Easy homemade Honeycomb for a Flavorful Sweet Treat

Easy homemade Honeycomb for a Flavorful Sweet Treat

Easy homemade Honeycomb for a Flavorful Sweet Treat

Cinder Toffee from Royal Highlands Fair in Scotland

Cinder Toffee from Royal Highlands Fair in Scotland

I ate honeycomb for the first time at the Royal Highlands show in Scotland where it was called cinder toffee. I adopted a Scottish accent after the first bite.

I’d eaten honeycomb-covered chocolate bars in London, but fresh-made honeycomb had heady aromas of caramel, toffee, butter, smoky flavors and a hint of bitter. All of these qualities make it a perfect garnish for flavor-forward desserts.

Honeycomb is also known as hokey pokey (New Zealand and Australia) and tire-éponge (Quebec/France). This recipe was provided by a pastry chef who specializes in flavorful foods. Chef Country Velador of New Wave Market and Super Chunk Sweets & Treats shared her recipe scaled down for home-kitchen use.

Ingredients (Super Chunk Sweets & Treats Recipe)
1 tablespoon baking soda
½ cup water
⅓ cup honey
¼ cup corn syrup
1½ cup sugar

Steps

Honeycomb from Superchunk Sweets and Treats

Superchunk Sweets & Treats Restaurant Quantity

  1. Line baking sheet with a silpat and set aside. Measure out the baking soda and leave next to the sheet pan with a whisk.
  2. In a large saucepan (final mixture will foam up dramatically), combine the water, honey, and corn syrup. Stir to dissolve the honey and corn syrup as much as you can. Add the sugar and carefully stir in, being careful not to get sugar on the sides of the pan. Put on the stove over high heat.
  3. Bring the mixture to a boil and clip on a candy thermometer. Cook until the candy thermometer reads 305F.
  4. Take the pot next to the silpat and pour in the baking soda and quickly whisk it in. The honeycomb will puff up. Quickly pour it out onto the silpat, pouring all of the candy right in the center of the pan.
  5. Let cool completely before breaking up. Store in an airtight container.

Honeycomb goes a long way as a garnish for cakes or cupcakes icing, paired with chocolate, tucked in a yogurt, fruit parfait or sprinkled on ice cream or roasted bananas. Cook some up and play with it.

Eat within a few days or share with people to increase your popularity immensely. If it sits too long, it begins to absorb moisture from the air quickly and becomes sticky and soft. Don’t store in the fridge for the same reason, and wrap it in plastic wrap after it has completely dried to avoid exposure to moisture.

Honeycomb by Superchunk Sweets and Treats

About Me

The pleasure of food, good health and well-being through simple habits for eating well and flexitarian low-key cooking.
Michele Redmond

Michele Redmond

French-trained Chef, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist & Food Enjoyment Activist

It's about Making Food First

Get Taste Workshop periodic updates on easy ways to choose and cook foods that satisfy your appetite, nurture your body and make eating well a pleasure.

Kids in the Kitchen: A little Cooking Competition is Healthy

Kids in the Kitchen: A little Cooking Competition is Healthy

Kids in the Kitchen: A little Cooking Competition is Healthy

Parents rarely get to brag that their children regularly make the family meals using lots of new ingredients. However, TV cooking competitions for kids give the illusion that they often whip up complex meals quicker than their parents can google the recipe.

Some cooking competitions pit kids against each other, give blistering critiques and drop them into professional line cook jobs or catering events. While it may work as entertainment, it doesn’t send a message that cooking can be a relaxing and healthy way to bond with other kids or adults.

Cooking Competitions for Kids-Not Just for TV

Kids can cook and compete in ways that encourage them to try new foods and have fun creating meals. I was reminded of this during a cooking event I organized for 100 kids participating in Fuel Up to Play 60, a healthy eating and fitness program run by the Dairy Council of Arizona. During the one-hour cooking session, they:

  1.  encouraged each other to taste new ingredients with no adult intervention,
  2.  bonded over “foreign foods” that they adventurously tried,
  3.  helped each other with techniques and cooking tools,
  4.  learned cooking skills or shared skills they had, and
  5.  cooperated to name their dish and meet the deadline.

