Questions? – Forum

Jan 20, 2014

Brown spots on biscuits

Patrizia asks… I made your buttermilk biscuits, they are fantastic. I would like to kow why the outside of the biscuits have little brown dots. I cut the butter into the flour and I put the mixture in the kicthen robot to knead.Also I would like to know how to re-heat the biscuits once I freeze them (I cut them in half), do I have to thaw them out or put them in the oven frozen and at what temperature. Thank you !

My response… I sometimes get spots on my biscuits too but it doesn’t affect the taste. I suspect it may be from over-working the dough so you could try just kneading it gently by hand 8 or 10 turns and not using the robot. The less that biscuit dough is handled, the better. You can reheat frozen biscuits by wrapping them in foil and place in a preheated 300 F degree oven for about 20 minutes. (I sometimes remove the foil at the end and leave them on the rack for a couple more minutes to crisp up the top and bottom)

Oct 27, 2013

More whole wheat pastry flour in desserts

Jennifer asks… I was wondering if more of your dessert recipes can use all whole wheat pastry flour in place of all purpose flour? Would there be any changes needed to ingredients or baking times if using all whole wheat pastry flour? The only one I’ve found that does is the chocolate brownies.

My response… Your question is timely because every time I cook or bake, if I can make something even healthier than the last time, I always try.  And because I love to bake, that means using more whole wheat flour in my desserts. Just tonight I made 100% whole grain chocolate chip-cherry cookies and they were fantastic (that recipe is coming soon). With desserts 100% whole grain is always best but not at the expense of texture and taste. That’s why I still make my pizza crust and cinnamon rolls with all purpose flour. I’ve tried using whole wheat but in those cases, it just didn’t deliver.

We all know it’s better to eliminate white flour and you will find a lot of my upcoming baking, especially cookies, will be made with 100% whole wheat pastry flour. It’s not that I haven’t been trying to use it more, I just haven’t always loved the results. Otherwise, I would use nothing but whole wheat. Currently, besides my brownies, my chocolate French toast, kitchen sink cookies and my crispy crunchy oat cookies are 100% whole grain. I have also made my apple muffins with 100% whole wheat pastry flour and my tortillas too. Coming soon will be my: 100% whole grain chocolate chip-cherry cookies, my crunchy munchy cookies with crisped rice, a delicious apple cake, and my farm bread – all 100% whole wheat. Rest assured I am on the case!

UPDATE/Nov. 7th: I made my apple muffins again this morning using 100% whole wheat pastry flour and they were great. So I am changing the recipe. Thanks, Jennifer, for the nudge I needed!

Sep 9, 2013

Frozen Dumplings

Johnny asks… I have a question about making homemade frozen dumplings. Every Time I boil them in water and take them out they taste a bit wet, heh. I want to know how to make them properly, so they can taste more meaty and less wet. Kinda like the restaurant version. Also what brand are good and meaty ? God Bless. Take care. Bye 🙂

My Response…

At first I thought you made your own dumplings and froze them but it looks like you are buying them frozen and when you boil them, they are kind of soggy. I can tell you that making your own gnocchi with my recipe will give you a fantastic, meaty dumpling but if you’re buying them frozen, be careful not to overcook them. I have never used store-bought but I do freeze my own so when you put them in boiling water, don’t let the water stop boiling or they will get mushy. I usually turn up the heat at the same time to keep the water boiling, and stir them right away so they don’t stick. Then I turn the heat down to a nice gentle boil until they rise to the top. You could also try removing them from the water as soon as they rise to the top. – Jenny Jones

Sep 5, 2013

Sinking Cupcakes

Patrizia asks… Hi Jenny, I have a question on cupcakes. I use to make them perfect but after my husband bought me the kitchen robot they seem to raise and at the end they sink a bit in the center,they also stick to the paper liners. Could it be i beat them too much with the kitchen robot and the baking powder an baking soda is worked too much. I use the oven on top and bottom heating. Thanks

My Response…

Let’s talk first about the cupcakes sinking. I suspect the oven is too hot, especially if you are using heat from the top. With too much heat, the cupcakes will cook from the outside and will appear done but the inside is not done so they sink. The same applies to the tops. Heat from above will make the tops cook too fast and the cupcakes will appear done but the inside is not done so there’s no support for the top and it sinks. I would suggest you avoid any heat from the top and that could solve the sinking problem. If not, then reduce the oven heat and test the largest cupcake with a toothpick inserted deep into the center. If it comes out dry, they are done all the way through and should not sink.

