Sunday, July 15, 2018

Coffee Shortbread with Mocha Glaze - Neilsen-Massey Syrup

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Disclaimer: I received a free sample of the pure coffee extract

I know dessert week ended yesterday, but I couldn't help but send y'all one more sweet recipe! This one takes its inspiration from the following extract I received:

 Coffee! I always struggle with how to flavor a treat with coffee--the liquid ratio always seems off to me. That's why this concentrated extract is perfect! Simply sub in for the vanilla or whatever else you're using for a nice kick of coffee flavor.

I've used and loved Neilsen-Massey syrups for YEARS. They're high quality and highly flavored, with a great variety to choose from. I adore my vanilla bean paste and all five or so flavors I keep on hand at all times (vanilla, lemon, rose water, orange, and now coffee!).

I decided a buttery, lightly sweet cookie would be perfect. Topped with a mocha glaze to amp up that coffee flavor. I devoured these with a cup of coffee from my recent trip to Costa Rica--post coming soon!


Coffee Shortbread with Mocha Glaze
For the shortbread
2 sticks butter, softened to room temp
1 cup powdered sugar
2 tsp coffee extract
2 cups flour

For the icing
1 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup brewed coffe
1 tbsp cocoa

-Preheat your oven to 300 degrees F. Grease two 9 inch cake pans with butter.

-In a stand mixer, mix together the ingredients for the shortbread until a thick dough forms.

-Divide dough in half and press into the cake pans, smoothing out any bumps. Prick with a fork all over.

-Bake until golden brown, about 30 minutes. While still hot, turn over onto a flat surface and cut into wedges. Let cool completely.

-Prepare the icing: Mix together the coffee and cocoa.

-Slowly add the coffee mixture to the powdered sugar, by the teaspoonful, until the mixture is thick and able to be drizzled without spreading. You will probably not use all the liquid.

-Drizzle over the cooled shortbread and let set.


Saturday, July 14, 2018

Mini Lemon Blueberry Poundcakes for #SummerDessertWeek

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Welcome to the 2nd Annual #SummerDessertWeek event hosted by Angie from Big Bear’s Wife. This sweet week-long event is filled with fun dessert recipes from amazing bloggers and some great giveaways from our generous sponsors! We can't wait to share all of these summer-themed desserts with y'all and celebrate summertime sweets all week long!


What's halfway between a muffin and a cupcake and filled with delicious summer flavors?

I'll give you a hint: it's today's recipe.


Denser than a traditional cupcake, but still sweet and fruity, I give you--mini poundcakes. Yes, they are basically cupcake poundcakes. And yes, they are fantastic.

A great brunch addition with optional crumb topping, these little beauties taste amazing with some tea on the side. I think you'll be pleased!

BUT WAIT! First--

Check out the amazing #SummerDessertWeek recipes from our bloggers today!  

Sweet Summertime Cakes:
  Pineapple Pistachio Marshmallow Cream Cake from Daily Dish Recipes
  Old Fashioned Chocolate Church Cake from 4 Sons 'R' Us  

  Baked Desserts:
Coconut Sweet Bread with Lime Glaze from The Domestic Kitchen

Ok--onto the recipe!

Mini Lemon Blueberry Poundcakes
  • 1/3 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 block cream cheese (4oz) room temp
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 lemon, juiced and zested
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 pint blueberries (can be 1-2 cups frozen)
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup sour cream

Optional topping

  • 3 tbsp butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp flour

-Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with liners or grease liberally.

-In one bowl, sift together the dry ingredients.

-Cream the butter, cream cheese, and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time. Once well mixed, add the lemon juice and peel.

-Fold the dry ingredients into the wet. When fully combined, slowly add the blueberries. Pour into prepared cupcake wells. If desired, add crumb topping.

-Bake for 350 degrees F for 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.






