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TODAY IN FOOD: It’s National Sticky Bun Day

Sticky Buns

Be precise: Sticky buns have a sticky top, iced cinnamon rolls aren’t sticky buns. Photo courtesy Wolferman’s.

 

Some people would like to celebrate National Sticky Bun Day, February 21st, every day.

Sticky buns, a breakfast pastry for the sweet-toothed, are also known as a honey buns, and are closely related to cinnamon buns, cinnamon rolls and cinnamon swirls.

Many people use the terms interchangeably, but a sticky bun needs to have the sticky topping (caramel, honey, maple syrup, sugar syrup) and not all cinnamon rolls do.

The buns are baked together in a pan and then cut apart.

  • In the original recipes, the honey and pecan topping is baked like an upside-down cake, with the sticky topping on the bottom of the pan and the dough placed on top of it.
  • Some recipes add raisins to the dough.
  • The pan is inverted after baking and the sticky bottom becomes the top. Today, many sticky buns are baked with the topping on top of the dough.
  •  
    Sticky buns seem to be of Germanic origin, and came to the U.S. with German immigrants in the 1800s. You can find sticky buns called “schnecken” (especially in Pennsylvania Dutch country).
     
    However, in German-Jewish cooking, schnecken are crescent-rolled rugalach-type pastries. “Schnecken” means “snail” in German, and the crescent shapes are certainly snail-like.

    You can read about it, and agree to disagree, here.

    We’re not getting into any arguments today—we’re just heading over to our favorite local bakery to pick some up some freshly-baked sticky buns.

    Those who do not live near an artisan bakery can head to the nearest Cinnabon for an iced cinnamon roll.

    It’s not a sticky bun, but it will suffice!

     
      

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    TODAY IN FOOD: It’s National Cherry Pie Day

    Do you love cherry pie…but know that you would love it even more if you could get a top-quality pie filling? Wish no more: Chukar Cherries, a purveyor of the finest cherries and cherry products made from Washington State cherries, makes the best cherry pie and cobbler fillings we’ve ever seen commercially (all natural and certified kosher). Cherry Blueberry filling is made from tart Montmorency cherries plus blueberries (think of it as the high-antioxidant pie filling). Triple Cherry filling combines Bing, Rainier and Montmorency cherries. You can these high-quality toppers on muffins, ice cream, puddings and other desserts. Since George Washington’s actual birth date is February 22nd, bake a pie or cobbler in his honor*—you’ll save so much time with these cherries that you can make a homemade crust. When you order the cherry pie filling, check out the delicious preserves, toppings and barbecue sauces—and the scrumptious dried cherries, far finer than much of what is available.- Read our review of Chukar Cherries pie fillings and other baking products.

    Read our review of Chukar’s premium dried cherries.
    Finish with a look at their cherry preserves and dessert toppings.

      Cherry Pie
    Can she bake a cherry pie, Billy Boy? Anyone can bake one, easily, with Chukar Cherries gourmet pie and cobbler fillings.
    *Historical note: George Washington did not chop down a cherry tree in his youth and then say, “Father, I cannot tell a lie.” This story and others, like throwing the silver dollar all the way across the Delaware River, were fabricated by an earlier biographer. Learn more cherry facts.

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    TODAY IN FOOD: It’s National Chocolate Mint Day

    Chocolate Mint Brownies
    We devoured our box of Chocolate Mint Brownies from Solomon’s Gourmet Cookies. They look great, taste great, and are kosher, too.
      February 19th is National Chocolate Mint Day. What is it with these government bodies that are holiday-granters? Didn’t they notice that last week, February 11th, was Peppermint Patty Day (the food, not Charlie Brown’s gal pal)? We love chocolate and peppermint…but why pile up all the wealth in the space of 8 days? Nevertheless, we’ll respond with recommendations for the best chocolate mint yummies:
    – Make your own chocolate mint cocoa. Smash the stems of a few sprigs of fresh mint, and add them to the hot chocolate as it cooks. Strain before serving, and add a fresh sprig to garnish. If you don’t have fresh mint to infuse in the milk when you heat it, use a few drops of peppermint oil. You can stir your cocoa with a peppermint stick, too.
    – Try Robert Lambert’s fabulous Mojito Mint Chocolate Sauce on vanilla ice cream, pound cake, or straight from the jar on a spoon. For a stronger mint infusion, try the Mint Chocolate Sauce from The King’s Cupboard.
    – Indulge yourself with the Chocolate Mint Brownies from Solomon’s Gourmet Cookies (they’re kosher, too). Or, bake up your favorite brownie recipe and add mint oil to the batter, and/or mint chips.
    – Try mint chocolate chip ice cream from an artisan creamery, like Boulder Ice Cream Company or its Colorado neighbor, Spotted Dog Creamery.
    – Try the indulgent, layered Mint Symphony chocolate bar from Coco’s Chocolate Dreams. That’s dark chocolate with fudge mint shortbread and mint butter cookies and…be sure to order more than one. Or, try a straight but fabulous chocolate mint chocolate bar from Divine Chocolate, and support a great Fair Trade co-op of small cacao bean farmers in Africa.
    – Try the great chocolate mint cookies from Sugar Flower Bakery. You’ll never eat another Girl Scout cookie again.
    – Check out our favorite chocolate peppermint barks.
    – Go retro with Chocolate Mint Whoopie Pies from Wicked Whoopie Pies.
    – Bake up this recipe for a Chocolate Mint Lava Cake.
    – Or, bake up a ready-to-heat-and-eat Chocolate Mint Soufflé from Heavenly Soufflé, a NIBBLE Top Pick Of The Week (it’s heavenly and kosher, too).
    – Have a box of bonbons filled with handmade mint ganache, from John & Kira’s.
    – Enjoy the delicious Dark Chocolate Mint Coins from Lake Champlain Chocolates (also kosher).
    – Prefer your chocolate to be organic? Dagoba’s Mint 59% cacao chocolate mint bar is organic and kosher, too.
    – Try our favorite Holland Mints from Marich. They’re not only pretty, they’re kosher, too.
    – Another temptation is the chocolate mint fudge from our favorite fudge maker, John Kelly Fudge (a NIBBLE Top Pick OF The Week, and kosher).
    – Poco Dolce’s chocolate mint toffee squares with sea salt are the bomb.
    – A calorie-free option is Once Upon a Tea, the caffeine-free blend of loose tea made of rooibos tea mixed with chocolate nibs, mint and vanilla. It’s from Serendiptea.
    – End with a no-calorie treat, the Chocolate Mint lip balm from Ganache For Lips—made with Scharffen Berger Chocolate.
    Hmm, maybe it’s not so bad having these back-to-back chocolate mint celebrations. We think we’ll celebrate with a Chocolate Mint Martini.

