Fast approaching is December 12, National Cocoa Day, which I will happily celebrate with a fitting cup of hot cocoa! If you want to celebrate this delicious day with more than a delicious hot cup of chocolate milk, you could try this Slow Cooker Cinnamon Hot Chocolate or bake this Chocolate Café au Lait Coffee Cake!
The holidays have also arrived rather quickly this year. The festive season might mean you’re spending more time in the kitchen- both cooking and/or baking. I love spending time in the kitchen, and have my favourite holiday recipes ready to go: Nanaimo Bars, the recipe below for Peanut Butter Chocolate Fudge and Chewy Ginger Snaps. The common denominators in my top choices are two ingredients: cocoa (chocolate) and butter!
Baking with butter
The demand for butter this time of year usually jumps, since most of us are baking more than usual. Butter makes baking, especially pastries, nice and tender. Butter also has a nice melting quality whereas ingredients such as shortenings or lard might leave a film or coating in your mouth.
What is the difference between salted vs. unsalted butter?
Both types of butter are made with same high quality milk we know and love here in Canada, the only difference is that one has some added salt.
Salt extends the shelf life of your butter since it acts as a natural preservative. If you’re going to keep a small amount of butter on the counter so that it’s nice and soft for your morning toast, salted butter is also recommended- because it won’t go bad as quickly as unsalted butter. Another advantage of salted butter is that the salt can help to mask any flavours the butter might have absorbed from your fridge such as those from strong-smelling onions or leftovers.
Unsalted butter is great for recipes where you want to tightly control the flavouring. Many chefs will use unsalted butter in their cooking and baking because it gives them complete control over the final outcome. In Canada, “butter” listed in a recipe generally means salted butter, unless it is specifically noted for unsalted. Using unsalted butter when a recipe is intended to have salted will not be the end of the world, you just might need to add an extra dash or pinch of salt to balance out your flavouring.
Peanut butter chocolate fudge was such a hit in the office that someone had to stand guard so that I could get a photo, before it all disappeared! What is your favourite recipe that never seems to last?