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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 The Nibble

TIP OF THE DAY: Holiday Sugar

You can buy Christmas sugar cubes decorated with tiny candy canes, gingerbread men, reindeer and snowmen.

Or, you can serve something more subtle in appearance and sophisticated in flavor: a bowl of spiced vanilla sugar. You can make it or buy it.

To buy it, head over to Silk Road Spices, where handmade vanilla sugar* is blended with allspice, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, mace and nutmeg.

In addition to sweetening drinks, you can sprinkle it on cereal, plain yogurt or toast. Try it in whipped cream, too.

For $7.99, give jars as stocking stuffers.

To make your own, try the recipe below. It takes only five minutes to blend the ingredients, but you’ll need to wait 48 hours for drying.

The sugar will keep for several weeks in an airtight container. Since the recipe makes four cups, you can share it with friends.

 

spiced_vanilla-sugar-silkroadspices.ca-230

Spice up your sugar for the holidays. Photo courtesy Silk Road Spices.

 
RECIPE: SPICED VANILLA SUGAR

Ingredients For 4 Cups

  • 1 teaspoon allspice
  • 20 whole cardamom pod
  • 1/2 teaspoon mace
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon whole cloves
  • 2 whole cinnamon sticks
  • 4 cups fine granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  •  
    Preparation

    1. COMBINE all of the spices in a cast iron pan. Turn the heat to medium and stir until the aroma fills the air. Remove spices from pan just as they start to crackle. Transfer to a mortar and pestle and grind the spices roughly.

    2. PLACE the sugar in a large bowl and sprinkle the vanilla over it. Stir thoroughly; the sugar will turn a light brown color.

    3. MIX the spices with the vanilla sugar. Leave the bowl uncovered overnight to dry. The next day, break it up until it returns to granulated form (you can pulse it in a food processor or spice grinder).

    4. COVER the sugar bowl and let it rest overnight. The following day, sieve through a mesh strainer. Store in an airtight container.
     
    *You can make regular vanilla sugar by placing a vanilla bean in an airtight container of sugar. Try a turbinado sugar like Sugar In The Raw for a more aesthetic effect. Or, purchase it from premium sugar companies like Nielsen-Massey.

      

    Comments

    GIFT: Turkey Shaped Whoopie Pies

    turkey-whoopie-pies-cranberryislandkitchen-230

    Seasonal whoopies in the shape of turkeys, plus pumpkins and leaves (not shown). Photo courtesy Cranberry Island Kitchen.

     

    These gourmet whoopie pies are a rich, full-bodied pumpkin cake. The selection includes both vanilla cream cheese filling and maple cream cheese filling.

    They’re also made in pumpkin shapes and maple leaf shapes; then individually shrink-wrapped to preserve freshness.

  • 12 whoopies are $43.95; $44.95 in a gift box with gift card
  • 24 whoopies are $74.95; $76.95 in a gift box with gift card
  • 36 whoopies are $109.95; $115.95 in a gift box with gift card
  •  
    They can be eaten at room temperature or straight from the fridge, and they freeze beautifully.

    Get yours at CranberryIslandKitchen.com:

  • Fall Sampler of pumpkin whoopies and leaf whoopies
  • Pumpkin Whoopie Pies
  • Thanksgiving Sampler of turkeys, pumpkins and leaves
  • Turkey Whoopie Pies
  •  
    WHOOPIE PIE HISTORY

    The whoopie pie is Maine’s Official State Dessert, but the now-defunct Berwick’s Bakery in Boston (1898-1977) may have been the origin: A retired employee said that the company first started to bake whoopie pies in 1926, earlier than any other reference.

    But Lancaster, Pennsylvania claims to be the originator, with an anecdotal story that the recipe originated with an [unknown] Amish housewife. As the story goes, when Amish husbands and children would find the baked treats in their lunch bags, they would shout “Whoopie!”

    The whoopie pie is actually a sandwich cookie: two round, mound-shaped pieces of devil’s food chocolate cake with vanilla frosting in-between. The recipe first appears in cookbooks during the Depression, in recipe collections from several states.

    As the story is variously told, Amish housewives would bake these treats and put them in their farmer husbands’ (or children’s) lunch boxes. When the lucky recipients would discover what was for dessert, they would shout “whoopie!”

