Get The Sweet Nuttiness of Caramel Without Melting Sugar

Want to know something crazy? Sugar doesn’t melt; it undergoes thermal decomposition. That may sound like a pedantic distinction, considering we’ve all watched sugar effectively melt into a pool of caramel atop crème brûlée, but the implications are huge—worthy of far more explanation than a mere tl;dr.

Source: How to Make Rich, Flavorful Caramel Without Melting Sugar

This also makes your morning coffee, if you are the type that disturbs the holy sanctity of the black gift of the gods by adding anything to it, amazing flavor.

Turn Girl Scouts Cookies into a Cheesecake

With apologies to Andy Williams, now is the most wonderful time of the year … for it is Girl Scout cookie season.

But after plowing through several sleeves of Thin Mints, fatigue can set in. So we wondered, when you’re starting to feel sick of Girl Scout cookies, is there a way to rekindle the love?

We turned to Dan Pashman, host of The Sporkful podcast at WNYC studios, for advice. His book, Eat More Better, tackles this pressing public interest matter. He suggests mixing it up — quite literally, by baking a cheesecake crafted from a mashup of cookies. His recipes for Girl Scout Unity Cheesecake and Peanut Butter Cookie Centaur are excerpted below.

Source: Thin Mint Mashup: Grind Those Girl Scout Cookies Into Cheesecake

Make a Souffle Cheesecake with Just Three Ingredients

Her oven talks?!

Q: Isn’t this pretty much a pavlova, swapping the cream for cream cheese (and obviously not filling it)?

A cheesecake is nothing like a pavlova, at all. Cheesecakes are more or less dense and creamy textured, but a pavlova is crisp and hollow. I’ve never known a pavlova to have cream in the meringue portion. We must be talking about two different things.

But this isn’t really like a cheesecake either…

Cheese Swaps that will Update your Favourite Cheesy Dishes

Sometimes a little change can make a big difference, and that’s certainly the case when it comes to cheese. You can completely change a dish just by substituting the cheese you usually use for something new.

Source: Cheese swaps that will update your favourite cheesy dishes

I knew about the ricotta & goat cheese instead of cream cheese in cheesecake.  I’m not keen to try until I figure out how to stop the cracking.  Around here, there’s numerous interpretations of poutine.  Bacon is a popular addition.  I liked the last one I had, but it was quite salty.  I can say with experience that Grilled Brie with Pears was awesome.

Now I’m hungry 😦

US FDA: Ruining Your Cheesecake and Popcorn with Calorie Counts

The Food and Drug Administration announced sweeping rules on Tuesday that will require chain restaurants, movie theaters and pizza parlors across the country to post calorie counts on their menus. Health experts said the new requirements would help combat the country’s obesity epidemic by showing Americans just how many calories lurk in their favorite foods.

The rules will have broad implications for public health. As much as a third of the calories that Americans consume come from outside the home, and many health experts believe that increasingly large portion sizes and unhealthy ingredients have been significant contributors to obesity in the United States.

…Perhaps the most surprising element of the new rules was the inclusion of alcoholic beverages, which had not been part of an earlier proposal. Beverages served in food establishments that are on menus and menu boards will be included, but a mixed drink at a bar will not, F.D.A. officials said.

…The National Grocers Association said: “Grocery stores are not chain restaurants, which is why Congress did not initially include them in the law. We are disappointed that the F.D.A.’s final rules will capture grocery stores, and impose such a large and costly regulatory burden on our members.”

Source: F.D.A. to Require Calorie Count, Even for Popcorn at the Movies

I agree that having the information can be beneficial, but that information can be used for shaming – which is known not to work.  You need “cheat” days, where it doesn’t matter.  It’s to be a treat, not for every day…

Things I Ate At the MD Ren Faire

The Maryland Renaissance Festival, aka The World Series of Cleavage, features a lot of weird things (its clientele typically chief among them), but it’s possible that nothing there is more bizarre than the food. Last weekend, I set out to eat these experiments in gastronomic mad science, because I am just that committed to comedy/taking vengeance against my digestive tract.

Source: Here Are All the Wonderful/Horrifying Things I Ate At the MD Ren Faire

The scotch eggs are cool.  …if you’re into that sort of thing.  Otherwise, I submit this helpful food pyramid for ren faire food.

Cook Almost Anything with Your Bread Machine

You have a robotic cooking machine, and you may not even know it. Dust off your bread machine, or go buy a bread maker from the second hand shop for a few dollars. They can be used for a lot more than just bread. Main courses, desserts, appetizers and drinks can all be made with this versatile, under-utilized machine.

Source: Cook EVERYTHING with your bread machine

You can use a bread machine for so much more than the obvious stuff: bread or pizza dough. Pretty much anything you need to stir and heat is fair game. My favorite idea is using it for soup (just toss in the ingredients and go), but hit up the site for suggestions on casseroles, sauces, breakfast, and snacks.