Now, for the Contest!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Giveaway open to US Residents 18 years or older. No PO Boxes Please. giveaway runs from July 9th until July 15th at 12AMEST. Winners will be selected soon afterward and contacted by e-mail. Winners will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. There are a total of 5 (five) prizes and therefore we will have a total of 5 (five) winners.

  Disclaimer: These posts and recipes are part of the week-long event, #SummerDessertWeek but all opinions are 100% mine! We would like to Thank our amazing sponsors: Dixie CrystalsAdam’s ExtractRed Star YeastSusquehanna Glass Co. and Lodge Cast Iron! These wonderful sponsors provided the prize packs for our giveaways and also sent samples and products to the #SummerDessertWeek bloggers to use in their recipes.


Wednesday, July 11, 2018

#SummerDessertWeek - Old Fashioned Cocktail Cake

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Welcome to the 2nd Annual #SummerDessertWeek event hosted by Angie from Big Bear’s Wife. This sweet week-long event is filled with fun dessert recipes from amazing bloggers and some great giveaways from our generous sponsors! We can't wait to share all of these summer-themed desserts with y'all and celebrate summertime sweets all week long!



Head on over to my first recipe of the week to enter the giveaway for some AWESOME PRIZES!


I have this thing I do, where I take my favorite cocktail and make it into a dessert. Usually an ice cream or popsicle or cupcake. But this time I decided to go a little further and take my absolute favorite cocktail...


An Old Fashioned. Citrus, cherries, and a bit of bitter tang all come together beautifully in this cake, which I topped (bottomed?) with a brown sugar whiskey glaze. Somehow, it all just WORKS.



I used blood oranges for color, but regular would be just as good!

There are 23 wonderful bloggers participating in this year’s event! With over 60 recipes being shared this week we just know that you’re going to find a new summer favorite! Plus, don’t forget that we have 5 (five) great giveaways for you this week too! Scroll down to take a look!

Check out the amazing #SummerDessertWeek recipes from our bloggers today!

  Ice Cream Recipes:
  Sweet Summertime Cakes:
  No-Bake Treats:
  Baked Desserts:
 
Now, onto MY recipe!

Old Fashioned Cocktail Cake

  • 3 tbsp butter + 1 stick butter, room temp
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp whiskey
  • 3 oranges, zest reserved, peeled and sliced thin
  • 1/2 cup fresh cherries
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp bitters (I used grapefruit)
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
Preheat your oven to 350°F.

Melt the 3 tbsp butter and stir in the brown sugar and whisky. Spread a few tablespoons of the mixture over a well-greased 9 inch round cake pan and arrange the orange slices and cherries over it. Pour the rest of the glaze on top.

Whisk together the dry ingredients, including the zest.

In a separate bowl or a stand mixer, cream together the stick of butter and white sugar. Add the eggs and bitters. Add the flour mixture and milk, slowly, taking a cup or so of each and letting it mix until smooth each time.

Pour the cake batter over the fruit and bake for 45 minutes.

Let cool for a few minutes, then turn upside down on a plate. Do not wait until fully cooled or the fruit will stick.

Now, for the Contest!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Giveaway open to US Residents 18 years or older. No PO Boxes Please. giveaway runs from July 9th until July 15th at 12AMEST. Winners will be selected soon afterward and contacted by e-mail. Winners will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. There are a total of 5 (five) prizes and therefore we will have a total of 5 (five) winners.

  Disclaimer: These posts and recipes are part of the week-long event, #SummerDessertWeek but all opinions are 100% mine! We would like to Thank our amazing sponsors: Dixie CrystalsAdam’s ExtractRed Star YeastSusquehanna Glass Co. and Lodge Cast Iron! These wonderful sponsors provided the prize packs for our giveaways and also sent samples and products to the #SummerDessertWeek bloggers to use in their recipes.

Monday, July 9, 2018

Summer Dessert Week Begins! - Mini Lemon Meringue Pies #SummerDessertWeek

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Welcome to the 2nd Annual #SummerDessertWeek event hosted by Angie from Big Bear’s Wife. This sweet week-long event is filled with fun dessert recipes from amazing bloggers and some great giveaways from our generous sponsors! We can't wait to share all of these summer-themed desserts with y'all and celebrate summertime sweets all week long!



