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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 Cookies/Cake/Pastry

RECIPE: Best Cherry Pie

cherry-pie-lattice-cherrymktginst-230

This cherry pie gets a fancy lattice top. Photo courtesy Cherry Marketing Institute.

 

It’s National Cherry Pie Day, and we’re honoring both the holiday and Jean Van’t Hul by publishing her recipe for “the best cherry pie ever.”

Like all good cooks, Jean has worked on this recipe for years, adapting recipes from prominent sources like Rose Levy Beranbaum and Cook’s Illustrated.

Jean notes that her recipe uses cherries canned in water. “not that dreadful canned cherry pie filling.”

RECIPE: THE BEST CHERRY PIE

Ingredients

For The Pie Crust

  • 2-1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled
  • 8 tablespoons vegetable shortening, chilled
  • 8 tablespoons ice water
  • For The Filling

  • 3 cans tart cherries in water (Jean likes Oregon Fruit Products Red Tart Cherries, which she often finds with the canned fruit instead of in the baking aisle)
  • 4 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1-1/4 cups sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • Scant 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  •  
    Plus

  • Optional garnish: crème fraîche, vanilla ice cream or whipped cream
  •  

    Preparation

    1. MAKE the pie crust. Mix the flour, salt, and sugar in a food processor (or use a pastry blender). Cut the butter into smaller pieces and add to food processor. Pulse a few times. Cut the shortening into smaller pieces and add to food processor. Pulse a few more times, until butter and shortening are the size of peas or smaller. Transfer to a large bowl.

    2. SPRINKLE 3-4 tablespoons of ice water over the dough mixture at a time, mixing and pressing with a sturdy rubber spatula until the dough comes together. Divide into two and wrap each half in plastic wrap. (Tip: Dump the semi-formed dough onto plastic, wrap it up, knead it bit until it forms a ball, then flatten it into a disk.) Refrigerate until ready to use.

    3. MIX the 3 cans of cherries plus the juice from 1-1/2 cans with sugar, cornstarch, salt and almond extract in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan. Bring to a simmer and cook over medium-low heat for about 10 minutes, stirring regularly, or until the liquid is thick and bubbly (partially jelled). Set aside to cool.

     

    oregon-specialty-fruit-red-tart-cherries-230

    Look for pitted cherries in water, not “glop.” Photo courtesy Oregon Specialty Fruit.

     

    4. PREHEAT the oven to 425°F. Cover a cookie sheet with foil and place on a lower rack, to catch any drips.

    5. SPRINKLE the counter with flour and roll out the bottom pie crust. Arrange in a pie pan. Pour the cooled pie filling into the crust.

    6. ROLL out the top crust. Use a sharp knife to cut the top crust into strips for a lattice crust or use a cookie cutter to make other designs. Either drape your top crust over the pie, if you used a cookie cutter design, or weave your traditional lattice crust (here’s a YouTube video).

    7. TRIM Tthe edges of the top and bottom crust to 1/2-1 inch beyond the pie pan and then fold them under. Either press around the perimeter with the tines of a fork or crimp it with your fingers.

    8. BRUSH the crust with a beaten egg white (or cream) and sprinkle sugar on top.

    9. BAKE for 20 minutes at 425°F, then lower the oven temperature to 375°F and add a pie crust shield (or a foil tent with the center cut out) to protect the outer edges of the crust from burning. Bake for another 30-40 minutes, until the crust looks nicely browned and the juices bubble up thickly.

    10. REMOVE the pie from the oven and let cool for 3 hours or so before eating, so the filling will gel properly. Garnish as desired and serve.

      

    Comments

    FOOD FUN: Green Tea Fortune Cookie Cake

    At last: an idea to repurpose the fortune cookies that so many of us acquire from Chinese food take-out.
    This Green Tea layer cake is made by Baked NYC, one of the most popular bakeries in New York City. The cake has three almond white cake layers, frosted and filled with green tea buttercream.

    You can call it a Green Tea Cake, Fortune Cookie Cake, or Chinese New Year Cake. It’s easy to whip up with a box of white cake mix and some dark or white chocolate, into which you dip the fortune cookies. Here’s how:

    RECIPE: GREEN TEA FORTUNE COOKIE CAKE

  • Add 1 teaspoon of almond extract to a white cake batter (use a boxed mix).
  • If you want an actual green tea cake, add 4 teaspoons of matcha (powdered green tea) to the cake batter/mix and omit the almond extract.
  • Make the green tea buttercream (recipe below).
  • Dip the fortune cookies into melted dark or white chocolate.
  • If you like crunch, crush extra fortune cookies with a rolling pin and add the pieces to the filling over the bottom layer.
  •    

    green-tea_layer-cake-230

    Green tea frosting on a layer cake. The fortune cookies were dipped in white chocolate. Photo courtesy BakedNYC.com.

