Tuesday, February 3, 2015

How To Toast Nuts In The Oven And Why You Should

I don't know about you, but I love a good shortcut.  I try and find the fastest way to get home.  I never put a topcoat on my nail polish.  And with a recipe, I always look at it and see if there aren't a few steps I can skip.  Who has the time to milk your own coconut for coconut cream pie?  Seriously?  Canned coconut milk tastes just fine.

There are some things, though, where a shortcut isn't the answer.  I would imagine performing surgery is one of those times.  Also, when a recipe tells you to toast the nuts.  Don't skip that.  Obviously not as serious as taking shortcuts during surgery, but still, and important step.  I skipped toasting nuts for eons.  And it was the something missing from  bunch of my desserts.

Why toast the nuts?  

Because toasting activates the oils in the nuts and makes them nice and crispy.  This decreases the bitter flavor and provides a nice crunch that untoasted nuts just don't have.

How To:

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.  Spread nuts out onto an ungreased rimmed cookie sheet.  Bake at 400 degrees for about 10 minutes.  When you can start smelling the fragrance in the kitchen, the nuts are done.  Toast them too long and they will burn.  And that is sad and expensive.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Sunday Funday

Here are some interesting things I read this week:

Kaizen and goals

I love this big stack of pancakes cake!

A capsule wardrobe I could probably handle, but a capsule kitchen?  I just don't know :)

Salted caramel chocolate mousse-need I say more?

See you next week!

Friday, January 30, 2015

Valentine's Day Treat: Brownie Truffles

candy, truffles, Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day is weird.  It has the potential to be lovely and also the potential to make you feel bad about yourself.  And honestly, there is enough things in this world that make us feel bad about ourselves, we don't need a stupid day to do it for us.  

I liked Valentine's Day when we were kiddos.  It was about the party and writing Valentine's to all our classmates and eating giant sugar cookies.  It was better when it was about eating sugary treats and celebrating our friends.

These brownie truffles make about a million candies.  They are the perfect thing to share with all your friends to let them know how awesome they are.  Just be sure to save some for yourself to remind yourself how awesome you are too.

Brownie Truffles

Bake brownies (see recipe below).  Allow to cool completely.  Crumble brownies into a large bowl.  Stir in chocolate frosting until everything is totally mixed together.  Scoop by the teaspoonful onto a cookie sheet covered in parchment or tin foil.  Chill for at least 1 hour or overnight.

Melt the melting wafers in a small bowl.  Remove the truffles from the refrigerator.  If you want a more consistent, round shape, roll the truffles between your palms to smooth the ball.  Dunk in the melted chocolate.  Remove with a fork, scraping the excess chocolate off the bottom of the truffle on the edge of the bowl.  Repeat for all remaining truffles.

Once the chocolate has dried, melt the white chocolate.  I like to just put a handful into a piping bag and microwave for 20-30 seconds and knead the outside of the bag to remove the lumps.  Then just snip the very tip of the piping bag and drizzle white chocolate over the truffles.  This seems like too much extra work, but trust me, it will make them so much prettier, especially if you are like me and your hand rolling is lumpy.  


here is my go-to brownie recipe.  It never disappoints.
  • 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted (I used 70% cacao Trader Joe's Pound Plus Bar)
  • 1 1/2 sticks (12 ounces) butter, melted
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups cake flour
Melt the butter and chocolate together in a heatproof bowl in the microwave.  Add the sugar and mix well.  Add eggs one at a time fully mixed in.  Add vanilla.  Mix in baking powder and cake flour.  Pour into a well greased 9x13 pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Allow to cool.

P.S.  If you like Valentine's Day brownies, be sure to check out my strawberry covered heart shaped brownie!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Whipped Orange Honey Butter

butter, compound butter, bread, honey, orange, potato bread, homemade bread

It all started with leftover mashed potatoes and a winter slump.  Every time my mom would have leftover mashed potatoes, she would make potato bread.  Since growing up and getting married, I have carried on the same tradition.

This past week we were left with just about the perfect 1 cup of leftover spuds required for potato bread.  As our apartment was filled with the comforting scent of baking bread, I wanted something bright to go with it.  The zest from the orange packs a clean punch of flavor and the honey sweetens and mellows the bitterness from the zest.  And of course, whipped butter always feels fancy.  Even though I only used 1 stick of butter, the final result was almost a 1/2 pint of whipped butter!

Whipped Orange Honey Butter

Tools needed: Mixer, mixing bowl, microplane zester, jar or bowl with a lid for storage
  • 1 stick salted butter, at room temperature (real butter, not margarine)
  • zest of 1 small orange 
  • 2 tablespoons honey
If using a stand mixer, use your whisk attachment.  Beat together butter, orange zest and honey until light and fluffy.  Spread on homemade bread and enjoy!

P.S. If you like flavored butter, you might like these other flavors too: cinnamon, vanilla, Italian herb, and raspberry!

Monday, January 26, 2015

Makes My Life Easier-Clarified Butter

Clarified butter, sometimes also known as ghee, is butter where the milk solids and water have been removed.  This increases the smoke point of the butter, making it a good choice for greasing your baking sheets, or when pan frying.

We use it when making French toast, toads in the hole, pancakes, etc.  Pretty much any place where you want the butter flavor, but not the smokiness of butter, you can use clarified butter.

Where can you buy it?  I buy mine from Trader Joe's.  I have seen it in Indian markets and of course you can get it here.

*Disclosure: post includes affiliate links.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Sunday Funday

Hope everyone had a good week.  Here are some interesting things I read this week:

Wilton's 2015 Baking and Decorating Trends

Chocolates to represent Japanese words for texture

20 reasons never to leave home without Duct Tape

I loved bubble tea in college, this DIY version looks perfect to try at home!

Burnt Orange Salty Caramel Sauce-whew, what a name!

See you next week!

Friday, January 23, 2015

Failure Friday

Happy Friday!  This week's failure Friday comes to us in the form of orange marmalade that I cooked too long and it became so firm that I could hardly get it out of the jar.  Watching my husband attempt to spread it onto a piece of bread was pretty funny though.

Tip: to remove extremely hard marmalade out of the jar, microwave the jar for 30 seconds to help loosen everything up.

What didn't work in your kitchen this week?  Share in the comments or on Instagram with the hashtag #heathersfailurefriday!

Have a great weekend!

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