Archive for the 'Reference' Category

Recipe: Making Homemade Extracts

|November 20, 2011|read comments (0)
Author: Mama's Kitchen

 I received so many requests for this information – and I wish you would have contacted me sooner for these.

You may not be able to make all these before this holiday season – but if you are a baker – you will find that you can still make them now and you will then have them throughout the year.

By now, you know I am a "homemade" person – and I find that by making my own flavored extracts that my baked goods always have a better taste.  Did you ever buy a bottle of peppermint extract and have a really lousy taste in your finished product?  Fresh is always better.  You will have better results.


Tired of paying high prices (which continually keep going up while the bottle sizes get smaller!) for your extracts and flavorings?

Of you are an "occasional" or "seasonal" baker that only pulls out the flour one or twice a year you probably don't mind paying for an extract. You may even share a bottle with others that don't bake as much. Not in my house. I need my extracts. And I have to watch my "inventory" of my homemade extracts, oils, flavored sugars, etc. to make sure I always have them on hand.

Save money – DIY! It's simple, it's easy, it's flavorful – and it's cheaper! More bang for your buck.

I don't add sugar to my citrus extracts – some do – it's your choice. The sugar is not needed as far as I am concerned.

Also – I feel that using colored bottles is better – keeps the sun out – which will effect your extracts/flavorings.

Be sure to sterilize your bottles and caps!

Opt for colored glass bottles when you can. Store out of sunlight in your pantry/cupboard.

Happy extract making!


How to Make Anise Extract

This takes a good three months to make – but it is worth it. and so simple!

Fill a small (half-pint) sterilized jar with whole star of anise. Carefully pour vodka over until it reaches the top. Cap. Store in pantry, shaking once a week for 3 months. If you want your anise flavoring to have a stronger flavor – allow to sit for 4 months before using.

When ready to use, strain into a clean, sterile jar, cap and store in your pantry.


How to Make Cinnamon Extract

Some will use a light rum – but I use my 80 proof vodka.

Break a couple cinnamon stick into a clean, sterilized jar;.

Pour 8 oz. vodka over sticks; cover; place in pantry.

Shake daily for 2 weeks.

When you have the flavor you are looking for, remove the cinnamon sticks. The longer they are in the jar, the stronger it will be, and you don't want it too overpowering.

Store in pantry.


How to Make Coconut Extract

1 coconut

1 1/2 ounces freshly grated coconut, approximately 1/3 cup

4 ounces vodka – 40 proof – some use 80 proof

To open a coconut: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Place the coconut onto a folded towel set down in a large bowl. Find the 3 eyes on 1 end of the coconut and using a nail or screwdriver and hammer or meat mallet, hammer holes into 2 of the eyes. Turn the coconut upside down over a container and drain the water from the coconut.

Store the water in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Place coconut on baking pan and bake in the oven for 15 minutes. Remove from oven. (The coconut should have cracked in several places.) Using an oyster knife or other dull blade, separate the hard shell from the brown husk. Using a serrated vegetable peeler, peel the brown husk from the coconut meat. Rinse the coconut meat under cool water and pat dry. Break the meat into 2 to 3-inch pieces. With the grater disk attached to a food processor, grate the coconut.

Place 1 1/2 ounces of coconut into a 1-cup glass jar with lid (sterilized) and pour vodka over it. Seal and shake to combine. Place in a cool dark place for 5 to 7 days, shaking to combine every day. Strain coconut and discard. Return vodka to a clean (sterilized) jar or to its original bottle and store in a cool place for up to a year. Reserve the remaining coconut for another use.


How to Make Lemon Extract

the zest from 1 – 2 lemons (wash and dry the lemon well, remove zest – no pith)

4 oz. vodka – 40 proof – some use 80 proof

1 teaspoon sugar – totally optional

Combine sugar and vodka in small stainless or glass saucepan and warm (do not boil) to dissolve sugar. Transfer to sterile jar; add lemon zest. Cap tightly and shake.

Place in pantry – shake daily. In a month you will have your extract.

NOTE: If not using sugar – place vodka and lemon zest in sterile bottle; cap; shake and proceed as above.


How to Make Orange Extract

the zest from 1 – 2 oranges (wash and dry the oranges well, remove zest – no pith)

4 oz. vodka – 40 proof – some use 80 proof

1 teaspoon sugar – totally optional

Combine sugar and vodka in small stainless or glass saucepan and warm (do not boil) to dissolve sugar. Transfer to sterile jar; add orange zest. Cap tightly and shake. (Make sure your strips of zest are completely immersed.)

Place in pantry – shake daily. In a month you will have your extract.

NOTE: If not using sugar – place vodka and orange zest in sterile bottle; cap; shake and proceed as above.


How to Make Lime Extract

the zest from 2 – 4 limes (wash and dry the limes well, remove zest – no pith)

4 oz. vodka – 40 proof – some use 80 proof

1 teaspoon sugar – totally optional

Combine sugar and vodka in small stainless or glass saucepan and warm (do not boil) to dissolve sugar. Transfer to sterile jar; add lime zest. Cap tightly and shake. (Make sure your strips of zest are completely immersed.)

Place in pantry – shake daily. In a month you will have your extract.

NOTE: If not using sugar – place vodka and lime zest in sterile bottle; cap; shake and proceed as above.


How to Make Grapefruit Extract

the zest from 1 – 2 grapefruit (wash and dry the grapefruit well, remove zest – no pith)

4 oz. vodka – 40 proof – some use 80 proof

1 teaspoon sugar – totally optional

Combine sugar and vodka in small stainless or glass saucepan and warm (do not boil) to dissolve sugar. Transfer to sterile jar; add grapefruit zest. Cap tightly and shake. (Make sure your strips of zest are completely immersed.)

Place in pantry – shake daily. In a month you will have your extract.

NOTE: If not using sugar – place vodka and grapefruit zest in sterile bottle; cap; shake and proceed as above.


How to Make Almond Extract

4 oz. almonds, peeled and blanched

2 cups vodka

Process almonds in food processor until fine – like raw sugar not white sugar.

Transfer to sterilized 1-quart glass jar; pour in vodka; cap tightly; store in pantry. Shake daily for 6 weeks.

After 6 weeks, straner through a coffee filter and transfer to small (sterilized) jars. Cap.

Takes time to make – but will keep indefinitely.


How to Make Vanilla Essence

This is more of a vanilla flavoring than an extract – milder – not as flavorful.

For this, I use vodka – some will use brandy, rum, gin, cognac or brandy – which to me changes the flavor completely and will effect the outcome of your baked goods. Vodka has the perfect flavor for true extracts.