     
    If you want to make your own fortune cookies from scratch, here’s the recipe.
     

    RECIPE: GREEN TEA BUTTERCREAM

    Ingredients

  • 1-1/2 sticks butter softened
  • 3 tablespoons matcha green tea powder
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 5 cups powdered sugar
  •  
    Preparation

    1. COMBINE the water and tea powder to make a paste.

    2. CREAM the butter and tea until completely combined. Gradually add powdered sugar until you reach the consistency you like for frosting.

     

    Matcha

    Matcha, powdered green tea, is whisked with
    water into a foamy beverage. Photo by Kelly
    Cline | IST.

     

    WHAT IS MATCHA?

    Matcha is powdered green tea the consistency of talc, that is used in the Japanese tea ceremony (cha no yu). Matcha has a wonderful aroma, a creamy, silky froth and a rich, mellow taste.

    Matcha is made from ten-cha leaves, which are gyokuro leaves that have been not been rolled into needles but are instead steamed and dried. They are top-grade Japanese green tea, produced by a special process in the Uji district, a region known for producing some of the finest green teas in Japan.

    The tea bushes are shaded from sunlight for three weeks before harvesting, producing amino acids that sweeten the taste. Unlike whole leaf tea, which is steeped, the leaves are then ground like flour, slowly and finely in a stone mill. The powder is whisked into water, creating a foamy drink. It is the only powdered tea.

    Powdered tea is the original way in which tea was prepared. Steeping dried leaves in boiling water didn’t arrive until the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644).

    Matcha contains a higher amount of nutrients (vitamins, minerals, L-theanine amino acids, polyphenols, chlorophyll and fiber) than other teas.

     
    In recent years, matcha has become a popular cooking and baking ingredient, and now comes in different grades for different uses. Pastry chefs have incorporated it into everything from cakes and custards to ice cream.
     
    WHAT IS THE CHINESE NEW YEAR?

    The Chinese calendar consists of both Gregorian and lunar-solar calendar systems. Because the track of the new moon changes from year to year, Chinese New Year can begin anytime between late January and mid-February.

    This year, it begins today, and it’s the Year Of The Goat, one of the 12 zodiac animals. The Chinese zodiac is based on a twelve-year cycle. Each year in the cycle has an animal sign: the rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat/ram/sheep, monkey, rooster, dog or pig.

    But what’s with the goat/sheep/ram? Which one is it?

    It’s what you want it to be. In Mandarin, the character “yang” refers to a horned animal, and covers all three of the contenders. But if you go for sheep, know that is one of the least desirable animals on the zodiac. A sheep is seen as a docile, weak follower, rather than a leader.

    So go for the goat: a feisty, independent-minded ruminant whose milk makes our favorite cheese!

    If This Is Your Lunar Year…

    In addition to those born this year, those under the goat/ram/sheep sign were born in 1919, 1931, 1943, 1955, 1967, 1979, 1991 and 2003. For them, 2015 is an auspicious year.

    People born in the Year Of The Goat are said to like to be in groups. They are honest, intimate, and can be easily moved by the misfortune of others.

    Every sign confers lucky numbers, lucky colors, lucky flowers, etc. So whether you’re a goat or one of the other zodiac animals, head on over to ChinaHighlights.com to find yours.

    CHINESE NEW YEAR TRIVIA: The tradition of spending the Lunar New Year holiday with family means that hundreds of millions of Chinese people are traveling home. It’s the world’s biggest annual migration.

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Maple Syrup Blondies

    We received a gift of maple syrup, and were checking out our list of ways to use maple syrup. We settled on this recipe we’ve been wanting to try, for Maple Syrup Blondies from Lauryn Cohen of BellaBaker.com.

    We actually prefer blondies with chocolate chunks to brownies. Lauryn prefers toffee bits in her blondies.

    In this recipe, she substituted maple syrup for the toffee. As she explains, it gives the same sweet, caramelized flavor throughout the whole base of the blondie, rather than just in little toffee pockets. She also added in some cinnamon, chocolate chips and coconut.