Whenever I am tasked with figuring out a new recipe, I always think: "what could make an awesome thing even better?" And what I usually decide, is that making it smaller is the best way to do that.


Think about it--no utensils or even plates are required for these tiny little pies! Three bites and you're done and ready for another. With a homemade vodka crust, it's just the cherry (or lemon?) on top for an awesome recipe.

But before we get to that--check out the prizes!!

There are 23 wonderful bloggers participating in this year’s event! With over 60 recipes being shared this week we just know that you’re going to find a new summer favorite! Plus, don’t forget that we have 5 (five) great giveaways for you this week too! Scroll down to take a look!

PRIZE #1

 
Prize #1 — Dixie Crystals is giving away one (1) Instant Pot (8 Qt) to one lucky winner!
 

PRIZE #2


Prize #2 — Adam’s Extract is giving away - One bottle of Adams Best Vanilla Flavor, Adams Best Prize Winning Pound Cake Mix, Adams Extract Twice as Stong Vanilla and Adams Extract Lemon Extract
 

PRIZE #3


Prize #3– Red Star Yeast is giving away a gift pack including an Insulated Tote Bag, Apron, “The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day” Cookbook, Yeast, Rolling Pin, Measuring Spoons, Oven Mit and Dish Towel
 

PRIZE #4

Prize #4 — Susquehanna Glass Co. is giving away one set (4 glasses) of Mermaids Stemless Wine Glasses. (like the Mermaid glasses you'll see in some of our recipes this week!)

PRIZE #5

Prize #5 — Lodge Cast Iron is giving away one (1) 12-inch Cast Iron Skillet.

Check out the amazing #SummerDessertWeek recipes from our bloggers today!

Ice Cream Recipes:
  Pies of Summer:
  Sweet Summertime Cakes:
  No-Bake Treats:
  Baked Desserts:
  Sweet Sips:
 




Mini Lemon Meringues

for the crust

  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, cubed
  • 3 tbsp cold water
  • 3 tbsp vodka
  • 1 cup ice

for the filling

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 3 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 2 lemons, juiced and zested
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 4 egg yolks

for the meringue

  • 4 egg whites
  • 1 pinch cream of tartar
  • 6 tbsp white sugar

Prep: Grease 12 muffin tins with butter. Silicone muffin cups work well for this, too.

Crust: Pour vodka and water over the cup of ice. In a food processor, pulse together butter, flour, sugar, and salt until coarse crumbs form. Slowly drizzle in the water/vodka (don't let the ice cubs fall in!) until a thick dough forms. Note: you may not use all the liquid. Remove from food processor and form into a thick disk. Cover and refrigerate at least one hour.
After fully chilled, roll out on a floured surface until 1/4" thick. Use a glass that is slightly larger than your muffin tin wells in diameter to cut out circles. Press into greased muffin tins, making sure to release any air bubbles underneath. Prick with a fork and bake in a pre-heated 350 degree oven for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool to room temp.

Filling: In a medium saucepan over medium heat, whisk together sugar, flour, cornstarch, and salt. Slowly whisk in in water, lemon juice and lemon zest. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until boiling. Stir in butter. Place egg yolks in a small bowl and temper in 1/2 cup of hot sugar mixture. Whisk egg yolk mixture back into sugar mixture. Bring to a boil again, stirring constantly until thick. Remove from heat and let cool slightly. Pour into each prepared pie crust, filling as much as you can.

Meringue: Whip egg whites and cream of tartar until soft peaks form, then gradually add the sugar. Whip until stiff peaks form and then top each mini pie with the misture.

Bake at 350 degrees for ten minutes, until the peaks of the meringue are just beginning to brown. Chill until ready to serve.

