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Bananarific Blondies

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Bananarific Blondies
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 32 servings
  • Cookie
  • ¾ cup butter, softened
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 bananas, mashed
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • Filling
  • 8oz pkg cream cheese, softened
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ⅓ cup SACO Premium Cocoa
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  1. Cookie
  2. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  3. Grease 13 x 9 pan.
  4. Cream butter and sugars.
  5. Beat in eggs and bananas.
  6. Stir in remaining ingredients.
  7. Spread half of the batter in the pan.
  8. Top with filling.
  9. Top with remaining batter and swirl.
  10. Bake 30-35 minutes.
  11. Cool.
  12. Drizzle or spread with melted Saco Chocolate Chunks.
  13. Filling
  14. In a medium mixing bowl combine cream cheese, sugar and cocoa.
  15. Add milk, egg and vanilla.
  16. Mix together well.
Nutrition Information
Calories: 149 Fat: 7g Saturated fat: 4g Trans fat: 0g Carbohydrates: 20g Sugar: 12g Sodium: 136mg Fiber: 1g Protein: 2g Cholesterol: 36mg


Banana Split Shortcakes

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Banana Split Shortcakes
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8 servings
  • Shortcakes
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2½ Tbsp SACO Cultured Buttermilk Blend
  • ⅓ cup sugar
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ⅓ cup margarine
  • ⅔ cup water
  • 1 egg white, slightly beaten
  • Filling
  • 1 cup strawberries, sliced
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 3.4 oz instant banana pudding
  • 2 cups milk
  • 8 oz can pineapple tidbits
  • ¼ cup roasted almonds, chopped
  • 8 oz Cool Whip
  • 8 Maraschino cherries
  • ½ cup SACO Chocolate CHUNKS, chopped
  1. Shortcakes
  2. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  3. Combine flour, Saco Cultured Buttermilk Blend, sugar, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. Remove ¼ cup of mixture; set aside.
  4. Cut in margarine just until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
  5. Add water; stir just until dough clings together.
  6. Turn onto cutting board sprinkled with some of the remaining reserved flour mixture.
  7. Knead gently 8-10 times adding remaining flour mixture.
  8. Roll dough to ½ inch thickness.
  9. Cut with flower or any other decorative cutter; brush with egg white.
  10. Bake 17-19 minutes or until golden brown.
  11. Cool completely.
  12. Filling
  13. Toss sliced strawberries in sugar; let stand 30 minutes.
  14. Whisk banana pudding mix with milk for two minutes; set aside.
  15. Add drained pineapple to banana pudding.
  16. Split shortcakes.
  17. Spread half of the banana pudding mixture, add sliced strawberries; then top with remaining banana pudding.
  18. Top with shortcake top.
  19. Add Cool Whip, Saco Foods Chocolate Chunks, roasted almonds and a cherry.
Nutrition Information
Calories: 472 Fat: 20g Saturated fat: 6g Trans fat: 1g Carbohydrates: 66g Sugar: 32g Sodium: 668mg Fiber: 4g Protein: 10g Cholesterol: 12mg

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Banana Rama Coffee Cake

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Banana Rama Coffee Cake
Cook time: 
Total time: 
  • Cake
  • 1½ cups flour
  • 2 Tbsp Saco Cultured Buttermilk Blend
  • 1½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ cup white sugar
  • ½ cup warm water
  • ½ tsp almond extract
  • 2 eggs
  • ¼ cup butter, melted
  • ⅓ cup white chocolate chips
  • ⅓ cup Saco Chocolate Chunks
  • 1 large banana
  • Topping
  • 1⅓ cups flour
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • 1 cup butter
  • ¼ cup flaked coconut
  1. Cake
  2. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  3. Mix together flour, Saco Cultured Buttermilk Blend, baking powder, salt and sugar.
  4. Add warm water, extract, eggs and melted butter; stir well.
  5. Place ⅔ of batter evenly into a 9 inch round cake pan.
  6. Sprinkle white chocolate chips and Saco Chocolate Chunks evenly over top of batter.
  7. Sprinkle ½ of the topping mixture, then thinly sliced bananas and top with remaining topping.
  8. Add remaining cake batter.
  9. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until toothpick in center of cake comes out clean with just a few moist crumbs.
  10. Cool slightly before serving.
  11. Topping
  12. In a mixing bowl combine all ingredients and set aside.
Nutrition Information
Calories: 631 Fat: 34g Saturated fat: 21g Trans fat: 0g Carbohydrates: 77g Sugar: 41g Fiber: 2g Protein: 8g Cholesterol: 125mg