3 vanilla beans, split to within 1/4-inch of each end

8 oz. 80 proof vodka

Place vanilla beans in sterilized glass jar and cover with vodka. Place in pantry; shake occasionally and let set for 2 months before using.

NOTE: ALSO – WHICH TO ME THIS IS IMPORTANT – since vanilla beans come in two different grades (A and B), I prefer to use the B grade. Grade B vanilla beans.

Grade B beans have less water weight. You get more bean for your buck because you're not paying for water. This also means that less water ends up in your extract.

With Grade A you pay for appearance, which doesn't matter.

We get the same beans as Grade A, but at a fraction of the cost.


How to Make Vanilla Extract

This is more flavorful than vanilla essense.

For this, I use vodka – some will use brandy, rum, gin, cognac or brandy – which to me changes the flavor completely and will effect the outcome of your baked goods. Vodka has the perfect flavor for true extracts.

6 vanilla beans, split to within 1/4-inch of each end (some remove the seeds, some don't)

8 oz. 80 proof vodka

Place vanilla beans in sterilized glass jar and cover with vodka. Place in pantry; shake occasionally and let set for 2 months before using.

NOTE: ALSO – WHICH TO ME THIS IS IMPORTANT – since vanilla beans come in two different grades (A and B), I prefer to use the B grade. Grade B vanilla beans.

Grade B beans have less water weight. You get more bean for your buck because you're not paying for water. This also means that less water ends up in your extract.

With Grade A you pay for appearance, which doesn't matter.

We get the same beans as Grade A, but at a fraction of the cost.


How to Make Peppermint Extract

This uses dried peppermint leaves.

Chop 1/4 cup peppermint leaves in your food processor or use a mortar and pestle. Transfer to sterilized glass jar.

Add 4 oz. vodka and 4 oz. filtered water. Cap and shake.

Store in pantry for 2 weeks before using. Remember to shake daily.

When ready to use, strain and transfer to clean, sterilized bottles; cap; store in pantry. Discard used leaves.


How to Make Peppermint Extract

This is for those that grow their own peppermint.

Clean (wash) your fresh cut peppermint springs. You will want to "bruise" them a bit with your fingers for the flavor. Place in sterile glass jar. About 5 or 6 small sprigs work well with 6 oz. vodka (3/4 cup). Be sure to cover the springs with the vodka. Cap and store in pantry.

After 2 weeks you wil have a mild peppermint flavor. Once it is the strength you want, strain and discard the sprigs of peppermint. Store in pantry.


So it's time to visit your local liquor store and stock up on 80 proof vodka!



Recipe: Garlic – Fresh or Jarred?

|June 12, 2011|read comments (0)
Author: Mama's Kitchen

Garlic – Fresh or Jarred?

Of course – I am back to talking about GARLIC. I received this email which I would like to share:

Date: Sun, 16 May 2010 04:58:02 -0500

Hi Mama!

Thanks for including me in your email list. Yesterday before I went to work, I was on your Old Fashioned Home Cooking blog. I tell you what, I wish I discovered your site a long time ago because if I did, I won't be doing some of the stuff I'm doing right now. For example, I used to use freshly crushed garlic every time I saute something, then I saw some videos of bloggers who uses the already minced garlic that they can get from grocery store. I started using that because I thought it was a good idea and it would save me some time. But after reading your articles about making everything homemade, I kind of realize that you were right, we don't know what's in that bottle of minced garlic. So yes Mama, I am learning from you already. And I am not back in school yet. This time, I want to learn as much as I can for free before I go back to school. And thanks to you. Please don't be surprised if I mention some of your tips in my blog. And thank you so much for the encouragement. I really appreciate it.



When it comes to using garlic – I think I am the biggest user of it in the world! There is nothing like fresh garlic or making your own homemade garlic salt and dried minced garlic! (recipes on this blog)

You all know that I am against purchasing jarred garlic in oil. It’s way too expensive, and it’s a total waste. I don’t care if it saves you time – eating out at McDonald’s, Burger King, etc. will also save you time. But is it really healthy for you?


Let me repeat myself – just in case you didn’t quite get it –


No – not what you purchase at the market – what you can make at home. For big batch cooking, or if I know I am using it two days in a row (which is just about all the time!) – I make my own. Make it the night before and store in a small covered glass jar in the refrigerator. It comes in handy for rubs, barbecuing, roasts, skillet frying – just about anything. Even use when making garlic bread.

I’m fussy about the quality of the ingredients I use. Unfortunately, I can’t say that about food manufacturing facilities. I don’t care who they are – I don’t trust any of them.

Seeing those really tall jars of garlic in oil in the stores just turns my stomach. I don’t give a hoot as to an expiration date on a product either. I don’t care if you just bought it and you are dumb enough to believe that just because it has an expiration date 2 years from now that you are going to be able to use that long! ONCE OPENED – THE EXPIRATION DATE MEANS NOTHING! I don’t care what the product is.

Now back to those poisonous tall jars of garlic in oil – if you are going to use the entire jar within 2 to 3 days – then buy it if you must. If not – it’s just a waste of money because it is not good after that.

It’s so easy to make your own – just mince your fresh garlic (using only good garlic and not half-rotted garlic that you are trying to save!) and add olive oil; mix well; place in small glass jar with a tight-fitting cover and use within 2 days – be sure to store in refrigerator. Pushing it to 3 is something I don’t agree with. Slather it on any foods you want – I am a garlic lover and I can’t get enough of it. But I sure as $%@# I won’t purchase it in a jar. Not when I can make my own in a minute or two. And I know what I am cooking with and feeding to others.

It’s so simple to make – why buy it? And making it yourself, you will know if it is fresh. For “marathon cooking” in my house – I make up a jar to save time. I use it in my sauces, for roasts, for all meats being, fried, roasted, baked, etc., when making garlic breads and rolls, macaroni in oil, dressings, anything I want.

Try it – I think you will agree with me!

And a note to Karen – I enjoy your blog and your recipes! Keep up the good work!

Recipe: How to make your own onion powder and minced dry onion

|June 12, 2011|read comments (0)
Author: Mama's Kitchen

What a money saver this is!  Especially if you grow your own onions!  If not – watch those weekly sale papers –


Preheat your oven to 150* F. if you are not using a dehydrator.

Peel your onions and remove that dry papery skin that is on them.  Slice thin and place in your dehydrator or on baking trays in single layer.   When they are dry they will be brittle.

When dry, remove to clean, dry paper towels to cool completely.

Grind or minced to your desired consistency using your coffee grinder, food processor, mortar and pestle – your choice.

Store in airtight in glass containers in cool dry place.

And don't ask me if I would freeze this – no – I do not want the moisture in it.

