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How to Make the Perfect Hard Boiled Eggs For Easter 2018

How to Make the Perfect Hard Boiled Eggs For Easter 2018

With Easter just around the corner, the matter of perfectly hard-boiled eggs arises by default. Preparing hard boiled eggs might seem like the easiest thing to do. All you need is a few eggs, a saucepan, and some water, so how hard can it be? Place the eggs in a pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil, then immediately remove from heat. Cover the eggs and let them stand. After about 10 minutes, transfer the eggs to a bowl filled with cold water. After they have cooled, crack the eggs shells and peel. Sounds simple.

Eggs and Easter

If you are planning to honor the long-established tradition of dyeing Easter eggs, you are going to need perfectly hard-boiled eggs to serve you as a canvas.

The tradition of dyeing eggs for Easter has its roots in the ancient customs of decorating eggshells as a part of spring rituals. The Christian custom began in the days of early Christianity, when eggs used to be colored red in order to commemorate the blood of Christ, shed at the time of his crucifixion. Eggsshells also symbolized the tomb of Christ and their cracking symbolized his resurrection from the dead.

This custom is believed to have originated in Mesopotamia and became so popular among Christian people, that the Church officially adopted it with the publication of the Roman Ritual in 1610.

Today, Easter eggs are dyed and decorated using special artificial colors and commercial dyeing kits. They are often placed in colorful baskets to serve as decoration or in various Easter games like egg hunt, egg rolling, and egg tapping.

However, during the Easter period, eggs will be also used in a variety of recipes like salads, deviled eggs, or egg casseroles, so they should look good both on the inside as well as on the outside.

How many times have you had difficulties peeling your boiled eggs? The white comes out together with the shell, resulting in a shapeless used-to-be egg. Also, overcooked eggs have some greenish-gray color around the yolks, a slightly bitter-y taste and give out a somewhat sulfuric smell. All this is due to over-boiling. If eggs are cooked too long, the whites become rubbery and the yolks dehydrated. There is a science behind this – eggs are mostly built of water and protein. During the process of cooking, the water evaporates, whereas the proteins coagulate. High heat also causes the iron-sulfuric reaction, which produces the unwanted color and smell. Another important thing to take into consideration is that high heat over a long time damages the proteins and destroys almost all vitamins, especially the B group vitamins. However, moderate heat over a shorter time does not alter the eggs’ nutritive values.

The task of boiling eggs involves making a number of right choices, but once you master it you will always get ideally cooked eggs with firm but not rubbery whites, as well as slightly creamy yolks.

This post suggests three different methods for boiling eggs, revealing all the secrets you need to know, as well as some gadgets that will make the process much easier. But first, let’s go through a few key issues.

How to Hard Boil Eggs

Should you add salt to the water?

Half a teaspoon of salt will prevent the eggs from cracking. It is also useful in case the eggs crack while cooking. It will help the egg white solidify quicker and seal up the crack, thus minimizing the mess in the pot.  Vinegar and baking soda added to the water have the same effect.

Is there any particular type of eggs you should use?

How to tell if an egg is fresh

Yes, older eggs are best because they are easier to peel than the fresh ones. The secret is in the acidity – the fresher the eggs, the more acidic they are. As the time passes, the acidic content decreases, making the eggs easier to peel.

You can keep the eggs for two weeks in the fridge before boiling them. Don’t worry, they won’t spoil. In case you only have fresh eggs, the solution is to steam them in order to make them less acidic. Pour about an inch of water into a saucepan and insert a steamer basket. Bring to a boil, then place the eggs in the basket. Cover and steam for about 15 minutes. The steam penetrates the shell, causing the carbon dioxide to leak out through the shell pores.

Should you make a hole in the shell before cooking?

Some people make a small hole in the shell with a pin before they put the egg in water. If you are going for perfectly ellipsoidal eggs, pierce the large end of the egg. Piercing will allow some of the air to escape and some water to enter under the egg shell during cooking, which may make peeling easier and contribute for smoothly rounded ends.

However, there are some concerns that piercing can make the eggs more prone to cracking as they cook because it makes the shell weaker.

Should you use hot or cold water?

This question remains without a definite answer. Some of us put the eggs in cold water, others wait for the water to boil before adding the eggs. There is no right or wrong here; both methods have advantages and disadvantages. Let’s look at them separately.

3 Best Methods How to Hard Boil Eggs

Hard Boil Eggs

Method 1: Hard Boiling the Eggs in Cold Water

Advantages: Putting the eggs in cold water allows heating the eggs more slowly, which prevents the eggs from becoming rubbery. This method also gives the air in the egg more time to escape as the egg heats up.

Disadvantages: The cold-water method takes longer time and you don’t have as much control over the time of cooking, i.e. it is difficult to know the exact moment when the water comes to a boil. Unless you decide to watch over the saucepan.

Step 1: Arrange the eggs in a single layer at the bottom of a heavy medium saucepan (first the eggs, then the water because they might crack while falling to the bottom of the pan). Cover with 1-2 inches of cold water. The more eggs there are in the saucepan, the more water you should add.

Tip: Avoid overcrowding the saucepan with eggs because when the water starts boiling they will hit against each other and crack.

Step 2: Heat over high heat and bring the water to a boil (rolling boil, not a simmer).

Tip: Add ½ teaspoon of salt, baking soda, or vinegar before the water boils to prevent cracking.

Step 3: Turn off the heat, but don’t remove the saucepan from the hot burner. Cover and let it sit for 10-12 minutes. This period of 10-12 minutes is generally considered a timespan that yields perfectly boiled eggs every time.

Tip: Depending on numerous factors, including your personal preferences, this time may vary. I recommend adding an extra test-egg to the originally planned number of eggs to boil. This egg will be cracked to check if the doneness is to your taste.  If you are going for eggs that are slightly soft in the center, crack the test-egg after 6 minutes, but, if you want harder boiled eggs, crack the test-egg at the 10th minute. If the test-egg is still too soft for you, keep the rest of the eggs in the water for a bit longer. The recommended maximum period for hard boiled eggs is 15-18 minutes, in order to avoid overcooking.

Step 4: Strain the water from the saucepan and “shock” the eggs with cold water to stop the process of cooking.

