Homemade Amaretto Liqueur


3 cups sugar

2 cups water

1 Lemon, peel only

6 tablespoons almond extract

1 tablespoon chocolate extract

3 cups vodka

1/2 cup bourbon

2 tablespoons vanilla


In large pot, add sugar, water and lemon peel. Bring to a boil and simmer 20 minutes. Remove from heat; add almond, vanilla and chocolate extracts. Remove lemon peel and add vodka.

Praline liqueur: Use same recipe except substitute maple flavoring for almond.

Mix all ingredients, let stand at room temperature 2 weeks.

This will produce 9 cups.



Liquers for Cooking

Italy was the birthplace of this almond liqueur. A famous macaroon-type cookie is made using amaretto. It is also used to flavor a popular cheesecake.

Creme de Cassis
Made with black currants, this sweet liqueur blends well in chocolate recipes. It also is used often with fruit.

Another Italian beverage, frangelico gets its flavor from hazelnuts. It can be found in cheesecake and mousse recipes.

Grand Marnier
This classic is a mixture of brandy and orange. It is used in souffles, crepes, mousses, and desserts. Duck also pairs well with the rich orange flavor.

This coffee-flavored drink from Mexico is also used extensively in baking. Many Tiramisu recipes employ it.

(sha-nath) Made from premium vanilla beans, organically grown (certification pending) in the rainforest of Veracruz.  Because the vanilla is native to this exotic region, it is rainforest friendly and completely agriculturally sustainable.  Xanath is crafted from a secret recipe by the Gaya family, processors and purveyors of vanilla and vanilla products since the 1870s.




Clarified Butter

As a fat used for cooking, butter provides a unique flavor and aroma to many dishes. The problem with butter is that before you get to its smoke point, the milk solids have gone past browning to burning. Removing the milk solids and impurities allows us to retain much of the flavor of butter while being able to cook at higher temperatures. Butter without milk solids is called clarified butter or drawn butter (although some restaurants serve just melted butter as drawn butter). The process (clarifying butter) is quite simple.

Clarifying butter is as simple as melting butter and letting the milk solids settle or rise out of the fat. Care should be taken not to burn the butter while heating it, so use a heavy pan that doesn't have any hotspots. When using salted butter, it is difficult to guess how much salt will remain in the clarified butter. A lot of the salt can be found in the milk solids as it settles or foams up, but the exact amount will be different every time. Use unsalted butter to remove any uncertainty (you can add salt to the clarified butter later to achieve the desired saltiness).

To make approximately 3/4 cup of clarified butter, melt one cup (225 g) of butter in a small saucepan (1 quart)  over low heat. With a good saucepan, you can just leave it there over low heat while doing something else and the butter will slowly melt. Turning up the heat will melt the butter faster, but the milk solids may begin to burn, so, resist the temptation. Instead, you can cut up the butter into pieces to speed up melting. Also, if you don't have a small saucepan, it may be best to use more butter. Too little butter in a large diameter pan will make it difficult to separate the solids from the fat later.




Dairy Products  


Dairy Products Evaporated milk and sweetened condensed milk are not the same, so don't be tempted to substitute one for the other after accidentally picking up the wrong can at the grocery store. Sweetened condensed milk is mixed with a sweetener.

If you find your self in a pinch this mix will do: 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons powered milk, ¾ cup granulated sugar and ½ cup warm water.

Buttermilk also known as cultured milk and can be replaced by sour milk. Take one tablespoon vinegar or lemon juice, place in a measuring cup and fill with enough milk to make one cup. Do not stir, let stand for five minutes before using.

Minimum milk fat content by weight for creams:

Clotted Cream 55% Double Cream 48% Heavy Cream 36% Whipping Cream 30-35% Whipped Cream 18-35% Single Cream 18% Light Cream 18% Half Cream 12%

 For healthier foods, use lower fat milk products, you reduce fat, calories, and cholesterol.

Use reduced fat sour cream, low fat or nonfat yogurt, or cottage cheese instead of regular sour cream in sauces and dips. Skim milk can replace whole milk in most recipes.

Evaporated milk can substitute for whipping cream, and evaporated skim milk can replace regular evaporated milk in some recipes. Instead of sour cream try light or mock sour cream (recipe follows)

Mock Sour Cream 1 cup low-fat cottage cheese* 2 tablespoons skim milk 1 tablespoon lemon juice Combine all ingredients using blender or food processor. Yield: about 1 cup *Has 14 calories and 0 fat grams per tablespoon as opposed to 26 calories and 2.5 fat grams in a tablespoon of regular sour cream.

Instead of 2 whole eggs try 1 whole egg plus 4 egg whites Instead of 2 egg whites try homemade egg substitute (recipe follows) Homemade Egg Substitute":


Because this recipe contains raw eggs, do not use it in uncooked products such as eggnog and ice cream.

1/4 cup nonfat dry milk powder 6 egg whites 1 teaspoon vegetable oil Combine all ingredients using a blender or electric mixer until smooth. Store in covered container in refrigerator for up to 2 days. Or freeze in 1/4 cup portions. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.

Yield: 1 cup;

 1/4 cup is equivalent to 1 egg.


Instead of whole milk try 2% or skim milk istead of cream try evaporated or evaporated skim milk

Instead of cream cheese try light cream cheese or Neufchatel Instead of whipped cream try homemade non-fat whipped topping (recipe follows) No-Fat Whipped Topping 1 tablespoon unflavored gelatin 2 tablespoons boiling water 1/2 cup nonfat dry milk powder 1/3 cup ice water 2 tablespoons lemon juice 3 tablespoons sugar 1 teaspoon vanilla Dissolve gelatin in boiling water. In a thoroughly chilled small bowl, beat milk and ice water. Beat in lemon juice. Add sugar and vanilla and beat to soft peaks. Add gelatin mixture and beat. Yield: about 1 1/2 cups. Calories: 12 per tablespoon

 Instead of cottage cheese try non-fat ricotta cheese Instead of mayonnaise try half light mayonnaise and half non-fat yogurt When using a regular (not light or microwave) brownie or cake mix you can substitute 1/2 cup plain nonfat yogurt for the 2 eggs and 1/2 cup oil.