    The result, she says, “a golden, sweet, amazingly fantastic blondie.”

    RECIPE: MAPLE SYRUP BLONDIES

    Ingredients

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 10 teaspoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chopped semi sweet chocolate, or chocolate chips/chunks
  • 1 cup shredded sweetened coconut
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  •  

    Maple syrup blondies with lots of chocolate chips. Photo courtesy Bella Baker.

     

    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 325°F. Line the bottom of a 9 x 13 inch Pyrex baking pan with parchment paper and spray with nonstick cooking spray.

    2. WHISK together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in a small bowl. Set aside.

    3. CREAM the butter and both sugars together in a large bowl, using electric beaters on medium high speed, until pale and fluffy (about 3 minutes). Add the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition. Add the maple syrup and vanilla; then reduce mixer speed to low and gradually add in the dry ingredients.

    4. SWITCH to a rubber spatula and add the chocolate, coconut and walnuts. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the edges are golden brown and slightly separated from the sides of the pan. Remove from the oven and let cool in the pan.

    5. WAIT until the blondies are completely cool before cutting into squares.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Easy Valentine Cake

    If time has gotten away from you and you haven’t picked up a special treat for the family, here’s a trick from one of our favorite New York bakeries, BakedNYC.

    Buy a plain, iced store-bought cake and add your own decorating touch. It combines store-bought with “homemade.”

    While you can buy a Valentine cake at any supermarket, most have tacky plastic decorations. You can do a much nicer job by adding your own delicious decorations to a plain frosted cake.

  • Sprinkles. Your supermarket may have Valentine sprinkles (a mix of red, pink and white) or heart-shaped sprinkle decorations. If not, get bottles of plain red and white sprinkles.
  • Candies. Or, head to the candy section for chocolate foil hearts, Conversation Hearts, pink and red jelly beans, Hershey’s kisses, red hots or anything else that fits in with the theme.
  • Fresh fruit. How about chocolate-dipped strawberries or raspberries? Here’s how to dip your own. Otherwise, add them plain. If you have enough, dot them around the rim. Otherwise, you can place them in the center.
  •  

    white-layer-valentine-cake-bakenyc-230

    Add your own decorating touch to a plain iced cake. Photo courtesy BakedNYC.

  • Rim garnish. At a minimum, add a rim of garnish to the top of the cake. Sprinkles or Red Hots work well.
  • Base garnish. To go all-out, place Hershey’s Kisses (you can leave the festive foil on), conversation hearts or chocolate foil hearts around the base, instead of the piped frosting shown in the photo.
  •  

    BAKING YOUR OWN CAKE

    If you want to bake, you don’t need to make layers. Buy a box of cake mix (chocolate, red velvet, white or yellow) and toss a bundt cake, loaf cake or single-layer mini sheet cake into the oven.

    About the icing:

    The bakery section of your supermarket may sell tubs of buttercream (CK Products makes it). It’s not as good as homemade, but it’s far better than canned frosting.

    Or, take 10 minutes to make real buttercream. All you need is a stick of butter, a cup of confectioners’ sugar, 1/4 cup whole milk and the flavoring of your choice: 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, 4 ounces chocolate or 1 teaspoon instant coffee. Just blend them together and ice away!

    Here’s the recipe.

      

    Comments

    VALENTINE RECIPE: Chocolate Raspberry Bundt Cake

    choc-rasp-bundt-cake-annalise-goboldwithbutter-230

    Chocolate and raspberries are a match made
    in heaven. Photo courtesy Annalise | Completely Celicious.

     

    Here’s another delicious Valentine recipe from Annalise of Completely Delicious, sent to us via GoBoldWithButter.com.

    Everyone thinks they’re getting a conventional chocolate cake, until slicing it reveals the raspberry surprise. This combination of chocolate and fresh raspberries in a buttery Bundt cake is a match made in heaven (just like you and your Valentine?).

    The raspberries blend into the cake as it bakes, creating little bursts of bright flavor to contrast with the rich chocolate.

    RECIPE: CHOCOLATE RASPBERRY BUNDT CAKE

    Ingredients For A 9-Inch Cake

  • 2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1-1/4 cups unsalted butter
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1-1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 1 cup fresh raspberries
  • Garnish: powdered sugar
  • Optional garnish: whipped cream*
  • Optional garnish: fresh raspberries
  • Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 350°F. Butter and flour a 9-inch bundt pan.