Tip: You can also just transfer the eggs into a bowl of cold water using a slotted spoon, especially if there is a larger number of eggs in the saucepan.

Method 2: Boiling the Eggs in Hot Water

Advantages: “Hard boiled eggs cook best if they are not boiled at all.” With this method, you have more control over the cooking process because you know the exact moment the eggs hit the boiling water and you can measure the time with confidence. The method ensures consistent results every time.

Disadvantages: The eggs are very likely to crack if you are not careful enough when dropping them into the saucepan.

  • Step 1: Fill a heavy-bottom saucepan with water and heat it until it boils (rolling boil again).
  • Step 2: Remove the boiled water from the hot burner.
  • Step 3: Immediately drop the eggs one by one into the hot water. Do this gently, using a slotted spoon to avoid cracking as well as burning your hands with splashes of hot water.

Repeat steps 4 and 5 from the previous method.

boiling eggs

Method 3: Baking the Eggs in the Oven

Advantages: This method is a minimum mess and minimum stress, no splashing hot water, no timers, no checking if the water is boiling.

Disadvantages: It takes more time than the boiling stovetop methods. Also, baked eggs might have small reddish-brown spots on the shell and on the egg white. Another possible downside is that the yolk might shift from the center. So, if you want your eggs to have the perfect appearance, this method is not for you.

Step 1: Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Tip: If your oven is a bit weaker or you are preparing a large number of eggs, you can increase the heat to 350 degrees F.

Step 2: Place the whole (unbroken) eggs in a muffin tin.

Tip: The smaller the muffin tin, the better. If you use mini tin cups, the eggs won’t roll around too much and the possibility of cracks will be reduced. If the tin is not completely filled with eggs, arrange them in the center so that you can easily balance it.

Step 3: Place the muffin tin into the oven and set bake for half an hour.

Step 4: When the eggs are done, don’t wait for them to cool, but place them at once in a previously prepared bowl filled with ice cold water. Let them there for 10 minutes.

Warning! The eggs will be very hot, so use tongs to avoid burning your fingers.

Tip: Baked eggs usually get brown dots. These dots will disappear when you soak them in ice water.

Tools that Will Facilitate the Process of Hard Boiling Eggs

Besides the basic kitchenware used to make the perfect hard boiled eggs, namely a heavy bottom saucepan or muffin tins, as well as a slotted spoon or tongs (depending on the method of preparation you choose), there are a few helpful egg-boiling toys and gadgets you can introduce to your kitchen.

–    Egg cooker. This electric appliance is an alternative to all the above-mentioned methods of egg boiling. It uses steam to cook the eggs in their shells and it can be adjusted to the desired level of doneness, i.e. to yield soft, medium, or hard boiled eggs. Some cookers allow up to seven eggs at a time and many of them have an automatic shut-off option that saves energy. Another upside of these kitchen devices is that some versions include additional inserts for poaching and frying eggs, measuring cups, piercers, etc. Bonus: they will keep the eggs warm while you prepare the rest of the food.

–    Applications for smartphones. Whether you have an iPhone or an Android phone, you can download these timer apps that will assist you in your cook-the-perfect-egg mission. These timers are based on scientific research and calculate the time needed for the egg to reach the desired doneness. The best part is – they are free.

–    Timers. You can go for a standard timer that will be positioned anywhere in the house you want, but there is one timer that can be placed inside the saucepan, together with the eggs. The egg-shaped color-changing boiled egg timer is very convenient to use due to its size and material (it is plastic and easily hand-washed). It reacts to heat just as a regular egg does and darkens as it heats up, indicating the level of doneness.

peel eggs

How to Peel a Hard Boiled Egg

Now that you have mastered the art of how to make the perfect hard boiled eggs, the only thing to do is to peel them. But how do you peel a boiled egg quickly, without making a mess and mutilating them? Peeling perfection is a mix of the method of boiling the eggs, the manner of cooling them, and, finally, the way you crack the shell. Most people do this under a cold running water, but there are a few more methods you can deploy.

  1. Crack the egg, roll with one hand on the counter (use a paper towel to reduce the mess to a minimum), then remove the shell while the egg is submerged in cold water.
  2. Fill a smaller pot or a glass with just a little bit of water. Add the eggs one by one, cover the pot with a plate and shake. Only a small portion of the shell will remain on the egg and it will be removed easily. You can also use a glass jar with a lid, but this method is even faster and easier if you have a larger deli container with a lid. Fill the container with water, place several eggs, cover with the lid and shake.
  3. Crack the top and bottom, remove the shell at these points and then blow the egg out. Yes, blow with your mouth, just make sure the egg doesn’t fly away across the kitchen.
  4. Crack shell, then insert a teaspoon under it and rotate the egg to remove the shell (the teaspoon remains under the shell all the time, i.e. until the shell falls off).

One last tip: The best way to store hard boiled eggs is in a covered container in the fridge. Eggs tend to give out specific smells, that is why it is wise to cover them. They should be eaten within five days.

 

I believe that food should not only taste good, but make you feel good as well and that is why I am so interested in exploring ingredients, preparing meals, and finding ways to make the whole cooking experience fun and exciting! Being a blogger for MyGreatRecipes unites my two passions – food and writing, and I am enjoying every second of it!

Top Food Ideas for Easter 2018

Top Food Ideas for Easter 2018

As sure as the tunes of ‘Hot Cross Buns’ and ‘Peter Cottontail’ will rage in your head for days in a row, colored eggs, chocolate rabbits, hot cross buns, baked ham, and roasted lamb will be an inevitable part of your Easter menu. Easter feasts are colorful, delicious, and full of symbolism. Have you ever wondered how these traditions came to be and why we eat certain foods at Easter?

Let’s make Easter cooking fun, not just by learning a few fun facts, but also by focusing on recipes that will reduce the time you spend in the kitchen, allowing you to spend more time with your loved ones. Because, after all, Easter is a family celebration!

Easter Breakfast and Brunch

Go out there and hunt for eggs instead of cooking in the kitchen! Choose one of these easy Easter breakfast and brunch ideas that can be made in advance.

Egg Recipes

easter eggs

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There will be lots of eggs on Easter, so you’d better be prepared to put them to good use!