Ambrosia Shortcakes

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Ambrosia Shortcakes
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 10 servings
  • Shortcakes
  • 2 cups purpose flour
  • ⅓ cup sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp orange rind grated
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1½ Tbsp Saco Cultured Buttermilk Blend
  • ¼ cup butter chilled and cut into small pieces
  • ⅓ cup water
  • 3 Tbsp frozen orange juice concentrate thawed
  • ¾ Tbsp vanilla
  • 1 egg white, lightly beaten
  • Filling
  • ¼ cup orange juice
  • ¼ tsp cornstarch
  • ¼ tsp vanilla
  • 3 cups navel oranges sectioned
  • 1 cup fresh pineapple chopped
  • 1 cup whipped cream
  • 1 tsp grated orange peel
  • ⅔ cup flaked sweetened coconut, toasted
  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. Spray baking sheet with cooking spray.
  3. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, orange rind, baking soda and Saco Cultured Buttermilk Blend in a large bowl.
  4. Cut butter in with a pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse meal.
  5. In a separate bowl, combine water, juice concentrate and vanilla.
  6. Add juice mixture to the flour mixture, stir just until moist.
  7. Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface and lightly knead 5-6 times.
  8. Let dough stand for 10 minutes.
  9. Gently pat dough to ½ inch thickness with floured hands.
  10. Cut dough into 10, 2-inch squares.
  11. Place dough squares onto prepared baking sheet.
  12. Combine 1 tsp water and egg white.
  13. Brush egg white mixture over dough.
  14. Sprinkle evenly with sugar.
  15. Bake for 13 minutes or until golden.
  16. Remove from pan and cool on wire rack.
  17. To serve, split the shortcakes in half horizontally with a serrated knife.
  18. Spoon about ¼ cup fruit mixture over the bottom half of shortcake.
  19. Top fruit with 1½ Tbsp whipped cream and 1 Tbsp toasted coconut and dash of grated orange peel. Top cream and coconut with top half of shortcake.
Nutrition Information
Calories: 254 Fat: 8g Saturated fat: 6g Trans fat: 0g Carbohydrates: 41g Sugar: 19g Fiber: 2g Protein: 4g Cholesterol: 17mg

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Almond Buttermilk Cookies

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Almond Buttermilk Cookies
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2.5 dozen cookies
  • ½ cup butter
  • softened 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ tsp vanilla
  • ½ tsp almond extract
  • 2½ cups all purpose flour
  • 2 Tbsp Saco Cultured Buttermilk Blend
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp baking powder
  • ½ cup water
  1. Preheat oven to 375°F
  2. Combine first five ingredients and beat until fluffy.
  3. In a separate bowl combine flour, Saco Cultured Buttermilk Blend, baking soda, salt and baking powder.
  4. Add flour mixture to creamed mixture alternating with water.
  5. Drop by teaspoons on greased baking sheet.
  6. Bake 10 minutes and cool on wire racks
Nutrition Information
Calories: 139 Fat: 6g Saturated fat: 4g Trans fat: 0 Carbohydrates: 20g Sugar: 11g Sodium: 101mg Fiber: 0 Protein: 2g Cholesterol: 15mg

“Food of the gods”

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It’s sophisticated, silky and sublime. It’s scrumptious; it’s soothing; some say it’s downright sinful! It’s chocolate! No other “taste sensation” has caught and held America’s appetite attention quite the way the flavor of chocolate has.

After all, what could be more intriguing than something so prized that it was once used as currency for trade? Something so indulgent that it was once practically banned by the Catholic church, and so luscious that it was once considered an extraordinary “gift of paradise”, reserved only for the delight of an Aztec king?

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How chocolate is made

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The process of making cocoa and chocolate involves delicate proportions and accurate timing. Here’s how chocolate is made…

The Cacao tree originated in the hot, rainy climate of the Amazon and Orinoco River basins of Equador and Brazil, and is now also cultivated in Africa, Hawaii and Indonesia. All Cacao is grown within 20° of the equator, and needs 60” of rainfall, fertile soil, the shade of the rain forest canopy, and temperatures above 50° F to thrive. The three main varieties of Cacao trees are the scarce Criollo, which yields the highest-quality bean; the Trinitario, prized for its good flavor; and the Forastero, which grows a more astringent bean and compromises about 90% of the Cacao crop. The best beans are grown in the Brazilian state of Bahia and in the West African country of Cote d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast).

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Making Buttermilk and Cultured Butter

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The modern process of making buttermilk and butter begins when cream is removed from pasteurized whole milk in continuous centrifugal separators spinning at 30,000 RPM. The resulting cream contains 40% butterfat, and is known as heavy, or whipping, cream. From the separator, the heavy cream travels directly into continuous “ribbon” churns, which process it into sweet cream butter and high-fat buttermilk. The buttermilk is high fat because ribbon churns are not very efficient at churning all of the butterfat into butter. This buttermilk is then re-separated to remove the excess butterfat, and dried for industrial applications such as commercial ice cream and baking products, as well as consumer packaged goods like buttermilk pancake and baking mixes. The butter made this way is called “sweet cream” butter because the cream it was made from was not cultured or acidified.

This differs substantially from the traditional method of making butter, both in the butter-making process itself and in the flavor of the butter produced. Dairy production used to take place on family farms and in small creameries, and butter was always made in small batches. Back then, once the cream was separated from the milk, it was put into holding tanks for up to a day before it was churned into butter. This allowed the cream to settle from the agitation of the separation process and gave the butter-maker time to culture his cream.