Tips for Simple Competitions

Home-based cooking competitions can have the same benefits and involve as few as 4 kids in teams of two. Here’s some tips to create simple competitions that promote creativity and enjoyment of nutrient-rich foods: 

  1. Remind kids that people have different tasting skills and perceive food tastes, flavors and textures in different ways. Place a ban on “yuck”, “gross” or “disgusting” comments.
  1. Like many adults, kids can’t describe why they like or dislike certain foods. Review the five taste qualities (sour, sweet, bitter, salty and umami) and show which ingredients fit those qualities.
  1. Share that flavor and texture also influence food preferences. Encourage tasting recipe ingredients such as spices, herbs, condiments or vegetables and fruits.
  1. Provide some combination of known ingredients with new ones. This relates to the concept of “flavor pairing” or “associate conditioning” that can reduce food neophobia (fear of new foods).
  1. If they are to make a meal that’s new to them, select ones that feel familiar, like flatbread, or describe it in ways that connects them to other foods they’ve enjoyed.
  1. Select the same meal to cook so kids can compare the finished versions and be exposed to other taste and flavor choices.
  1. Suggest kids take photos of their final creations rather than taking photos during cooking as it’s a distraction and cell phones are a food-safety hazard.

Cooking competitions for kids are entertaining without the stress of elimination or having an apron taken away for failing to meet the TV judge’s standards.

Home-based cooking competitions for kids create supportive peer environments that promote trying new foods, build skills, increase interest in cooking and make for good play dates, birthday events or a way to get your kid to make dinner that night.

Tartines Cheesy Melt Cooking Competitions

August is Kids Eat Right Month: This is a dedicated time to celebrate and promote ways to encourage kids to cook and eat well. Culinary nutrition expert Sara Hass, RDN organizes a month-long effort called “Kids in the Kitchen” to promote different ways that kids can get engaged and interested in cooking.

Find more information at Sara’s website and Kids Eat Right. Post photos of your kids cooking and use the hashtag #kidsinthekitchen to celebrate their efforts and get practical and fun information from culinary nutrition experts who love to get kids in the kitchen having fun.

About Me

The pleasure of food, good health and well-being through simple habits for eating well and flexitarian low-key cooking.
Michele Redmond

Michele Redmond

French-trained Chef, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist & Food Enjoyment Activist

It's about Making Food First

Get Taste Workshop periodic updates on easy ways to choose and cook foods that satisfy your appetite, nurture your body and make eating well a pleasure.

Marmalade Macaroons or Rochers à la Noix de Coco

Marmalade Macaroons or Rochers à la Noix de Coco

Marmalade Macaroons or Rochers à la Noix de Coco

Add macaroons to your dessert menu to master a classic French treat with Italian origins that’s surprisingly quick and easy. Macaroons (mac-uh-ruinz) based on coconut, look and sound nothing like the butter-cream filled almond cookies macarons (mac-kaw-rhone except only pronounce half the “n” for that special form of French nasal linguistic torture). To avoid confusion, the French versions are called Rochers à la Noix de Coco (coconut rocks) or simply Rochers Coco to be short and slang.

Marmalade macaroons are not traditional. Typically, macaroons have three-ingredients (sugar, coconut and egg whites) that can be formed into playful shapes, often into a cone or pyramid shape in France. They’re most delicious when the tops and sides or edges have extra crispy browned, nearly burned bits. This marmalade macaroon was inspired by delicious marmalade I experienced while living in France and pleases any crowd with chewy-crunchy textures.

Fast & Easy Marmalade Macaroons

Makes 20

Marmalade Macaroon TheTasteWorkshop.com

 

 

 

Ingredients

5 ½ cups (14 ounce bag) sweetened coconut flakes
½ cup sugar
⅛ teaspoon salt (optional, but helps balance the sweetness)
4 egg whites
4 tablespoons marmalade, minced (If marmalade is very syrupy and thin, use 3 tablespoons)

Steps

1. Preheat oven to 350°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Stir together coconut, sugar and salt in a bowl.
3. Add egg whites and marmalade and mix with a large serving fork or spoon.
4. Scoop two tablespoons onto parchment paper in a mound and continue to make more mounds spaced about 2 inches apart. Fill a small bowl or cup with water, dip your fingers into water and with fingers of both hands, form each mound into a pyramid, wetting fingers as needed.
5. Place on middle rack in over, cook for 16-20 minutes or until firm on the sides and the edges and tops have begun to turn dark brown, nearly a burnt look.
6. After removing from oven, carefully slide onto two baking racks set side by side to fit the baking sheet size.
7. Let cool to eat if you can wait and store in the refrigerator in a covered dish.