Eggs are a symbol of rebirth and immortality, but there is also a practical explanation of why they are so widely used on Easter. Christian tradition forbids eggs and all other animal-derived foods during the Lent so, in the past, people would end up with a bunch of unused eggs from their hens, very eager to re-include them in their everyday diet after 40 days of restraint!

Today, Easter eggs are decorated with bright colors to symbolize joy, but also to honor spring. They are hunted for, exchanged among friends and family, taken to church to be blessed, and offered on the festive table!

Easy Egg and Asparagus

This creamy and dreamy brunch recipe is made super-healthy with the use of asparagus and extra fulfilling from the eggs and cheese. Let’s not forget the ham!

Blue Cheese Stuffed Eggs

There is nothing easier to make than stuffed (deviled) eggs and the possibilities for varying the filling are endless! Blue cheese is just one of them.

Easter Breads

hot cross buns

Bread has always been part of religious rites and ceremonies. It symbolizes renewal and because of that it is associated with Christ’s resurrection. It is also prepared in commemoration of the Last Supper, when Christ shared bread with the disciples.

Easter breads are often made in symbolic shapes or with special ingredients. For instance, they often call for raisins or include decorated eggs on top.

Hot Cross Buns

Hot Cross Buns are rich, spiced tea cakes usually served on Good Friday. In the past, they were made without dairy products and consumed throughout the whole period of Lent. They were even believed to have medicinal purposes! Hot cross buns are made with raisins or currants, with a cross on the top to represent the crucifixion of Christ. The spices used in the buns represent the spices used to embalm Christ’s body before the burial.

Grandma Marian’s Placek

Alternatively, you can make Placek, a sweet yeast bread with golden raisins and topped with sugar crumble, traditionally served on Easter.

Easter Main Courses

Ham and lamb are the traditional choices, so the following meal ideas are sure to bring back lots of memories. Spring provides fresh seasonal ingredients to combine them with, but also gives you an opportunity to get playful and informal if you wish. So, instead of setting up a formal dinner table decorated with your best China and crystal glasses, why not arrange a buffet-style table in the backyard and make it cheerful with simple Easter decorations?

Whatever you decide to do, remember to keep things simple and prepare everything you can the day before.

Ham

While the rest of the world enjoys lamb and chicken, people in the States opt for pink, salty, cured ham, smothered in a glaze. The tradition to eat ham is explained by the fact that the meat from pigs slaughtered during the winter (cured in salt and smoked) was ready to be consumed in spring, i.e. immediately after the Lent.  Being salted and smoked, the ham is already completely cooked and only need so be reheated, which gives us another reason to love it!

Sweet Glazed Ham

Give this traditional dish a modern twist by preparing a glaze with a fizzy cola, sugar, and onion. Make it stand out by decorating with pineapple slices and cherries on top!

Country Roast Ham

Or keep the dish old-fashioned by preparing it with a gold mustard crust!

easter lamb

Lamb

A large portion of the Christian world prepares lamb on Easter or substitutes this meat with edible lamb figures made of buttery pastry. Lamb is a symbol of purity and innocence and has always been associated with Christianity. Even the pope has adopted it as a part of his Easter Dinner, so it is only logical that it appears as a centerpiece of Easter festive tables.

Marinated Lamb Chops

Enhance the delicate flavor of lamb with a marinade made with lemon juice and herbs, complemented with a simple mint sauce on top!

Crusted Rack of Lamb

Elegant, but easy-to-prepare dish, perfect for special occasions. The bread crumb contributes subtle crunchiness and captivates the juices!

If you prefer lighter and whiter meat variations, you will probably choose to prepare chicken.

Sunshine Chicken Roast

A perfect mix of colorful veggies and crisp chicken, perfect for outdoor feasting during warm days!

Rosemary Roasted Chicken

Juiciness from the lemon, freshness from the rosemary and beautiful aroma from the onion, blend in this moist and tender roast.

Easter Desserts

simnel cake

Here comes the part that kids love. Chocolate rabbits, chicks, and eggs became popular in the 19th century and remain so today, but instead going for candies from the Easter basket, treat your kids with amazing holiday desserts – cakes, pies, tarts, cookies and more! Any kind of dessert you decide to make can be easily turned into a festive delight with a few simple Easter-appropriate decorations. Here is a quick suggestion:

Make a frosting by microwaving 3oz. of broken milk chocolate for about a minute or so. In a bowl, beat together 5oz. of butter and 5oz. of powdered sugar, then add the melted chocolate. Spread on your dessert and decorate with chocolate eggs or Maltesers, chocolate bunnies, or colorful M&M’s. Arrange in small baskets for presentation.

Cakes

When it comes to cakes, Simnel cake is THE cake to make for Easter. It is a light fruit cake, made with layers of marzipan and almond paste at the top and in the middle, and eaten toasted during the Easter period in England and Ireland. The cake is usually decorated with 12 marzipan balls to symbolize the twelve apostles.

If you don’t feel like preparing a Simnel cake, here are two more easy suggestions:

Chocolate Marble Cake

Easy ring cake which combines two batters – chocolate and almond for an amazing marbled effect!

Classic Carrot Cake

Tender and moist cake filled with raisins and walnuts, and topped with cream cheese frosting.

easter cookies

Biscuits

Easter biscuits are a traditional Easter food gift in the UK, where it is given to guests on Easter Sunday. They are very simple to make from flour, baking powder, sugar, egg yolk, and butter. Use cookie molds to shape them into bunnies, chicks, eggs, or butterflies and decorate with a simple frosting divided into several batches and made colorful with the use of different food colorings.

Bonus: Chocolate Nest Cookies

Make a chocolate cookie dough, shape it into little nests and fill it with miniature colorful eggs.

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I believe that food should not only taste good, but make you feel good as well and that is why I am so interested in exploring ingredients, preparing meals, and finding ways to make the whole cooking experience fun and exciting! Being a blogger for MyGreatRecipes unites my two passions – food and writing, and I am enjoying every second of it!