Now, for the Contest!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Giveaway open to US Residents 18 years or older. No PO Boxes Please. giveaway runs from July 9th until July 15th at 12AMEST. Winners will be selected soon afterward and contacted by e-mail. Winners will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. There are a total of 5 (five) prizes and therefore we will have a total of 5 (five) winners.

  Disclaimer: These posts and recipes are part of the week-long event, #SummerDessertWeek but all opinions are 100% mine! We would like to Thank our amazing sponsors: Dixie Crystals, Adam’s Extract, Red Star Yeast, Susquehanna Glass Co. and Lodge Cast Iron! These wonderful sponsors provided the prize packs for our giveaways and also sent samples and products to the #SummerDessertWeek bloggers to use in their recipes.
   

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Favorite Spots In the Highland Neighborhood - ATX Eats

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Every year, I do the Austin Food Blogger Alliance City Guide. Typically, I snag "best ____ in town" categories, rather than the neighborhoods, which span a wide area (North, South, etc.). But what about the restaurants in my own backyard?

I polled the residents of my own neighborhood via the Nextdoor app and came up with the following hyper-local favorites. Though I don't live in the more touristy parts of town, if you happen to be at an air bnb nearby or have a car and want to get some grub that's a bit more off the beaten path, be sure to check out these Highland Neighborhood spots!

Note: I was a bit liberal with the area, some of these may be slightly outside, but still worth a mention!


Kome - I adore sushi, and consider myself very somewhat of an expert. In that, I can tell fresh from not-so-fresh, and close-to-the-sea to definitely-not. And since arriving in Austin, Kome has been my hands-down favorite. Their happy hour specials are incredible, their sake is delicious, and my fish-hating-fisherman-husband (figure that one out) has multiple things on the menu he'll consume. Their house rolls are my favorite, but the best deal on the menu is the sushi lunch. This was the place that truly won me over with nigiri, and I will be forever grateful.


Kura - So, I know I just said Kome was my fave BUT Kura is a very very very close second. I was all ready for the level of quality that you expect from a sort of gimmicky concept--conveyor belt sushi--but was blown away by the freshness of the sushi for how inexpensive and fun the entire experience was. Definitely a solid place to go for an inexpensive meal, and yes they do have more than just sushi here.

Photo cred: Feed This House

Quality Seafood - I'm a New England girl, born and raised, and one thing I sorely miss from my home state is... well, quality level seafood. And thankfully, Quality Seafood lives up to the name. Though I haven't been able to visit for a lobster bake, the chowder makes my heart happy, and the fish dishes are a wonderful option if you want a non-sushi seafood in town.

Photo cred: Foodie is the New Forty

HEO - Not sure if it was simply a rebrand or a total pivot but I swear this place started as a BBQ joint. Either way, I hear amazing things about their Asian Street Food menu! Tucked away into an unassuming storefront, HEO is one of those somewhat hidden treasures of the neighborhood despite being right on Lamar.

Arpeggio - The jury's out on the overall experience of the restaurant itself but one thing everyone can agree on is that the food is top notch. I feel like we keep losing the small, family-owned Mediterranean restaurants in town, so I do hope Arpeggio sticks around. I love a good gyro and Arpeggio does it right. It's also the best place in town to get a good Greek pizza! If you don't know the difference between NY/Chicago/Greek style, you need to educate yourself. And relish in the crispy, thick crust. Yum.

Photo cred: Foodie is the New Forty

Ramen Tatsu-ya - There's a line out the door for a reason. While it's not nearly as long as it's South Lamar counterpart, it's still a wait--but one worth waiting for. This was my first introduction to Ramen and it still holds a special place in my heart. They have a few different broths to choose from, but the standout for me is the tonkasu, a thick dipping broth with noodles. Also one of the best brussels sprouts offerings in town!