Here’s an unscripted Facebook Live Video where I chat about bitter oranges, coconut flake differences & forming the pyramid shapes.

Happy Macaroon Day! The best 15 minute, 3-4 ingredient dessert ever if you like coconut. I'm showing a marmalade version with French influences (the shape) and in France–often called Rochers à la Noix de Coco (coconut rocks) or Roches Coco to be slang and short.

Posted by Michele Redmond on Thursday, May 31, 2018

 

 

 

About Me

The pleasure of food, good health and well-being through simple habits for eating well and flexitarian low-key cooking.
Michele Redmond

Michele Redmond

French-trained Chef, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist & Food Enjoyment Activist

It's about Making Food First

Get Taste Workshop periodic updates on easy ways to choose and cook foods that satisfy your appetite, nurture your body and make eating well a pleasure.

Pineapple Ginger Salsa Recipe

Pineapple Ginger Salsa Recipe

Pineapple Ginger Salsa Recipe

Tomato-based salsas offer familiar flavors and textures, but bust out of that comfort zone with a sweet, tangy pineapple ginger salsa for a zippy dip and fun side dish or garnish. Flavorful heat from chile peppers, garlic, scallion and ginger are balanced by the fruity nectar of ripe pineapple and savory fresh tomatoes.

Pineapple ginger salsa recipe

It screams “don’t touch me!” Maui pineapple from my Dole Plantation Tour

Selecting Pineapples

Advice for selecting pineapples at optimal ripeness can be conflicting. I suggest relying mostly on your nose to check if the aroma from its base exudes a sweet, pineapple aroma. If it has hints of vinegar, has an overly soft texture and is bright green or orange rather than yellow, pass on it.

Pineapple’s pointy leaves and spiky scales make it fail the friendly-fruit test of tucking into a pocket or packing with your lunch. This awkward fruit gets weirder when you consider the scales are individual berries that bind to its central core. You can nibble the core’s sweet bits like an ear of corn, but it’s also used in fermented drinks like tapache.

There are some tricks to cutting pineapple, but a heavy sharp knife is your best friend here. Make this dish more festive by turning the pineapple into a bowl or “pineapple boat” to serve the salsa.

 

Pineapple Ginger Salsa

Makes 4 cups

Ingredients

2 cups diced fresh pineapple (about ½ a medium-sized pineapple)
6 roma tomatoes diced or chopped (about 4 cups)
2 large scallions, sliced thin, white and green parts (about 2 tablespoons)1-2 green serrano chile peppers, minced fine (about 1½ teaspoon)
1 large garlic clove, minced
2 teaspoons fine grated fresh ginger (about 1-inch nob)
1 small lime, juiced (about 1 tablespoon)
Few pinches of large grain sea salt

Steps

Pineapple ginger salsa recipe1. Trim option #1: Trim off the top and bottom of the pineapple, then slice the outer scales off to reveal the flesh. Cut large sections from off the hard core. Dice or small chop enough pineapple for 2 cups and add to a mixing bowl.
2. Trim option #2: Pineapple bowl: take a sharp knife and cut the pineapple in half from top to bottom. Use a pairing knife to cut around the inside rim, leaving about a half inch boarder and being careful not to cut through the outer skin. Then divide the inside area up by cutting a grid with half inch-sized squares. Use a sturdy large metal spoon to scoop out the flesh. Dice or small chop enough pineapple for 2 cups and add to a mixing bowl.
3. Dice the tomatoes, slice the scallions, mince the peppers (remove seeds), mince garlic, grate ginger and juice the lime. Add all ingredients plus the salt to the bowl and gently toss.
4. Taste. If pineapple is less sweet or more tangy than desired, drizzle on some honey and, or another pinch of salt.