Fun Easter Treats to Prepare with Your Kids

Fun Easter Treats to Prepare with Your Kids

Easter is just around the corner and we are sure you have already started planning the menu. But, an important question to think about is: does it include recipes that will stir your kids’ imagination? If you still haven’t found a way to include your kids in the Easter food preparations, have a look at this post and you will be able to pull the Easter Bunny out of the hat just in time for Sunday!

Easter Bunny Treats

When not busy helping your kids in the egg hunt, the Easter Bunny is nibbling carrots. So, why not prepare some delicious carrot-resembling treats to surprise him with? Your kids will enjoy helping around the kitchen and the fun for the whole family is guaranteed!

Strawberry Carrots

carrot-strawberries

Photo Credit: http://blog.gygi.com

To prepare these cute strawberry carrots you will need a pint of strawberries and a bag of orange candy melts. If you are planning on making lighter stripes to decorate them with, though, you will need an extra bag of lighter orange color melts.

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There is definitely no Easter treat easier to prepare than these. Wash the strawberries, place them on a paper towel to dry. In the meantime, place the melts in a pan on low heat and stir constantly for around 5 minutes with a rubber spatula. If you are not so keen on stirring, then the alternative would be placing the melts in a microwave safe bowl and melt the chocolate in 1-minute intervals, stirring (sorry you still have to stir from time to time) after each interval. Repeat this until the wafers are completely melted and make a smooth coating.

Once the strawberries have completely dried, and the chocolate is melted, you can let the fun begin! Get your kids around the table and start dipping the strawberries into the candy coating all the way to the top, then carefully place them on a parchment paper to dry. Once they have dried proceed to melt the lighter color chocolate melts. Get a squeeze bottle and pour the melted chocolate in. Drizzle the “carrots” with it.

Extra: Because we all know presentation counts, you can always go all the way and plate the “carrots” in a bowl filled with dirt. To prepare the dirt, get around 15 Oreo cookies and make sure you scrape the cream center out. Place them in a zipper bag and crush them with a rolling pin. Your kids will enjoy doing this, so let them!

Bunny Ears

bunny cupcakes

Photo Credit: http://www.twosisterscrafting.com                                                         

The bunny ears are becoming more and more popular these days. And no wonder! Creating them is as easy as ABC! Prepare the colorful and fun polka dot cupcakes and proceed to decorate them with cute bunny ears.

The easiest way to create the ears is slice a strawberry in two halves and place them on top of the cupcake’s frosting. If you are up for it, there is a slightly more complicated way to do this, but the results will be even more interesting! For this purpose, you will need jumbo marshmallows. Using your kitchen shears cut them in half on the diagonal, making sure the sticky center is visible. In separate bowls pour different colored sanding sugar and press each “ear” down into the bowl of sanding sugar with the sticky side. Be warned, though, there is a high chance your kids refuse to eat their own adorable creation! 🙂

Chic Chick Treats

Now that we’ve seen all the recipes inspired by the Easter bunny, it is time to give another cute animal a fair mention. The little chicks should definitely make their way on your Easter table, and here are some suggestions on how to do it in style!

Chick cupcakes

chick cupcake

Photo Credits: http://thesimple-sweetlife.com

Prepare these delicious Orange cupcakes, but leave the orange buttercream and orange zest out. Instead, prepare a yellow-ish creamy frosting and make the cutest chick cupcakes.

You will need:

1 cup of granulated sugar

2 egg whites

1 ½ teaspoons of cream of tartar

1 teaspoon of lemon juice

1/3 cup of water

½ teaspoon of extract (almond, lemon or vanilla)

Food coloring (Yellow Gel Paste)

This is a really simple frosting, made in only 10 minutes. What you have to do is just stir the sugar, water, and cream of tartar together in a saucepan over medium-high heat until the sugar is dissolved. In a mixing bowl, whip the egg whites and the extract until soft peaks are formed. Proceed to add the sugar mixture while constantly whipping. Whip for around 7 minutes, until stiff peaks form.

Using cream of tartar is of vital importance for this meringue-like frosting to hold its shape well. You can read all there is to know about cream of tartar here.

Now, off to the interesting part: assembling the cupcakes and turning them into cute little chicks! Pour the frosting into a piping bag. Let your kids handle the first layer of frosting since you will need to put another one on top for the chick’s head so any messy result can be covered J. For the chick’s head, pipe a dollop of the frosting on top of the first layer. You can use chocolate chips for the chick’s eyes, and use any leftover of the chocolate melts used for your carrot strawberries to create the beak and the feet. It is for the best if you first prepare these and let them harden on a baking sheet, and then start decorating the cupcakes with a pair of tweezers. (a friendly advice: always keep a pair of tweezers around the kitchen and use them solely for culinary purposes)

Chick Cookies

lemony chicks

Photo Credit: https://www.bbcgoodfood.com

You can also prepare the incredibly tasty lemon buttermilk cookies, and use a modified form of the strawberry meringue cookies recipe to make cute little puffy chicks. Before you start asking yourselves how in the world could strawberry cookies be used for a yellow figure, you should pay attention to the word “modified”. You will only have to add yellow food coloring instead of the red one and use lemon extract instead of the strawberry flavoring. A very important step and one that shouldn’t be omitted is that the piping tip should be round for the preparation of the chicks!

The best part about preparing these fun looking cookies is not the fact that they are easy to prepare, but that decorating them is a breeze! They don’t have to be perfect, it is where the beauty lies!

Note: Very useful tools that will surely come in handy whenever you are decorating, but especially for holidays like Christmas and Easter are the icing pen and the icing tube. You can buy them in literally any color you like, and the best part is their expiration date is two years after being made (regardless of when you’ve opened them).

Bunny and Chick Oreo pops

easter oreo pops

Photo Credit: http://www.itsalwaysautumn.com

Change these Valentine’s Day Oreo Pops to fit the Easter Story. You can make them in both bunny and chick shapes, by using white and yellow candy melt. To make the pops you should buy the pop sticks and dip each stick in the candy melt and wedge it inside the Oreo so that the pop sticks together. Get a bit of the chocolate melt and use it as a glue for the M&M eyes and nose. You can be creative and use whatever you please to decorate these. Say, the beak can be orange zest, the eyes can be chocolate chips, there are no constraints really! 🙂

Egg-cellent Easter Treats

It won’t be Easter if your table isn’t filled with colorful eggs, and of course, egg-shaped treats! Make it a true Easter feast with one of the following suggestions.