    Today there are dozens of flavors of cakes and fillings. There’s nothing left to do but take a bite.

     
      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Pumpkin Spice Fudge

    Here’s something special to make for work colleagues, friends, family and Thanksgiving hosts: Pumpkin Spice Fudge.

    It’s an easy recipe from Nestlé. In fact, you can let kids old enough to work with hot liquids make it as their contribution. Prep time is 10 minutes, cooking time is 20 minutes.

    RECIPE: PUMPKIN SPICE FUDGE

    Ingredients For 48 Pieces (About 3 Pounds)

  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 2/3 cup (5 fluid ounces can) evaporated milk
  • 1/2 cup canned pumpkin (pure pumpkin, not pie filling)*
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice†
  • 2 cups (12-ounce package) white chocolate chips
  • 1 jar (7 ounces) marshmallow creme
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  •    

    pumpkin-spiced-fudge-nestle-230

    Pumpkin Spice Fudge. Photo and recipe courtesy Nestlé.

     
    *Pumpkin pie filling has spices blended in. Pumpkin purée is not seasoned; the appropriate spices are added separately as the recipe requires.
     
    †Pumpkin pie spice is simply a blend of the traditional spices that go into pumpkin pie. If you don’t want to buy a pre-mixed container, it’s easy to make your own. Combine 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg, 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger and 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves.

     

    carnation-evaporated-milk-230

    First marketed in 1857 as a safe milk drinking option, evaporated milk and its sibling, sweetened condensed milk, have become an asset in cooking as well. Photo and recipe courtesy Nestlé.

     

    Preparation

    1. LINE 13 x 9-inch baking pan with foil, letting the foil drape over two ends of the pan to serve as handles.

    2. COMBINE the sugar, brown sugar, evaporated milk, pumpkin, butter and spice in medium, heavy-duty saucepan. Bring the mixture to a full rolling boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Boil, stirring constantly, for 10 to 12 minutes or until a candy thermometer reaches 234°F to 240°F (soft-ball stage).

    3. QUICKLY STIR in the chocolate chips, marshmallow creme, nuts and vanilla extract. Stir vigorously for 1 minute or until the chips are melted. Immediately pour into the prepared pan.

    4. COOL on a wire rack for 2 hours or until completely cooled. Refrigerate the pan, tightly covered. When ready to serve…

    5. LIFT the fudge from pan using the foil handles; remove the foil. Cut into 1-inch pieces.

     

    WHAT IS EVAPORATED MILK?

    Evaporated milk, also known as dehydrated milk, is a shelf-stable canned milk product. Approximately 60% of the water is removed from fresh milk.

    Prior to the 19th century and refrigeration, milk was highly perishable. In the summer heat, it spoiled in a matter of hours. In addition, there were sanitation problems: Milk straight from the cow was contaminated harmful with bacteria.

    Gail Borden conceived of a shelf stable canned milk product in 1852. His first condensed milk product, launched in 1854, lasted three days without souring. Borden was granted a patent for sweetened condensed milk in 1854. Commercial production began in 1857.

    In Borden’s early product, sugar was added to inhibit bacterial growth. Competitors perfected the technique of sterilizing the product to vastly improve shelf life. Today, evaporated milk has no added sugar; a separate product, sweetened condensed milk, is evaporated milk that contains sugar. [Source]

    While not a hit right out of the gate, evaporated milk soon became popular as a safe and reliable substitute for fresh milk. It could be shipped easily to locations lacking the safe dairy production and/or refrigerated storage.

    The Florida Keys were an example of a hot and remote area that had no dairying. Evaporated milk made it possible for residents to finally enjoy milk in coffee and in cooking. Key Lime Pie, initially made with evaporated milk and now with sweetened condensed milk, is a legacy of Mr. Borden’s vision.

    The shelf life of canned evaporated milk will vary from months to years, depending on the sugar content and its proportion of fat. Carnation Brand makes evaporated milk from whole milk, nonfat milk and 2% milk.

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Turkey Cupcakes

    You can find lots of turkey cupcake photos in Google, but these are the combination of easiest and best looking for the home baker to whip up.