Serving Ideas

  • Grill the pineapple half before cutting up.
  • Serve as a side dish with grilled salmon.
  • Add grilled or poached shrimp to the salsa to make it a salad.

Related Article: Why chile peppers help you burn calories. Salsa! Dance it or Eat it—Both Burn Calories

About Me

The pleasure of food, good health and well-being through simple habits for eating well and flexitarian low-key cooking.
Michele Redmond

Michele Redmond

French-trained Chef, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist & Food Enjoyment Activist

It's about Making Food First

Get Taste Workshop periodic updates on easy ways to choose and cook foods that satisfy your appetite, nurture your body and make eating well a pleasure.

Salsa! Dance it or Eat it—Both Burn Calories

Salsa! Dance it or Eat it—Both Burn Calories

Salsa! Dance it or Eat it—Both Burn Calories

Dance it or eat it, but either way salsa boosts your mood, makes you hot and burns extra calories. Chile peppers in salsa contain chemicals that trigger heat sensations and cause your body to expend more energy–a metabolic effect called diet-induced thermogenesis (DIT). Embrace salsa as a quick condiment or ingredient to make sassier foods that give your body a metabolic boost for burning calories.

Making Salsa & How Chile Peppers for Burn Calories

Fermented salsa made from my garden serrano chile peppers

Popular in the United States as a dip, in many dishes it’s the sauce, no surprise since salsa is the Spanish word for sauce. It typically relies on savory, umami-rich tomatoes as the base, but fruits add fresh, sweet flavors that complement many dishes.

Salsa ingredients can be grilled, raw, pureed, diced or pounded out in a molcajete. The only rule to making salsa? You must include chile peppers–not spelled chili (a meaty dish).

Salsa “Burn”–Blame the Vein

Contrary to popular myth, the spicy heat from chili peppers caused by capsaicinoids, is not concentrated in the seeds, but primarily in the inner fibrous veins, or the ribs of the peppers. Chemicals in capsaicinoids, like capsaicin, induce thermogenesis causing your body to expend more energy.

Diet-induced thermogenesis occurs when specific compounds in foods (capsaicin in chile peppers) or beverages (such catechins in green tea), help the cells convert energy into heat which burns calories. Depending on the mix of nutrients, such as carbohydrates, fats and protein consumed at meals, diet-stimulated energy expenditure can range from 5-15% of total energy expenditures for the day.

Consider making salsa a weekly part of your menu by stocking up on:

Serrano Chile peppers and burning calories by diet-induced thermogenesis

Serrano chile peppers from my desert garden

 

  • Salsa base ingredients: Raw tomatoes, raw tomatillos or grilled, braised, roasted versions of either and canned fire-roasted tomatoes can be a nice option.
  • Chile peppers: Serranos are my favorite choice because of the size and fruity profile they have compared to jalapenos which tend towards grassier, bitter notes. Serranos have more capsaicin (3-4 times more) than jalapenos and both come in red and green but serranos also are available in orange and yellow. Gauge the amount of chile peppers by taste, but also check out the Scoville levels as a guide.
  • Aromatic or savory ingredients: Garlic, ginger, yellow onions, red onions, sweet onions, shallots, scallions, cilantro
  • Sweet ingredients: Corn, pineapple, watermelon, mangos, apples, peach, strawberries, cherries, etc.
  • Tangy ingredients: lime, grapefruit, lemon, vinegar, pickled veggies

Want to get some hot tips on handling chilies and creating fast, flavorful salsas? On my Facebook Live cooking show, I’ll demo how to make a quick canned salsa that doesn’t taste canned and a fruit salsa that is flexible for many different dishes.

Live Salsa Making on my Make Food First Cooking Show:

Facebook Live IconJoin us on Facebook Live May 23rd 1 pm PT or 4 pm ET

Where? @TheTasteWorkshop Facebook page

 


Want a beverage twist on chile peppers? Click here to get my cranberry citrus chili spritz in Food & Nutrition Magazine.

For more on how to spell Chile Peppers, Check out the Chile Pepper Institute N.W. University

For more info on Diet-Induced Thermogenesis: DIT & total energy expenditure estimates

About Me

The pleasure of food, good health and well-being through simple habits for eating well and flexitarian low-key cooking.
Michele Redmond

Michele Redmond

French-trained Chef, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist & Food Enjoyment Activist

It's about Making Food First

Get Taste Workshop periodic updates on easy ways to choose and cook foods that satisfy your appetite, nurture your body and make eating well a pleasure.