Recipe: Woks

|June 11, 2011|read comments (0)
Author: Mama's Kitchen

Before I bought a wok – because I wasn't sure if I REALLY wanted one – I began my wok cooking in a large stainless steel bowl on the burner of the stove.  I figured why not – I use it to cook many things.  Then I bought myself a wok – and I do enjoy using it.

If you have an electric stove maybe a stainless bowl will help you.  I don't care for electric stoves – just my preference.

This is from my notes and I hope it helps – the notes are old – but they are still good!


A popular, all-purpose Asian pan, it is distinguished by high, sloping sides, resembling a bowl. Hammering looks nice, and does not make a wok better. Expect a carbon steel wok to turn dark (to oxidize) with repeated use; this is a desirable quality.

The traditional wok is 14 inches in diameter and is made of carbon steel.

Iron woks take a long time to heat up, but hold the high heat very, very well.

Stainless steel's inherent qualities make this a poor metal for a wok and also make it much more expensive.

An electric wok is an inefficient and expensive alternative that, with few exceptions, is best avoided.

Non-stick surfaces are unnecessary and don't last long.

Aluminum gets hot all over and considered overkill.

If you have electric burners, you may need to use a flat-bottom wok in order to get enough heat. Or turn the ring to the side that keeps the wok closer to the burner.

Round-bottom woks are best for flame burners. Use a wok ring to keep them stable on the burner.

The idea is to have a hot spot at the bottom of the wok, where the actual cooking takes place. The sides are used to rest the food that is cooking at slightly cooler temperatures. Moving the food about gives you great control and versatility, while enabling you to cook each food perfectly to enhance its flavor and retain its nutrients.

Combined with a bamboo steamer, woks are ideal for steam cooking and, with a tempura rack, make excellent deep fryers or tempura pans.



* carbon steel wok (uncoated woks)

* Before cooking with your new wok, it is important to clean off the protective coating from inside the bowl. The coating will cause no harm but might taint food of not fully removed.
* First heat your wok over low heat with a small amount of cooking oil (any oil except olive oil) – this will burn off the protective coating.
* Then scour the wok thoroughly, inside and out, with a brillo pad or something similar. Rinse and dry thoroughly over heat. Rub the inside of the wok with oil, using a kitchen towel and heat for 20 minutes to season. Your wok is now ready for use.
* The wok will have a blackish hue on the bottom underneath. As it is used more and more it will become blacker and blacker – this is a normal condition for a well-seasoned wok. It will in effect give you a natural non-stick surface.
* Never wash your wok in soapy water – always use hot water to clean and soak if necessary. Dry thoroughly and finish with paper towel or cloth, or even put back on low heat to totally dry. You can rub a drop of oil onto the interior surface and put in a plastic bag to store when not in use.
* If your wok becomes rusty it is because it has not been dried thoroughly or has been left to soak for too long. This is not a problem; just repeat the scouring and seasoning procedure.



A flat nonstick skillet cannot come close to matching the degree of proficiency and pleasure the wok provides in stir-frying, not to mention the flavor enhancement a well-seasoned wok is capable of imparting. In a wok, you can toss vigorously and with great satisfaction without the worry of splattering and spilling of food particles over onto the stovetop. With a good, deep wok, your stove will remain much cleaner after stir-frying than when a flat skillet is used. Try stir-frying a big batch of leafy greens, such as chard or spinach, and you'll see what I mean.

Because tossing is easier in a wok (uses fewer muscles too!), food is cooked more evenly and is less likely to burn. Of course, maintaining a high degree of heat is essential in stir-frying, so knowing how to adapt the wok to your stovetop is a key to success in its usage. For most home cooks preparing meals for two to four people, most stovetops provide sufficient heat for successful stir-frying.

Each stovetop differs. On some, the wok balances well enough on the grate without the need to use any special stand. For greater stability when stir-frying on such stovetops, simply hold on to a wok handle with one hand while tossing with the other.

On other stovetops, the grate may be removed and a wok ring fitted down onto the indentation of the burner to bring the wok as close as possible to the heat source. Many people use their wok rings inefficiently. The wok is better balanced and brought closer to the flames if the wider end of the ring is placed facing up.

Wok rings come in different sizes and depths, so find one that fits the burner you plan to use for wok cooking. Do not settle for the ring that comes with your wok set; if it does not fit your stove, hunt for one that will. Check Asian markets near your home.

Wok rings also come either with open sides or closed sides with a series of small holes around the ring. The latter type is especially important if you have an electric stove as it helps concentrate and direct heat. Wire rings with open sides work best for powerful gas burners (10,000 b.t.u.'s or hotter), allowing air circulation to nurture the flames.

Select a wok that is deep and well-rounded, made of heavy carbon-steel for maintaining good heat and for easy seasoning. Flat-bottom woks are now commonly available and though they provide good balance on flat stovetops, I still prefer the old-fashioned round bottoms. It is much easier to remove all particles of food from round woks without scraping the seasoning, enabling you to stir-fry two or more batches of food without having to clean in between batches.

For a successful stir-fry, always start by heating a wok before adding anything to it. Wait until the surface literally begins to let off smoke. Then dribble in the oil to coat its surface and wait a short while longer to allow the oil to get hot. Now you may begin your stir-fry. The rule of thumb is: always add cold oil to a hot wok and never cold oil to a cold wok. Pre-heating before adding oil will prevent food from sticking. It will also ensure that the oil does not burn and smoke up your kitchen before the upper surface of the wok is heated. You may also avoid the risk of burning in overheated oil the garlic and onions, which should be added early on to flavor the oil, and in turn for the oil to flavor the meats, seafoods or vegetables to be stir-fried in it.

Listen to the sound of food cooking in your wok. The sizzling should be loud and lively. If it slows down, slow down also on the stirring as this can dissipate heat. Spread the food up along the heated sides of the wok rather than lump them in the center. Stir only as needed to cook food evenly and prevent burning. For an average home stove, try not to stir-fry more than a pound to a pound and a half of meats or seafoods at a time.

With an average-size wok and a hot burner, you can cook for two, four, six or even eight, but if you use a flat skillet, you will need different size pans for cooking different quantities. A large skillet is inefficient for stir-frying small amounts and is more likely to burn food should you try to do so. On the other hand, using a small skillet to stir-fry a large quantity of food will likely mean a messy stove when you are through.

Besides stir-frying, a wok is an excellent and very safe utensil for deep-frying. It provides a wide area to work with and makes it easy to scoop up crisped food quickly with a large wire-mesh strainer-spatula. Because of its shape, the oil is far removed from the flames, such that even if a few drops dribble over the sides, they do not endanger the remaining oil inside. Just be sure to fill the wok no more than two-thirds with oil.