Colorful Deviled Eggs

Colorful Deviled Eggs

Photo Credit http://dalegann.com

To prepare the perfect deviled eggs you will first need to know how to prepare the perfect hard boiled eggs and to make them coolest deviled eggs anyone has seen, the egg whites should be colorful! You can either use food coloring or egg dye. Add a teaspoonful of cider vinegar in several bowls (wide enough to put at least three egg white halves). Only 3 drops of food coloring in each bowl would do. As soon as the eggs get a pretty pastel color, get them out of the bowl and drain them on a paper towel.

Now it is time for the delicious filling, and we have a little something that everyone will love! Get the egg yolks and prepare the filling. In a bowl place the egg yolks and mash them, add mayonnaise, pickle juice, sour cream, green onions, pimiento, salt and black pepper to and the secret ingredient that will leave everyone in awe- almonds! (slivered and toasted) Spoon or pipe equal portions of the mixture into the egg white halves. And garnish with red pepper powder.

Egg-shaped Savory Pancakes

eggs

Photo Credit: http://hungryhappenings.com

Spinach Potato Pancakes

These tasty savory pancakes would make a delicious Easter brunch. The instructions are pretty straight forward, so we won’t go into any particularities of the recipe itself. You will, however, need to pay attention to the frying part. You will have to use an egg-shaped cookie cutter to get the desired egg shape. Coat a large non-stick frying pan with vegetable oil and heat until it reaches 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray the cookie cutter well with cooking spray and using tongs place it in the pan. Pour a ¼ inch thick layer of the batter and fry until the pancake is browned on one side, lift the cookie cutter off (again using the tongs), flip as you usually would and cook until the other side gets golden brown as well. To get the most uniform results, make sure you clean the cookie cutter in between each pancake and re-spray with more cooking spray. A little dull task, but definitely worth the final outcome!

Now that you have your savory egg-shaped pancakes ready, it is time to DECORATE! Since the coloring part isn’t as straight forward as with the sweet pancakes (where you simply add a drop or two of food coloring into the batter), here’s what you can do: Buy powder, gel, or paste food coloring and color some sour cream. Get as many different squeeze bottles as the number of colors you would want to use and you are good to go! (you can even prepare these beforehand and refrigerate). Handle the squeeze bottles to your children and let the games begin J. You can make dots, stripes, zig-zag forms, whatever you please!

Note: Don’t be tempted to use liquid food coloring because it will result in a thin and runny sour cream.

Egg-shaped Sweet Pancakes

pancakes

Photo Credits: https://www.bettycrocker.com

Sour Cream Pancakes

You can either use the recipe above (which never fails to deliver scrumptious results) or, simply use your favorite pancake recipe instead. The key here is to distribute the batter into several bowls and add a few drops of food coloring (preferably gel coloring) in each one and whisk the batter until well blended.

As for the frying part, you can either go for the egg-shaped cookie cutter or omit it altogether. See, you can pour the colored batter into different squeeze bottles, and then use them to draw the pancakes directly on the griddle. The latter might be a better choice since you won’t be confined in terms of size and you can easily prepare small or large eggs, make them more colorful and of course, decorate their inside as you please! Feel free to use toppings such as strawberry slices, blueberries, grapes, chocolate chips, liquorice etc.

That’s all folks! (as Bugs Bunny would say) We hope we’ve inspired you to prepare something EGGSTRORDINARY!

 

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15+ Booze-Infused Desserts for St. Patrick’s Day 2018

15+ Booze-Infused Desserts for St. Patrick’s Day 2018

Get ready for the day when everyone is wearing silly green leprechaun hats and drinking heavily. The day when some moms will prepare snacks and desserts by adding green food coloring and over-the-top decorations like whipped cream, chocolate syrup, marshmallows, lucky charms, shamrock sprinkles and M&M’s. Others will take advantage of the opportunity to sneak some healthy ingredients into their kids’ meals by adding nutritious greens like spinach, zucchini, lime, kiwi, or avocado.

Some cooks, however, will use this holiday as an excuse to infuse their festive desserts with alcohol.

Booze and Desserts

Alcohol and desserts are great on their own, but when combined they produce incredibly indulgent desserts. However, there are two important questions on everyone’s mind – Will you get drunk if you eat too much boozed up cake and can your kids safely consume these treats?

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The answer is – it depends on the amount of alcohol you add to your recipe. Adding a maximum ¼ cup of booze is perfectly safe since most of the alcohol will evaporate during the cooking process due to the fact that it has a lower boiling point than water. As long as you serve this type of food on special occasions only, they are perfectly safe for the whole family (and sure to make the dads especially happy!)

If you need more convincing, here is another fun fact – booze makes your desserts healthier. Studies have shown that pairing certain foods with a glass of beer or wine helps lower ‘bad’ cholesterol levels, while at the same time increasing the ‘good’ cholesterol levels, thus reducing the risk for heart disease. The trick is to consume alcoholic beverages in moderation.

So, let’s celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with the best desserts infused with the Emerald Island’s favorite alcoholic beverages – Guinness beer, Baileys, whiskey, and cider.

Guinness Desserts

When talking about beer, Irish have Guinness in mind. The famous dry stout has been consumed since the 1700s both in Ireland and abroad. Its burnt flavor derived from roasted, unmalted barley and the characteristic flavor make this bubbly beverage perfect for incorporating into various desserts.

#1 Guinness Chocolate Cheesecake

If you have ever made the Guinness chocolate cake, you must know how well this frothy stout pairs with chocolate. So, how about taking things to the next level by using this combo in a cheesecake. The addition of the Guinness will change the texture of the cake, making it closer to a blend of soufflé and fudge. The final result is a moist, creamy, light and wiggly cake that melts in your mouth.

#2 Guinness Brownies

The full title of this recipe is Mile High Guinness Brownies with Guinness Buttercream Frosting, which should be enough to tell you that you are about to have brownies that are far from the ordinary. They are tall and airy (contribution of the beer bubbles), loaded with chocolate and twisted with Guinness. Moreover, they are topped with an incredible Guinness vanilla buttercream frosting and some more dark chocolate shavings!

