• Salted Honey Caramel

    How to make Salted Honey Caramel

    Yield: Depending on size, about two dozen squares

    Prep Time: 10 minutes

    Cook: 20 minutes


    3/4 cup sugar

    1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk

    1 tablespoon local honey

    4 tablespoons salted butter butter

    1 tsp cinnamon

    1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

    1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

    1/2 teaspoon fleur de sel, small coarse pieces


    1. Trace around an 8×8 baking pan with parchment paper, leaving about an inch on all sides. Generously butter the parchment paper and place it as securely as possible inside the pan.
    2. In a small saucepan, heat the condensed milk, butter, honey and cinnamon. Keep an eye on this mixture: once the butter has melted, turn off the heat. At the same time, insert your kitchen thermometer (optional) into a medium saucepan, combine sugar with 2 1/2 tablespoons of water. Place over medium-high heat and let the sugar dissolve. Stir gently to be sure that the sugar melts smoothly. From this point on, stir only as necessary. Cook until the sugar reaches 300 degrees, or for 5-7 minutes.
    3. Remove from heat and add the cinnamony milk and butter to the sugar mixture. Cook the caramel over medium heat until it reaches 245 degrees, or for 3-5 minutes.
    4. Remove the medium saucepan from the heat. Add vanilla extract.
    5. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking pan, carefully as to not scrape the hard bits on the bottom and sides. While letting the caramel cool for up to 15 minutes, melt chocolate chips over low heat. Spread the chocolate over cooled caramel. Sprinkle fleur de sel as a garnish.
    6. Once completely cool, lift out of the pan and onto a countertop. Slice the bar of caramel with a long, sharp knife.
  • Homemade Nutella

    How to make Homemade Nutella

    Yield: About 2 cups

    Prep Time: 5 minutes

    Cook: 10 minutes


    1 cup hazelnuts
    12 ounces milk chocolate, chopped
    2 tablespoons canola oil
    3 tablespoons powdered sugar
    1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
    1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
    3/4 teaspoon salt


    Preheat the oven to 350°F.

    Spread the hazelnuts in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Toast the hazelnuts until they’re slightly browned and the skin is slightly blistered, about 10 minutes. Wrap the hazelnuts in a kitchen towel and rub vigorously to remove as much loose skin as possible (some skin may not remove, that’s fine). Let cool completely.

    Place the chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave in 30-second bursts, stirring between each burst, until the chocolate is melted and smooth. Let cool completely.

    In a high-powered blender or in a food processor, grind the hazelnuts until they form a paste. Add the oil, sugar, cocoa powder, vanilla, and salt and continue to process until the mixture is as smooth as possible. Add the melted chocolate and blend until smooth. Press the mixture through a fine strainer to remove any chunks of hazelnuts that might be left behind. Allow the mixture to cool (will be warm from blending or processing). Store the mixture in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.

    From Cake Simple via Leite's Culinaria

  • How To Make Your Own Vanilla Extract
  • Homemade Milano Cookies

    How to make Homemade Milano Cookies

    Yield: 12 sandwich cookies

    Prep Time: 15 minutes

    Cook: 15 minutes

    I’ve included the ingredients and steps to make Mint Chocolate Milanos, if you desire. Feel free to omit that part if you’d prefer just chocolate.


    1 stick (133 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
    2/3 cup (132 grams) granulated sugar
    1 teaspoon vanilla
    1 large egg
    1 1/4 cups (159 grams) all-purpose flour
    1/2 teaspoon fine salt
    4 ounces (133 grams) semisweet chocolate chips

    Mint Layer (optional)

    3/4 cup (94 grams) confectioners’ sugar
    1/4 teaspoon pure peppermint extract, optional


    In a medium bowl, using an electric mixture, beat the butter and granulated sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla and egg and beat to combine. With mixer on low, gradually add the flour and salt and beat until just combined.