For Asians who love their fish whole, nothing works better than a wok in frying a whole fish. A standard 14-inch wok can easily fry a one to one-and-a-half pound size fish, browning it evenly from head to tail when tilted from side to side during cooking. If you love to entertain and do not yet own a wok, I advise you to acquire the next larger size – a 16-inch wok, which can fry fishes large enough to feed six to eight with ease.

A wok this size can be used to cook for two just as well as for eight to ten. Of course, to stir-fry large quantities of food at once, it helps to have a gas range with burners that have an output of at least 10,000 b.t.u.'s. Many of the newer gas stovetops provide at least one burner with this heat capability. As greater numbers of people discover the joys of cooking, more companies are making more powerful gas ranges available to consumers.

A well-seasoned wok is worth its weight in gold. Not only will food not stick to its blackened surface, flavors are greatly enhanced. It is as if the wok has stored memories of the many meals it has cooked and calls on this storehouse of experience to enrich the food it is now asked to cook.

Season a wok as you would any cast iron pan by brushing the surface with oil and baking in a medium oven for an hour. Or do it stovetop, by alternating heating and cooling of the wok surface, each time brushing in a new layer of oil following heating and allowing the layer to burn in before cooling. Until the wok turns completely black, wash only with water and no soap, and dry by heating over the stove rather than wiping with a towel. Season by burning oil onto the surface before putting away. This will prevent the wok from rusting. Probably the best fat to use is lard ? traditionally when you bought a wok you were given a piece of pig fat to season it. I have also used peanut oil. Polyunsaturated oils are not recommended as they can make the wok very "gunky."

If you have an electric stove, you might find that the flat-bottomed woks work better, but because the wok shovel is intended for a round-bottom, you might substitute with some other implement (such as a wooden spoon) that would not scrape off the seasoning at the corner where round sides meet flat bottom.

Make sure you season the wok well: the same way you would season a cast-iron skillet. Once it is seasoned it will have a wonderful black patina: of course never scour a wok as this will take away your hard-earned seasoning! Lard is an excellent choice for seasoning. Peanut oil also will give acceptable results. Never use your wok for steaming as this will quickly remove the patina. Re-season frequently, as necessary, until a permanent coating of black is achieved. Always heat a wok BEFORE adding any oil for your stir-frying – this will season the wok before each use and prevent food from sticking to the surface. Clean only with water and a soft sponge ? do not wipe dry but dry instead with heat on the stove-top. If the wok surface appears dried out, re-season quickly before putting it away so that it will not rust.

As for where to purchase a wok, you ought to find stores in your local Chinatown that sell a wide variety. Most Asian markets sell woks of varying sizes. Look for one that is heavy and deep, made of carbon steel. It will be coated with machine oil to keep it from rusting. Rinse away this oily covering before seasoning with cooking oil.

A stainless steel wok (it does not season and food is more likely to stick to the surface) is not a good choice when buying a wok. Also stay away from teflon coated woks (they do not heat up very hot) and NEVER an electric wok!

Proper Use Of A Wok

Before you use your wok it is essential to wipe the pan inside and out with oiled kitchen paper and heat to a high heat in the oven or on the hob. Remove the wok from the heat allow it to cool and repeat the process several times to give a good coating – this will make it easier to clean and give it a non-stick coating.

Using the Wok

When cooking with a wok the pan needs to be of a very high temperature before the food is placed in the pan. Once the pan is hot enough and the food is placed inside the wok you kneed to keep turning the ingredients to ensure that they are kept hot. Using a wok is a good, healthy and quick way to cook vegetables in stir-fried. Cooking for too long will make the ingredients either burn or be saturated with their own juices and become limp and soggy. Vegetables cooked in a wok should be crispy, not wet.


This cooking method originated in China, and remains the more recognized form of Chinese cooking. In China it is called Ch-au which means that a number of ingredients are sliced and cooked in 1-2 tablespoons of fat.
Stir-frying is usually done in stages, this allows foods that have different cooking times to be removed and then returned at a later stage. The dish is then brought together at the end and sauces/apices are added and then the dish is served as a whole.

There are two different types of stir-frying:
Liu is wet frying with slow stirring and more turning of the individual foods. A stock is then added at the end of the cooking time for a coating sauce.
Pao requires foods to be fried at the highest possible heat. This is a quick method lasting for usually only a minute.

Cleaning your Wok

Woks should be cleaned with simple soap and water. If made of cast iron it should be dried immediately to prevent rusting. The blackening of a wok over time and use is not dirt, as some would believe, it simply is a sign that it has been used well. It is said that the blacker the wok the better the cook.

I hope that you try wok-cooking soon!

Recipe: Batter staying on veggies –

|June 11, 2011|read comments (0)
Author: Mama's Kitchen

Here is a copy of a PM I received – and instead of answering in another PM – I decied to post i here for all to see –

"Mama –

Can you please tell me how to keep the batter on my veggies when I fry them? It always seems to fall off!"

A common problem!

First, make sure your veggies are dry – meaning – wipe any excess water from washing/rinsing or any moisture that may be on them.

Second, make sure your batter is thick enough – thin batters do not stick. Make sure that after dipping your veggies in batter you allow the excess to drip off.

If you want to help a batter to stick you can toss your veggies in a bit of flour or rice flour (lightly) to help the batter stick.

Some have found that placing veggies on a tray and placing in the freezer to freeze before frying helps. By allowing them to "sit" for a while will help breadings and batters to stick on many foods – veggies, fruits, meats, fish, etc. 15 – 30 minutes should do it.

Some batter recipes will stick better than others. For instance – you can make a batter that will stick by using chick pea flour and water. The chick pea flour will absorb the water to the point that you will have to add more!

Always make sure what you are coating is dry, if dipping in flour first, be sure to shake off excess.

If using a deep fryer basket – place the pieces in individually so that they do not clump together – that will help. Even if using a pan or pot ont he stove top – place pieces in individually.

Some feel that tempura batters work much better.

Here are two if you would like to try them – both are good for veggies, fish, meats, etc.

Tempura Batter
3/8 cup Flour
1/8 cup Cornstarch
1/4 tsp Baking Powder
1/8 tsp Baking Soda
1 Egg White
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 cup Water
1/4 tsp Garlic Powder
1 tsp Parsley
1/2 tsp Paprika

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix until well blended. Dip fish fillets in flour and coat each side, then dip in fish in batter and fry in oil until golden brown. Place fried fish on paper towels to drain off excess oil. Serve hot.