    2. COMBINE the flour, cocoa, salt and baking soda in medium bowl. In the bowl of stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs, mixing after each, and stir in the vanilla. Add the dry ingredients in 3 batches, alternating with the buttermilk, scraping down bowl as needed.

    3. SPOON the batter into the prepared pan. Sprinkle the raspberries on top (they will sink as the cake bakes). Bake 45-60 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into center of cake comes out with a few moist crumbs.

    4. LET the cake cool completely in the pan, then turn out onto a plate or cake stand. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and garnish with whipped cream and additional raspberries.

     
    *For more raspberry flavor, add a tablespoon of Chambord or other raspberry liqueur into the whipped cream.

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Beet Tarte Tatin

    beet-tarte-tatin-taste.com.au-230r

    Beet Tarte Tatin. Photo and recipe courtesy
    Taste.com.au.

     

    If you love the combination of beets and goat cheese, try this recipe for Beet Tarte Tatin. We adapted it from one by Katrina Woodman, originally published in the October 2012 of Australian Good Taste.

    The Tatin sisters, Caroline and Stéphanie, ran the Hotel Tatin in Lamotte-Beuvron, southwest of Paris in the Loire Valley, not far from the town of Chambord. Tarte Tatin is a one-crust fruit pie invented by accident in France in the early 1880s. It is served upside-down; the fruit (initially, it was apples) are on the bottom with the crust on top.

    As the story goes, Stéphanie, preparing an apple tart, erroneously put the apples in the pan without the crust underneath. The apples caramelized, the customers loved it and the Tarte Tatin was born.

    It can be made with sweet vegetables as well: beets and carrots are delicious prospects.

    This vegetable Tatin, cooked in a skillet, serves four as an appetizer or as part of a light lunch, with a salad.

     
    RECIPE: BEET TARTE TATIN

    Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 8 small beets, peeled and halved
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves (removed from stalks)
  • 1 sheet frozen butter puff pastry, thawed
  • 2 ounces fresh goat cheese, crumbled
  • Optional garnish: fresh thyme sprigs
  •  

    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT oven to 390°F.

    2. MELT the butter in a ovenproof non-stick 7″ or 8″ frying pan over medium-high heat. Stir in the beets and cook for 2 minutes. Add the sugar, vinegar and thyme. Season. Cook, stirring, for 2 minutes or until mixture thickens.

    3. COVER with foil and bake for 20 minutes or until the beetroot is just tender. Set aside for 5 minutes to cool. Increase oven heat to 430°F.

    4. TRIM the pastry into a 9″ to 10″ disc, depending on size of pan. Arrange the beets evenly over the base of the pan. Top with pastry. Fold in excess. Bake for 20 minutes or until puffed and golden. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes.

    5. PLACE a plate turned upside down over the frying pan (it should be bigger than the pan). Holding the two together, flip the entire pastry over. Top with goat cheese and herbs and serve warm.

     

    ebkids two types of roots jangios167j4 23rd of February, 2006 cmmccabe

    A taproot system versus conventional fibrous roots. Here’s more about it from Britannica.com.

    BEET VS. BEETROOT

    Beetroot (Beta vulgaris) evolved from the wild seabeet, a leafy plant that grows at coastlines around the world. It was first domesticated in the eastern Mediterranean and Middle East, although it was only the leaves that were eaten back then. (The wild seabeet is also the common ancestor of spinach and chard.)

    The Romans began to cultivate beets in earnest, cooking them with honey and wine. Recipes in oldest surviving cookbook De Re Coquinaria by Apicius’s, included beetroot in broths and salads, the latter with a very modern-sounding vinaigrette of mustard, oil and vinegar.

    The beet is a plant with a taproot system. The taproot is a large, central, dominant root, typically straight and very thick, tapering downward (see image above). For most of its life, beetroot was long and thin like a carrot or parsnip—both taproots, along with burdock, radish and turnip, among others. The familiar round shape was developed in the 16th century.

    Beetroot continued to grow in popularity in Victorian times, favored for its dramatic color in salads and soups. It was also used as a sweet ingredient in cakes and puddings. Beet sugar, used more widely around the world than cane sugar, was made by boiling all the sugar out of the beets, then cooking down that sugary water into dry crystals.

    Today, as a result of mutation and selective breeding, beets are available in numerous shapes and sizes, including orange, yellow, white and candy-striped (with red and white concentric circles).

     
    BEET VS. BEETROOT VS. SUGAR BEET

    The term beetroot is used in the U.K., France and elsewhere. It is known by its shorter name, beet, in North America.