    Transfer dough to a quart-size zip-top bag; with scissors, snip a 3/4-inch hole in one corner (or use a pastry bag with a plain tip). Pipe about 24 cookies, 1/2 inch apart, onto two parchment-lined baking sheets. Chill until firm, 30 minutes.

    Preheat the oven to 325°F. Bake until cookies are light golden at edges, about 15 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through. Transfer to wire racks and let cool.

    Melt the chocolate in a glass bowl in the microwave for about 1 1/2 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds, until smooth. If desired, in another bowl whisk together confectioners’ sugar, peppermint extract and 3 to 4 teaspoons of water.

    With a small offset spatula, spread the melted chocolate on flat side of half the cookies and mint glaze on the other half (if using). Sandwich cookie halves together. Cookies can be stored in an airtight container up to 5 days.

  • How to Make Sourdough Starter

    How to make Sourdough Starter

    Cook: 2 weeks


    Organic whole-wheat flour or rye flour
    Bread flour
    Bottled water


    Day 1:

    In a perfectly clean bowl, combine a scant cup (120 grams) organic whole wheat flour and 1/2 cup (120 grams) bottled water. With a clean spoon, stir until a stiff dough forms. If the dough is extremely dry, add very small amounts of water until moistened. Scrape the dough into the 4-cup container. You should have about 1 cup (240 grams). Cover tightly in plastic wrap and place in a cool area for 48 hours. If you don’t have a cool area, let it sit for only 24 hours and feed as described for Day 3.

    Day 2:

    There will be no visible changes.

    Day 3:

    The consistency will now resemble a thick pancake batter and there may be a few bubbles. With a clean spoon, remove and throw away about half the starter, about 1/2 cup (120 grams).

    Stir in a scant 1/2 cup (60 grams) bread flour and 1/4 cup (60 grams) bottled water. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and leave at room temperature for 24 hours. After 12 hours the starter may have increased quite a bit and have lots of bubbles. Don’t be concerned if it deflates and falls back down.

    Day 4:

    With a clean spoon, again remove and throw out about half of the starter, 1/2 cup (120 grams). Stir in a scant 1/2 cup (60 grams) bread flour and 1/4 cup (60 grams) bottled water. Cover with plastic wrap, but not tightly, as the gases forming will need to escape. Leave at room temperature for 24 hours.

    Day 5:

    If the starter is active, it will have increased in volume to at least 3 cups, even 4. It will dome and start to recede. If this hasn’t happened yet, repeat Day 4 steps until it reaches this stage.

    With a clean spoon, again remove and throw out half the starter (1/2 cup or 120 grams).

    Stir in 1/2 cup (60 grams) bread flour and 1/4 cup (60 grams) bottled water.

    You will now have 1 cup (60 grams) active starter. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit at warm room temeperature for about 4 hours, until it has almost doubled. If you want to bake bread, you can now expand it by feeding it with flour and water. If you want to wait, you can refrigerate it overnight and start expanding it the next day. If you don’t plan to use it for several days, feed it again to double it, let it sit for 1 hour, then refrigerate it.

    The starter will mature over the next few weeks, increasing in strength and flavor. For the first 2 weeks, store at least 1 cup (240 grams) of it and feed it at least three times a week. After 2 weeks of regular feeding at least 3 times a week the culture is mature and bread made from it will be more mellow and complex. Now you can switch to once-a-week feeding if you only make bread once a week.

  • Fresh vs. Canned Pumpkin

    How to make Fresh vs. Canned Pumpkin

    Prep Time: 15 minutes

    Cook: 1 hour


    1-2 pie or sugar pumpkins


    Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil.

    Using a large sharp knife, slice off the stems then cut each pumpkin in half. Spoon out all the seeds and pulp, reserving the seeds for roasting if desired. Place the pumpkin on the baking sheet, skin side down, and roast for about 45 minutes, or until fork tender. Let cool until comfortable enough to handle.