Tempura Batter
1/4 cup Cornstarch
1/2 tsp Baking Powder
1/4 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 cup Water
1 Egg

Mix cornstarch, baking powder, and baking soda in bowl. Stir in water and egg and mix until smooth. Dip fish pieces, shrimp, or even raw vegetables in batter and deep fry until crispy brown. When dipping shrimp, hold by tail and dip only the body. This makes for good presentation leaving the shrimp's red tail exposed.

Another thing that I do – if "holding" breaded or battered cooked foods in an oven at 200* F. to keep warm while finishing the rest of the cooking – I make sure that I place these foods on racks set on a baking tray. This way the coating does not stick to the baking pan and stays on the food!

I hope this helps!

Recipe: Sixty uses for table salt –

|June 11, 2011|read comments (0)
Author: Mama's Kitchen

A very useful and interesting post!



1. Soak stained hankies in salt water before washing.

2. Sprinkle salt on your shelves to keep ants away.

3. Soak fish in salt water before descaling; the scales will come off easier.

4. Put a few grains of rice in your salt shaker for easier pouring.

5. Add salt to green salads to prevent wilting.

6. Test the freshness of eggs in a cup of salt water; fresh eggs sink; bad
ones float.

7. Add a little salt to your boiling water when cooking eggs; a cracked egg
will stay in its shell this way.

8. A tiny pinch of salt with egg whites makes them beat up fluffier.

9. Soak wrinkled apples in a mildly salted water solution to perk them up.

10. Rub salt on your pancake griddle and your flapjacks won't stick.

11. Soak toothbrushes in salt water before you first use them; they will last longer.

12. Use salt to clean your discolored coffee pot.

13. Mix salt with turpentine to whiten you bathtub and toilet bowl.

14. Soak your nuts in salt brine overnight and they will crack out of their shells whole. Just tap the end of the shell with a hammer to break it open easily.

15. Boil clothespins in salt water before using them and they will last longer.

16. Clean brass, copper and pewter with paste made of salt and vinegar,
thickened with flour

17. Add a little salt to the water your cut flowers will stand in for a longer life.

18. Pour a mound of salt on an ink spot on your carpet; let the salt soak up
the stain.

19. Clean your iron by rubbing some salt on the damp cloth on the ironing

20. Adding a little salt to the water when cooking foods in a double boiler will make the food cook faster.

21. Use a mixture of salt and lemon juice to clean piano keys.

22. To fill plaster holes in your walls, use equal parts of salt and starch, with just enough water to make a stiff putty.

23. Rinse a sore eye with a little salt water.

24. Mildly salted water makes an effective mouthwash. Use it hot for a sore throat gargle.

25. Dry salt sprinkled on your toothbrush makes a good tooth polisher.
26. Use salt for killing weeds in your lawn.

27. Eliminate excess suds with a sprinkle of salt.

28. A dash of salt in warm milk makes a more relaxing beverage.

29. Before using new glasses, soak them in warm salty water for awhile.

30. A dash of salt enhances the taste of tea.

31. Salt improves the taste of cooking apples.

32. Soak your clothes line in salt water to prevent your clothes from freezing to the line; likewise, use salt in your final rinse to prevent the clothes from freezing.

33. Rub any wicker furniture you may have with salt water to prevent

34. Freshen sponges by soaking them in salt water.

35. Add raw potatoes to stews and soups that are too salty.

36. Soak enamel pans in salt water overnight and boil salt water in them
next day to remove burned-on stains.

37. Clean your greens in salt water for easier removal of dirt.

38. Gelatin sets more quickly when a dash of salt is added.

39. Fruits put in mildly salted water after peeling will not discolor.

40. Fabric colors hold fast in salty water wash.

41. Milk stays fresh longer when a little salt is added.

42. Use equal parts of salt and soda for brushing your teeth.

43. Sprinkle salt in your oven before scrubbing clean.

44. Soaked discolored glass in a salt and vinegar solution to remove stains.

45. Clean greasy pans with a paper towel and salt.

46. Salty water boils faster when cooking eggs.

47. Add a pinch of salt to whipping cream to make it whip more quickly.

48. Sprinkle salt in milk-scorched pans to remove odor.

49. A dash of salt improves the taste of coffee.

50. Boil mismatched hose in salty water and they will come out matched.

51. Salt and soda will sweeten the odor of your refrigerator.

52. Cover wine-stained fabric with salt; rinse in cool water later.

53. Remove offensive odors from stove with salt and cinnamon.

54. A pinch of salt improves the flavor of cocoa.

55. To remove grease stains in clothing, mix one part salt to four parts
rubbing alcohol.

56. Salt and lemon juice removes mildew.

57. Sprinkle salt between sidewalk bricks where you don't want grass

58. Polish your old kerosene lamp with salt for a brighter look.

59. Remove odors from sink drainpipes with a strong, hot solution of salt

60. If a pie bubbles over in your oven, put a handful of salt on top of the spilled juice. The mess won't smell and will bake into a dry, light crust which will wipe off easily when the oven has cooled.

Recipe: Salt: types and uses

|June 11, 2011|read comments (0)
Author: Mama's Kitchen

Salt: types and uses

Most salt is mined from deposits left by salt lakes around the world which have dried up over the past millenia as the earth's surface has changed. Sea salt is distilled from the ocean, a more expensive process, resulting in a heftier price.

Types of salt

Table: This is the common salt normally found on every table. It is a fine-ground, refined rock salt with some additives to keep it free-flowing. Smaller particles mean more particles per measure and more surface area than coarser grinds; thus, use about half the amount if you're substituting for coarse salt.

Coarse: Coarse refers to the grind. The jagged edges and large crystals make this a good choice for sprinkling on pretzels or corn on the cob because the edges tend to cling and the salt does not readily melt.

Iodized: Salt which has iodine (sodium iodide) added. Iodine is a mineral necessary to the body to prevent hypothyroidism and some countries actually require iodine added by law. For those who live in areas away from oceans, iodized salt is an easy way to get this necessary nutrient into the diet. Surprisingly, iodized salt contains a small amount of sugar (usually indicated as dextrose in the ingredients listing), without which the salt would turn yellow due to oxidation of the iodine.

Kosher: This is a coarser grind of salt with large, irregular crystals. It contains no additives. Kosher dietary laws strictly require as much blood as possible be removed from meat before cooking. This coarse grind performs the job admirably. It is a favorite with not only Jewish cooks, but also professional and gourmet cooks who prefer its brighter flavor and texture. When substituting for table salt, you may need more to taste since it seems less salty. The size and shape of the crystals cannot permeate the food as easily as fine grades. Coarse pickling salt can be substituted.