    If you have kids (or adults) who don’t like pumpkin pie—or if you want to bring a memorable house gift—bring two dozen of these! If you’re looking for a kids’ project, ditto: Give them frosted cupcakes and let them do the decorating.

    You can bake your favorite chocolate cupcake recipe from scratch, use a cake mix, or in a pinch, purchase plain chocolate cupcakes. You can buy frosting or make your own.

    While we enjoy the convenience of a cake mix—which is simply saves you the time of measuring and mixing the ingredients—we’re much fussier about homemade frosting. Most canned chocolate frosting tastes…canned. Here’s our recipe for homemade chocolate buttercream frrosting.

     
    RECIPE: THANKSGIVING TURKEY CUPCAKES

    Ingredients for 24 Cupcakes

  • 1 box chocolate cake mix
  •    

    turkey-cupcakes-sixsistersstuff-230

    Gobble up this gobbler. Photo and recipe © SixSistersStuff.com.

  • 16 ounce can chocolate frosting (or your favorite homemade chocolate frosting)
  • 1-1/2 cups chocolate sprinkles
  • 2 cups candy corn
  • 48 Wilton candy eyeballs (found at major grocery stores, baking supply stores or online)
  • Red frosting or strips of red fruit leather
  • Variation: 24 large malted milk balls for heads
  •  

    candy-eyes-1-8-inch-confectionaryhouseAMZ-230

    Candy eyes come in different sizes and colors. For this recipe you want the smallest size like these, which are 7/16″ in diameter. You can buy them online. Photo courtesy Confectionary House.

     

    Preparation

    1. PREPARE the cake mix according to package directions to make 24 cupcakes. Bake and let cool completely. Frost each cupcake with chocolate frosting.

    2. HOLD each cupcake upside down and dip into the chocolate sprinkles. For feathers, push five pieces of candy corn upside down into the top of the cupcake.

    3. ADD two candy eyeballs and push a candy corn into the cupcake for a beak.

    4. PIPE some red frosting next to the candy corn beak, or adhere a strip of red fruit leather.
     
    VARIATION: Use malted milk balls as the head; press into the cupcake. Affix the candy eyeballs with frosting, and pipe a small amount of yellow frosting, and a small amount of red next to it, as the beak and the wattle.
     
    Here’s the original recipe plus a video of the preparation. Find more delicious recipes at SixSistersStuff.com.

     

    THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ICING & FROSTING

    The difference between frosting and icing is that icing is made with confectioners’ sugar (also called icing sugar or 10x sugar), while frosting is made with granulated sugar (table sugar).

    Because most people don’t understand this difference, the two words are often used interchangeably.

      

    Comments

    GIFT: Gluten Free Gourmet Cookies

    chubby-wubby-cake-chicago-230sq

    Chubby Wubby: fun name, sophisticated flavor and gluten free. Photo courtesy Cake |
    Chicago.

     

    Everything is delicious at Cake, a Chicago bakery and NIBBLE Top Pick Of The Week (we reviewed it under a previous name, Damn Good Cookies). You can send anything on the menu as a gift, and it will delight the most demanding recipients.

    It is not a gluten-free bakery, but there is gluten-free treasure to be found:

    If you’re on the hunt for a gluten-free cookie gift for someone with a discerning palate, look no further than their specially Chubby Wubby Defloured, a sophisticated, delectable, gluten-free chocolate cookie.

    The cookie sandwich is indeed chubby, Two bittersweet chocolate cookies, studded with chocolate chips, are sandwiched with a layer of chocolate ganache. Trust us: You’ll want more than one box.

    In fact, the original Chubby Wubby Chocolate Cookie, made with conventional wheat flour, was so popular that the gluten-free version was created. The conventional Chubby Wubby has led to a family of other Chubbies—different fillings with the same delicious chocolate cookies:

     

  • Chubby Wubby Caramel Cookies with buttery caramel ganache.
  • Chubby Wubby Hazelnut Cream Cookies with creamy chocolate hazelnut ganache.
  • Chubby Wubby Mint Cookie refreshing mint ganache.
  • Chubby Wubby Peanut Butter Cookies creamy peanut butter ganache.
  • Chubby Wubby Raspberry Cookies sweet and tart raspberry ganache.
  •  
    A 12-piece box is $32.00, a 16-piece box is $38.00. Get yours at Cake-Chicago.com.
     