As for the cupcakes sticking to the paper liners, there are several possible solutions. The easiest is to use foil-lined paper liners which should release much easier. If you can’t find them, you might try spraying the inside of the paper liners with a cooking spray or grease them by hand. If there’s not enough fat in the recipe, you may have to grease the liners or not use liners and grease the pan. I’ve also read that you should not let the batter sit in the liners or the liners will absorb too much moisture, so put in the batter and put them in the oven right away. Finally, I’ve noticed that letting my cupcakes cool completely makes it easier to remove them from the paper. I hope this helps. – Jenny Jones

Jul 29, 2013

What Kind of Cuces for Pickles

Marilyn asks… Hi Jenny , Are there any other kinds of cucumbers that can be used to make the Cold Water Pickles ?. I love your recipes ! 🙂

My Response…

The only kind I can ever find are Persian and Kirby and I have used both. If you can find any other kind (or grow them) they have names like Kirby, Liberty, Gherkin, Cornichon, or Lemon Cuces. They should not be waxed since you don’t peel them and should be as young and firm as possible. I would love to grow them myself, but then rabbits suddenly appear! – Jenny Jones

Jul 23, 2013

Where to Buy a Donut Pan

Edmundo asks… I use to live in CA, now I am in Peru, my country, and  I would like to get the donuts molds, can you tell me how to get those molds , or where to buy them. Thank you. I like your videos.

My Response…

I bought the mold at Bed, Bath, & Beyond but I see they do not ship internationally. I was unable to find a source that ships internationally – I’m sorry. – Jenny Jones

Jul 9, 2013

My Brand of Popping Corn

Surya asks… Hello Jenny. I wanted to know the brand of  the kettle corn that you use to make the paper bag popcorn and where can i purchase it, in your youtube video channel? Thank you.

My Response…

It’s not kettle corn that I use, it’s just plain popping corn so any brand should work. My choice is Orville Redenbacher’s Original which comes in a large plastic jar and all the grocery stores here seem to carry it. For the paper bag/microwave method, use only plain popping corn and not kettle corn or any kind of popping corn with anything added. The ingredient list should only read “popping corn” and nothing else. When I made the video, I used White Cat brand but it became too hard to find and I actually think the Orville brand is better. – Jenny Jones

Jun 29, 2013

Does sugar cause cancer?

Joanelle asks… Jenny:  You have a wonderful site and personality…however, I am confused….Please forgive this question, but may I ask how often you eat sweets….I don’t dare eat sugar  …….more than twice a week…I don’t have sugar, but they say that it causes cancer…Tumors feed on sugar…so they say on the vegan site…You said you bake a lot , so concerned and how do you stay so thin ..when you bake all the time….SMILE and thank you…

My Response…

I eat sweets every day but always in moderation. Plus I bake all my own with less sugar and calories than store-bought. As for staying healthy, it may be the way I eat them that keeps me in good health. I’ll get to that in a moment. But first, the idea that sugar causes cancer would be terrifying if it were true. I will tell you what my research has shown: Our bodies need glucose, or simple sugar, for energy. The cells in our body grow, divide, die, and are replaced as part of a natural process. Sugar feeds every cell in our body — even cancer cells. If you were to cut every bit of sugar out of your diet, your body would make sugar from other sources, such as protein and fat, for survival. Starving all of your cells of sugar won’t kill or prevent cancer, but it will deprive your healthy cells of a necessary source of energy. I think part of the confusion is about sugar and obesity. Research shows that eating sugar doesn’t necessarily lead to cancer but it can lead to obesity and that is a risk factor for several cancers.

The other issue with sugar is insulin. While sugar does not “feed” cancer cells, a lot of sugar can cause our bodies to produce too much insulin, and insulin can rev up cell growth including cancer cells. Too much insulin also causes inflammation, which can lead to other health problems. Knowing all that, it’s smart not to over indulge in sweets and to know when and how to eat them. When you eat sugar and carbs, there are three things that can help reduce the amount of insulin produced by the body  – they are protein, fat, and fiber.