Celtic: This is the expensive type. It is harvested via a 2,000 year-old method of solar evaporation from the waters of the Celtic Sea marshes in Brittany, France. Its flavor is described as mellow with a salty, yet slightly sweet taste. Even more expensive and rare is fleur de sel, from the salt marshes in Gurande, which is said to form only when the wind blows from the east.

Rock: Less refined and grayish in color, this is the chunky crystal salt used in ice cream machines. This type is generally not used as an edible flavoring mixed into foods, but in cooking methods such as to bake potatoes or to encrust or embed meat, seafood or poultry for baking. Rock salt makes an impressive bed for oysters on the half shell. When using rock salt for cooking, be sure it is food-grade. Some rock salt sold for ice cream machines is not suitable for cooking.

Pickling: This fine-grained salt has no additives and is generally used in brines to pickle foods. Unlike table salt, the lack of additives will help keep the pickling liquid from clouding.

Sea: Distilled from sea waters, this form can be fine or coarsely ground. This is a less expensive version of Celtic salt. Some consider sea salt nutrionally better than rock salt because it naturally contains trace minerals, but the difference is too minute to note. It does, however, have a stronger and more interesting flavor.

Sour: Although it is not a salt, I include it here for clarity's sake. Sour salt is actually citric acid, extracted from citrus and other acidic fruits such as lemons, oranges, and pineapple. Also known as citric salt, it is used in some classic recipes such as borscht and also by some as a pseudo-salt substitute. It adds a zesty, tart flavor that can sometimes mask as a salty flavor in some dishes and gives a helpful psychological satisfaction of shaking on "salt." If it's not in the spice section of your market, check the kosher section.

Seasoned: Single or multiple herbs and spices are added to salt to make garlic salt, onion salt, and other mixes. If you are watching your salt intake, you're better off using the unsalted powdered or dried herbs and spices and controlling the salt as a separate ingredient. The main ingredient in seasoned salt is, after all, salt.

Unseasoned salt has an infinite shelf life. Seasoned salts should be kept tightly capped and used within one year. Humidity and moisture will cause salt to clump and stick together. Add about ten grains of raw rice to the shaker to absorb the moisture and keep the salt flowing freely. If you've oversalted a soup, toss in a peeled, quartered potato for 15 minutes. Salt pulls juices out of vegetables. This is a good thing for some watery vegetables like cucumbers and eggplant in some dishes, but if you want mushrooms to remain plump, add the salt at the end of cooking. MSG (monosodium glutamate), used in some Asian dishes, amplifies the natural flavor of salt, but can have a chemical reaction with salt and give off a metallic taste. If you must limit salt intake, maximize flavor by sprinkling a pinch of kosher or coarse salt on cooked meats during their resting period. Do not use table salt for pickling and canning. The additives can darken the pickles and affect fermentation. Use pickling salt for best results. Do not store salt in silver containers. The chlorine in the salt reacts negatively with the silver, causing a green discoloration. 1 tablespoon coarse or kosher salt equals 2 teaspoons table salt.


|June 11, 2011|read comments (0)
Author: Mama's Kitchen

The smoke point of fats –

Do you know what the “smoke point” of cooking oils and fats is?

Heat causes different reactions in cooking oils and fats; the hotter they get, the more they break down, causing them to begin to smoke and give off unpleasant odors. This is similar to burning; rendering it unusable because it begins to break down at the molecular level. Some oils are better than others for high-heat cooking, such as sautéing, deep-frying, etc.

A cooking oil or fats “smoke point” is the temperature at which it will begin to smoke. Having a high smoke point means that the oil or fat can withstand high heating temperatures before beginning to smoke.

Usually, oils that are vegetable-based have higher smoke points than animal-based fats like butter or lard. The exception to this is hydrogenated vegetable shortening – which has a lower smoke point than butter, and olive oil, which has a smoke point that is about equal to that of lard.

Also, since refining oils removes the impurities that can cause the oil to smoke, the more refined an oil is – the higher its smoke point. Usually it’s the lighter oils that have the highest smoke points.

Although an oil has a smoke point of XX degrees Fahrenheit or Celsius, it’s smoke point will not remain constant. The longer the oil is exposed to heat, the lower its smoke point becomes. Fresher oil has a higher smoke point than the very same oil that has been heated in a deep-fryer.

If you like to deep fry as well as cook, knowing the smoke point will save you money. Each time you deep fry, you lower the smoke point of the shortening/oil/fat irreversibly.

If your oil’s smoke point is just above 375 degrees Fahrenheit (190 degrees Celsius) (the normal deep-frying temperature), there is a very good chance that its smoke point will drop below 375 degrees Fahrenheit (190 degrees Celsius) after using it the first time. This makes it useless.

Save money by selecting one with a high smoke point:


Almond 420* F.

Avocado oil (refined) 520* F.

Butter 350* F.

Butter (Ghee) 375 – 485* F. (depending on purity)

Canola (unrefined) 225* F.
Canola (semi-refined) 350* F.
Canola (refined) 400* F.

Coconut 350* F.

Corn oil (unrefined) 320* F.
Corn oil (refined) 450* F.

Cottonseed oil 420* F.

Flaxseed oil (unrefined) 225* F.

Hazelnut oil 430* F.

Hemp seed oil 330* F.

Grapeseed oil 392 – 485* F.

Hazelnut oil 430* F.

Lard 361 – 401* F.

Macadamia nut oil 389* F.

Olive oil (unrefined) 320* F.
Olive oil (extra-virgin) 406* F.
Olive oil (virgin) 420* F.
Pumace 460* F.
Extra light 468* F.

Peanut (unrefined) 320* F.
Peanut oil (refined) 440 – 450* F.

Rapeseed oil 438* F.

Rice bran oil 490* F.

Safflower oil (unrefined) 225* F.
Safflower oil (semi refined) 320* F.
Safflower oil (refined) 450* F.

Sesame oil (unrefined) 350* F.
Sesame oil (semi refined) 450* F.
Sesame oil 410* F.

Shortening, vegetable 325* F. (emulsified/hydrogenated)
Shortening, vegetable 356 – 370* F.

Soy/soybean oil (unrefined) 320* F.
Soy/soybean oil (semi refined) 350* F.
Soy/soybean oil (refined) 450* F.

Sunflower oil (unrefined) 225* F.
Sunflower oil (semi refined) 450* F.
Sunflower oil 440* F.

Tea oil 486* F.

Walnut oil (unrefined) 320* F.
Walnut oil (semi refined) 400* F.