    Use your fingers to peel off the skin. Place the pumpkin flesh in the bowl of a food processor, high-powered blender, or food mill. Puree until completely smooth, this may take several minutes. Turn off motor and stir mixture occasionally to ensure an even puree. If the puree looks dry, add a tablespoon or two of water.

    Use or store in the fridge in an airtight container for up to a week or in the freezer for 6 to 8 months.

    To Roast the Seeds:

    Place the pulp and seeds in a colander and run under cold water, removing the pulp from the seeds. Spread the seeds out evenly on a rimmed baking sheet and let air dry for several hours or overnight, do not attempt to blot with paper towels. Drizzle with 2 teaspoons olive oil and generously season with salt and other desired flavorings. Roast low and slow at 250°F for 1 hour, or until golden. Serve.

  • Focaccia Bread

    How to make Focaccia Bread

    Yield: 8 to 10 servings

    Prep Time: 20 minutes

    Cook: 3 hours 5 minutes


    1 3/4 cups warm (110-115°F) water
    1 package (2 1/4 teaspoons) instant yeast
    5 sprigs fresh rosemary leaves, chopped and divided
    1 tablespoons granulated sugar
    5 1/4 cups (23.63 or 670 grams) all-purpose flour, plus more for kneading
    1 tablespoon kosher salt, plus coarse sea salt for sprinkling
    1 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided


    In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the water, yeast, 2 teaspoons of the chopped rosemary, sugar, and half the flour. Stir to combine. Fit the mixer with the dough hook and on low speed add in the remaining flour, salt, and 1/2 cup olive oil. Once the dough comes together, increase the speed to medium and knead for 5 to 6 minutes, or until smooth and soft. If the dough is really sticky, add in another tablespoon or two of flour.

    Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, at least 1 hour. Make ahead: place the dough in a large plastic bag, or divide in half and place in two plastic bags, and refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 1 month. If frozen, thaw overnight in the fridge or for a few hours at room temperature. Proceed with the recipe.

    Coat a jelly roll pan with the remaining 1/2 cup olive oil. Put the dough onto the jelly roll pan (you can divide the dough in half and bake in 2 smaller 9 by 13-inch pans) and begin pressing it out with your fingertips to fit the size of the pan. Coax and stretch the dough to fit the entire pan, or just about. Spread your fingers to make little holes all the way through the dough.

    Cover the dough with plastic and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 425°F.

    Brush the focaccia with the olive oil on the pan and sprinkle liberally with coarse sea salt and the remaining rosemary leaves. Bake until golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly before cutting and serving.

  • Steak Burrito Bowls

    How to make Steak Burrito Bowls

    Yield: 4 servings

    Prep Time: 20 minutes

    Cook: 30 minutes (plus marinating time)

    Don’t let the ingredient list intimidate you! It comes together pretty quickly and the components can be done ahead of time.


    For the steak:

    1 chipotle pepper + 1 teaspoon adobo sauce
    2 1/2 teaspoons ancho chile powder
    2 teaspoons ground cumin
    1 teaspoon dried oregano
    1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
    1/2 teaspoon onion powder
    1 teaspoon kosher salt
    1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    3 garlic cloves, peeled
    1/4 cup vegetable oil
    1 pound flank or skirt steak

    For the cilantro lime rice:

    2 cups cooked brown rice, warm
    2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
    1 teaspoon vegetable oil
    2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
    1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

    For the corn salsa:

    1 (12-ounce) package frozen sweet yellow corn, defrosted and drained or 1 1/2 cups fresh corn kernals
    1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped
    1/2 red onion, finely chopped
    1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
    1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
    1/4 teaspoon salt

    Add ins:

    1 (15 ounce) can black or pinto beans, rinsed, drained, and warmed
    Your favorite salsa
    Shredded Monterey cheese
    Sour cream
    Avocadoes or guacamole


    For the steak:

    Combine all the ingredients except the steak in the bowl of a blender or food processor. Blend until very well combined. Place the steak in an airtight container and cover with the chipotle mixture. Seal the container and marinade overnight.