  • The table beet is a vegetable grown for human consumption.
  • The sugar beet has been bred for higher sugar content, from which granulated sugar and molasses can be made.
  •  
    You can eat a sugar beet as a vegetable, but can’t make sugar and molasses from a table beet.

      

    Comments

    FOOD FUN: Strawberry Cake With Strawberry Heart-Shaped Macarons

    Steph, a blogger in Sydney, Australia, created this masterpiece: a fluffy vanilla cake layered with strawberry and balsamic vinegar icing, topped with heart-shaped macarons filled with the same icing strawberry-balsamic icing.

    The recipe is on her website, RaspberriCupcakes.com.

    In Italy, fresh strawberries with a few drops of fine aged balsamic vinegar are a popular dessert. Steph loves the combination, and it was a short leap to adding caramelized balsamic vinegar to strawberry buttercream icing.

    “All I did was purée the fruit and mix it into my regular buttercream icing, along with that amazing caramelised balsamic vinegar,” says Steph. “It has a gorgeous depth of flavour and a bit of tang from the balsamic. It helped that I [already] had that beautiful sweet and thick balsamic vinegar, which seemed perfect to use in desserts; but you could use any balsamic and adjust the amount you add to the icing until it tastes just right.”

    In terms of going the extra mile to make heart-shaped macarons: Steph, we take our hat off to you.

     

    balsamic-raspberry-butter-cake-raspberricupcakes.com-230

    A Valentine cake that will turn heads. Photo courtesy Raspberri Cupcakes.

     

      

    Comments

    FOOD HOLIDAY: National Molasses Bar Day

    It’s National Molasses Bar Day, so consider whipping up a batch of chewy molasses bar cookies.

    This recipe, from Grandma’s Molasses, ups the chewiness and nutrition by adding nuts and dried dates. Walnuts are popular, and pistachios and dates are a classic Middle East combination; but you can use any nut you favor.

    For a special dessert tonight, top a bar with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

    RECIPE: DATE NUT MOLASSES BARS

    Ingredients For 32 Bars

  • 1 cup enriched flour, sifted
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 1/4 cup shortening, melted
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2/3 cup nuts, chopped
  • 1 package/7 ounces pitted dates, finely chopped
  •    

    molasses-date-bars-grandmasmolasses-230

    Date, nut and molasses bars. Photo courtesy Grandma’s Molasses.

     

    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 350°F.

    2. SIFT together the flour, salt and baking soda. Set aside.

    3. COMBINE the egg, sugar, molasses, shortening and vanilla. Stir in the flour mixture, nuts and dates.

    4. LINE a 9 x 9 x 2-inch pan with wax paper, greased and lightly floured. Pour in the batter and bake 40 minutes or until done.

    5. TURN out onto cooling rack; remove the wax paper. When cool, cut into 32 bars. Store in an airtight container.

     

    michigansugar.com

    Dark molasses. Photo courtesy Michigan Sugar Co.

     

    WHAT IS MOLASSES?

    Molasses is thick syrup produced as a by-product during the refining of sugar cane. Molasses is the residue that is left after the sugar crystals are extracted (i.e., molasses is produced when no more sugar may be economically crystallized by conventional means).

    Molasses is predominantly sucrose, with some glucose and fructose. It is 65% as sweet as sugar. The better grades of molasses, such as New Orleans drip molasses and Barbados molasses, are unreprocessed and contain more sucrose, making them lighter in color. They are used in cooking and confectionery and in the production of rum.

  • Light molasses comes from the first boiling of the cane. It is also called sweet molasses and is used as pancake syrup or a sweetener.
  • Dark molasses comes from the second boiling. It is more flavorful and less sweet than light molasses, and often used for gingerbread and spice cookies.
  • Treacle is the British term for dark molasses; light molasses is called golden syrup.
  • Blackstrap molasses, the lowest grade, comes from the third boiling; it is strong and bitter, and mainly used in mixed cattle feed and in the manufacture of industrial alcohol.
  • Sulfured molasses has had sulfur dioxide added as a preservative (or, the sulfur in the manufacturing process is retained in the molasses).
  •   

    Comments

    FOOD HOLIDAY: World Nutella Day

    nutella-parfait-pops-bakingamoment.com-230

    Nutella and Yogurt Breakfast Parfait Pops. Photo courtesy BakingAMoment.com. Here’s the recipe.

