

     

    st-joseph0offerus-winenoir.blogspot.com

    A double offering: Offerus from St. Joseph. Photo courtesy Winenoir.Blogspot.com.

     

      

    Comments

    FOOD FUN: Peeps Cocktail

    peeps-cocktail-xbarhyattregencyLA-230L

    A Peeps cocktail for Easter. Photo courtesy
    XBar | Hyatt Regency | Los Angeles.

     

    This idea came to us from X Bar at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Los Angeles.

    They use a Pink Lady cocktail, but you can use other pink cocktail recipes, including two different pink Martinis.

    The first step is to make the special “Easter grass” rim. It combines lime zest with the sugar for a textured “grass.”

    Alternatively, you can buy green sanding sugar, which is available in both emerald green and pastel green.
     
    RECIPE: COLORED SUGAR RIM

    Ingredients

  • Table sugar
  • Green food color
  • Lime zest
  •  

    Preparation

    1. PLACE the sugar in a plastic sandwich bag or quart bag with a drop of food coloring. Shake well to infuse the color. Add more color (green or yellow) as required to reach the desired hue. (Color the sugar lighter shade of green than the lime zest.)

    2. ALLOW the sugar mixture to air dry. Spread it on a paper towel or a plate. When ready to make the sugar rim…

    3. GRATE the lime zest and mix it 50:50 or as desired with the green sugar. Place on a plate.

    4. DIP the rim of a Martini glass or sherbet champagne glass 1/4-inch deep in a shallow bowl of water. Remove, shake to eliminate drips and place in the sugar mix, twisting the glass to coat the rim.
     
    RECIPE: PINK LADY COCKTAIL ~ EASTER VERSION

    The Pink Lady is a classic gin-based cocktail that may have been named after a 1911 musical of the same name. The pale pink color comes from grenadine; the foamy top is created by an egg white.

    A favorite of society ladies of the 1930s, the drink was widely known during Prohibition (1920-1933) but fell out of favor in the 1960s. One theory is that the [typically male] journalists who wrote about cocktails and the [typically male] bartenders who mixed them had little interest in pink, “girly” drinks.

    The original recipe had only three ingredients—gin, grenadine and egg white—shaken and strained into a glass. Over time, some versions added lemon juice, applejack (apple brandy) and even cream (which could be substituted for the egg white or used in addition to it). Here’s more Pink Lady history.

    We’re opting for the version with apple brandy, for more flavor. If you don’t have apple brandy, you can substitute apple schnapps (apple liqueur), which Appletini lovers will have on hand.

    If you don’t want to use any apple brandy, make the cocktail with two ounces of gin. If you don’t want to use an egg white, use heavy cream (but don’t use lemon juice—it will curdle the cream).

     

    The classic recipe uses a maraschino cherry for garnish, but for our Easter cocktail, the cherry gets replaced by a pink Peep.
     
    Ingredients Per Drink

  • 1-1/2 ounces gin
  • 3/4 ounce applejack, Calvados, other apple brandy or apple schnapps
  • 1/4 ounce lemon juice
  • 2 dashes grenadine or more to desired color
  • 1 egg white or 1/2 ounce heavy cream
  • 1 cup crushed ice or ice cubes
  • Easter garnish: 1 pink Peeps chick
  • Optional side: miniature jelly beans
  •  
    Preparation

    1. COMBINE the first six ingredients in a cocktail shaker and shake vigorously until everything is mixed well (the shaker should be frosted over). Strain into a rimmed Martini glass.

     

    PomBlush-pomwonderful-230

    Shake the cocktail vigorously so the egg white foams into a creamy top. Photo courtesy Pom Wonderful.

     
    2. SLICE a notch into the bottom of the Peeps chick. Place on the rim of the glass.

    3. SERVE with a shot glass or ramekin of miniature jelly beans.

      

    Comments

    PASSOVER: Delicious Nut Flours You Can Eat

    almond-flour-bobs2-230

    Gluten-free almond flour. Photo courtesy
    Bob’s Red Mill.

     

    Gluten free pioneer and whole grains leader, Bob’s Red Mill, offers delicious recipes for Passover using the company’s gluten-free Natural Almond Meal and Natural Coconut Flour.

    Nut flours have long been a gluten-free salvation as well as a Passover alternative, and these organic flours will also be welcomed by those looking for lower-carb or Paleo Diet alternatives.

    ALMOND MEAL/ALMOND FLOUR

    Almond meal is ground from whole, blanched sweet almonds. The nuts are also very low in carbohydrates and very nutritious. Bob’s suggests that you harness the nutrition by replacing 25% of the flour in your conventional baking recipes with almond meal. It will add wonderful texture and flavor while reducing the total carbohydrates. Here’s more information.

    COCONUT FLOUR

    Coconut flour is another delicious, healthful alternative to wheat and other grain flours. Ground from dried, defatted coconut meat, the unsweetened flour is high in fiber and low in digestible carbohydrates.

     
    The light coconut flavor blends seamlessly into sweet or savory baked goods. Use it instead of cornmeal to coat chicken, fish or other proteins. Here’s more information.

    Check out Bob’s organic nut flours, including hazelnut flour, at BobsRedMill.com. All are produced in a gluten-free facility. (Note that they are not certified kosher for Passover.)

    RECIPE: GLUTEN-FREE ALMOND PANCAKES

    Ingredients For 10 Pancakes

  • 2 cups almond meal
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup mashed ripe banana (from approximately 2 medium bananas)
  • 3 eggs
  • Garnish: maple syrup, sliced bananas
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT a skillet to medium heat (350°F). In a small bowl, combine almond meal, salt, baking soda and cinnamon.