There are a number of factors that will decrease the smoke point of any fat:
The length of time the oil is heated
The presence of foreign properties (batters, for instance)
The presence of salt
The combination of vegetable oil in products
The number of times the oil was used
The length of time the oil is heated
How the oil was stored (exposing it to light, oxygen, temperature)

The importance of knowing the smoke point will also warn you of the flash point and fire point. Most oils reach the flash point of about 699* F. – tiny wisps of fire begin to leap from the surface of the heated oil. If the oil is heated to its fire point (700* F. for most oils), the surface will ablaze.


Recipe: Know your oils…………..

|June 11, 2011|read comments (0)
Author: Mama's Kitchen

With so many oils on the market, and various recipes calling for different oils, it can be confusing. Hopefully this little oil guide will help:

NOTE: Because I tend to get long-winded, I will post a separate listing of the smoke points of oils. Knowing the smoke point of an oil will save you money and ensure good-tasting foods.

ALMOND OIL (Monounsaturated)
Sweet almond oil is made from a combination of sweet almonds and a minute quantity of bitter almonds. It is a fixed oil, clear, and pale yellow in color. It’s taste is bland and slightly nutty. Many substitute almond oil for olive oil in cooking. Since almonds contain monounsaturated fat, it is healthier for you and helps to lower blood pressure (although it is high in fat and calories). Many Oriental stir-fry dishes call for this oil.

AVOCADO OIL (Monounsaturated)
Rich in monounsaturated fatty acids and Vitamin E, this oil will lower the bad cholesterol and increase the good cholesterol. Don’t replace your olive oil with it, but use as a blend with olive oil. It will have the lingering flavor or avocado as well. Goes well in any dish that has avocado in it and can compliment many dishes and appetizers – especially those that are seafood dishes. Can also be used to marinate seafood. Use in stir-fry dishes, or for searing (has a high smoke point).

BUTTER (Saturated)
A mix of fats, milk solids and natural water which results from churning, butter is great of baking and used widely in many recipes.

This has a higher smoke point than butter because clarification eliminates the milk solids that burn at lower temperatures. Great for sautéing or frying.

CANOLA OIL (RAPESEED) (Monounsaturated)
This is a light, golden-colored tasteless oil, lower in saturated fat that any other oil and contains more cholesterol-balancing monounsaturated fat than any oil EXCEPT olive oil. Made by the process of cross-breeding rapeseed varieties (plants – not genetically engineered). A good all-purpose oil for anything from salads to cooking.

COCONUT OIL (Saturated)
This oil is extracted from the kernel (meat) of matured coconuts. It has a high level of saturated fat and yet is being recognized by the medical community as a powerful tool against immune diseases. Having a high smoke point makes it excellent for cooking and frying. A heavy and almost colorless oil. Good for coatings, confectionary, and shortening.

CORN OIL (Polyunsaturated)
An extract from the germ (endosperm) of the corn kernel having a mild, medium-yellow color. Excellent for frying, salad dressings, and in shortening.

COTTONSEED OIL (Polyunsaturated)
A pale yellow oil extracted from the seed of the cotton plant; classified as a vegetable oil and is lower in cholesterol than other oils having little to no trans-fats per serving. Used in margarine, salad dressings, shortenings; excellent for frying.

FLAXSEED OIL (Polyunsaturated)
A cold-pressed oil extracted from flax seeds (a product of wine-making) that is light, medium-yellow used for sautéing and frying as well as salad dressings. Also can be taken as a supplement being a resource for Omega 3 essential fatty acids.

GRAPESEED OIL (Polyunsaturated)
The oil extracted from wine grapes being light, medium-yellow in color with a light flavor with just a hint of nuttiness. Excellent for sautéing an frying as well as used in salad dressings.

HAZELNUT OIL (Monounsaturated)
The result of grinding and roasting hazelnuts (filberts) before pressing to extract the oil having a strong hazelnut taste which can be mixed with a lighter oil (like canola) to lighten the flavor. Used in salad dressings, baking, marinades; doesn’t contain any cholesterol.

HEMP SEED OIL (Polyunsaturated)
Pressed from hemp seeds. Cold and unrefined hemp oil is dark to light green in color with a pleasant nutty flavor; the darker the green (color), the “grassier” the taste. Refined hemp oil is light and flavorless.
Not good for frying with a very low smoke point; used as a dietary supplement.

LARD (Saturated)
The rendered or unrendered fat from a pig primarily used as a cooking fat (shortening) and in previous years was used as a margarine/butter spread. Today many have substituted vegetable shortening for lard. Excellent in baking and for frying.

MACADAMIA NUT OIL (Monounsaturated)
A light oil, similar to the finest extra virgin olive oil that is extracted from macadamia nuts used for sautéing, skillet frying, searing, deep-frying, stir-fry, grilling, broiling, an baking.

OLIVE OIL (Monounsaturated)
There are various olive oils on the market which vary in weight and color – all depending on the fruit used and the processing.
EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL is great for just about any use. It’s green in color and has somewhat of a fruity flavor. It’s unrefined and can be used for sautéing and as a seasoning (adding a splash to your dish as it goes on the table), as well as in salad dressings/vinaigrettes. Said to be the highest quality – it is from the first pressing of fresh chopped or crushed olives.
Next comes EXTRA-VIRGIN OLIVE OIL and FINE VIRGIN OLIVE OIL which is also cold-pressed. Breaks down easily at frying temperatures.
There is a SEMI-FINE or ORDINARY VIRGIN OLIVE OIL which when properly processed it maintains the purity of the fruit’s flavor, aroma and vitamins. Best used for frying.
VIRGIN OLIVE OIL has a higher acidity level than extra virgin.
Pressing olives (cold-press) is best. It involves pressure, producing a natural low level of acidity in oil.
Some PURE OLIVE OIL is a blend of extra virgin, virgin, and refined olive oil (refined meaning processed with chemicals to remove impurities). This oil will lack the flavor of extra virgin and virgin oils; best for sautéing and frying.
PUMACE OIL is olive oil produced by heat and chemicals; extracted from the leftover pulp (pumace) of extra virgin and virgin olive oil processing. The lowest grade of olive oil.
EXTRA LIGHT is heavily refined with very little color or flavor; used in cooking and baking.

PALM OIL (Saturated)
This yellowish-orange (such color is because of the high amount of beta carotene in it – and the process of boiling destroys the beta carotene but not the color) fatty oil is extracted from the pulp of the fruit of the oil palm. It is a semi-solid at room temperature. Primarily used in frying, cooking, and flavoring.

Palm kernel oil is extracted from the kernel (seed) of the oil palm. It is a semi-solid at room temperature. Primarily used in frying, cooking, and flavoring.

