All Articles Tagged "bread"

The Modern Chef: Bake Healthier Treats With Recipes From ‘Naturally Sweet’ And ‘Bread Illustrated’

September 7th, 2016 - By Kweli Wright
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“Naturally Sweet” and “Bread Illustrated” are books created with parents in mind. Julia Collin Davison and Bridget Lancaster, hosts of the acclaimed “America’s Test Kitchen” cooking show, are both moms who believe it is essential to teach kids good habits when it comes to food so they can make informed decisions about what they eat.

With the USDA’s newest dietary guidelines recommending that most Americans cut their sugar intake by about half, it’s becoming impossible to ignore the fact that sugar is a serious health threat. Plus, more people than ever are interested in using less-processed sweeteners such as honey, maple syrup, coconut sugar, and Sucanat (an unrefined cane sugar). In this timely, unique cookbook, America’s Test Kitchen tackles the monumental challenge of creating foolproof, great-tasting baked goods that contain less sugar and rely only on natural alternatives to white sugar.

Naturally Sweet” features delicious recipes based on natural alternatives to white sugar. Recipes are easy to make and there’s something for every occasion from holidays to birthdays.

Naturally Sweet Cookbook

Naturally Sweet Cookbook

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Why This Recipe Works: A great chocolate chip cookie should have crisp edges, a chewy center, complex toffee flavor, and chocolate in every bite. To make our low-sugar version, we decided to use Sucanat, since its molasses flavor fit the cookie’s profile nicely. Swapping the typical semisweet chocolate chips for bittersweet helped to further reduce sugar content, but tasters found that the flavor of the chips was a bit muted; chopped bar chocolate had much better chocolate flavor. Even with the reduced sugar, these cookies had great flavor—but their texture was disappointing. They didn’t spread enough during baking and they were dry, crumbly, and stale tasting. To encourage spread, we tried adding milk and tweaking the number of eggs; these cookies spread well but they were too tender and cakey. We backtracked and decided to take a closer look at how we were treating the liquid—specifically the butter—already present in our recipe. Our traditional recipe called for melted butter, but in a side-by-side test of melted butter versus softened butter, it was clear that softened butter was the way to go—the cookies spread beautifully. However, they were still a bit cakey. Our solution was twofold: First, we found that size made a big difference. Smaller cookies were more uniform in texture, while larger cookies tended to have softer centers and crisper edges. Second, we adjusted the leaveners: In our traditional recipe, we used only 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda to give the cookies a small amount of lift. But a few tests revealed that increasing the amount of baking soda and adding a teaspoon of baking powder caused the cookies to “overleaven,” so the cookies rose high in the oven and then fell. This encouraged the pleasantly dense, chewy centers we were after. Our cookies were almost perfect, but a 30-minute rest pushed them over the top; it hydrated the Sucanat and ensured the best texture and fullest flavor.

Makes 16 cookies

Our favorite brand of bittersweet chocolate is Ghirardelli 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate Premium Baking Bar; other brands may contain different amounts of sugar. Do not shortchange the dough’s 30-minute resting time in step 2 or the cookies will be drier and slightly bland.

1¾ cups (8¾ ounces) all-purpose flour 
1 teaspoon baking powder
¾ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened 
⅔ cup plus ½ cup (6⅔ ounces) Sucanat
1 large egg plus 1 large yolk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
5 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped

  1. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in medium bowl. Using stand mixer fitted with paddle, beat butter and Sucanat together on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add egg and yolk and vanilla and mix until combined, about 1 minute. Reduce speed to low, add flour mixture, and mix until combined, about 1 minute, scraping down bowl as needed. Add chocolate and mix until combined, about 30 seconds. Give dough final stir by hand.
  2. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let rest at room temperature for 30 minutes. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  3. Working with scant 3 tablespoons of dough at a time, roll into balls and space 2 inches apart on prepared sheets.
  4. Bake cookies, 1 sheet at a time, until light golden brown and edges have begun to set but centers are still soft, 12 to 15 minutes, rotating sheet halfway through baking. Let cookies cool completely on sheet. Serve.

BEFORE 25 grams sugar → AFTER 15 grams sugar

Bread Illustrated Cookbook

Bread Illustrated Cookbook

Bread baking is both an art and a science. In this fully illustrated handbook, America’s Test Kitchen strips away the mystery and provides a roadmap for making more than 100 foolproof recipes—simple and complex, modern and classic, savory and sweet—with hundreds of step-by-step photos. Grow your skills as you progress from everyday breads such as Honey-Wheat Dinner Rolls and Monkey Bread (pictured above) to a world of amazing loaves, such as Panettone, Fig and Fennel Bread, and Rustic Wheat Berry Bread.

Bread Illustrated” features recipes for various types of bread that are delicious, fun to make and help save money on this essential kitchen staple.

Monkey Bread

Why This Recipe Works: Monkey bread is a knotty-looking loaf made from rich balls of dough coated in cinnamon, sugar, and melted butter and baked in a Bundt pan. It’s traditionally served warm so that the sticky baked pieces can be pulled apart. The older recipes we found produced a delicious bread, but they were two-day affairs; newer versions favored convenience, calling for store-bought biscuit dough and yielding lean, dry, bland bread that simply wasn’t worth the time saved.