    WHAT’S GANACHE?

    Ganache is a velvety smooth blend of chocolate and cream, often with butter added. It is used as a frosting for cake and as a filling for pastries and chocolates. Rolled into balls, it becomes a chocolate truffle.

    Here’s more about ganache and why it translates in French to idiot or imbecile.

     
      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Cranberry Orange Margarita For Thanksgiving & Christmas

    If you crowd prefers Margaritas to other cocktails, that’s no surprise—the Margarita has been America’s favorite cocktail for some time (source: The Beverage Information Group).

    For the holiday season, Sauza Tequila tweaked the recipe to create a holiday version: Cranberry Orange Margarita. Since Margaritas already include orange liqueur, they substituted cranberry juice for the lime juice and voilà!

    Sauza made the recipe with Sauza Blue Silver 100% Agave Tequila. You can use any silver (also called blanco [white] or plata [which means silver]) tequila. For reference, here are the different types of tequila).

    RECIPE: CRANBERRY ORANGE MARGARITA

    Ingredients Per Drink

  • 1½ parts silver tequila
  • ½ part Cointreau, triple sec or other orange liqueur
  • 4 parts cranberry juice
  • 2 parts orange juice
  • 2 large oranges
  • ½ cup cranberries
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  •  

    Cranberry Orange Margarita-sauza-230

    A Margarita for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Photo courtesy Sauza Tequila.

     

    Preparation

    1. PREPARE the garnishes: Freeze the cranberries. Using a channel knife (you can buy a combination channel knife and zester), cut a long spiral from one orange (try to do it in a single strip, all around the orange). Cut the peel strips into strips that are 6 inches long. Twist the peels around a bar spoon (or other slender spoon) and reserve for later.

    2. ZEST the other orange with a zester or spice grater to remove just the peel (none of the pith) and combine with sugar.

    3. CUT the zested orange into wedges. Rub a wedge of orange around the rim of the glass. Roll the glass through the sugared orange zest.

    4. COMBINE the rest of the sugar and orange zest mixture in a shaker with the cranberry juice, orange juice, tequila and orange liqueur. Twist the orange peel over the drink and place in the prepared glass. Top with the frozen cranberries and serve.
     
    MORE ON MARGARITAS

    Check out the history of the Margarita and more Margarita recipes.

    Find more tequila cocktail recipes at SauzaTequila.com.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Cheese Hors d’Oeuvre For Entertaining Or Snacking

    We found these photos on the Facebook page of Jarlsberg USA, and liked the idea for holiday entertaining as well as family snacking.

    Make four or five different versions to serve with cocktails, or one or two types for a TV snack. For a children’s activity, you can set out ingredients and let kids assemble their own snacks.

    The key to visual appeal is to offset the pale color of most cheeses with other, bright colored ingredients. Turkey and Swiss cheese may be a popular combination, for instance, but to the eye it’s beige and beige. Go for bright and appealing.

    Then, all you need are four-inch skewers, plain or twisted (for a fancier touch). Or, check out our festive party picks for stars, evergreen trees metallic fringe and colored cellophane tips.

    Use the list below to pick two or three ingredients to pair with the cheese. The skewers are plenty tasty as is, but you can serve them with a dish of honey mustard for dipping. You can buy honey mustard, or make your own by adding honey, sugar or noncaloric sweetener to mustard, in a proportion to your liking.
     
    COLORFUL CHEESES

    In addition to your favorite cheeses, consider options beyond beige. Check out these special cheeses with deep colors:

  • Cahill’s Farm Flavored Irish Cheddar in Elderberry (red marbled) or Porter (brown marbled) flavors (photo).
  •    

    skewers-jarlsbergUSA-fb-view2-230rev

    Two popular pairings with cheese: dried apricots and basil-tomato. Photo courtesy Jarlsberg USA.