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    TODAY IN FOOD: It’s National Almond Day

    Go nuts—it’s National Almond Day. This versatile nut is not just a snack or baking ingredient but a flavor-enhancer in sandwiches and salads—and of course, slivered on green beans. Almonds can purchased whole, slivered, chopped and in stick form (we like the elegance of slivers). Try smoked almonds, too: They really perk up egg, tuna, chicken and green salads. Almonds are high in vitamin E, magnesium and manganese. Our favorite foods with almonds:- Almondina low-calorie cookies
    Enstrom’s Almond Toffee, our favorite toffee (it’s kosher, and also available in sugar-free)
    Lake Champlain Almond Buttercrunch (also kosher)
    Dolcielo’s Amureo Brownies, made with apricots marinated with Amaretto Di Saronno plus large chunks of almonds
    Frontier Soups Asparagus Almond Soup
    Minnie Beasley’s Lace CookiesNatasha’s Health Nut Cookies, made with almond flour, low carb, low cal, gluten free
      Almond Brownie - Dolcielo
    Dolcielo’s Amureo Brownie
    , laden with
    Amaretto-marinated apricots and large chunks of almonds.
    Pariya Foods Almond Nougat, our favorite nougat
    Peeled Snacks Fig-Sated, our favorite healthy snack with figs, dates, almonds and pistachios
    Poco Dolce Almond and Coconut Almond Chocolate Tiles with sea salt
    Recchiuti Burnt Caramel Almonds
    Vosges Chocolate Barcelona Bar, dark milk chocolate, roasted almonds and sea salt
    Sophia’s Sweets Panforte, gluten free
    Terra Medi Green Olive and Almond Bruschetta

    Recipes:
    Almond Biscotti recipe from Mario Batali
    Almond Hummus
    Chocolate Almond Beet Torte from Michael Recchiuti
    Mulled Wine With Almonds

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    TODAY IN FOOD: It’s National Creme-Filled Chocolates Day

    raspberry-cream-230

    Strawberry cream fills this chocolate bonbon from Fanny May.

     

    Fittingly, February 14, Valentine’s Day, is also National Creme-Filled Chocolates Day.

    Cream-Filled chocolates were made possible by Jean Neuhaus, the Belgian chocolatier who invented the first hard chocolate shell in 1912. Using molds, it enabled fillings of any kind and consistency—creme, whipped cream, soft caramel, light ganache, liqueurs, etc.

    Previously, only solid centers like caramels and nut pastes could be enrobed in chocolate—anything else would have leaked out. In enrobing, the center—marzipan, fruit jelly or nuts in caramel, for example—were hand-dipped into liquid chocolate. The center had to be solid enough to be held and hand-dipped.

    With Neuhaus’ chocolate molds, chocolates could now be made in pretty shapes, too—flowers, butterflies, fleur-de-lis, crowns, berries and others that are now familiar to us.

     

    Thanks, Jean Neuhaus, for vastly expanding our world of chocolate bonbons. Today, bonbons with chocolate shells are known as Belgian style, and dipped chocolates as French style.

    Some chocolatiers work in only one style, some create a mixture of both. Chocolate shells have a thicker chocolate covering than dipped chocolate, so consumers have their preferences, based on whether they like more chocolate flavor or more flavor of the center.

    Read more about filled chocolates, a.k.a. bonbons, in our article on chocolate truffles and ganache in the Chocolate Section of THE NIBBLE webzine.
     
    WHAT’S THE DEAL WITH CREME VS. CREAM?

    The difference between cream and creme is just the spelling.

    Creme is an Americanization of the French word for cream, crème—pronounced KREHM, with l’accent grave, the downward sloping accent mark that turns the “e” sound into “eh.”

    Creme was most likely first used in the U.S. to make the dish sound more special: a creme pie versus a cream pie, for example.

    But why mispronounce and misspell another language’s word for cream, or create a new spelling when there’s a perfectly good and accurate existing word?

    That, dear reader, is the challenge of allowing “amateurs” to name things. In France, the Académie Française, established in 1635 by Cardinal Richelieu, is the pre-eminent authority for matters pertaining to the French language, and publishes an official dictionary of the French language. In recent years, a committee of 40 had to rule on whether newer words like “le computer” are permitted in the dictionary, as opposed to French for “a machine that computes information.”

    Back to creme vs. cream: Unless it’s a French recipe with an appropriate accent, such as Coeur à la Crème, stick to cream.
     
      

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