Cherchies Blog

cooking tips

Cooking Tip: Perfect Boiled Eggs

cooking tipsSheri SpalloneComment
Cooking Tip: How to have perfect hard boiled eggs every time!

Cooking Tip: How to have perfect hard boiled eggs every time!

Hate those green rings around your over cooked egg yolks?  Have no fear!

Simply place eggs into a pot of cold water, making sure to cover them completely with water.  Turn stove on and cook eggs until eggs just start to boil, then turn off stove, remove from heat, and cover for 10 minutes.  Don't forget to set your timer!

After 10 minutes, drain the eggs and place in a bowl of ice water to chill.  After 2-3 minutes, gently crack each egg, allowing water to loosen shell, and place back in the ice water  for about 10 minutes.  Once the 10 minutes is up, peel away my friends.  

The result, perfect yellow eggs...no "ring around the collar"...ha! 

 

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Cooking Tip: How To Make Homemade Caramel Sauce

cooking tipsSheri SpalloneComment
Cooking Tip: How To Make Homemade Caramel Dip…And How To Use it!

Cooking Tip: How To Make Homemade Caramel Dip…And How To Use it!

Cook Time: At most 10 minutes

Difficulty: Easy

Yield: About 1 cup

With Fall in full swing, and the holidays fast approaching, nothing melts our hearts more than dreamy, homemade caramel sauce! Rich, creamy, buttery, caramel…add a pinch of salt and your taste buds will go into overload. It is the perfect compliment to your favorite dessert and beverage; and an absolute necessity for your holiday entertaining.

Follow along below as we share the steps of this easy recipe, along with clever ways to use it.

What is your favorite use for caramel? We would love to hear from you!

Here Are The Gooey Details

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of brown sugar

  • 6 Tablespoons (Tbsp.) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

  • 1/2 cup heavy cream or half and half, room temperature

  • 1/2 teaspoon (tsp) sea salt (if want salted caramel, add up to 1 tsp. salt- Kosher salt is fine too)

  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla (you could substitute your favorite liquor for an extra special adult treat…we won’t tell, but make sure to keep away from the kiddos).

Preparation

There seems to be some debate out there in cyber world about making homemade caramel sauce, and whether or not to melt the sugar first with butter or add the butter at the end along with the rest of the ingredients. I have tried both ways with the end result being the same. Quoting my mother, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” (okay, she did not say ain’t, but you get the idea), so this is my version for a creamy, delectable caramel sauce/dip. It really is very easy, and only takes a few minutes.

The caramelization process happens quickly, so make sure all your ingredients are measured and in place before you begin. Start with a medium-sized stainless steel sauce pan (ceramic would work just fine too). Add the butter chunks to the pan, turn the heat on low, and gently stir the butter with a wooden spoon (you can use a whisk too) until it melts. Once the butter has melted, add the sugar and continue to stir until the sugar has melted. (Sugar will be HOT! Trust me, and learn from my mistakes, do not be tempted to taste the caramel at any time, until it has cooled! Many sites I researched suggest having a bowl of cold water on hand in case of flying molten sugar. Yikes! Do not be afraid, but be safe.) As you are stirring, scrape the sugar that forms on the side with the spoon or a rubber spatula and incorporate into the mix.

Continue stirring constantly on low until all the sugar has dissolved and you have achieved this rich caramel color and a nutty aroma. Some of the butter may remain on the top. This is okay. It will incorporate once the half and half or cream is added. As the caramel comes to a rolling boil on low, continue rapidly stirring. Add salt and vanilla (or liquor) at this time. If you want salted caramel, then add an additional 1/2 teaspoon (tsp) of salt.

The last part is the cream or half and half. Add the cream slowly and stir stir stir! Again, be careful, this is where the caramel will get angry with you, as it will sputter and possibly throw molten sugar your way. You must prevail. I’m teasing… it really is very easy! Simply continue stirring rapidly until all the ingredients are incorporated. Remove the caramel from the heat and allow to cool. Turn off the stove. The caramel will thicken as it cools.

Look at that! Creamy, dreamy, homemade caramel sauce! You may never buy store-bought caramel again. Stay tuned below for our favorite uses for caramel.

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What To Do With Caramel Sauce/Dip

So now that you have made a deliciously decadent caramel sauce, what the heck do you do with it, right? Here are some of our favorite tips:

  • Top your favorite cake, pie, or tart with a generous drizzle of caramel.

  • Pour over popcorn and enjoy a sweet treat.

  • Dip apples for a deconstructed caramel apple.

