Posts Tagged ‘brown sugar’

Kitchen Tips Tuesday: Softening Brown Sugar

March 13, 2018

I store my brown sugar carefully in an airtight container to avoid it hardening, yet, somehow, I have a  large canister of hard and lumpy brown sugar on my hands. All is not lost, as brown sugar can be brought back to life by softening it in the microwave.

Simply place the hard sugar in a microwave safe (glass is ideal) bowl and drape it loosely with a wet paper towel. Cook on high for about 30 seconds, and check to see if it is softened. If it isn’t ready, stir it and repeat this operation in 20-second intervals, re-dampening the towel as necessary until it reaches the desired state. Avoid letting the wet towel touch the sugar to keep it from melting. The sugar is ready to use when it is soft, easy to pack into a cup, and free of clumps.

photo: @indigojonesnyc 



Unrecipe of the Week: Mini Frozen Strawberry Margarita Froyo Cakes

July 29, 2015

It is hot. I mean, really hot out there. How about making a refreshing dessert that doesn’t require turning on the oven?!!!

ZC8X5844 Pinkberry Yogurt_Blog

This week, we made a no-bake graham cracker crust, rich with cinnamon, brown sugar and pecans. We patted it into a mold, added some of Pinkberry’s Strawberry Margarita flavored frozen yogurt and popped it into the freezer. When we were ready to serve them, we diced a few strawberries for garnish, made a simple strawberry coulis to pour on top and we were good to go. It doesn’t get much easier than that, and these mini froyo cakes provided a cool, delicous and interesting end to a summer meal.

ZC8X5866 Pinkberry Yogurt Indigo jones eats blog


No-Bake Graham Cracker Crust:

Combine a few graham crackers* and a handful or two of pecans in the food processor. Process until they form a course crumb. Add a tablespoon or two of brown sugar, and a little ground cinnamon to taste. Drizzle melted butter through the feed tube while the machine is running, and process until the crumbs stick together, but aren’t too greasy.  Depending on the quantity you are making, you might need anywhere from a couple of tablespoons of butter, to 6 tablespoons.

Pat the graham cracker mixture evenly into the bottom of your molds. We used a square silcone mold, but you can use muffin tins with paper cupcake liners, or even small paper cups that can be peeled away later. The idea is to have an easy way to remove the mini cakes after they are frozen. Fill the molds to the top with soft frozen yogurt, and cover with plastic wrap and freeze until ready to use.
When you are ready to serve them, set them on a bed of diced strawberries, and pour a little of the strawberry coulis over them and enjoy!

indigo jones eats / Pinkberry Treats

No Cook Strawberry Coulis:

Place fresh or frozen strawberries into the blender. Add about 1/4-1/2 cup of sugar depending on quantity and desired sweetness. Squeeze in a tablespoon or two of lemon or lime juice and blend until smooth. Refrigerate until ready to use.

*If you prefer a full sized cake, line the bottom of a springform pan with removable sides with the graham cracker mixture, and then fill it with frozen yogurt. Decorate the top with sprinkling of the graham cracker mixture and some fresh strawberries and enjoy!!

*related post:

Photo: Spencer Jones for Glasshouse Images

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Frozen yogurt courtesy of Pinkberry

Kitchen Tips Tuesday: Keep Brown Sugar Soft

March 3, 2015

I finally got the last of the missing s’mores back on Friday, over 2 1/2 weeks after they were sent via the USPS’s 2-Day Priority  service. The good news: They traveled well. All 4 were still intact, and looking as though they were just packed. The marshmallows were still soft. The bad news: so were the graham crackers.


I thought they would have been close to petrified by now; dried out and hard as a rock. Instead, the marshmallow made the cookies soft. In fact too soft. I tried to figure out what happened and then it hit me!

Storing brown sugar with marshmallow is a great way to keep it soft.  Since my graham crackers contain a high percentage of brown sugar, it would make sense that the marshmallows in the s’mores added moisture,making the cookie soggy, instead of dry.

While it’s not the optimum situation for a s’more, it is the perfect solution to keeping brown sugar from hardening.

I’m sold.

photo: Glasshouse Images

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Kitchen Tips Tuesday: Brown Sugar 101

February 17, 2015


We love the taste of brown sugar. It has a rich, mellow flavor that adds depth to our homemade graham crackers and deliocous cheesecake crusts. Recipes generally specify which type of sugar should be used: light or dark brown, confectioner’s or refined white sugar, which is usually just listed as sugar. So what’s the difference?

