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Posts Tagged ‘cupcakes’

Some basic info about these fascinating flavors:

Chocolate – made from cocoa beans that grow in pods on the cacao tree. The seeds of the cacao tree have an intense bitter taste, and must be fermented to develop the flavor. After fermentation, the beans are dried, cleaned, and roasted, and the shell is removed to produce cacao nibs. The nibs are then ground to cocoa mass, pure chocolate in rough form.  Because this cocoa mass is usually liquefied, then molded with or without other ingredients, it is called chocolate liquor. The liquor also may be processed into two components: cocoa solids and cocoa butter.

Unsweetened baking chocolate (bitter chocolate) contains primarily cocoa solids and cocoa butter in varying proportions. Much of the chocolate consumed today is in the form of sweet chocolate, combining cocoa solids, cocoa butter or other fat, and sugar. Milk chocolate is sweet chocolate that additionally contains milk powder or condensed milk. White chocolate contains cocoa butter, sugar, and milk but no cocoa solids (and thus does not qualify to be considered true chocolate).

Vanilla – an edible seed pod harvested from orchids of the genus Vanilla.  The beans develop their flavor after months of drying and curing.  Vanilla extract is made by soaking chopped vanilla beans in water and alcohol.  Different beans produce different flavors.  Bourbon (aka Madagascar) is the most common variety giving the classic vanilla flavor.  Mexican vanilla is smooth and spicy with hints of run and caramel.  Tahitian vanilla is a sweeter, almost cherry licorice flavor.

Vanilla flavoring is a combination of real vanilla and synthetic flavorings.  Imitation vanilla is just that, an imitation made from synthetic flavorings.  Vanilla paste, made from ground vanilla beans in a and vanilla extract, is a concentrated flavor.

Both chocolate and vanilla provide the basis for many sweet treats.

source: Wikipedia

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At some point last year, my 14 year old son began to really read the labels on the food we have in our home. He says if it’s something unpronounceable (say: butylated hydroxyanisolean antioxidant found in cereals, chewing gum, potato chips, vegetable oil) maybe it shouldn’t be put into your body.  According to some studies, this particular additive indicate it is safe, other studies demonstrate that it causes cancer in rats, mice, and hamsters.

According to Specialty Food Magazine, 2010 will be the year people begin to focus on having fewer additives in the food they eat.

Per Wikipedia, Food additives are substances added to food to preserve flavor or improve its taste and appearance. Some additives have been used for centuries; for example, preserving food by pickling with vinegar, salting, as with bacon, preserving sweets or using sulfur dioxide as in some wines. With the advent of processed foods in the second half of the 20th century, many more additives have been introduced, of both natural and artificial origin.

The bottom line is it’s a personal choice of what you do, or don’t, put into your bodies.  Being aware of what ingredients are in processed foods isn’t a bad idea.  I’m happy to say that the cookies I bake have no preservatives, just butter, sugar, flour, spices, etc.  And those things, in moderation, are fine for you.

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If you love both these sweets, try them together.  They’re easy:

1) Start with your favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe.

2) Fill each muffin tin with about a tablespoon of dough.

3) Bake for about half the recipe time and remove from the oven.

4) Push a Rolo candy into the center so the tops are even and finish the baking.

These taste unbelievably gooey and good when warm.  Once they’ve cooled, just microwave for about 10 seconds to warm up the caramel again.  Get out a spoon because it’s the only way to eat these treats!

And don’t be afraid to mix it up.  Instead of chocolate chips, try them with butterscotch chips then the Rolo.

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All you have to do to enter the contest is answer this all important question: 

What, in your opinion, makes up the ideal chocolate chip cookie?

Go to www.Cakespy.com to post your thoughts on the perfect cookie and you’ll be entered in the drawing to win a great semi-sweet chocolate chip cookie from My Kids’ Cookies and pack of Cakespy notecards.  Spread the word to cookie lovers everywhere!  The world wants to know what your cookie should taste like. Contest ends December 15th so don’t delay.

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There is a sweet website called http://www.cakespy.com/.  Jessie Oleson keeps up to date with the latest and sweetest of baked goods.  And, she’s a great artist creating fun works on the important topic of cupcakes, cookies and cake.  Check it out.   It will make you smile.

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