    Preheat the grill to 400°F. Grill for about 5 minutes per side, depending on the thickness of the steak, until the steak registers an internal temperature of about 130°F for medium-rare. Remove to a plate and let rest for 5 to 10 minutes before slicing against the grain intro strips. Slice the strips into cubes. Taste and add additional salt if needed.

    For the rice:

    Place the cooked rice in a medium bowl and toss with the lime juice, vegetable oil, cilantro, and salt. Keep warm until ready to use or refrigerate up to 1 day. Reheat before using.

    For the corn salsa:

    Combine all the ingredients in a medium bowl. Taste and adjust ingredients and seasoning as needed. Refrigerate until ready to use, up to 1 day.
    Divide the rice between four bowls. Top with the warmed beans, steak cubes, corn salsa, and any other desired add ins. Serve.

  • Chocolate Covered Strawberry Ice Cream Cake

    How to make Chocolate Covered Strawberry Ice Cream Cake

    Yield: 8 to 10 servings

    Prep Time: 25 minutes

    Cook: 5 hours 30 minutes


    For the chocolate cake:

    1 3/4 cups (7.8 ounces or 221 grams) all-purpose flour
    2 cups granulated sugar
    3/4 cup (3.1 ounces or 89 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder
    2 teaspoons baking soda
    1 teaspoon Clabber Girl baking powder
    1 teaspoon fine salt
    3/4 cup sour cream
    1/2 cup vegetable oil
    3 large eggs, at room temperature
    1 teaspoon vanilla
    1 cup boiling water

    For the strawberry ice cream:

    1 quart fresh strawberries, hulled and chopped
    4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
    1/2 cup sour cream
    1/2 cup whole milk
    1/2 cup heavy cream
    1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
    2 tablespoons corn syrup
    3/4 cup granulated sugar
    1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
    1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

    For the chocolate ganache:

    6 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
    1/2 cup heavy cream
    Strawberries, hulled and sliced, for garnish


    For the cake:

    Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter and flour two 8-inch round cake pans.

    In the bowl of a stand mixer, sift together the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, and baking powder. Add in the salt. Mix on low speed until combined. In a small bowl combine the sour cream, vegetable oil, eggs, and vanilla. On low speed gradually add the sour cream mixture into the dry ingredients. Beat on low until just combined, scraping down the edges as necessary. Add in the boiling water and beat until just combined. Be careful not to over-mix.

    Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool the cakes in their pans for 30 minutes before carefully turning them out onto a cooling rack. Freeze the cakes until very firm.

    For the ice cream:

    In the pitcher of a blender, puree all the ingredients until smooth. Transfer the mixture to a medium bowl and press plastic wrap against the surface. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, or up to 1 day.

    Pour the chilled mixture into an ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer’s directions. Line a clean 8-inch cake pan with plastic wrap. Pour the ice cream into the cake pan then press another sheet of plastic wrap against the surface. Freeze until firm, about 2 hours or up to 2 days.

    For the ganache:

    Place the chocolate chips in a medium heatproof bowl. In a small saucepan heat the cream just until simmering. Pour over the chocolate chips. Let sit for 3 minutes before stirring until the mixture is melted and smooth. Let cool until the ganache is thickened but still pourable.

    To assemble:

    On a serving plate or cake stand, place 1 cake layer upside-down. Remove the ice cream from the pan and place over the cake, peeling off the plastic wrap. Top with the remaining cake layer. Pour the ganache over the cake, letting it drip down the sides. Freeze for 2 hours, or until firm. Top with strawberries and let stand for 5 to 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

    Recipe by Tessa of Handle the Heat on behalf of Clabber Girl

As Seen On....
NPR People Time Glamour Readers Digest The Huffington Post BuzzFeed