Holiday Cookies: Gluten-Free Chocolate Meringues

By Kim Laidlaw & Wendy Goodfriend | December 13, 2015

Gluten-Free Chocolate Meringues (Wendy Goodfriend)

Looking for a gluten-free cookie option this holiday? Trying to find a way to use up some of those extra egg whites you have? Or do you just love a good meringue?

Light and airy, crispy-chewy, and with two kinds of chocolate—both cocoa and finely chopped bittersweet chocolate—no one will think these cookies are any less extraordinary than their floury friends.

These easy-to-make meringues come together in a snap. Warming the egg whites helps dissolve the sugar, and warm whites actually whip up more fully than cold whites. Be sure to beat the egg white mixture until you get stiff peaks but the mixture remains glossy (over-whipping will result in a dry meringue).

And as with anything involving chocolate, choose a good-quality dark cocoa powder and your favorite bittersweet (or even semi-sweet) chocolate for the best results.

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Source: Holiday Cookies: Gluten-Free Chocolate Meringues | Christmas Recipes | Bay Area Bites | KQED Food

The recipe for making chocolatey gifts | Baking the seasons 

By Claire Ptak | December 12, 2015

Work away from any drafts so that the chocolate does not set prematurely. Photograph: Kristin Perers for the Guardian

In recent years many bean‑to-bar chocolate manufacturers have come to market making beautiful chocolates with even more beautiful packaging. It’s fun to just buy a selection of bars and tear them open at the table after dinner, tasting and chatting about the nuance of flavour with your dinner mates. That’s my kind of fun anyway.

This year, I opted to make my own selection of chocolates for the Christmas table and extra to give out to friends. One I call chocolate bark, because it has a rough-hewn texture, but it’s really like a giant chocolate bar that you can break into shards, so you don’t have to worry about fussy moulds and tempering. I love the combination of chocolate and rye with added sea salt. (you may have tried my chocolate rye brownie at the bakery, or made it from the recipe in the book). By toasting stale rye breadcrumbs, you get a crunch in the middle of these chocolate pieces that is completely addictive.

Always start with good quality chocolate, as it is the star in both these recipes. For the Earl Grey truffles, I have chosen one of my favourite combinations for a ganache-based truffle, but the truth is you could steep almost anything in cream to make your own bespoke treats.

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Source: The recipe for making chocolatey gifts | Baking the seasons | Life and style | The Guardian

The Simplest Health Habit You Should Start Today | CBN.com (beta)

By Lorie Johnson | December 11, 2015

Not many substances are as widely studied as tea. Now, the verdict is in. The bottom line: if you’re not drinking tea on a regular basis, it might be a habit worth starting.

That’s because when it comes to your health, tea packs a powerful punch. Combined studies examining literally hundreds of thousands of tea drinkers led a vast array of scientists to conclude that a consistent dose of tea is  good for the body.

Most of the research was conducted in Asian countries, on people drinking hot, green tea. The amount mattered. Usually people only experienced health benefits if they drank at least three cups a day.

Dr. Patrick Fratellone is a cardiologist who practices integrative medicine New York City. He advises his patients to make tea a part of their daily life.

“The active component in green tea is EGCG,” he explained. “And that’s a polyphenol that helps reduce cholesterol, heart disease, and protects against cancer.”

Green Tea Guidelines

Green tea comes from the camellia sinensis plant, as do black and white teas. Green tea contains the most EGCG. But with so many types of green tea on the market, it can be difficult to choose which is best.

Fratellone shares some guidelines.

“I like organic tea because you want to make sure it’s grown in an area free of metal in the soil, so you don’t want to have lead, cadmium, mercury, any bad, toxic elements,” he explained.

“If it’s in a bag, you don’t want a bag that has a staple on it, sometimes that can get in the tea,” he continued. “But I’d rather have loose. And sometimes I don’t even strain it. I leave it in there and eat the leaves.”

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Source: The Simplest Health Habit You Should Start Today | CBN.com (beta)

Empire Brewing Co. in Syracuse launches second ‘tea beer’ venture with China | syracuse.com

By Don Cazentre | December 8, 2015

SYRACUSE, NY — Empire Brewing Co,. today announced its second collaboration with a Chinese company to make a beer using traditional Asian tea ingredients.

empireherbs.JPG Brewing up Kuding-Ta IPA at Empire Brewing Co. in Syracuse: Ingredients include the bitter herb kuding (on plate at top), and New York-grown Chinook hops, bottom. The glass holds an infusion of the herb to be used in brewing the beer, a collaboration between between Empire and Panda Brew of China. (Don Cazentre)

The new beer — Kuding-Ta IPA — is flavored with the bitter kuding herb, the leaf of the Chinese holly plant, plus New York-grown Chinook hops.

It’s part of plan to grow the Empire Brewing Co., which operates an Armory Square brewpub and is currently building one of New York’s largest craft breweries off Route 13 in Cazenovia.

The goal is to expand Empire’s brand identity beyond the Empire State — and into the world’s largest economic market.

In Central New York, Kuding-Ta IPA will available in about two weeks on tap at Empire’s Armory Square brewpub, 120 Walton St. At the same time, a Chinese-made version will debut in the brewpubs operated by Panda Brew of Beijing.

The beer will then be made by Panda Brew in China. The company has 4 brewpubs and sells packaged beer in 40 Chinese cities.

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Source: Empire Brewing Co. in Syracuse launches second ‘tea beer’ venture with China | syracuse.com

Goldfish tea bags will catch your heart, hook, line and sinker

By Sarah Spigelman Richter | December 8, 2015

You can relax — that’s not a fish swimming in your teacup. It’s just a tea bag designed to look like one.

The newest craze to hit the tea world is goldfish tea bags. The bags are shaped like fish, and when you pull the string that is attached, it looks like the fish is swimming.

Charm Villa, a Taipei-based creative agency, started the production of these fish-shaped tea bags in 2013. The bags are now available to enjoy in America. Customers can purchase themonline for as much as $20 per bag, though they reportedly sell $35 per pack of 12 in Taiwan.

The tea, which is sourced from Taiwan, comes in four flavors including three varieties of oolong tea and a black tea.

A Charm Villa representative tells Eater the teabags, designed by 28 university students, are made from Japanese fabric. Of the 16 steps that go into making a single bag, “Nine of those require manual, handicraft skill.”

The bag itself won the iF Design Award 2015 for Discipline Packaging and the Red Dot Communication Design Award in 2014 for its ingenious design.

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Source: Goldfish tea bags will catch your heart, hook, line and sinker