To make sugar, fructose is combined with glucose. The juice is filtered to extract the plant matter and is boiled down, forming a thick syrup.
The syrup is then spun in a centrifuge to separate out the crystals, which become what is commonly referred to as raw sugar. The rest is molasses.

If the molasses are boiled again to remove the next level of crystalized sucrose, it becomes second molasses, and if done again, it creates third molasses, or “blackstrap molasses.”

If the sugar crystals are not refined further, they will become brown sugar. Continued refinement will result in pure, white sugar.

Commercial brown sugar is often made by adding back molasses to refined white sugar.

If you are baking and discover you are out of brown sugar, it is possible to create your own at home. You may even find it superior enough in flavor to get into the habit of making it yourself.

All you need is plain, white granulated sugar and molasses. It’s best to use pure, dark, unsulphured molasses, which are free of additives. Blackstrap molasses can tend to be a bit bitter for this use.

Start with a cup of plain, granulated white sugar. For light brown sugar, pour 1 tablespoon of molasses over the top of it, and for dark brown sugar add 2 tablespoons of molasses. Mash this together with a fork, until it is fully combined. Use your fingers to break up any lumps that appear. If you are mixing large quantities, you can use the paddle attachment of your stand mixer to do this.

It’s best to use it right away, but you can store it in a tightly sealed container as you would store bought brown sugar.

photo: glasshouse images

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Kitchen Tips Tuesday: Measuring Dry Ingredients

July 30, 2013

Here at Indigo Jones, we are big on the “unrecipe.” When cooking, we like to be flexible and use instinct to get the right amount of flavor to suit our palate. Baking is another story. Being casual with measurements can prove catastrophic.


When measuring dry ingredients, such as flour for baking, it is important to be consistent, to get consistent results.

We like to use the fluff, stuff and level method:
Fluff up the flour, scoop it into a measuring cup, and level it off with a knife. It’s easy, and effective.

Other ingredients, such as brown sugar need to be packed firmly into the cup when measuring, to ensure the correct amount.

Using these techniques will help ensure perfect baked goods every time!

photo: Glasshouse Images 

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Unrecipe of the Week: Chocolate Chip Cookies

June 12, 2013


Sometimes simple things are best.  Every time I make Toll House chocolate chip cookies, they get gobbled up. The recipe has been around forever, and it never disappoints. The rich buttery dough with almost melted chocolate chips is so easy to make, that there really isn’t a good reason to buy packaged cookies. The dough actually improves if left in the refrigerator for a few hours, or even overnight. It can also be frozen in a log, and a few cookies can be sliced off and baked so that you can have a fresh out of the oven experience at a moment’s notice.

Trust me, these are so easy, you can make them with one hand. I did!


Toll House Cookies

Beat together 2 sticks of butter, ¾ cup granulated sugar and ¾ cup brown sugar. Add a teaspoon of vanilla and beat until fluffy.

Add 2 eggs and mix thoroughly.

In a separate bowl mix 2 ¼ cups flour, 1 teaspoon baking soda and 1 teaspoon salt. With the mixer running, slowly add it to the butter mixture until fully incorporated.

Stir in 12 ounces of semi sweet chocolate chips. **


Drop the dough onto an ungreased cookie sheet, using a tablespoon* and bake at 375 degrees for 9-11 minutes, until they are golden brown. Allow them to sit for a minute or two in the pan before transferring them to a rack to cool. Enjoy!

* I use a small spring-loaded ice cream scoop to drop the dough onto the pan. It is so much neater, and the cookies tend to be more uniform in size.

** If you want to experiment with variations, try using white chocolate, peanut butter or butterscotch chips in place of the chocolate chips, or use a combination.

Replace the chips with M&M’s for a fun look. If you like nuts, add a cup of the chopped nuts of your choice to the batter.

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Kitchen Tips: How to Soften Brown Sugar

February 25, 2013


If you are a baker, you know that annoying moment when you reach for the brown sugar to add to a recipe, only to discover something more akin to that which is found on an archeological dig. Before you toss that petrified rock  in the trash and dash across the street to the grocery store in your pajamas (oh yes I did), there is a solution.

To soften brown sugar, place the hardened sugar into a glass casserole dish. Cover the sugar with moist paper towels, and then cover the dish. Microwave in 30 second intervals until the sugar is reverted back to it’s soft, pliable stage. Do not over cook it, or it will melt completely. Be careful when handling it. The sugar will be hot.

photo: Glasshouse Images

Unrecipe of the Week

September 13, 2012

This delicious relish is the perfect accompaniment to simple roasted chicken.

