Sunday, January 12, 2014

Brown Sugar Basics

Good afternoon!

I hope that you are having a great day enjoying the sunshine either provided by the people you love or by the sun...I know, that was a little silly but I believe that the people you hold dear to your heart can impact your day in the best way at any given time. My family shines great sunshine and love on me on a regular basis and I try to reciprocate as often as possible. January is my father's birthday month and I am going to bake a batch of his favorite cookie for just his enjoyment.

I wanted to share something very basic and extremely easy that you can use exclusively or if you happen to run out of it and need to make a substitution. I make my own brown sugar, not for just my own personal use but also for my bakery, Sweet Intentions, I love the way that it smells when it's in the mixer! The recipe for brown sugar is so simple and very easy to remember:


Light Brown Sugar

1 cup granulated sugar (I use all natural or certified organic sugar)

1 TBSP molasses

Mix the ingredients together either by hand or use your mixer to completely combine them. Scrape down the sides of the bowl to insure that you are incorporating all of the molasses evenly into the sugar.

Here is a picture of my Light Brown Sugar prior to starting the mixer,

I started out on low and stopped it pretty frequently to scrape the sides and even the bottom of the bowl. I gradually increased the speed to medium and let it go for about five minutes before scraping the sides again. I let it go for about another five minutes and I was greeted with this



If you are in need of Dark Brown Sugar the method is the same but you would combine 2 TBSP of molasses with 1 cup of granulated sugar.


Monday, August 26, 2013

Happy Monday!

Happy Monday!!

Last week was very interesting and quite fun, I spent a great deal of time making as many sourdough items that I could with my young starter, Alpha. I haven't worked with sourdough for such a long time..not since culinary school to be honest! One of my new clients expressed a need for a sourdough loaf so I decided that now is as good a time as any to commit to cultivating a wild yeast starter. My mother laughed at me whenever she watched me as I cared for my then unnamed youngster and she cringed a few times when I asked her to peer into the jar and take a whiff... I know, maybe that was sort of mean but once Alpha matured enough to be used in a recipe on his eight day, she wasn't laughing anymore. Alpha first gave us a few simple things such as Crumpets and English Muffins.



I don't think that many survived the first afternoon... I believe that we ended up eating most of the English Muffins with raw honey from our friends at Singing Frog Farm or did I make scrambled egg sandwiches with's all a haze..either way it was pretty tasty.

Alpha and I also collaborated on Pretzel Rolls and Waffles.

Yes...I said Pretzel rolls! All I needed were some heirloom tomato and bacon jam, kale, garlic aioli and grass fed beef! I settled for a few with the most delicious Amish butter and maybe just one with Raw Milk Cheddar from Fields of Athenry..well done Alpha!



I love waffles more than I probably should and I honestly thought that I had already perfected my goto waffle recipe. I am happy to say that I have found my new favorite treat! My little brother came for a visit so I had to share a little Sourdough Waffle goodness with him! I grated a little nutmeg added a few other yummy spices, sauteed organic Golden Delicious apples butter,cream and sugar and voila, delish!

I wonder if Alpha is ready to make a loaf of bread? We'll find out later this week!


Monday, July 22, 2013

Greek yogurt is so very necessary!!

Happy Monday!

Look at this....I mean it, look closely at the above creamy goodness. I was a little skeptical when one of my favorite co workers told me that she makes yogurt for her family every week, I had never thought about doing such a thing but was very eager to give it a go! I followed her instructions but failed miserably! I told her what happened the following morning and we realized the only missing piece was the proper temperature of the milk! I believe that I was so worried about not killing the yogurt cultures that that I let the milk cool off way too long. My friend and I recreated her recipe together and I brought my thermometer along to be safe, needless to say I haven't made the same mistake and have been enjoying homemade yogurt for the last four years. Let me show you just how easy it is to make your very own greek yogurt!

You are going to need a few things:

1 Gallon of milk, I use 2% hormone free organic milk but please use whichever suits your taste but please be cautious about using skim/fat free, I think that the lowest you should go is 1%..

1 Dutch oven with a lid

1/2 cup of the plain yogurt that you wish to use, Greek, regular, Skyr, it's all up to you

2 Colanders, 2 plastic bowls and large coffee filters (I sounds weird now but trust will make sense later.)

1 to 2 clean containers to store your yogurt

1 thermometer, plastic or glass cup measure and a rubber spatula

1 large clean bath towel or a throw/blanket

About 20 minutes to prepare the yogurt and 10-12 hours to set up

Pour the milk into your Dutch oven and place on the stovetop. Turn the heat to just under medium high, this temperature is just fine, especially since we are going to cover the pot with the lid to make this process a little faster.

Place the lid of the Dutch oven in such a way to leave just a little room for steam to escape and so that you have a bit more control. You don't want the milk to come to a boil, you want it to begin steaming a little. I would suggest setting a timer for about 8 - 10 minutes and add more time as needed. Don't stray too far from the stove, I had a few extra things going on while I was heating up the milk and the temperature got away from me...



So..yeah, this self imposed nonsense really happened!! 205.7 degrees!!!! I needed the temp to be in the range of 122-125 degrees, I had to wait over 30 minutes for the temperature to drop. I used a timer and stayed in the kitchen next to the stove to make up for my mistake.

After the temp finally dropped to about 123 degrees I added the reserved yogurt and gently stirred it into the milk with spatula. I then covered the Dutch oven with the lid and carefully wrapped it up with a large bath towel.

I wrapped it in a towel to protect the pot from a temperature change and to keep it sort of toasty, you know that all good bacteria needs a warm environment and a fair amount of time to do its thing! I always leave my wrapped parcel of goodness on the stove, on one of the back burners, write down the time that I set it aside and set the alarm on my phone for 10 hours when the temperature outdoors is set on humid,hot, and ridiculous! When the alarm goes off I am greeted by this beautiful sight:

This is a Dutch oven filled with the more than a few bowls, smoothies, and even a small batch of frozen yogurt but I first need to put the lid back on and put it in the fridge for about 12 hours. After the yogurt has chilled for at least 12 hours I will set my yogurt to strain which will give me the ultra creamy and very thick texture I am craving, I have to strain away as much liquid whey protein as possible. I first place the colanders into their respective plastic bowls and I make sure that the colander isn't flush with the bowl, I need to keep the liquid away from the yogurt. I then line the colander with coffee filters and use the cup measure to fill the lined colander being careful not to fill it too much.

Cover the top of the yogurt with a coffee filter, then cover the colander with plastic wrap and place the yogurt into the fridge for 6-8 hours, it depends on just how thick you would like the yogurt to be.

I like my yogurt EXTRA THICK so I always go for the 8 hour strain and I am left with this:

Use your spatula to very carefully move your yogurt to your clean and patiently waiting empty containers...

This yogurt tastes unlike any plain Greek yogurt I have ever had, it actually tastes sweet! You can see that my containers recently held store bought yogurt, there's an easy explanation for that, every now and again "someone" eats all of the yogurt without setting aside any yogurt for the next batch. This will last just over a week between two people, you can easily cut this recipe in half and adjust the time frame (10-12 hours) to suit the season.

What to do with all of the leftover liquid whey protein? I will take care of it later, I think that I will make a small bowl for myself right now! Have a great day!