Apr 27, 2012

Friday Food Trivia: Baking Powder

What’s the role of Baking Powder in a recipe?

It’s a leavening agent made of sodium bicarbonate. When baking powder is activated by a liquid and heated, it releases carbon dioxide, which creates bubbles causing the batter or dough to expand and rise

Apr 20, 2012

Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

In Celebration of National Pineapple Upside-Down Cake Day

Did You Know? Pineapples take about 18 months to grow and can weigh up to 20 pounds.

1/4 cup butter or margarine
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 can (20 oz) pineapple slices in juice, drained, juice reserved
9 jar (6 oz) maraschino cherries without stems, drained
1 box Betty Crocker® SuperMoist® yellow cake mix
Vegetable oil and eggs called for on cake mix box

Heat oven to 350°F (325°F for dark or nonstick pan). In 13x9-inch pan, melt butter in oven. Sprinkle brown sugar evenly over butter. Arrange pineapple slices on brown sugar. Place cherry in center of each pineapple slice, and arrange remaining cherries around slices; press gently into brown sugar.

Add enough water to reserved pineapple juice to measure 1 cup. Make cake batter as directed on box, substituting pineapple juice mixture for the water. Pour batter over pineapple and cherries.

Bake 42 to 48 minutes (44 to 53 minutes for dark or nonstick pan) or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Immediately run knife around side of pan to loosen cake. Place heatproof serving plate upside down onto pan; turn plate and pan over. Leave pan over cake 5 minutes so brown sugar topping can drizzle over cake; remove pan. Cool 30 minutes. Serve warm or cool. Store covered in refrigerator.

Apr 19, 2012

Watermelon Lemonade

Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy! It's the best of summer when you can have lemonade and watermelon at once. Be sure to taste the watermelon first. If it's very sweet, reduce the sugar. Offer some refreshment to the planet and economy by going organic and local when you can. 

6 cups 1-inch cubes seedless watermelon (from about a 5-pound melon)
1 bottle (10-ounce) 365 Everyday Value® Organic Lemon Juice
6 cups water
3/4 cup cane sugar
Crushed ice
Mint sprigs, for garnish

Working in batches as necessary, purée watermelon and lemon juice in blender until smooth; transfer to a large container. Add water and sugar; stir until dissolved. Pour over ice in tall glasses, garnish with mint and thin slices of watermelon, if desired, and serve.

Per serving: 60 calories (0 from fat), 0g total fat, 0g saturated fat, 0mg cholesterol, 0mg sodium, 15g total carbohydrate (0g dietary fiber, 13g sugar), 0g protein

Recipe Courtesy of Whole Foods

Apr 13, 2012

Top Five Basic Baking Ingredients

When it comes to baking, there are some basic ingredients that come into play in just about every recipe. This includes foods like flour, sugar and eggs. These are ingredients that every baker, professional or novice, must be familiar with. This guide provides some fundamental information about these key baking ingredients.

Flour: Flour is used across the board in the culinary world, providing structure and body for baked goods, a thickening agent in sauces, and a non-stick coating for batters and breads. Flour is a very important part of baking, as it provides a base texture and structure for many baked goods, from pancakes to pie crusts. Flour contains protein and contributes structure and mass to baked goods.  Depending on the flour used, it can even contribute flavor.

Sugar:  Sugar is perhas the most recognized sweetener in the baking world. Sugar is available in different varieties; white, brown, powdered and even more exotic types, but all of these add sweetness to a recipe. Beyond being a sweetener, sugar actually maintains a complex role in baked goods. Sugar can contribute texture, including creaminess in frostings, crunchiness in cookies, and tender moistness in cakes. Sugar carmelizes when exposed to high heat, perfect for creating the hardened topping on a crème brulee. Refined sugar is 99 percent pure sucrose, which is made up of equal parts glucose and fructose. This molecular structure provides an essential function when it comes to baked goods, and so using a sugar alternative in recipes calling for sugar will often result in a different end-product. 

EggsAs with flour, eggs provide a structural ingredient in baked foods. They are often considered leaveners, much like yeast or baking powder, and they assist in binding ingredients in a recipe together and providing a structure for baked goods as they rise. Eggs also add color to baked goods, such as brioche, a golden egg-based bread. Eggs are important thickeners in custards and other creamy foods, and they are even used as glazes for pastries and breads. Egg whites are the prime ingredient in meringues.

ButterButter is an ingredient of prime importance when it comes to baking. Butter is the result of churning cream until the fat—butter—separates from the liquid—buttermilk. Butter adds flavor and texture to baked goods, and can help keep foods fresher longer. Recipes call for melted, softened, room temperature and even cold butter, depending on the end product. Choose salted or unsalted, or even a replacement if it’s suitable for your application. 

Leaveners:  A leavener is something that helps a baked item to rise, or “leaven.” There are a few different types of leaveners used in baking, the most common of which include baking soda, baking powder and yeast. Baking soda and baking powder are considered chemical leaveners; both of these ingredients react with liquid and heat to produce gas bubbles that promote rising. These ingredients are vital in muffins, biscuits and pancakes. Yeast is not a chemical leavener but a naturally occurring bacteria, a critical component to most breads, and absent from flatbreads. Eggs also have leavening properties, and are essential in recipes like meringues and angel food cakes where a light, fluffy or airy texture is desired.

(via: http://www.foodservicewarehouse.com)