Posts Tagged ‘baked goods’

Kitchen Tips Tuesday: Egg Substitutes

September 29, 2015

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Many baked goods recipes call for eggs, but if you are baking for a vegan, or someone with an egg allergy, it is still possible to make sweet treats without them. Three common substitutes for eggs are mashed bananas, a flaxseed and water paste, or aquafaba, which is the water from a can of chickpeas.
All three have their place in recipes, as the reaction, or flavor may effect the outcome.

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Bananas: Use 1/4 cup of mashed bananas for every egg called for.

This can be helpful when making baked goods such as muffins or coffee cakes where the banana flavor is a nice addition. It will yield dense, moist baked goods, but if the banana taste is a deal breaker, this will not be the option for you.

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Flaxseed Paste: For every egg called for, mix 1 tablespoon of ground golden flaxseed or flax meal with 3 tablespoons of water to form a paste. Allow it to sit for about 5 minutes to thicken.

Flaxseed is often listed in vegan recipes as an egg substitute, and the flavor is pretty much undetactable. It will not react exactly like an egg and the end result might not be as pretty as you would like. It will be tasty and is a good solid option for eggless baking if taste trumps texture and beauty.

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Aquafaba: For every egg needed, add 3 tablespoons of the water from canned, unsalted chickpeas, known as aquafaba.

Lately, aquafaba has been popping up more and more in articles and on websites. Quite honestly, I had never heard of it until a couple of weeks ago, but it may factor into my baking soon, so I can provide vegan options on Indigo Jones Eats. The water from the chickpeas has many egg-like properties, from being protein rich to having that slightly slimy, runny texture of an eggwhite. It also has emulsifying and leavening properties making it a great choice for eggless baking. Those who have used it report that it reacts very much like an egg, yielding lighter,evenly colored baked goods that rise properly. The best part? No bean flavor is detectable.

While all of these are great substitutes for eggs in many baked items, we would caution against using them for things like souffles, where the eggwhites are key players, although we have seen recipes using aquafaba successfully to make meringues. Aquafaba has become so popular that it even has its own website. We also love that it cuts down on food waste, as it is a product that usually gets rinsed off and thrown away when we eat beans.

If you want to go vegan in the kitchen, try to experiment with some of these options until you find the right one for your recipe, and enjoy!

Photo: Glasshouse Images

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Indigo Jones Eats

March 25, 2015

How often have you looked at our food photos and wished you could actually eat them? Did you know that we have another site called indigo jones eats where you can actually order our sweet treats to go?

We focus on specific holidays, and with Easter and Passover just over a week away, we have a delicous offering ripe for ordering.

Here is a sample of what we are cooking up for you to celebrate the spring holidays…

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Passover begins April 3. These matzo brittle s’mores are so addictively good that you won’t even realize they are Passover treats. We also offer just matzo brittle, a caramel and marbelized chocolate confection that you won’t be able to resist.

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For those thinking about Easter baskets, how about a trio of homemade s’mores in whimsical shapes?

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Why dye hard boiled eggs when you can have decorated egg shaped s’mores?

Looking for something special? Just ask! If we can do it for you we will. And of course our classic s’mores are always available too.

For more information, check out indigojoneseats.

To ensure holiday delivery, please place your order by March 27 if possible.

Check us out at indigojonesnyc on instagram.

Want to see what we have been pinning? Take a look at our Pinterest page!

Tweet along on Twitter.

Take a peek at our Tumblr.

To keep up with the latest, show us some “like” by liking our Facebook page

Kitchen Tips Tuesday: Cutting Edge

December 9, 2014

 

Steel Ruler

 

We’re all about winging it in the kitchen where appropriate ( hello, unrecipes!) but sometimes we need to be more precise.

When cutting baked goods, candies or other foods into squares, cover a ruler in plastic cling wrap and use it to mark off perfectly even portions. You can even cut right along the straight edge , or etch a straight line to follow.