#3 Guinness Chocolate Pudding

As you might have noticed, Guinness works best with chocolate in desserts. That is probably due to the fact that the beer flavor does not stand out at all; it rather emphasizes the chocolaty flavor. In addition to the amount added to the pudding itself, the recipe makes use of some more beer thickened into a syrup, mixed with some whipped cream and placed on top of the smooth and creamy chocolate base!

#4 Guinness Donuts

Even though Guinness seems to pair wonderfully with chocolate, that doesn’t mean you can’t use it for sweet treats that make use of other ingredients. These fluffed up donuts would be perfect as St. Patrick’s breakfast in bed along with a cup of warm coffee. The best part is the Irish Cream Glaze which adds up some extra decadence.

Baileys Desserts

b52 mouse

Credit: http://chocolatechocolateandmore.com/b52-mousse/

There is no alcoholic beverage that enriches desserts in the way the smooth and luscious Baileys Irish Cream does. The first creamy liqueur was produced in the 1970s and is well-loved for its traditional flavor, but also for the new flavors that are being introduced on a regular basis like mint chocolate, crème caramel, coffee, hazelnut, biscotti, vanilla-cinnamon, and pumpkin spice.

#5 B52 Mousse

The B52 mouse is inspired by the B52 cocktails and is made with Baileys Irish Cream, Kahlua, and Cointreau. The chocolate complements the flavors and colors that combine together to produce this soft, decadent dessert that looks absolutely seductive and tastes delicious. Warning: this mousse contains a ¼ cup of each liqueur so it might be wise to keep your kids away from it. The good news is there will be more for you!

#6 Irish Cream Tiramisu

Just as Guinness makes a great fusion with chocolate, Baileys does it with coffee. Layers of lady’s fingers soaked in espresso and covered in mascarpone cream cheese compose this incredibly easy treat; it will take you no more than 20 minutes to throw it together, but patience is required during the time it sits in the fridge (preferably overnight). It is totally worth it though!

#7 Baileys Ice Cream

The beauty of ice cream is that it can stand as a dessert by itself or serve as an ingredient or a topping in different recipes, like in this affogato, an easy and simple dessert made up of one or two scoops of ice cream and topped with some espresso or strong hot coffee. You can replace the Baileys liqueur with Bailey’s coffee creamers. This recipe uses the Mudslide coffee creamer but there are 14 more flavors you can choose from.

#8 Chocolate Hazelnut Baileys Cookie Bars

These seven-layer cookie bars are a real explosion of flavors but are ridiculously easy to make. The base is made of chocolate cookie crumbs (try Oreo cookies), mixed with some melted butter and followed by chocolate chips, caramels, and chopped hazelnuts. Moreover, there is a topping made of sweetened condensed milk and Baileys Irish Cream which contributes additional caramelly/hazelnutty flavor and chewy texture.

Irish Whiskey Desserts

st. patricks day recipes

Irish whiskey is a staple in many of our favorite St. Patrick’s Day cocktails, but have you considered adding it to desserts? One of the greatest Irish distillates will produce marvelous creations that will fill you up and make you slightly euphoric.

#9 Pumpkin Bread Pudding with Whiskey Cream Sauce

Sounds tempting, right? Puddings must have been created to save leftover quick-breads, whether regular bread, banana bread or, like in this case cinnamon swirl bread. The whiskey-flavored topping brings the flavors of the traditional pumpkin pie spice and the creaminess of the custard, whereas the pecans add crunchiness and a dose of healthiness. Ready in 10 minutes, devoured in seconds!

#10 Irish Soda Bread Scones with Salty Whiskey Butter

The simple traditional Irish soda bread is made spectacular with some whiskey-soaked raisins. The scones are a bit hard and crunchy on the outside, but soft on the inside, with interchanging flavors of sweetness and mild tanginess. The best part of this delight is the salty whiskey butter that goes on top of each and every scone.

#11 Whiskey Dark Chocolate Truffles

To make these incredibly simple tiny balls you need only five simple ingredients that are thrown together in just a few minutes. Bear in mind that they need to be chilled for at least two hours, but once they are completely chilled they are very quickly formed into balls (especially if you use a cookie scoop). The result is rich and decadent truffles with a whiskey kick at the end. Note: you can roll each truffle in cocoa powder, finely chopped nuts, and sprinkles or dip in some melted chocolate!

#12 Whiskey Peach Cobbler: Last Minute Dessert

Put this recipe on your list of must-have desserts for the upcoming summer! And on your list of last-minute desserts. And on your list of desserts that save leftover fruits. Sweet, juicy, aromatic peaches and smoky whiskey create a fusion to die for in this extra soft cake covered with caramel syrup that thickens and sticks around the edges. Heaven!

Cider Desserts

st. patricks day desserts

Cider is somewhere between beer and wine in taste and manner of preparation. Like beer, it is low in alcohol, but fermentation makes it closer to wine. The best type of ciders is the Irish Craft Ciders, which are handmade by using Irish grown apples and contain no artificial ingredients or additives.

If you have some forgotten cider in the fridge that is no longer fizzy enough to be drunk, put it to use in these amazing dessert recipes. They all go with both alcoholic and non-alcoholic cider versions or a mix of both.

#13 Sparkling Cider Bundt Cake

This cake is a basic Bundt cake but made with cider in the base. The cider bubbles, combined with the leavening agents and acidity from the vinegar, make it incredibly fluffy without affecting the dense texture. The simple syrup glaze and the sparkling icing produce a super-soft treat packed with sizzling cider flavors.

#14 Apple Cider Maple Pancakes

Some may argue that pancakes are more breakfast than a dessert, but I beg to differ. Pancakes are an incredibly flexible comfort food which allows you to add any desired ingredient both in the batter as well as on top of the stack. Think chocolate chips, whipped cream, peanut butter, vanilla ice-cream. If this is too much for you, try healthier options like Greek yogurt, pure maple syrup, nuts, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

#15 Mini Pumpkin Donuts with Cider-Rum Glaze

Rum is another type of booze that pairs perfectly with all sorts of sweet treats. These mini donuts have cider in the batter and rum-based glaze on top. Here is something to reduce the level of guilt just a bit – they are not fried but oven-baked, so feel free to indulge.

