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First Bite: District Fresh Kitchen + Bar
By: | Posted: 12/14/2011
Gosh, the whole world is agog with bitters. Who can blame them? What's not to love about a super concentrated flavor boost that can be dispensed with an eye dropper. And to boot, we have national darling Bittercube in our very own backyard. But it doesn't have to be all about drinks, chums.
Inspiration, thy name is Joy. The other weekend, food blogger Joy Summers of Eating the Minneapple showed up with some killah shortbread cookies that she had amped with a little Bolivar bitters. Giddyup. The flavor enhancement is so subtle, but gives just the right edge of spice to the buttery match-up of those cookies.
Suddenly, I can't seem to think of a cookie that wouldn't benefit from a little zhooszh of Bittercube.
I made my annual batch of bourbon balls and added about 8 drops of Blackstrap bitters. There's a clove sarsaparilla thing going on there. Those babies are still curing, but a lift of the lid on the cookie tin is a now headier experience.
This weekend I'm working on the ubiquitous peanut blossoms, so I'm guessing they'll get hit with Jamaican #1 and all of it's gingery allspice notes.
For the school-room swap, I ended up riffing on the meringues on the cover of BA. I skipped the peppermint flavoring and instead doused the mix with Cherry Bark Vanilla which has a captivating fruity aroma laced with bitter almonds and cocoa. I also dipped their bases in melted dark chocolate, which seemed like the right thing to do.
Cherry Bark Meringues
Adapted from Bon Appetit
3 lg. egg whites
pinch kosher salt
1/3 c. sugar
1/2 c. powdered sugar
12 drops Cherry Bark Vanilla bitters
8-12 drops food coloring (red or green swirl maybe!)
3/4 cup dark chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 200. With electric mixer, whip egg whites and salt on med-high speed for about 1 minute until foamy. While mixer is on, slowly add half of sugar, continue beating for 2 minutes. Add the rest of suger and continue beating for 4 more minutes or until you can pull firm peaks. Add powdered sugar and bitters, beating just until blended.
Drop coloring over surface of mix and spoon into a pastry bag or gallon plastic bag (from which you will cut the tip of one corner to pipe). Pipe mounds (not swirls or you'll have a hole in the middle) onto parchment paper lined sheets. Leave about on inch in between, they won't be spreading.
Place sheets in oven for 2 1/2 hours. Meanwhile, melt chocolate bits (microwave: set to half power, do 30 second intervals, stirring in between). Let meringues cool and set for about an hour, then dip bottom fourth in melted chocolate, place back on parchment and let set.
Stephanie March is Mpls.St.Paul Magazine’s food and dining editor. See bio
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