  • Sweeten your coffee with caramel instead of cream and sugar.

  • Add to milkshakes.

  • Rim a mug of hot cocoa for that extra decadent touch.

  • For an adult beverage, rim a martini glass with caramel and serve with your favorite Appletini.

  • Make hot caramel apple cider.

  • Place in a pretty jar, tied with a pretty ribbon and give as a gift to your favorite hostess, teacher, family or friend.

  • Bake with Brie and nuts and serve with apples for a festive appetizer or dessert.

  • Make it savory! Mix with fish sauce and a few other ingredients for flavorful Vietnamese dishes. Food and Wine.

Thank you for stopping by!





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Cooking Tip: How To Make Cake Flour

cooking tipsSheri SpalloneComment
Cooking Tip: How to Make Cake Flour*

Cooking Tip: How to Make Cake Flour*

Over the years, I have learned the value of "mise en place" (A French culinary phrase which means "putting in place" or "everything in its place"), but to be honest, cake flour is an ingredient I do not often have on hand...or do I? 

I am always amazed at the resources available online these days for everything, including how to make cake flour!  (Am I the only one who remembers encyclopedias and going to the library to research something?  I guess I am dating myself;)  Ok, I digress;)

Making cake flour (a necessary ingredient, in my opinion, for making light, tender cakes and other baked goods) is super simple and uses only two ingredients: all-purpose flour, and cornstarch. 

So, here is how it is done:  For every cup of flour required for a recipe, remove 2 Tablespoons (Tbsp.) of flour and add back in the same amount of cornstarch.  Here's a post by http://www.thegraciouswife.com/cake-flour-substitute/, which gives a nice breakdown of the conversions.

  • 1 cup of cake flour, remove 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour and add 2 tablespoons of cornstarch.
  • 1 1/2 cups of cake flour, remove 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour and add 3 tablespoons of cornstarch.
  • 2 cups of cake flour, remove 4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) of all-purpose flour and add 4 tablespoons of cornstarch.
  • 2 1/2 cups of cake flour, remove 5 tablespoons of all-purpose flour and add 5 tablespoons of cornstarch.
  • 3 cups of cake flour, remove 6 tablespoons of all-purpose flour and add 6 tablespoons of cornstarch.

There you go friends - a clever substitution with ingredients you probably already have on hand, and you will forever have your "mise en place"!

Comment below if you have any questions or tips of your own to share.

Thank you for stopping by!  Come back and revisit us :)

Happy Baking!

*A huge shout out and thank you to my dear friend Elliot from Bakin' Whoopie in Maryland for sharing this fabulous picture (I am pretty sure she knows how to make cake flour;), and to her Photographer, Mary Gardella (www.marygardella.com), also in Maryland, for capturing this playful side of Elliot.  Thank you ladies!

 

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Cooking Tip- How To Make Powdered Sugar

cooking tipsSheri SpalloneComment
Cooking Tip:  How To Make Powdered Sugar

Cooking Tip:  How To Make Powdered Sugar

Have you ever started a recipe, only to learn an ingredient was missing?  I know friend, I feel your pain!  I did this recently (an hour before company was to arrive) with powdered sugar (also know as confectioner's or icing sugar). Yikes!  I needed the powdered sugar to make icing for a cake I had prepared earlier in the day, and I was completely out of it.  I was about to have my sweet hubby go back to the grocery store for a second time, when I googled "how to make powdered sugar?"  What I found was mind-blowing!

It had never occurred to me to make powdered sugar from scratch, as I always had this quintessential, processed pantry staple on hand.  That's right, with a blender or food processor, any granulated sugar you have on hand (white, raw, coconut, etc. ), and cornstarch (or arrowroot, etc.), you can turn granulated sugar into a silky, powdered confection in minutes.  I prefer to add cornstarch to keep the powdered sugar from caking or clumping together, but you can omit altogether, as long as you sift before using.  

So, here is how it is done!

  • 1 cup granulated sugar or half the amount of granulated sugar you need for your recipe.
  • For each 1 cup of sugar, add 1 teaspoon (tsp) of cornstarch (to prevent caking or clumping... but this can be omitted)
  • Add the sugar and cornstarch to a blender or food processor, cover the lid with a towel (to contain the fine dust) and pulse until the sugar has obtained a powdery texture.
  • Allow the powdered sugar to settle a bit before removing the lid.
  • Use powdered sugar immediately for your favorite sweet indulgence, or store in an air-tight container for later use.  
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Comment below if you have any questions or tips of your own to share.

Thank you for stopping by!  Come back and visit us again:)

Happy Baking!

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