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How to make and Store Brown Sugar
Yield: Any amount needed
Prep Time: 5 minutes
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon unsulphured molasses for light brown sugar, 2 to 3 tablespoons for dark brown sugar
In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to combine the sugar and molasses until completely incorporated. Use or store in an airtight container. Use a brown sugar saver to keep it from hardening.
If it does become hard, you can still add the soaked brown sugar saver to soften it. You can also add a slice of bread for a few hours, which will soften it again.
How to make Bagels
Yield: 8 bagels
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes
If you don’t have instant yeast, you can always substitute with the same amount of active dry yeast. Simply add the active dry yeast to the warm water and let it proof for 5 minutes before proceeding with the recipe.
If you can’t barley malt syrup (which I find on Amazon or at Whole Foods), use brown sugar.
For the dough:
1 tablespoon instant yeast
4 cups (17 ounces) bread flour
2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon barley malt syrup
1 1/2 cups lukewarm water
For the water bath:
2 quarts (64 ounces) water
2 tablespoons barley malt syrup
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
For the topping:
1 egg white
Desired toppings, see above
Make the dough:
Combine all the dough ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Knead on medium-low speed for about 10 minutes (or knead vigorously by hand for 12 to 15 minutes). The dough will be stiff and hold its shape without spreading. Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover, and let rise until puffy but not necessarily doubled in size, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
Transfer the dough to a work surface and divide into eight pieces. Roll each piece into a smooth, round ball. Place on a silicone mat-lined baking pan or lightly greased baking pan (do NOT use parchment paper) and cover the balls with plastic wrap. Let them rest for 30 minutes. They may puff up slightly.
Prepare the water bath:
Meanwhile, prepare the water bath by heating the water, malt powder, and sugar to a gentle boil in a large, wide pan. Preheat the oven to 425°F.
Use your index finger to poke a hole through the center of each dough ball then twirl the dough around your finger to stretch the hole to a 2-inch diameter. Place each bagel on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Transfer the bagels, 4 at a time, to the simmering water. Increase the heat to bring the water up to a gentle boil if necessary. Cook the bagels for 2 minutes, gently flip them over, and continue cooking for another minute. Use a skimmer to remove the bagels back to the baking sheet and repeat with remaining 4 bagels.
Top and bake:
Beat the egg white with 1 tablespoon of water and coat each bagel with the mixture. Sprinkle any desired toppings evenly over the bagels.
Bake the bagels for 20 to 25 minutes, or until they reach their desired brown color. Remove the bagels from the oven and cool completely on a wire rack.
Serve or store in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Stored bagels are best served toasted. You can also freeze the bagels in an airtight container for up to 2 months.
How to make 3 Ways to Make Swirled Cupcake Frosting
Prep Time: 15 minutes
1 batch of buttercream frosting
Gel food coloring (I like Wilton or Americolor)
Decorative piping tips (I used Wilton 1M)
Double bag technique
Fill two small disposable piping bags with different colored or flavored frosting. Use scissors to snip holes in the bottoms of both bags. Insert both bags into a large (16”) disposable piping bag fitted with a decorative tip, making sure the two bags are aligned by squeezing and twisting the large bag. Squeeze out a test pip to ensure the colors are coming out evenly.
Plastic wrap technique
Lay a large piece of plastic wrap on a flat surface. Spoon one color or flavor of your buttercream frosting in a log down the center. Repeat with the second color or flavor, spooning it parallel alongside the first color.
Fold the plastic wrap over to shape it into a two-toned log. Twist the excess plastic to seal the buttercream inside. Drop the plastic wrap log into a large pastry bag fitted with a decorative piping tip, using the excess plastic wrap to pull the log through the opening of the bag. Refrigerate for 10 minutes before frosting your cupcakes. Squeeze out a test pip to ensure the colors are coming out evenly.
In a large piping bag fitted with a decorative tip, use a spoon to scoop one color of frosting into one section of the bag, using your finger on the outside of the bag to help scrape it off. Repeat with your remaining color(s). Ensure you’re aligning the frosting so it starts at the same place in the bag. Squeeze the bag to slightly blur the colors together for a rainbow type effect. Twist the bag and frost your cupcakes. Squeeze out a test pip to ensure the colors are coming out evenly.
How to make Powdered Sugar
Yield: As much as you need!
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Half as much granulated sugar as you need powdered sugar
Pour the granulated sugar into the bowl of a powerful blender or food processor. You don’t want to do this in a cheap or old appliance because it probably just won’t get fine enough. Blend until the sugar is fine, fluffy, and powdered. Keep the lid on until the powder has completely settled.
If using right away, sift before adding to a recipe. If storing for later, add in 1 teaspoon of cornstarch or arrowroot then sift the sugar into a storage container. This helps prevent the sugar from caking and clumping.