It’s a little bit sweet, and a little bit hot, with a hint of smoky pancetta to enhance the flavors.

Spicy Corn and Pancetta Relish

Cook about 1/2 pound of pancetta, cut into small pieces in a little olive oil until it is brown and crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.

Add 1 diced medium onion to the pan, and sauté until transparent. Add 2 or 3 finely diced garlic cloves and a chunk of finely diced fresh ginger,to the mixture. Add 1 diced red pepper and one diced green pepper and cook until they are starting to soften, about 2 minutes.

Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.

Mix in the juice of 3-4 limes*, 1/3 cup of brown sugar, ¼ to ½ teaspoon of cayenne pepper. Add 1/8-1/4 teaspoon of red pepper flakes, depending on how hot you like it. Stir and bring to a simmer, allowing the brown sugar to melt. Add the zest* of 2 limes, cut into strips.
Add 2 cups of corn kernels to the pan and cook until tender.

Stir in the cooked pancetta, and adjust seasonings.

Transfer the mixture into a bowl to cool. Stir in one small bunch of chopped cilantro and ENJOY!

*Use a vegetable peeler to remove the zest from 2 of the limes before you get started. Slice them into thin strips and blanch them in boiling water for 1 minute and set aside until needed.

photo:Glasshouse Images

Unrecipe of the Week: Easter-over

April 8, 2012

Today we are celebrating “Easter-over”, a non-denominational hybrid of Passover and Easter. The beginning of the meal features classic matzoh ball soup, leading up to a salad of mache and figs, herb roasted leg of lamb, roasted new potatoes and vegetables, and ending with an array of Passover desserts.

This year, in addition to the sponge cake, made from my grandmother’s recipe and cooled upside down on a glass bottle, there are homemade coconut macaroons with a tiny chocolate center, and chocolate matzo brittle.

Matzo brittle is a fairly recent concoction, and not the type of thing I would normally make. I balk at things that start with processed ingredients, and with no disrespect to our state’s acting first lady, the idea of “Semi-Homemade” is unappealing. Yet, something made me want to try this one, and I am glad I did!
It is easy, yet a little messy, and absolutely addictive, regardless of what your heritage might be!

Matzo Brittle

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

Cover 2 baking sheets with aluminum foil, including the edges.( you will thank me for this later) and then lay a piece of parchment paper on each pan.

Lay out sheets of plain matzo, using broken pieces to fill any gaps.

In a heavy sauce pan, melt 2 sticks of butter, and 1 cup of brown sugar, stirring until melted together. Allow the mixture to bubble up for about 3 minutes, stirring constantly.

Remove it from the pan and pour it over the matzo, covering each piece evenly.

Put the pans in the oven, and bake for about 15 minutes. The mixture will bubble up.

Remove the pans from the oven, and sprinkle each one with a bag of chocolate chips. Pop back in the oven for about 5 minutes, and then use a spatula to spread the chocolate evenly over the matzo.

Allow to cool, and then break into pieces.

Try not to taste it, or there won’t be any left for the guests.

To all of our readers around the world,Happy Easter-over! May you enjoy a wonderful celebration of the Spring season surrounded by friends and loved ones.


Unrecipe of the Week/Thanksgiving Edition

November 24, 2009

There are no candied sweet potatoes with marshmallows at our table! We try to stay traditional, with a tasteful twist. You’ll go absolutely bananas over these sweet potatoes that are easy to make and have a unique flavor that you will love!

Honey Banana Sweet Potatoes

5 medium sweet potatoes

4 bananas

2 sticks butter

1/4 cup honey

3/4 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup flour

1 1/2 cups chopped pecans

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Prick the sweet potatoes with a fork and roast for 30 minutes.

Add the bananas in their peels to the pan and continue roasting for another 10-15 minutes until both are very soft.

Set aside to cool.

Scoop out the insides of the sweet potatoes, peel the bananas, and add them to a bowl with 1 stick of butter, and the honey, and mix until smooth and fluffy.  Sprinkle with a little coarse salt.
Spoon into a greased, oven proof dish.

In a seperate bowl, mix the remaining stick of butter, brown sugar, flour and pecans. Rub with your fingers until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

Sprinkle the mixture over the sweet potatoes, and bake another 20 minutes until golden.


note: The banana peels will turn black when cooked. This will not effect the taste.

photo: Glasshouse Images

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