I primarily eat sweets right after a meal, which will always contain protein, fat, and fiber. I never eat sweets by themselves, not even an apple between meals, without also having fat, protein, or fiber with it (usually a few nuts – they contain all three!). Besides having sweets in moderation, here are the other ways I manage having sugar:

  1. No sweets on an empty stomach.
  2. No fruit juice first thing in the morning. In fact, I rarely drink fruit juice and when I do, I dilute it with water. In the morning, I opt for green tea followed by a breakfast with protein, fiber, and healthy fat.
  3. No commercial soft drinks. I occasionally get China Cola (no HFCS) and always dilute it with Perrier. A four-pak of China Cola lasts me one or two months.
  4. Sweets only after a meal or with added fat & protein.
  5. I never eat store-bought sweets or pastries.
  6. I always bake my own with less sugar, often adding whole grains and nuts so there’s already some fat, fiber, and protein there.
  7. When presented with a decadent dessert, I either share or have 2-3 bites to savor and leave the rest.
  8. Cookies and milk is my favorite dessert… my own healthy cookies with 1% milk! (fat & protein)

Back to the sugar/cancer issue… I’m not a medical expert but I do a lot of research and I cannot find any qualified authority that says sugar causes cancer. Dr. Timothy Moynihan, a cancer specialist at Mayo Clinic, in Rochester, Minnesota, debunked this popular misconception in a recent article, saying, “Sugar doesn’t make cancer grow faster. All cells, including cancer cells, depend on blood sugar (glucose) for energy. But giving more sugar to cancer cells doesn’t speed their growth. Likewise, depriving cancer cells of sugar doesn’t slow their growth.”

Jun 15, 2013

Food Network Star

Nina asks… Hi Jenny. Have you thought about trying out for Food Network Star??? I think you should. You have a great point of view, and I think we “older folks” with our dietary challenges and weight limits should be represented in their line-up. With your TV experience you’re a shoe-in. What do you think?

My Response…

Thank you for the vote of confidence but I would not enjoy the rigid schedule that I know would be necessary to do this kind of show. I know what it takes to work on TV and I prefer to cook at my own pace, stress-free, and I don’t have to wear spanx!  – Jenny Jones

Jun 8, 2013

Pancake batter’s not fluffy

Nate asks… Hi Jenny! Firstly, thanks for your swift response to my question about creating a clean cooking space; I really appreciate it. I tried out your blueberry pancake recipe this morning, and although I was following along with your YouTube instructional and used the exact measurements you prescribed, my mixture was much more liquid than thick with flour, and even though I subsequently tried adding about 25% more flour, the flour dissolved pretty quickly and the mixture only made about 4 pancakes. Any hints other than more flour to get them as lumpy as you did?

My Response…

I’ve been making this exact recipe for years with the same result every time… a thick lumpy batter and great pancakes. At first I thought maybe the egg you are using is too large but even if you used an extra large egg, it should not make such a dramatic difference as you are experiencing. One thing that might be causing a thin batter would be your choice of buttermilk. You must use store-bought buttermilk, and be sure to shake the container well before pouring. I know a lot of recipes will tell you if you don’t have buttermilk you can make your own by adding a tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice to a cup of milk and let it stand five minutes. Hogwash! That does not make buttermilk, or anything close to buttermilk. I’ve tried it several times and all I got was lemon-flavored milk. If that’s what you’re using, then it’s the reason for the thin batter. Another possibility is your baking powder and/or baking soda are expired. The reaction of those powders with the liquids is what creates the fluffiness in the batter.

You can test your baking powder this way: Drop a teaspoon of the baking powder into a cup of very hot water. If it bubbles heavily, the baking powder is still good. If it doesn’t, it’s time for a new one. To test your baking soda, place a teaspoon of baking soda into a bowl and add 3-4 tablespoons of white vinegar. If the mixture fizzes heavily, the baking soda is still good. If it doesn’t, you need a new box. I hope this helps because these are really great pancakes, with or without blueberries.