     

    In 2011, two bloggerd declared February 5th to be World Nutella Day.

    Typically, holidays are official proclamations by a city, state or the federal government (here’s how it works). But in the wild frontier of the Internet, World Nutella Day became a viral hit.

    Nutella hazelnut spread, in its earliest form, was created in the 1940s by Pietro Ferrero, a pastry maker and founder of Ferrero SpA, an Italian confectionery and chocolate company.

    At the time, there was very little chocolate because cocoa was in short supply due to World War II (1939-1945) rationing. To extend the chocolate supply, Mr. Ferrero used hazelnuts, which are plentiful in the Piedmont region of northwest Italy, where the company was located.

    The spread is a combination of roasted hazelnuts, skim milk and a touch of cocoa. It is an all-natural product: no artificial colors or preservatives.

    Nutella was first imported to the U.S. more 25 years ago by Ferrero U.S.A., Inc. Its popularity has grown steadily.

     

    HOW WILL YOU ENJOY NUTELLA TODAY?

    So enjoy a Nutella sandwich, put Nutella on a pancake or waffle, roll it in a crepe, eat it from the jar with a spoon. Add it to your favorite cookie, cake or brownie recipe. Fill “jelly” donuts with Nutella. Make a Nutella milkshake.

    Add it to coffee or hot chocolate.

    Or, try these less conventional approaches:

  • Nutella-covered bacon (recipe—or a bacon and Nutella sandwich, instead of peanut butter)
  • Nutella granola (recipe)
  • Nutella ravioli for dessert (try this recipe, substituting Nutella for the PB&J)
  • Nutella and Yogurt Breakfast Parfait Pops (shown in the photo—recipe)
  •  
    Perhaps the best excuse to eat Nutella today: these no-bake Nutella energy bites. After all, most of could use a bit more energy!
     
      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Citrus As A Cake Garnish Or Base

    With a limited offering of sweet fresh fruit during the winter, turn to seasonal citrus to dress your desserts.

    Angel cake, cheesecake, olive oil cake, pound cake, sponge cake: all are highly receptive to a garnish of citrus segments (or, depending on how you look at it, a citrus fruit salad).

    In addition to cheery color, if you use the citrus as a base you can place a smaller piece of cake atop a larger amount of fruit.

    Go for a blend of color—rosy blood oranges, pink cara cara oranges, conventional oranges, pink or red grapefruits (with perhaps some white grapefruit for contrast). You can also add some kumquats and something from the Mandarin group: clementines, satsumas, tangelos and tangerines.

    Cut some of the fruits into disks, and supreme others into segments. “Supreme” is the term that refers to removing the skin, pith, membranes and seeds of a citrus fruit and separating it into segments (wedges). Here’s a YouTube video showing you how to do it.

    One note: You may not want your cake sitting in the citrus juices. If so, be sure to drain the citrus well—but save those delicious juices and drink them or add them to a vinaigrette.

       

    olive-oil-cake-citrus-garnish-froghollowfarm-230r

    Create a colorful citrus garnish for plain cakes. Photo of olive oil cake courtesy Frog
    Hollow Farm.

     

    mandarin-peeled-noblejuice-230

    I am not an orange: I’m a mandarin! Photo courtesy Noble Juice.

     

    FOOD 101: THE MANDARIN IS NOT AN ORANGE

    A mandarin is erroneously called “mandarin orange”, but the two are separate species. Even Produce Pete calls clementines and mandarins “oranges,” so do what you can to spread the truth.

    There are three basic citrus types—citron, mandarin and pummelo—from which all modern citrus derives via hybrids or backcrosses.

    While they look like small oranges and are often called “mandarin oranges,” mandarins are a separate species that includes the clementine, mineola (red tangelo), murcott (also called honey tangerine), tangelo, temple and satsuma, among others.

  • Oranges are from the order Sapindales, family Rutaceae, genus Citrus and species C. × sinensis. They are believed to have originated in southern China and northeastern India. They were first cultivated in China around 2500 B.C.E.
  • Mandarins are from the order Sapindales, family Rutaceae and genus Citrus but differentiate at the species level: C. reticulata. Reticulata, Latin for reticulated, refers to the pattern of interlacing lines of the pith. Mandarins, which originated in Southeast Asia, are also identifiable by their loose skin.
  •  
    According to the horticulture experts at U.C. Davis, the mandarin reached the Mediterranean basin in the early 1800s, and arrived in Florida about 1825.You can read more here.

      

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