Lentil Mushroom Walnut Pate: Savory Bean-Meat Swaps

Lentil Mushroom Walnut Pate: Savory Bean-Meat Swaps

Lentil Mushroom Walnut Pate: Savory Bean-Meat Swaps

Lentil pink peppercorn pateSwapping out a meat-based ingredient for a plant-based one is a balancing act of texture, taste qualities (like umami) and flavors from aromatic compounds. Particularly with liver—can you think of any plant that tastes or smells like it? Please let me know if you do.

Liver is a cheap ingredient that many cultures embrace and adore but can be an acquired taste due to its strong odors, unique and sometimes metallic flavors and texture challenges. My first whiff of liver was thanks to my childhood friend Mary whose father regularly cooked the beef version as a breakfast “treat” on his favorite cast-iron pan.

I dreaded being asked to try it, but never was asked. I didn’t taste liver until I lived in Paris, where you were expected to appreciate pâté.

Pâté commonly uses chicken liver which has distinct poultry flavors, but this umami-rich lentil version is popular at parties among traditional pâté-lovers and non-meat eaters. Walnuts and mushrooms add texture and savory notes (particularly umami from plant-based glutamate). Cornichons and lemon add brightness, cayenne gives a hint of eat, Madeira offers a soupçon of sweet and pink peppercorns surprise with complex flavors like resin.

Lentil Mushroom Walnut Pâté

Makes nearly 2 ¾ cups

Pate Ingredients

¾ cup dried green lentils (if using cooked about 2 cups)
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup walnut pieces (about 5 ounces), toasted
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons reduced-sodium tamari
1 teaspoon fresh minced thyme
few pinches cayenne pepper (less than ⅛ teaspoon)
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
12-14 (about 10 ounces) medium-sized cremini mushrooms
¼ teaspoon salt
1 small onion, diced (about 1 cup)
2 cloves garlic, minced (about 1 teaspoon)
1 tablespoon Madeira or marsala
8-10 cornichons, diced fine (about 3 tablespoons)
1 ½ teaspoons pink peppercorns, lightly crushed

Prep Steps

  1. Check lentils for debris, put in pot, add 3 cups water and the salt. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to maintain a rapid simmer for 20-24 minutes or until lentils are tender (more tender than if using in a salad). Drain well in a colander to remove excess water. This can be done a day in advance.
  2. Toast walnuts in a skillet. Add walnuts, lentils, lemon juice, tamari, thyme and cayenne to a blender.
  3. Clean and dry mushrooms and cut into 1/4”-1/2” thick slices. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat, add mushrooms and sprinkle with the salt. Cook without stirring until browned on one side (about 6-8 minutes), toss them and cook 4-6 more minutes. Add to blender.
  4. Reduce heat to medium, add remaining tablespoon of oil to the skillet then the onions and garlic, cook 4-6 minutes. Add madeira and sweat the onions about 6 more minutes or until onions are soft and liquids have evaporated. Add to blender and process pâté until smooth.
  5. Scrape mixture into a mixing bowl. Mix in one teaspoon of peppercorns and 2 tablespoons of cornichons. Use remaining ½ teaspoon of peppercorns and tablespoon of cornichons as garnish. Refrigerate until use, keep for 7 days in the refrigerator or freeze for a couple months.

Pate Serving Options

1. Serve pâté with crostini, baguette slices, toasts, crackers or on slices of cucumber.
2.It also works as a sandwich spread or a filling to stuff cherry tomatoes.

Other Veggie-Meat Swaps

Try this other savory use of walnuts to mimic meaty-umami flavors in my walnut, mushroom ragout.

About Me

The pleasure of food, good health and well-being through simple habits for eating well and flexitarian low-key cooking.
Michele Redmond

Michele Redmond

French-trained Chef, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist & Food Enjoyment Activist

It's about Making Food First

Get Taste Workshop periodic updates on easy ways to choose and cook foods that satisfy your appetite, nurture your body and make eating well a pleasure.

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