The plastic wrap keeps the ruler and the food clean, and still allows you to see the markings.

Pretty smart, we think!

photo: glasshouse images

 

Check us out at indigojonesnyc on instagram.

Want to see what we have been pinning? Take a look at our Pinterest page!

Tweet along on Twitter.

To keep up with the latest, show us some “like” by liking our Facebook page

Check out our new site Indigo Jones Eats for made to order treats.

Kitchen Tips Tuesday: Fixing Charred Baked Goods

July 29, 2014

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We’ve all been there: the bottom of the cookies or cake have burnt while the rest of it is perfectly fine.

No worries! Use a box grater, or a microplane zester to gently shave off the charred part.

The baked goods will be good to eat, and nobody will ever know about your little mishap!

photo: Glasshouse Images

Kitchen Tips Tuesday: Reheating Bread

May 20, 2014

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Did you ever heat bread or baked goods in the microwave, only to find them nearly fossilized a minute later? The microwave seems to zap the moisture from foods, often leaving them dry and hard.

Have no fear, a solution is here!
Simply place a small dish of water in the microwave, next to the bread or pastry before heating. The water adds moisture to the air inside the oven, and serves to lightly steam, rather than dehydrate the food. The result is softer, fresher tasting baked goods every time.

This concept works in a regular oven as well. My grandmother used to place bread or bagels in a brown paper bag, and sprinkle it liberally with water before placing it in the oven. When the bag was dry, the bread was heated through, soft and delicious. We have even rubbed a little water on a baguette for the same result.

Next time you have bread that is starting to get a bit stale, try one of these methods to bring it back to life!

photo: Glasshouse Images

Food Additives Found In Industrial Products

March 17, 2014

Riddle of the day:

What does your yoga mat have in common with your lunch?

Answer: If your lunch includes commercially baked bread, the answer just might be azodicarbonamide.

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This compound, often used to improve the texture of dough, has been shown to cause respiratory issues in factory workers who were exposed to high levels of azodicarbonamide. There is no indication that small amounts, like the amount found in bread, is actually harmful to ingest.

The fact that it is used in rubber products from yoga mats to flip flops was the red flag for many health advocates. The compound makes the rubber lighter and more flexible.

Many food products benefit from the same type of aeration, such as pastries, pizza, bread products and tortillas.

Subway was the first of many companies to be called out on the use of azodicarbonamide, and urged to find an alternative.

While we fully support taking any chemicals out of our foods, there are far more potentially lethal additives, such as BPA and potassium bromate to contend with.

The best line of defense in protecting yourself and your family from harmful food additives is to eat fresh foods, and avoid processed and packaged foods wherever possible.

photo: Glasshouse Images

Inconvenience Foods

April 24, 2013

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Several people I follow on Facebook have taken to posting recipes culled from various cooking sites on their walls. They are quite popular, and are often met with “likes” and comments about how delicious they are.

As someone who writes about food, I look at these recipes with great interest. And each time, I am appalled.

Most of these delicacies are made with mixes, and contain tons of fat, sugar and “white stuff.”  A cake recipe features yellow cake mix, eggs, lemon Jell-O, vegetable oil and 7-UP (yes, the soft drink!). It is iced with sugar and orange juice.

While I am no stranger to treats, and bake often, it is my philosophy that the best possible ingredients should be used, and the end result should be well worth the dietary splurge.

Calorie for calorie, I am sure that my baked goods would weigh in at a similar or even greater amount. This isn’t about fat content or grams of sugar. My issue is with the chemicals and unnecessary additives in the Jell-O, soda and cake mix.

“Holy Cow Cake” contains a jar of caramel topping, cream cheese, a can of sweetened condensed milk and Cool Whip blended with a chocolate cake mix. Holy Cow, indeed!