The cream was cultured before churning for two very practical reasons. Heavy cream is 40% butterfat and 60% milk solids and water. Adding a lactic acid-producing culture to acidify the cream before churning helped to separate these two components during the churning process. As the butterfat solidified as butter in the churn, the fluid that was drained away became known as “buttermilk,” the by-product of butter-making.

Adding live cultures to the cream also yielded a more “pure” butter, as they consumed proteins in the milk solids to produce lactic acid. This added to the storage life of butter, because any remaining milk proteins could ferment or “spoil,” making the butter rancid. To further prevent spoilage, the butter-maker would also wash the butter with water after churning to remove residual milk solids.

In addition to these practical benefits, culturing the cream before churning gave the butter a unique flavor—very different from the flavor of today’s supermarket butter. Before the advent of the large commercial dairies, Minnesota and Wisconsin used to be dotted with small creameries, each with its own particular flavor of butter made from closely guarded family cultures.

These cultures ended up in the churned buttermilk, as well. Although buttermilk initially resembles skim milk when it is removed from the butter churn, the continuing action of the live cultures creates the tart, thick beverage that we know as buttermilk. Before the days of refrigeration, the consistency of buttermilk would change with the seasons: thin and less tart during winter and thick and clabbered in the summertime.

Buttermilk’s taste and texture made it a remarkable beverage, but what permanently endeared it to America’s cooks were its properties as a baking ingredient. Real buttermilk’s “real” benefits begin at the moment that butterfat becomes butter in the churn.

Batch-churning cream into butter takes about 30 minutes, but it is only in the last few minutes that the butter begins to form. The mechanical agitation of the churning process breaks down an emulsifying membrane around droplets of butterfat, allowing the butterfat to solidify as butter.

Fat and water don’t ordinarily mix, but this emulsifying membrane, a molecule called a phospholipid, has the ability to attach itself to both fat and water molecules, thus keeping the butterfat liquid in the cow, as well as in cream and whole milk. Once stripped from the butterfat during churning, these now “free” emulsifiers become part of the buttermilk.

When used for cooking and baking, the emulsifiers in real cultured buttermilk attach to both the liquid and the shortening in the recipe, evenly dispersing the fat in very fine particles throughout the batter. This results in a lighter, more uniform texture and fine crumb. In addition, the acidity from the culturing process combines with other leavening ingredients in the recipe to create baked goods with superior volume. But ultimately the phospholipids and their emulsifying properties are the reason buttermilk has been so esteemed among cooks and bakers for generations.

However, with the modernization of America’s dairy industry in the 1940’s and 50’s came the introduction of continuous churns and the demise of cultured butter and real cultured buttermilk. Modern “buttermilk” is made by adding lactic acid-producing cultures directly to skim milk, rather than to the cream that is churned into butter and buttermilk.

Although it’s somewhat misleading, “buttermilk” became the widely used term for cultured skim milk, and even though it doesn’t contain a drop of real buttermilk, the name was “grandfathered” into current usage. If introduced now, it would never pass present-day labeling requirements.

Another reason that the modern dairy industry made the switch from buttermilk to cultured-skim is that it takes a lot of milk to make a small amount of real buttermilk. For example, one gallon of milk yields about 7 1/4 pints of skim milk and 3/4 pint of heavy, 40% cream. The 3/4 pint of heavy cream can be churned into 1/3 lb. of butter (1 1/2 sticks), and about 1/2 pint (1 glass) of buttermilk. So, 1 gallon of milk yields only about 8 ounces of real buttermilk, but 116 ounces of skim milk that can be cultured and sold as “buttermilk”!

While cultured skim milk has a similar taste and texture to real cultured buttermilk, it has none of the emulsifying properties that made the old-fashioned buttermilk such a prized ingredient for cooking and baking. However, SACO Cultured Buttermilk Blend is made from real sweet cream, churned buttermilk, so it contains the natural emulsifiers that improve the volume, texture, and aroma of baked goods.

How the Dutch “Dutched” Cocoa

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“Dutched” cocoa takes its name from Holland, the country of its origin. In 1828 Coenraad Van Houten developed the “Dutching” process to reduce the acidity that develops during the fermentation stage of chocolate production. His Dutched cocoa (also called “alkalized” or “European-style” cocoa) was smoother, richer, and darker in color than unprocessed “natural” cocoa, and quickly became the standard for fine European cocoas.

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Legend of Quetzalcoatl

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Shrouded in the midst of time there once was a Garden of Life in all its perfection. From within this Garden, the Gods held court in luxurious abundance. From the Garden the minor Gods set forth to rule the sea, air, sun, and streams. Mortal man also lived in this Garden of plenty until driven out in anger by the Gods for attempting to become one like the Gods themselves.

However, Quetzalcoatl, God of the air, thought the punishment too harsh, and brought to the people, in their exile, the seeds of “quachahuatl,” or cacao tree—the “Food of the gods”.

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