Michi Ramen - Don't tell Tatsu-ya, but this is my favorite ramen in town. Also, don't tell the people in line at Tatsu-ya because I like being sat immediately ;) Their broths are mostly pork, and the stout broth is the clear standout in my opinion. The sides are perfectly complimentary to the large, savory bowls. And don't miss their Wednesday sake deals! Each month a different flavor is highlighted and they are certainly unique--and tasty!



Royal Jelly - Solid happy hour, plenty of outdoor seating, and a unique menu makes this a decent hangout spot if you decide the line at Kura across the street is too much. I was tickled by the drink that came in the tiny Topo Chico bottle. It turns out their menu was recently revamped, including a duck poutine that the mere thought of is making my mouth water. I need to head back and check it out again!


Ola Poke - This was one of the first dedicated Poke spots in Austin but it's held its place as one of the best ever since. Fresh fish, tasty accouterments, and decent spicy wings for those weirdos among us who, for whatever reason, don't like raw fish. Snag a bowl and do karaoke next door for the perfect out of the box date or fun Saturday afternoon.


Brentwood Social - Their coffee is awesome but their pastries are where it's AT. Delicious, delicate, and both savory and sweet. I don't know what else to say other than it's the perfect place to meet up with a friend for crumpets and tea, or sip wine on the patio while your kids play in the backyard area.


T22 - Lucy's may have the heart of most Austinite's but T22 has my taste buds. It hits the spot for anyone who is craving the tongue-burning deliciousness of Nashville Hot Chicken. You can choose your level of heat, or go with a straight up "wimpy" with none, and the enormous pieces of juicy chicken will come out perfectly seasoned with your choice of dipping sauce on the side to cool the heat. And where most chicken joints seem to forget their sides, T22 does each one perfectly. This is hands down my favorite fried chicken in town!



Black Star Coop - I came here originally for three reasons: 1. close to my improv rehearsal spot, 2. they pay their workers a living wage, 3. beer. At that point, the food being amazing was a great surprise! I love the fish and chips, which come out perfectly battered and crispy with thick-cut fries, or the chicken snack and homemade ranch. Their beer selection is just as good, and the patio with board games makes for a very fun night.


Vigilante - A gamer and a foodie walk into a bar. Both are happy at Vigilante. Their slider menu allows you to taste a whole bunch of tasty bites while you challenge other bar patrons to a round of Super Smash Brothers. $14 gets you your choice of nearly four items on the menu which is an awesome deal, letting you get a taste of everything they have to offer!

Hank's - Frose brings me in, the food makes me stay. Hank's has had a few growing pains as they've rolled out but I know they'll soon be a neighborhood favorite! Great happy hour, delicious food, extensive drink menu, and perfectly crafted cocktails. Plus the decor is clean and bright with a lovely patio. A definite win!



BIG thank you to some of my food blogger friends for providing pictures!

Do you live in the Highland area? What is your favorite local restaurant?

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Summer is Here and So Is Prickly Pear BEER Slush!

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THIS IS NOT A DRILL--Shiner Prickly Pear is BACK! But only in the Texas Heatwave packs. So make sure you scoop them up before they're gone! I also think this recipe would be ah-maze-ing with the Peach beer in that pack :)

Summer creeps up on you in Texas--at least, when you're a Northerner who still can't wrap her head around the fact that there's no snow as the dividing point between COLD and HOT. The winter is so mild, that the temperatures inch upwards and then before you know it, BAM. You're hitting the pool with a cold beverage and trying not to sweat your life away.


Now that Shiner's Ruby Redbird--my favorite beer, hands-down--is year-round, Shiner had to come up with a suitable summer offering. And their Prickly Pear is not to be missed! Light, fruity, but only slightly sweet, it's a great summer sipping beer.

Nope, this is not a sponsored post. I just really love Shiner Prickly Pear and thought it'd lend itself well to a slush!

This is the first recipe I've made with my new Ninja Blender, which I got as a sort-of birthday gift for my husband since his new obsession is protein shakes and our immersion blender just wasn't cutting it. and I think it was a great christening for this amazing machine!