     

  • Mimolette, a French cow’s milk cheese the color of a harvest moon, in the shape of a ball (photo).
  • Basiron Pesto looks like green cheese from the moon (photo).
  • Basiron Pesto Rosso, a Gouda-style cheese from Holland, with a harvest moon color that comes from the addition of tomatoes (photo).
  •  
    Then, it’s time to pick your add-ons:

     

    skewers-jarlsbergUSAFB-230rev

    Serrano ham and sundried tomatoes are bright additions to appetizer skewers. Photo courtesy Jarlsberg USA.

     

    PROTEINS

  • Ham cubes
  • Serrano ham slices
  • Pepperoni
  • Scallops
  • Shrimp
  •  
    VEGETABLES

  • Arugula
  • Basil
  • Blue or purple potatoes (cooked and sliced or cubed)
  • Cherry/grape tomatoes
  • Dilly beans
  • Gherkins/pickle slices
  • Pepperoncini
  • Pimento-stuffed olives
  • Red, orange or yellow bell pepper strips
  • Snow peas
  • Sundried tomatoes
  • FRUIT

  • Clementine/tangerine segments
  • Dried apricots
  • Kiwi
  • Mango cubes
  • Melon cubes
  • Pineapple cubes
  • Red or purple grapes
  •  
    Send us photos of your favorite creations!

      

    Comments

    GIFT: Patrón XO Cafe Incendio, Spicy Chocolate Liqueur

    patron-xo-cafe-incendio-230

    Deep chocolate, glowing heat. Photo courtesy Patrón Tequila.

     

    Like chocolate? Like chile heat? Have we got a drink for you!

    Following up on the success of their coffee liqueur, Patrón XO Cafe, Patrón Tequila has launched a chocolate version: Patrón XO Cafe Incendio.

    The name is a bit confusing. While there may be coffee (cafe) in the recipe, the drink presents as chocolate, chocolate, chocolate.

    With a base of Patrón’s silver tequila, the deeply chocolatey liqueur uses premium quality criollo chocolate, blended with “Aztec spices”—so called because the Aztecs (and the Mayas before them) flavored their chocolate drink* with the heat of arbol chiles, plus vanilla, cinnamon, musk and cornmeal—no sweetener.

    Incendio, fiery, is the right word: This velvety liqueur with a luscious aroma is at once deeply chocolate and sizzling hot.

    After you buy a bottle for yourself, get some as gifts. You will be amado, beloved.

    In addition to sipping, enjoy it:

  • In cocktails
  • In dessert recipes
  • Over ice cream
  • In hot chocolate
  • In coffee
  • In chocolate milkshakes
  •  

    The suggested retail price for Patrón XO Cafe Incendio is $24.99.
     
    *For thousands of years before the chocolate bar was invented, chocolate was consumed as a beverage. Here’s the scoop.

     
      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Cider Cocktails

    Cider cocktails: We don’t get enough of them. It’s our own fault, since we habitually order one of our three favorite cocktails instead of going for the seasonal specialty.

    Eating seasonally means drinking seasonally, too. So from now through the end of holiday season, we’re going to enjoy cocktails with fall and winter ingredients, returning on January 1st, National Bloody Mary Day, to our usual drink of choice.

    Thanks to ONEHOPE Wine for these two sparkling cocktails, made with regular cider and their sparkling wine (you can use any sparkler).
     
    RECIPE: PEAR & SPARKLING CIDER COCKTAIL

    Ingredients For 8 Cocktails

  • Rim: 2/3 cup sugar, 1/3 cup cinnamon, combinedd
  • 2 cups chilled pear nectar
  • 2 cups apple cider
  • 2 cups sparkling wine
  • 4 ounces Bourbon
  • Garnish: 1 pear, unpeeled and cored cut into thin slices
    lengthwise
  •    

    Pear and Sparkling Cider-svedka-230

    Pear nectar, apple cider and sparkling wine unite in a seasonal sparkler. Photo courtesy Svedka Vodka.

     

    Preparation

    1. RIM flutes with cinnamon and sugar mixture.

    2. COMBINE pear nectar, apple cider, sparkling wine and Bourbon in a pitcher. Serve immediately, garnished with sliced pear.

     

    Apple Cider Mimosa-svedka-230

    We’re not sure why it’s called a Mimosa (Champagne and orange juice). Think of it as
    a Mimosa for Scotch lovers. Photo courtesy Svedka Vodka.

