Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Bone Broth!

Stock. Bone broth. Soup. Whatever you call it, it's delicious, full of nutrients and minerals, and damn easy to make. I made my first bone broth a few weekends ago but did not document it in case it turned out to be a terrible disaster - it wasn't! It was pretty good in fact.  I made note of a few things to alter made my second batch this weekend. The first broth I made was from a rotisserie chicken carcass. I did the same this time, but I also included some leftover porkchop bones and bought some beef neck (sorry dad) soup bones and roasted them in the oven for about an hour at 400 degrees before starting the stock. The joints and cartilage-heavy bones really add to the gelatin in a good stock. Gelatin seriously lacks from the standard American diet since we don't eat whole animals anymore, broth helps replenish it (also it's good for your skin!). Before I get into the how-to, I really recommend this website: http://www.jadeinstitute.com/jade/bone-broth-health-building.php, while I used a number of resources to learn how to make a good stock, this is the one I keep going back to. It also has a nice history and breakdown of the health benefits.


 You want to make sure you break open the bones before putting them in your crock-pot. It allows the marrow and other goodness to be absorbed into the water.

 Soooo once you've roasted the bones and cracked them open just throw them in a crock-pot! I added an onion (with skin), a head of garlic (chopped in half lengthwise and with skin), and some herbs - I think rosemary, basil, thyme, ginger, pretty much whatever else I had laying around that seemed to work well. Cover it with water, turn it on low, and let it cook away. Seriously, that's it. Just leave it a lone for a long amount of time. This time I let it go for ~9 hours.

It will end up looking something like this:

Strain it out and put it in some containers. I just used a colander so some of the herbs made it through to the broth, but I don't really mind. I put 2/3 in tupperware and then it went straight into the freezer; the broth I'll be using this week went in an old pickle jar and in the fridge.

These results were great. I got a much richer color, likely due to the pork and beef bones in addition to the chicken. Also, once cooled, the broth developed a thick layer of fat on top. This sounds gross, I know, but it's a good sign that it really absorbed as much as it could out of the bones. It scrapes off very easily with a spoon and you can just discard it in the trash. Delicious broth for drinking, sauteing vegetables in, and really using wherever you would normally use water.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Applesauce Cookies with Caramel Frosting!

This recipe may not be paleo but it is delicious. and addicting. and basically pure sugar...but delicious. I've made these cookies a few times before from this recipe and they've always been a big hit. Some friends of mine had a fall themed party this past Saturday and made a special request for these treats; I was happy to oblige. The ingredients for the cookies and frosting include: 

2 cups sugar
1 cup shortening (I used coconut oil instead)
2 eggs
2 cups applesauce
4 cups flour
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cloves (I ground whole cloves in our coffee grinder)
6 tbsp butter
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 cup brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla
2 cups powdered sugar

I told you it was sugar baked on sugar mixed with sugar!

From here it's basically a muffin recipe that you drop onto a cookie sheet. These "cookies" are really apple muffin tops. Mix the dry ingredients together...

Mix the wet ingredients together (yes, it looks like baby food)...

Mix the dry into the wet...

And drop onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Have I mentioned before how much I LOVE parchment paper? It's genius. It results in cookies that are brown but not burnt on the bottom and baking sheets that don't need to be cleaned after baking. Amazeballs. 

The recipe calls for "small" spoonfuls to be put in the sheet, but who likes tiny cookies? I make muffin-top-monster-cookies. Bake at 375 for nine minutes.

One thing to note - this recipe makes a lot of cookies. And by a lot, I mean 45+. Yes, 45+ giant monster cookies. If you do not want 45+ giant monster cookies, I'd halve the recipe if I were you.

The caramel frosting is pretty much what makes these cookies. Unfortunately, it involves a lot of fast work with super hot sugar so I only got a picture of the beginning of the process: melting the 6 tbsp butter (3/4 of a stick), 1 cup brown sugar, and 1/2 cup heavy cream. Melt, stirring occasionally, until it's well incorporated. Drop in some vanilla and stir in the powdered sugar. I have a lot of trouble figuring out the powdered sugar deal - the recipe says to wait for the brown sugar mixture to cool first, but when it cools it becomes too think to stir in the powdered sugar. So, I tried adding the powdered sugar when it was hot and the powdered sugar just lumped together. No one seemed to care much since sugar melted into sugar can't be wrong.

No finished product picture but they are pretty much what the original recipe link shows them to look like.