Prickly Pear Slush
  • 2 bottles Shiner Prickly Pear
  • 1/2 cup Prickly Pear soda -- I used Central Market's version, but if you can't find this any light, cirtusy soda will do
  • 1/8 cup triple sec
  • 1/8 cup lemon vodka
  • Enough ice to fill your blender 2/3 full
-Scoop ice into your blender, enough to fill it about 2/3 full. Pour in the rest of the ingredients, and blend on high power until pulverized. If you can, do not have the top on tightly, and allow a little air to come out so the pressure doesn't build up and explode.

-Pour into glasses and garnish with a lime. Extra points if you have cute boot glasses or faux solo cups!

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Potato Chips and Memories of a Fun Visit

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This is an old post from my old blog, reposted for the recipe, so understand it's a few years old!

I love when people come to visit, because it means that I get to do all the touristy stuff that I secretly love but can't admit to if I'm trying to become a "real" Austinite. Over the weekend my mom and my fiancé's mom made their first trek down to Austin since we moved here in November. It was really an amazing weekend and I am so happy I was able to show the moms around my beautiful new city!

We packed so many things into five days, it was nearly exhausting.


First up, we went to Chuy's for lunch as soon as the moms landed. It's still our favorite Tex Mex place in the city (again, we're new! I know there are better!) and the moms enjoyed trying the THREE dips Cory and I always get when we're there. It was too early for margaritas, but just the right time for enchiladas.


The next day I took the moms on a shopping day to The Domain and South Congress. We saw the bats emerge from the South Congress Bridge at sunset, then ate dinner at one of my favorite food trucks--Ms P's!


Since the "i love you so much" wall was on Cory and my Christmas card this year, we also had to make a stop here. I love you, mom!


My mom took a picture in front of every. single. cactus. This one was from Saturday, when we went to San Antonio to see the Alamo. The San Antonio day was fun because I hadn't visited that city yet. We also explored historic Gruene.


Another tourist spot I'd never been to: The Greetings From Austin wall! We braved getting hit in oncoming traffic to take a million and a half pictures here.


On the last day, I took my mom to The Oasis to see the view. I'd never been here because people had warned me the food was not so good. The view though, was incredible! I'd love to come back here for a drink sometime. My mom is terrified of heights, so she just took a picture of me here.


Finally, I took my mom to one of my new favorite places: The Driftwood winery. I LOVE this place. Gorgeous view, amazing wine, and we even made some new friends here--a family from Europe who was visiting because their son is moving here. Very cool! Dinner was at Salt Lick, because this is another place I love bringing people.

Anyways, none of this has anything to do with Potato Chips, I just felt like sharing some pictures.

I loved my mom's visit, and seeing Cory's mom, and we had one of the most fun weekends I've had in Austin in a long time! I miss them so much already and hope they can visit again soon.

And now, for the chips.


DID YOU KNOW IT'S WICKED EASY TO MAKE POTATO CHIPS? Mind-blowingly easy.
Seriously, this recipe is kind of a joke because it's really THAT easy. And delicious. And you'll wonder why you bother dropping $4 on a bag of chips when potatoes are like, 50 cents.

Homemade Potato Chips
  • 2-3 large potatoes--I used golden potatoes
  • Enough oil to cover 1 inch in a large frying pan
  • Seasonings
Equipment:
  • Mandolin or killer knife skillz
  • Frying pan
  • Slotted spoon
  • Drying rack
 -Heat your oil to about 375 degrees. If you don't have a thermometer, pay attention to how the potato sizzles when dropped in. Sizzling = good.

 -Use a mandolin to slice the potatoes as thin as you're able. Thinner = crispier. Drop them in batches into the hot oil.

-Watch the potatoes. Once they begin to curl and look brown around the edges, remove with a slotted spoon.

-Move to drying rack and sprinkle with desired seasonings--I did plain salt, salt and pepper, and parsley and parm--and let dry for ten minutes. Store in an airtight bag.