    2. WHISK together the mashed bananas and eggs in a separate large bowl, until thoroughly combined. Add the dry ingredients and mix well.

    3. LADLE 1/4 cup of batter for each pancake onto the preheated skillet. Cook for about 4 minutes and then flip, cooking an additional 4-5 minutes until no longer wet in the center. Serve immediately with maple syrup and sliced bananas.

     

    RECIPE: GLUTEN-FREE ALMOND CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES

    Ingredients For 25-30 Cookies

  • 3 cups almond meal
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda/li>
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup voconut oil
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 whole egg
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Optional: 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup toasted sliced almonds*
  •  

    coconut-flour-bobsredmill-230

    Gluten-free coconut flour. Photo courtesy Bob’s Red Mill.

     
    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 375°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Combine the almond meal, baking soda and salt and set aside.

    2. MIX the coconut oil and maple syrup in a mixer or by hand until creamy but not fully incorporated, about 5 minutes. Add the whole egg, egg whites and extracts and mix for 2 additional minutes. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the egg mixture and mix briefly.

    3. ADD the chocolate chips and toasted almonds and mix until well combined. Place large rounded tablespoons onto prepared baking sheets, about 1 inch apart. Flatten slightly, to approximately 1-inch thickness. Bake until set and golden, about 15 minutes.
     
    *To toast the almonds, spread in an even layer on a baking sheet. Toast in a 375°F oven for 7-10 minutes, stirring at least twice during baking for even browning.

     
    DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ALMOND FLOUR & ALMOND MEAL

    Ground almonds—also known as almond meal or almond flour, are commonly used in baked goods and in breading of proteins, in place of, or in addition to, bread crumbs. Sometimes “almond meal” is called for, sometimes “almond flour.” What’s the difference?

    Both consist of finely ground almonds, and there is no official difference between them. The terms are used interchangeably.

    However, be aware of these differences, depending on the manufacturer:

  • Almond flour is often much more finely ground than almond meal; the flour also has a more uniform consistency.
  • Almond meal can be blanched (skins removed) or unblanched, while most products labeled almond flour are blanched.
  •  
    For most recipes you can use either. However, some recipes, such as French macarons, require the finest almond flour to get the smoothest finish on the cookies. For breading, almond meal provides a bit more texture.
      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Hot Cross Buns For Easter

    hot-cross-buns-6-hotbreadkitchen-230r

    Homemade hot cross buns. Photo courtesy
    Hot Bread Kitchen.

     

    With Easter a week away, you can start baking the seasonal treat, hot cross buns.

    The first recorded use of the term “hot cross bun” appears in 1733. A sweet yeast bun made with raisins or currants, the cross on top was originally made with knife cuts in the dough. Over time, icing was piped over the cuts.

    The cross symbolizes the crucifixion, and the buns are traditionally eaten on Good Friday. Actually, they are believed to predate Christianity: Similar buns were eaten by Saxons in to honor Eostre, the goddess of spring.

    In their ancient pagan culture, the cross is believed to have symbolized the four quarters of the moon. Eostre is probably the origin of “Easter.” Many pagan holidays were ported into Christianity in its early days, to encourage pagans to convert to the new faith.

    You don’t have to wait for Good Friday to enjoy hot cross buns. They’re too delicious to save for one day of the year. While Good Friday—this year, April 3rd—is National Hot Cross Bun Day, we’re giving you the heads up.

    If you don’t celebrate Easter, go back to the roots of this recipe and celebrate spring!

    This recipe, from the California Raisin Marketing Board, adds a twist to the traditional recipe: The icing is flavored with lemon, adding a tart counterpoint to the straight sweetness.

    RECIPE: HOT CROSS BUNS

    Ingredients For 18 Buns

  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup warm water (110°F to 115°F)
  • 4 cups flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup raisins or Zante currants
  • 2 eggs, well beaten
  • 1 egg yolk, beaten and diluted with 1 teaspoon water
  • Lemon icing (recipe below)
  •  
    For The Icing

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon water
  •  

    Preparation

    1. SCALD the milk, stir in the butter and cool the mixture to lukewarm. Dissolve the yeast in warm water.

    2. SIFT together the flour, sugar, salt and cinnamon in a large bowl. Stir in the raisins until well coated. Stir in the eggs and the cooled milk and yeast; blend well.

    3. TURN the dough out onto a lightly floured board and knead until smooth and elastic, 5 to 8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning to grease the top. Cover and let the dough rise in a warm place until it has doubled in bulk, about 1-1/2 hours.

    4. PUNCH down the dough, pinch off pieces and form smooth, round balls about 1-1/2 inches in diameter. Place the balls of dough on a greased baking sheet about 2-inches apart. Brush each bun with the diluted egg yolk. Cut a 1/2-inch deep cross in the center of each bun with a greased scissors. Let the buns rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 30 minutes. While the buns are rising, preheat the oven to 400°F.

    5. BAKE for 8 to 10 minutes or until the buns look lightly browned. Cool on wire racks, about 5 minutes.

    6. MAKE the icing: Combine the ingredients and beat until smooth. Pipe the icing to make a cross on each bun.

     

    Hot Cross Buns

    If you want to enjoy the hot cross buns as toast, leave off the icing. Photo © Woodsy | Fotolia.

     

      

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