We wanted a faster recipe for monkey bread that didn’t compromise on its delicious flavor and sticky, sweet appeal. To expedite the rising and proofing in this recipe we used a generous amount of instant yeast and added sugar to the dough, which jump-started the yeast. Butter and milk helped keep the dough tender and flavorful.

Before assembling the bread, we rolled the balls of dough in melted butter and sugar to give them a thick, caramel-like coating. White sugar was good, but light brown sugar, with its molasses notes, made a coating that was even better. Mixing multiple spices with the sugar muddied the flavor, but a generous amount of cinnamon alone added warm character to the coating. Once the bread had cooled slightly, we finished by drizzling a simple confectioners’ sugar glaze over the top.

Makes: 1 loaf
Rising Time: 3 to 4 hours
Baking Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 5 to 6 hours
Key Equipment: 12-cup nonstick Bundt pan

3¼ cups (16¼ ounces) all-purpose flour
2¼ teaspoons instant or rapid-rise yeast
2 teaspoons salt
1 cup (8 ounces) whole milk, room temperature 
⅓ cup (2⅔ ounces) water, room temperature
¼ cup (1¾ ounces) granulated sugar 
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

1 cup packed (7 ounces) light brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
8 tablespoons (4 ounces) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

1 cup (4 ounces) confectioners’ sugar 
2 tablespoons whole milk

  1. For the dough:Whisk flour, yeast, and salt together in bowl of stand mixer. Whisk milk, water, sugar, and melted butter in 4-cup liquid measuring cup until sugar has dissolved. Using dough hook on low speed, slowly add milk mixture to our mixture and mix until cohesive dough starts to form and no dry flour remains, about 2 minutes, scraping down bowl as needed. Increase speed to medium-low and knead until dough is smooth and elastic and clears sides of bowl but sticks to bottom, 8 to 10 minutes.

  2. Transfer dough to lightly floured counter and knead by hand to form smooth, round ball, about 30 seconds. Place dough seam side down in lightly greased large bowl or container, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and let rise until doubled in size, 1½ to 2 hours. (Unrisen dough can be refrigerated for at least 8 hours or up to 16 hours; let sit at room temperature for 1 hour before shaping in step 4.)

  3. For the brown sugar coating: Thoroughly grease 12-cup nonstick Bundt pan. Combine sugar and cinnamon in medium bowl. Place melted butter in second bowl.

  4. Transfer dough to lightly floured counter and press into rough 8-inch square. Using pizza cutter or chef’s knife, cut dough into 8 even strips. Cut each strip into 8 pieces (64 pieces total). Cover loosely with greased plastic.

  5. Working with a few pieces of dough at a time (keep remaining pieces covered), place on clean counter and, using your cupped hand, drag in small circles until dough feels taut and round. Dip balls in melted butter, then roll in sugar mixture to coat. Place balls in prepared pan, staggering seams where dough balls meet as you build layers.

  6. Cover pan tightly with plastic and let rise until dough balls reach 1 to 2 inches below lip of pan, 1½ to 2 hours.

  7. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Bake until top is deep golden brown and caramel begins to bubble around edges, 30 to 35 minutes. Let bread cool in pan for 5 minutes, then invert onto serving platter and let cool for 10 minutes.

  8. For the glaze: Meanwhile, whisk sugar and milk in bowl until smooth. Drizzle glaze over bread, letting it run down sides. Serve warm.

In the new season of the show, Julia and Bridget highlight exciting recipes that are both delicious and easy to make. No need to sacrifice taste or free time in order to ensure that children develop healthy eating habits.


Which recipe will you be making for your family?

Get To Packing: 9 Quick Lunchbox Ideas

September 27th, 2012 - By Rich
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Ready for some really cool lunchbox ideas for kids that will save you a bit of time? As a parent, its all about the quickness. Our friends at hipped us to their top 10 lunchbox ideas!

Hit the flip!

Get To Packing: 9 Quick Lunchbox Ideas

Salt In Food: 8 Eats Saltier Than Potato Chips

April 4th, 2012 - By MN Editor
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You probably already know that a diet too high in salt can increase a person’s risk of heart attack, stroke, heart failure, and dying from other heart-related causes.

But Americans continue to consume close to 3,300 mg of sodium daily —
about 1,000 mg more salt than recommended.

Most adults shouldn’t consume more than 2,300 mg of sodium a day. People who are 51 or older, African American or who have high blood pressure, diabetes or kidney disease should limit sodium intake to less than 1,500 mg daily.

But that can be easier said than done, when you consider some of the sneaky places excess salt is lurking. Sure, you probably already know not to eat the whole bag of potato chips, and that processed meats are full of the stuff, but are you taking your breakfast into consideration?

For all the salty eats, visit


More on Madame Noire!

Dining Out the Smart Way

April 19th, 2010 - By Danielle Kwateng
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Everyone loves a good fast food run. On a busy day, there’s nothing like inhaling a Big Mac, fries and strawberry milkshake to quench the hunger.  But according to National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey that quenching has lead to unhealthy results– 53.4 percent of black women 20 years or older being obese.

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