We've all been there: excited over the prospect of a home-baked cake, you hastily assemble all of the necessary ingredients, read through the instructions, and realize one crucial step was overlooked: how to prep the cake pans. Now you could certainly purchase parchment rounds
(and may as well so you're stocked for the next go-around), but sometimes cake cannot wait, and you must take matters into your own hands. Luckily, with a little know-how (if you've ever made a paper snowflake, the process will seem familiar), this is an easy fix.
We could wax rhapsodic about the wide world of cake for hours (and likely have), but whether we're indulging in a fudgey chocolate-almond stunner or a classic yellow cake, one crucial step in cake prep holds constant. In our less-informed days, we occasionally skipped taking the care and time to prep a cake pan properly, writing it off as a fussy, time consuming step. Let's just say we learned our lesson the hard way . . . and when it comes down to it, this step is a necessity — and actually quite simple. So learn from our mistakes, and do it right.
I've never been the biggest soda fan. Even as a child I was far more interested in sugar in solid form (I'm somewhat of a sour gummy candy fanatic) than Coke and the like. Nonetheless, I've always had a soft spot for fragrant cream soda. There's a certain ineffable something about it that manages to lure me in nearly every time I come across it — which is both sadly, and admittedly lucky for my waistline, not that often.
Have you tried our recipe for ginger simple syrup yet? If so, then you'll notice that you're left with a pile of zesty ginger, softened from simmering away and lightly sweetened from the process. Rather than throw away these zingy "scraps," you should make candied ginger out of it; it's only two simple steps away (really).
- Preheat your oven to 200°F. Spread the reserved ginger slices out on a silpat or parchment paper-lined cookie sheet.
- Pop them in the oven, and cook for two hours, or until dry and chewy.
We love to eat the sugared slices as is but have also been known to stud scones and ginger cookies with finely chopped chunks. It also makes a great cocktail garnish.
I'm a bit of a cocktail fanatic, which means that I place almost as much weight on the strength of a restaurant's bar list as its menu when making dining-out decisions. That said, the fancy creations I crave often come with an equally precious price point, so I'm always looking for a way to replicate my favorite boozy treats at home. For this reason, I prefer keeping the basic accoutrements on hand for concocting a simple cocktail when a craving hits.
I turn to simple syrups to flavor and sweeten cocktails, and when I'm looking for a particularly punchy ginger kick, I often pull out a bottle of my homemade ginger simple syrup. And while ginger simple syrup's most obvious application is in the cocktails I crave, I've managed to find a whole host of secondary uses.
Keep reading to see what they are — and get the ginger simple syrup recipe.
Keep reading to learn how to whip up a batch of your own.
If you've never had a pain d'epi, this pull-apart baguette is intended to mimic the appearance of the flower of the wheat stalk, or "epi" in French. Each little ear of wheat can be easily pulled apart, which makes this bread shape ideal to pass around the table at dinner parties or picnics.
If you don't have time to create a sourdough bread starter, this overnight dough is the next best thing. Complete the first step of the recipe the night before, allowing the bread to ferment overnight. This imparts a slightly sour yet floral aroma and taste.
Creating the baguette shape may seem daunting at first, but the process becomes more natural by the second or third try. To spread the dough into a rectangle shape with an even thickness, press your fingers in the center of the dough and then slowly knead it outward.
To cut even epi pieces, maintain the same 45-degree angle and spacing between each cut, then use your fingers to alternate the side that each "wheat petal" rests.
The bread will rise when it cooks, so space each loaf several inches apart. To learn how to make these beautiful pain d'epi loaves, keep reading
If you're already a fan of making your own snacks, then why not start preparing your own condiments, too? One of the easiest in my book is balsamic glaze: all you really need is a bottle of balsamic vinegar and 10 minutes. Here's how you do it:
- Pour a cup of balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan over medium heat.
- Bring the heat to a boil without reducing the heat on the stove.
- At this point, turn down the heat so that boil reduces to a simmer. Stir occasionally and allow to simmer until the vinegar has reduced by at least half (for a thinner reduction) or more (for a more syrupy consistency). However impatient you may be, don't try to increase the heat, unless you want to be left with a stiff, hardened mess!
- Allow to cool and transfer to an airtight container; store in the refrigerator until ready to use.
Use your new condiment as the base for healthy antipasto skewers, or serve it with fruit and ice cream for an easy yet sophisticated finish to your meal. Ready to move on to more condiments? Master recipes for homemade ketchup, mustard, and mayonnaise.
Have you ever made a balsamic reduction?
Source: Flickr User thepinkpeppercorn