#16 Cider Cinnamon Rolls

There is no other combo like the one made with apples and cinnamon! Cider replaces milk in this recipe and it is doing an amazing job, pairing with the yeast to create a bubbly butter that rises twice as fast as usual.  Another ‘experimental’ addition here are the apple slices added to the batter, which come out just a bit softened but still retaining some of their crunchiness. Pour the frosting on top of the warm rolls and watch it drip along the sides!

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I believe that food should not only taste good, but make you feel good as well and that is why I am so interested in exploring ingredients, preparing meals, and finding ways to make the whole cooking experience fun and exciting! Being a blogger for MyGreatRecipes unites my two passions – food and writing, and I am enjoying every second of it!

Last Minute Holiday Cooking – 5 Sugar Cookies Recipes & Decoration Tips

Last Minute Holiday Cooking – 5 Sugar Cookies Recipes & Decoration Tips

Sugar cookies are one of the first recipes that come to mind when compiling holiday menus. The reason is they are easy to make, delicious, soft, flavorful, perfect for shaping into festive symbols, and ideal for decorating. No wonder these cuties are loved by kids and grown-ups alike.

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From a cook’s/thrifty housewife’s perspective, sugar cookies have a few more important upsides:

  • the dough can be easily doubled without affecting the final result
  • the cookies can be made crispier by prolonging the baking time just a bit to satisfy all tastes in the family;
  • baked sugar cookies freeze well.

From a mom’s perspective, these cookies are great for including the kids who are enthusiastic to help in the kitchen.

We’ve got some amazing sugar cookies recipes to make last minute holiday preparations easier for you. But before we get to them, let’s go through some essential tips and tricks that will facilitate the process even more.

  • Don’t be afraid to add more butter than the recipe calls for to make the cookies incredibly soft. If you have run out of butter, cream cheese will do the trick;
  • To chill or not to chill? You can skip the chilling only if the recipe explicitly specifies that or if you don’t really care if the sugar cookie shapes look ok. Chilling makes the dough easy to work with and helps the cookies keep their shape during baking.

sugar cookies

The Best Sugar cookies recipes to Make During the Holidays

Whole-Wheat Sugar Cookies

Whole-wheat flour adds a slightly nutty flavor and wholesome texture to this traditional sugar cookies recipe. To add a nutty crunch, stir 1/4 cup chopped pecans or almonds into the cookie dough.

Brown Sugar Cookies

The simplest cookies are often the best! These heavenly bites of brown sugar, butter, vanilla, and nuts just melt in your mouth. The nuts need to be finely chopped for this recipe – finer than are typically found in chopped nut packages in the market. You can chop them further in a food processor—just be careful to process in short bursts until they’re finely chopped—not ground into a paste.

sugar cookies

Drop Sugar Cookies

Decorated sugar cookies don’t always have to be rolled and cut out; this simple drop recipe yields quick—yet still delicious—results. Make your own colored sugar to match any theme. Just place a few tbsp. granulated sugar in a container with a tight-fitting lid, add a drop or two of food coloring and shake until the color is evenly distributed.

Iced Sugar Cookies

Prepare the sprinkles and food coloring! These simple treats are perfect for the holidays but also to add color to any regular rainy day. Children will love helping to cut out and decorate their own special cookies but also devour them afterward.

Macadamia Sugar Cookies

These generously-sized sugar cookies have rich macadamia nuts in every bite. So simple to make—just mix, scoop and bake! Put your taste buds on cloud nine by adding white chocolate to these already heavenly cookies. Just substitute ½ cup coarsely chopped white baking chocolate or white chocolate chips for half of the macadamia nuts.

sugar cookies

Decorating Sugar Cookies

When it comes to decorating, it all comes down to skills and patience but you can hardly go wrong with sugar cookies. These cookies are great with a simple buttercream frosting or chocolate ganache spread on top, or between two cookies. If you are skillful enough, you can glaze each cookie with a thin layer of icing, mix colors, and draw. The best tools to pull this off are squeeze bottles and piping bags.

For a super-quick decoration, fill a small plastic bag half full with melted semisweet chocolate chips. Make a small diagonal cut in the bottom corner of the bag and squeeze out the chocolate into various designs and patterns onto the cooled cookies.

If you decide to go with classic royal icing, here is a step-by-step instruction:

To make it easier on yourself, choose a recipe that calls for only the basic ingredients

3-4 cups Powdered Sugar

2 Egg whites

  • Start by beating the egg whites with an electric mixer until foamy.
  • Then, gradually add the powdered sugar (3-4 cups).

sugar cookies

Extra flavor can be added with vanilla extract (2 tsp.), which is a common choice. Other options include almond extract or lemon juice. If using extracts, make sure they are colorless to keep the icing white.

Once the icing is smooth and thick enough, place it in a zip-lock bag for storing or use immediately.

For the buttercream frosting fans, we chose a chocolate-flavored buttercream because why not? ‘Tis the season to go wild with food!

1 cup chocolate chips, melted

1 cup butter, softened

2 cups powdered sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

The best type of chocolate chips to use for buttercream isn’t regular milk chocolate we all like to devour, but semisweet or bittersweet. When mixed with the other ingredients, these types of chocolate will lighten up not just in color but also in taste, keeping the rich chocolate flavor at the same time.

sugar cookies

The quality of the chocolate you use is also of great importance. High-quality chocolate chips tend to melt well and produce a smooth, even & velvety final result. Make sure the melted chocolate chips are cooled before adding them to the buttercream mixture.

Whip the butter in a large bowl with an electric mixer on a medium speed until light and fluffy, (for about 3 minutes). Add the powdered sugar and keep mixing until the mixture is homogenous and creamy. Then, add the vanilla followed by the cooled melted chocolate and whip the frosting on medium speed fluffy and creamy, for about 4 minutes.

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Note: If refrigerating this buttercream, let it achieve room temperature before whipping it with an electric mixer about a minute or so.

Note 2: If the butter you use is unsalted, add just a pinch of salt with the powdered sugar.

Happy New Year!

 

I’m in love with food and everything about food! Blogging is my way of celebrating that love and MyGreatRecipes made it all happen. If you, too, are into great food and interesting reads, you will enjoy reading my posts!