The fresh strawberry cake does in fact feature the real deal, and the website talks about the joys of going strawberry picking (fresh and local= good). Yet those freshly picked berries are beaten into submission by a meat tenderizer, and overcome by Jell-O and cake mix again.

Honestly, I didn’t think people used this stuff anymore. I really, truly believed that people fell into two distinct camps: those who baked, and those who frequented bakeries. I am shocked that someone would take the time to prepare things like this, under the guise of homemade.

There are savory dishes here as well, such as a recently posted soup recipe that features bacon, whipping cream, potatoes, cheese and bouillon cubes. Bouillon cubes! Those tiny blocks of flavor are made of salt, sugar, MSG, hydrogenated palm Olien, and Disodium Inosinate among the long list of ingredients. I don’t use any of those things in my homemade stock, which is much richer and more flavorful than rehydrated chemicals will ever be. But I also don’t add bacon, whipped cream and cheese to my soups either.

While we blame much of the obesity epidemic and its related diseases on fast food, this “semi-homemade” movement is often worse. Basing our meals around premade, processed and preservative ridden mixes is creating dishes that are worse for us than a fast food burger. I can’t help but think that many people have no idea how much less healthy these foods are even as compared to the “real” versions of the same thing.

Why does dry cake mix need to have well over a dozen unpronounceable ingredients in it? Most of the dry components of a cake are flour, sugar, a small amount of salt and some type of leavening, such as baking soda or baking powder. All of these are shelf stable, without the need for additional preservatives. For most basic mixes, you need to add water, oil and eggs. For most basic recipes from “scratch” you need to add butter, and eggs. I can’t even begin to imagine how a mix is easier, or why anyone would want to eat all those chemical additives.

I don’t mean to offend anyone’s palette, or to get all judge-y about anyone’s dietary preferences. If you want to indulge, go for it. But in using manufactured ingredients instead of fresh ones, we are harming our bodies and subjecting ourselves to exposure to unsafe food additives, without any good reason to do so.

Next time you long to make a special cake, or a hearty casserole,consider not only the nutritional value of the dish itself, but also the unnecessary additions and additives you are using as well.

Photo: Glasshouse Images

Substitutions Welcome

September 10, 2012

I am extremely health minded when it comes to fitness and nutrition. I don’t believe in using anything fake in my food to make it lower in fat, calories, sugar or even gluten. I prefer to avoid these things on a regular basis, and indulge in the real deal from time to time.
Recently, I have started experimenting with substituting a bit, and have been creating recipes that still use all natural food based ingredients, but make things just a bit healthier in the process.

When last night’s gluten free cheesecake with an almond meal crust drew rave reviews from people who preferred it to my usual cheesecake recipe, I realized that I was onto something.

Butter is a mainstay to baking, and I would never consider using margarine or “fake butter” instead.  There are lots of healthy and even vegan foods that can be substituted that will still yield moist, rich baked goods without sacrificing taste.

Applesauce is a great alternative to butter in denser baked goods, such as muffins and banana bread. Substitute ½ the butter for the same quantity of applesauce. You can use all applesauce if you like an even moister, heavier texture.

Avocado is also a good butter substitute. Use ½ butter and ½ of the equivalent amount of mashed avocado. It creates a softer, chewier texture, making it a great choice for cookies.

Greek yogurt is a rich creamy dairy product that can also be used instead of butter. The rule of thumb is replace ½ of the butter, with ½ the amount of yogurt. (If the recipe asks for 1 cup of butter, use ½ cup of butter and ¼ cup of yogurt.)

You may need to experiment a bit to find the consistency you like best.

I have made an amazing lemon yogurt loaf cake that is one of best versions of a lemon pound cake around. It uses both yogurt and canola oil, instead of butter.

I will continue to experiment and share some of my successes here on indigo jones.

Remember that even with substitutions to make baked goods a little more virtuous, they still are not “diet foods.” With a little practice, you may actually come up with something better than the original recipe!

photos: Glasshouse Images 


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