 Cornstarch and cornflour are the same product. If you don't have cornstarch you can use double the amount of flour but it must be boiled for a while or it will taste starchy.

Potato flour is not a flour it is a starch and another equivalent to cornstarch.

Arrowroot is also and equivalent of cornstarch but it works at a lower temperature.

 Cornmeal and polenta can be equivalent but polenta can also be finished product similar to mush (cooked cornmeal that conglomerates to a moist loaf texture).

For healthier foods, substitute whole grain and bran flours.

Whole wheat flour can replace from one-fourth to one-half of all-purpose flour. Example: If a recipe has 3 cups all-purpose flour, use 1½ cups whole wheat flour and 1½ cups all-purpose flour.

Oat bran or oatmeal (ground to flour consistency in a food processor or blender) can replace up to one-fourth of all-purpose flour. Example: If a recipe has 3 cups all-purpose flour, use 3/4 cup oat bran or ground oatmeal and 2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour.

Bran cereal flour is made by grinding a ready-to-eat cereal such as Bran Buds or 100% Bran in a blender or food processor for 60 to 90 seconds. It can replace up to one-fourth of the all-purpose flour. Example: If a recipe calls for 2 cups all-purpose flour, use 1/2 cup bran flour and 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour.

Superfine sugar is very similar to caster/castor sugar.

 Granulated sugar can be substituted for caster sugar but it is coarser than caster and does not alway give the desired results.

 Corn syrup is not common outside the US and sugar (golden) syrup can be substituted. If you are in desperate need of corn syrup you can substitute 2 parts sugar to 1 part water and boil to a syrupy texture.

 Black Treacle and molasses are similar but there is a subtle difference in taste. For healthier foods, reduce sugar by one-third. Example: If a recipe says 1 cup, use 2/3 cup. This works best in canned and frozen fruits and in making puddings and custards. In cookies and cakes try using 1/2 cup sugar per cup of flour. For quick breads and muffins, use 1 tablespoon sugar per cup of flour. To enhance the flavor when reducing sugar, add vanilla, cinnamon, or nutmeg.

 For healthier foods, omit salt or reduce by one-half. Example: If a recipe says 1/2 teaspoon, use 1/4 teaspoon. This may be more acceptable if you gradually reduce the amount each time you make the recipe. Herbs, spices, or salt-free seasoning mixes can enhance flavor. Do not eliminate salt from yeast bread or rolls. It is essential for flavor and proper texture. 

 Shortening is a solid white fat made from hydrogenated vegetable oil. Sometimes known as Crisco™ which is a brand name of shortening. Butter or margarine can be substituted for shortening but your end product will have a more buttery flavor. There is also a butter flavor Crisco™.

Copha is a solid fat the is derived from the coconut. It is used primarily in recipes where it is melted and combined with other ingredients and left to set. Health Notice this product is full of Saturated fat and should be avoided where possible. Lard is rendered animal fat and can be successfully substituted in some recipes for shortening.

When deep frying remember that some oils are not as heat tolerant as others. Olive oil, butter, margarine and lard have a low heat tolerance and should not be used for deep frying.

Corn, vegetable, canola and peanut oils all have a high heat tolerance and work well. For healthier foods, reduce fat by one-third. Example: If a recipe calls for 1/2 cup use 1/3 cup. This works best in gravies, sauces, puddings, and some cookies. For cakes and quick breads, use 2 tablespoons fat per cup of flour. All fats and oils are high in calories and provide lots of flavor but you can make a healthier choice by choosing those with less saturated fat.

Canola, safflower, sunflower, corn, peanut, olive and soybean oil, contain the lowest amount of saturated fat (6%-15%). Coconut oil, butter, palm oil, animal fat and lard contain the most (41-54%). Instead of butter try a 60/40 butter blend or reduced calorie margarine.

 Unsweetened baking chocolate can be replaced with three tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder and one tablespoon of oil (olive oil would not work here) for each one ounce square.

Dark chocolate is the same as plain chocolate. Dark chocolate is sometimes known as semi-sweet chocolate.

Sweet dark, semi-sweet and bittersweet chocolate are sometimes differentiated by some makers but seem to be very similar. Milk chocolate is the same in the US and outside the US.

Chocolate chips are not an alternative for bar chocolates because a chemical has been added to the chips to slow down melting. Instead of 1 ounce baking chocolate try 3 tablespoons powdered cocoa plus 1 tablespoon cooking oil

Top casseroles with crushed bran cereal* instead of Chinese noodles, canned onion rings or croutons. Use crushed bran cereal instead of bread crumbs for coating chicken and fish.

Use a mixture of half chocolate chips and half raisins for chocolate chips in cookie and bar cookie recipes.

Substitute brown rice for white in soups and casseroles. Try barley or wheat kernels instead of white rice in stir fry and side dishes. Try All Bran, Bran Buds, 100% Bran, Fiber One. Raw bran is less expensive but some people object to the texture and note a metallic flavor.

 Fat separates the flour or starch granules in sauces and gravies preventing lumpiness. Fat also enhances flavor. To make no-fat, smooth sauces and gravies, blend cornstarch or flour with cold liquid. Add herbs or bouillon granules to heighten flavor.