15 Chicken Breast Recipes You Need to Try

15 Chicken Breast Recipes You Need to Try

Whether you’re cooking for two or planning a Christmas dinner for family and friends, chicken breast recipes make a great option to satisfy everyone’s taste. They produce tasty, satisfying meals without falling into a boring recipe route.

Chicken breast recipes are not only incredibly easy to make but are also low in calories and quite healthy (please make sure the meat you’re buying is free of hormones and non-GMO). Moreover, chicken breasts are extremely versatile – you can simply bread and cook them or combine with a plethora of herbs & spices and include them in salads, stews, pies, curries, stir fries, fajitas, pizzas and more!

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No wonder chicken breast recipes are so well-loved. The 2017 Google food report puts them on top of their list of most searched recipes!

chicken breasts

Homestyle Chicken Pot Pie

Need a budget-friendly recipe as a simple solution for a family gathering? The classic pot pie is re-invented by tucking tender chicken breasts and mixed veggies into a flaky pie crust. The result? A spectacular savory pie that is sure to amaze your relatives!

Baked Chicken Parmesan

Italian cuisine lovers an also enjoy chicken breast recipes. Baked Chicken Parmesan is an Italian classic recipe – tender chicken breasts coated with breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese—all topped with tangy tomato sauce and mozzarella. Baking the cutlet instead of frying not only gives a light twist but also makes the dish even healthier without compromising the flavor and moistness. This dish is kid friendly and pairs especially well with pasta or fresh salads.

Garden Chicken Pizza

Refrigerated pizza dough makes fresh, homemade white pizza, with tender pieces of chicken, a quick supper option. Note: If you are skilled and patient enough, you can make the dough yourself using a bread machine but feel free to use refrigerated pizza dough if you prefer! Also, if by any chance you make more sauce than you need, pour it into an airtight container and store in the fridge for up to two weeks.

chicken breasts

Creamy Tarragon Chicken

This chicken breast recipe requires pan-frying the meat with tarragon, and combining it with a smooth, velvety sauce made with chicken broth, some white wine, and heavy cream – a simple recipe for the whole family. It pairs especially well with pasta, salad, and rice for a quick and easy weeknight supper.

Note: To keep the chicken warm in Step 4, cover with aluminum foil. This also seals in the moisture of the chicken. This recipe can also be made with chicken thighs and you can replace the heavy cream with half-fat crème fraîche to make it lighter.

Quick Chicken Fajitas

For a casual weeknight get-together, make these quick & sizzling fajitas – chicken breasts, onion, and peppers are cut into even pieces so they cook quickly and evenly to produce a delicious filling. Instead of sour cream, offer guacamole or salsa as toppings options for a more authentic experience.

Note: the recipe can be varied with the addition of shredded cabbage, toasted pumpkin seeds and queso fresco crumbles plus a simple dressing made with olive oil and lime juice.

Chicken Stroganoff

Classic stroganoff gets a makeover with the use of chicken breasts! Tender meat coated in a creamy mushroom sauce, thickened with sour cream, for a classic dish that’s packed with flavor. For beef stroganoff, replace the chicken with flank steak cut into 1/4-inch strips in Step 1. Use beef broth instead of chicken broth in Step 2. We love this dish because it is done in about half an hour. Serve it with rice or pasta!

chicken breasts

Stir-Fried Chicken

Bite-size chicken pieces and crisp vegetables in a tasty sauce combine for a delicious and nutritious take on “fast” food. Chop the vegetables to the same size to ensure even cooking and have them on hand in the order they will be cooked. For the best results, heat the wok or frying pan before adding the oil.

Maple Chicken

Juicy chicken breasts rubbed with a blend of aromatic spices and coated in a spicy-sweet glaze are the perfect weekday meal. For a different taste, omit the tarragon in Step 2 and replace the maple syrup with sweet chili sauce in Step 3.

Chicken and Potato Salad

A chunky mix of new potato slices and golden chicken tossed with a mustard dressing—a hearty alternative to plain old potato salad! For a more Asian flavor, try adding peeled and grated gingerroot to the dressing in Step 2. Replace the chicken with turkey.

Peanut Chicken with Rice

This chicken feast combines the sweetness of peanut butter with rice, peanuts, and crunchy raw vegetables. For an equally crunchy texture but slightly different flavor, replace the roasted peanuts with 1/4 cup cashews.

Chicken Bacon Bundles

Lock in the full flavor of succulent chicken with a savory filling of herbed cheese and basil, all wrapped in smoky bacon. If you prefer a milder cheese, use mozzarella instead. Grate over the top of the chicken about 10 minutes before the end of the cooking time in Step 3.

chicken breasts

Hawaiian Chicken

If you want to be transported to a sandy beach in the middle of winter, this dish is just for you! Red onion, red and green bell pepper, pineapple and tender chicken all sizzle in a garlic-enhanced sweet-and-sour sauce. For added flavor and flair, stir in 1 tsp. sesame seeds just before serving.

Bruschetta Chicken

A delicious new way to serve grilled chicken—nestled on grilled Italian bread and topped with fresh tomatoes, garlic, basil, and Parmesan. Try this tasty variation: After placing the chicken on the bread slices, top each chicken breast with a slice of mozzarella cheese. Broil just until cheese is melting, then top with the tomato mixture.

Margarita Chicken

A margarita marinade—perfect for summertime. Dance on down to the beach and fire up the grill for a party. Fresh lime juice is best with this recipe. Why not buy a few extra limes and make limeade? Just mix the juice from /3 cup sugar and about 2 quarts of water in a tall pitcher. Chill and enjoy!

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Easy Chicken Wellington

Treat your guests to these tempting puff pastries filled with juicy chicken breasts, spinach, and mushrooms. To add a little zing to this chicken breast recipe, spread 1 tsp. Dijon-style mustard on the chicken before wrapping.

Do you have a favorite chicken breast recipe? Let us know in the comments below!

 

 

 

 

I’m in love with food and everything about food! Blogging is my way of celebrating that love and MyGreatRecipes made it all happen. If you, too, are into great food and interesting reads, you will enjoy reading my posts!

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