PEANUT OIL (Monounsaturated)
This pale yellow refined oil has a subtle scent and delicate flavor; made from pressing steam-cooked peanuts having a high smoke point. Used in frying (great for chicken and French fries), cooking, and salad dressings.

PUMPKIN SEED OIL (Polyunsaturated)
Pumpkin seed oil (a/k/a pumpkinseed oil) is made by pressing roasted, hulled pumpkins seeds (pepitas), from the Styrian oil pumpkin. Its oil can be light green to dark red in color – depending on thickness with green in the thin layer and red in the thick layer. It has a very intense nutty flavor and makes an excellent salad dressing when combined with olive oil and honey. When browned it has a bitter taste.


RICE BRAN OIL (Monounsaturated)
This oil is produced by extracted the oil from the germ and inner husk of rice and has a very high smoke point making it excellent for skillet-frying and deep-frying, as well as sautéing, salad dressings, baking, and dipping oils.

SAFFLOWER OIL (Polyunsaturated)
This oil is flavorless and colorless with a light texture, derived from pressing the seeds from safflowers having a high smoke point (good for deep frying) and makes an excellent salad dressing (doesn’t solidify when chilled). Also used in mayonnaise, and margarines.

SESAME OIL (Polyunsaturated)
Sesame oil is extracted from sesame seeds. Cold-pressed sesame oil is pale yellow, Indian sesame oil is golden in color, and Chinese and Korean sesame oils are dark brown. Dark brown sesame seed oil is from toasted/roasted sesame seeds – which also enhances the flavor. Dark sesame seed oil and be combined with peanut or canola oils used in stir-fry dishes, cooking, and salad dressings.

A semi-solid fat that is used mostly in baked goods as well as for skillet-frying and deep-frying, having a high smoke point. It has a 100% fat content compared to butter or margarine that is only 80%. Made from blended oil that is solidified using various processes including whipping in air and hydrogenation. Some have an artificial (or real) butter flavor added.

SOY/SOYBEAN OIL (Polyunsaturated)
Soy/soybean oil is a fairly heavy oil that is extracted from whole soybeans. Read the labels of your “vegetable” oils when grocery shopping and you will see it is made from soybeans. It is cholesterol-free and is also used in making margarines and shortening as well as in salad dressings.

SUNFLOWER OIL (Polyunsaturated)
This light, colorless to pale-yellow oil is pressed from oil-type sunflower seeds. Used for cooking and in margarine as well as salad dressings and shortening.

TEA OIL (Monounsaturated)
This oil is pressed from the seeds of tea plants, with a delicate floral flavor good for salads and pasta dishes. Also great in Asian dishes. It has not trans fats or cholesterol. Great for deep-frying because of it has the highest smoke level of all oils.

VEGETABLE OIL (Polyunsaturated)
This can be made from single ingredient or a blend of several different ingredients. It’s a refined oil which is great for high-heat frying. The unrefined specialty oils are better in salads and other cold dishes. These oils can be extracted from seeds, nuts, or the flesh of fruit (like olive oil). Mildly flavored, great for cooking and salad dressings.

WALNUT OIL (Monounsaturated)
This medium-yellow (topaz) oil has a rich, nutty flavor is made from roasted walnuts (dried and cold-pressed). A cheap imitation of walnut oil can be made from soaking walnuts in vegetable oil which really does not give the oil an flavor. Used in sautéing, skillet-frying, stir-fry dishes, grilling, broiling, and deep-frying.

Recipe: COCOA: Dutch Process VS Regular

|June 11, 2011|read comments (0)
Author: Mama's Kitchen

Substitution for 3 tablespoons (18 grams) Dutch-processed cocoa: 3 tablespoons (18 grams) natural cocoa powder plus pinch (1/8 teaspoon) baking soda

Substitution for 3 tablespoons (18 grams) natural cocoa: 3 tablespoons (18 grams) Dutch-processed cocoa plus 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar or 1/8 teaspoon lemon juice or vinegar

Note: Due to the differences between natural and Dutch-processed cocoa powders, do not substitute one for the other in recipes.

Note: Do not confuse unsweetened natural and Dutch-processed cocoa powder with sweetened cocoa drink mixes. They are not the same thing.


Dutch-Processed or Alkalized Unsweetened Cocoa Powder is treated with an alkali to neutralize its acids. Because it is neutral and does not react with baking soda, it must be used in recipes calling for baking powder, unless there are other acidic ingredients in sufficient quantities used. It has a reddish-brown color, mild flavor, and is easy to dissolve in liquids. Its delicate flavor makes it ideal in baked goods like European cakes and pastries where its subtle flavor complements other ingredients.

Natural Unsweetened Cocoa Powder tastes very bitter and gives a deep chocolate flavor to baked goods. Its intense flavor makes it well suited for use in brownies, cookies and some chocolate cakes. When natural cocoa (an acid) is used in recipes calling for baking soda (an alkali), it creates a leavening action that causes the batter to rise when placed in the oven.

When used alone in cakes, cocoa powder imparts a full rich chocolate flavor and dark color. Cocoa powder can also be used in recipes with other chocolates (unsweetened or dark) and this combination produces a cake with a more intense chocolate flavor than if the cocoa wasn't present. Most recipes call for sifting the cocoa powder with the flour but to bring out its full flavor it can be combined with a small amount of boiling water. (If you want to try this in a recipe, substitute some of the liquid in the recipe for boiling water.) Often times, you may notice that more butter and leavening agent are used in recipes containing cocoa powder. This is to offset cocoa powder's drying and strengthening affect in cakes. There are two types of unsweetened cocoa powder: natural and Dutch-processed and it is best to use the type specified in the recipe as the leavening agent used is dependent on the type of cocoa powder. Some prefer using Dutch-processed cocoa as a slight bitterness may be tasted in cakes using natural cocoa and baking soda.

To convert a cake recipe that uses bittersweet or semisweet chocolate to one using cocoa:

Substitute 1 tablespoon plus 1 3/4 teaspoons (9.5 grams) of cocoa, 1 tablespoon plus 1/2 teaspoon (14.5 grams) granulated white sugar, 1 1/2 teaspoons (7 grams) unsalted butter for every ounce (28 grams) of bittersweet or semisweet chocolate. Also, dissolve the cocoa in at least 1/4 cup (60 ml) hot liquid to bring out the cocoa's full flavor.

To convert a cake recipes that uses unsweetened chocolate to one using cocoa:

Substitute 3 tablespoons (18 grams) cocoa plus 1 tablespoon (14 grams) unsalted butter for every 1 ounce (28 grams) of unsweetened chocolate. Dissolve the cocoa in at least 2 tablespoons of liquid in the recipe to bring out the cocoa's full flavor.