     

    RECIPE: APPLE CIDER MIMOSA

    Ingredients For 1 Drink

  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1 ounce Scotch
  • 2 ounces fresh apple cider
  • 4 ounces sparkling wine
  • Garnish: apple slices
  •  
    Preparation

    1. COMBINE brown sugar, Scotch and apple cider in a flute.

    2. TOP with sparkling wine and garnish with fresh apple slices.
     

    ABOUT ONEHOPE

    ONEHOPE is a social enterprise that integrates causes into products and services to make a social impact. ONEHOPE Wine, produced in California in partnership with Rob Mondavi, Jr., donates half of its profits to partner causes. Learn more at OneHopeWine.com.

     

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Roasted Beets & Brussels Sprouts

    A marriage of two of our favorite fall vegetables with added bacon: What could be better? This side dish can take a place on your Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner tables, or be served as part of a weekday dinner.

    The recipe is from the new Paleo Takes 5—Or Fewer cookbook, which focuses on recipes with five or fewer ingredients.

    Slow roasting the vegetables caramelizes them, to create extra sweetness along with a savory crunch. There’s more about the process of caramelizing below.

    If you’re not a fan of Brussels sprouts, here’s an alternative recipe: beets and carrots.

    RECIPE: BEETS & BRUSSELS SPROUTS

    Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • 1 pound (454 g) bacon
  • 6 beets, cubed into small pieces
  • 24 Brussels sprouts, cleaned thoroughly
  • 4 cloves fresh garlic, quartered
  • 1 tablespoons (4 g) dried thyme or 3 tablespoons fresh thyme*
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup (62 g) pistachios, once cooked, and toasted
  • Optional garnish: fresh goat cheese, crumbled
  •    

    beet-brussels-sprouts-paleotakes5ckbk-230r

    A luscious marriage of fall vegetables from the new Paleo Takes 5—or Fewer cookbook.

     

    *The typical ratio to substitute dried herbs for fresh, or vice versa: 1/3 part dried herbs equals 1 part fresh herbs.
     

     

    paleo-takes-5-230

    This book has healthy Paleo Diet dishes that use far fewer ingredients than many Paleo recipes. Photo courtesy Page Street Publishing.

     

    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 350°F (176°C).

    2. ARRANGE the slices of bacon on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Bake for about 20 minutes in the oven until crispy. Remove with tongs and set aside on a plate to cool. Reserve the bacon fat for cooking the vegetables.

    3. ADD the beets, Brussels sprouts and garlic to a large roasting pan. Drizzle with the reserved bacon fat. Sprinkle with thyme, salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly using the tongs. Roast in the oven on the middle rack for about 45 minutes until everything has caramelized slightly. In the meantime…

    4. TOAST the pistachios on the stovetop in a small pan over medium heat. Transfer the contents of the roasting pan to a large bowl and top with pistachios. Use tongs to toss all ingredients together.

    5. ADD crumbled goat cheese and serve.

     
     

    WHAT IS CARAMELIZING?

    At its most basic level, caramelizing is chemistry. At 338°F, sugar begins to break down at a molecular level and form new compounds. To our eyes and understanding, this means it turns brown and becomes caramel—a broad term that extends to more than just candy and sauce.

    Let’s use onions as our example. Not only do they have a very high natural sugar content—which is helpful when caramelizing—but they are also the most typical item one caramelizes.

    Every time you caramelize an onion, you’re heating its molecules to 338°F, causing the water to evaporate and the sugars to change. It’s as simple as that.

    The process of caramelizing—the caramelization of the sugar inside the onion or other food—is a type of non-enzymatic browning, not involving amino acids, that is different from a Maillard reaction.† Instead, the sugar is oxidized.

     
    †The brown caramel color in certain foods comes from a reaction between the sugar and an amino acid in food. Called the Maillard (my-YARD) reaction after the French physician and chemist Louis Camille Maillard, it’s a form of non-enzymatic browning that usually requires heat. Each type of food has a very distinctive set of flavor compounds that are formed during the Maillard reaction. The color and flavor of toasted bread and nuts; barbecued, roasted and seared meats; and roasted coffee (and many other flavors) are the result of Maillard reactions. And of course, caramel candy is the result of a Maillard reaction.

      

    Comments

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