Why Your Recipe Calls for Cocoa Powder Instead of Chocolate

From deep, rich cakes and cookies, to brownies and other treats, the ingredient that brings some of your favorite chocolate desserts to life might not be what you expect. Instead of chocolate, these sweets often start with a hearty dose of cocoa powder. But do you know why?

Source: This Is Why Your Recipe Uses Cocoa Powder Instead of Chocolate

If Ruth Wakefield of the Toll House Inn had known that, we’d never have the chocolate chip cookie.  Well maybe we would, but I bet Nestle would be making a lot less money from chocolate chips.

Top 10 Surprising Foods You Can Make in Your Waffle Iron

It’s time to dust off that neglected waffle maker and waffle all the things. Here are 10+ unusual foods that are perfect for cooking in the waffle maker (that aren’t waffles).

Source: Top 10 Surprising Foods You Can Make in Your Waffle Iron

…but three of them are waffles 😉

Make Colorful, Tangy Sprinkles Out of Dried Fruit

On a new-year-new-you kick and all about that clean-eating life? God knows I’m not, but I’m all about experimenting in the kitchen and looking into ways to cut out any unnecessary added sugar and preservatives. Enter these technicolor “sprinkles,” made from at-home dehydrated citrus zest and unsweetened, freeze-dried fruit.

Source: Recipe: Sugar-Free Citrus & Fruit Sprinkles

Because there’s no sugar, the flavour will be sour/bitter.

This would be perfect for those that like to buy plain yogurt because they want to avoid added sugars and other ingredients. You could make your own fruit powders using a dehydrator, or your oven on its lowest setting, and then just toss the dust into a salt shaker with some rice to help keep the moisture out and increase its shelf life (but you would probably want to store it in the fridge when not in use).

Turn Cookies Into an Awesome Pie Crust in Under a Minute

Sure, smash the cookies if you want.  I’ll just use my food processor (while sticking to my recipe), thanks! 😉

You should only buy salted butter, except for baking. Unsalted butter is extremely perishable, and not flavorful at all. If you rely on salting everything you use butter on or in, you are very likely to oversalt. Unsalted butter is used in baking because salt can affect the way doughs and batters behave, so you need precise control, and you follow recipes in baking for this reason, which also means you aren’t in danger of oversalting. There are also differences in moisture retention between salted and unsalted butters. Salted butter is the standard, if you ever read any recipe or description of a dish that includes butter, they mean salted butter unless it specifies unsalted.

Girl Scout Cookies Can Be Bought Online as of Dec. 12/14

No word on if they accept bitcoins.

The Digital Cookie online platform, which will kick off nationwide on Dec. 12, won’t replace traditional door-to-door and booth sales, Soper said.

Instead, it will teach participants the five skills associated with the cookie program — goal setting, decision making, money management, people skills and business ethics — with a digital spin.

…Each girl has her own site, but you can’t search for your local troop on the Web and find a direct link to each scout’s digital store. The girls are encouraged only to share the Web address of their store with people they know in real life. They are also asked to take safety precautions like using just their first name and not sharing personal information.

Source: Girl Scouts taking their cookie sales online for the first time

The article highlights the thought that went into making this safe for girls.  According to ArsTechnica, someone has the title of “chief digital cookie officer”:

If you aren’t directly nagged by a scout with a digital sale offer, consider grabbing the non-profit’s Girl Scout Cookie Finder app for either iOS or Android.

Scouts are encouraged to raise all their activity funds through cookie sales and other fundraisers (they’re allowed to do things like car washes, too). The point of that being to teach skills in planning, money management, etc. I know of one troop who planned a trip, then figured how much that would cost and set cookie sales goals accordingly. The girls decided what they wanted to do, figured out how to make that happen, then did all the work – exactly what a youth program should do.

Manufacturers Downsized Groceries

There’s a strange feeling people get when something changes about a regular item on their shopping lists. The package may look the same; the product tastes the same; yet they have the distinct sense that there’s less of it. But where’s the proof? That’s why the editors of the website Consumerist so gleefully called out Borden cheese in the U.S. earlier this month. The manufacturer had shrunk the package from eight to seven ounces, with nary a mention of the change—but for one reference to the original weight left by mistake above the UPC code. It was a rare “gotcha!” moment in a sector that’s been on a diet in recent years, dropping ounces and inches from products without making a fuss or getting much attention.

Source: Honey, they shrank the food!

From a business perspective, it makes sense.  Because the product is smaller, more can be shipped in the same container.  Additionally, the output volume is the same – but they make more money.  They benefit on two fronts.  Without profit, it is a non-sustainable business model…