Tip #1 — Why throw out leftover holiday candy when you can bake with it. Let’s take Easter: Old, uneaten chocolate bunnies and Perugina eggs make great ingredients for everyday desserts. Just break them up into chunks and use them as a substitute in anything from cookies to cakes, or just about anything that requires a hint of chocolate. Save the high quality stuff for yourself and melt it down to make yourself a cup of iced chocolate!
Tip #2 — Nothing says recession more than the “Poor Man’s Pudding” from The Settlement Cookbook, which by the way is delicious. It’s rice pudding made with only four cheap ingredients and little effort. Take a half cup each of pudding rice (such as Arborio) and sugar, and mix it with a quart of milk and an 1/8 teaspoon of salt. Let soak for half an hour, then bake covered with foil for 2 hours in a slow oven (about 250 degrees.) When it gets thick and creamy, uncover and let brown in the oven. The result is delicious rice pudding for literally next to nothing.
Tip #3 — Creme fraiche isn’t the easiest ingredient to find in the supermarket, but that doesn’t mean you have to pass over a recipe that calls for it. You can make your creme fraiche with inexpensive ingredients available at any supermarket.
For a cup of creme fraiche, just mix one cup of heavy cream with 1 1/2
teaspoons of buttermilk. Let it sit at room temperature for at least 8
hours, then refrigerate. If you’re in a hurry, just use an equal
amount of full-fat sour cream. And it makes a great tart
topping that can be used on virtually anything.
Tip # 4 — In a calorie-free, utopia, I’d eat bowls of whipped cream whenever I felt like it. But first, I’d have to make it. Then, there’s the reality of the calories and the cost. But a healthier, cheaper, and just as tasty option can be found in The Fannie Farmer Cookbook. You’ll need a 1/2 cup of dried non-fat milk and water and a tablespoon of lemon juice. Whip it up and it transforms into a sweet, soft cloud. Add confectioner’s sugar to taste and a drop of vanilla. It’s perfect on anything, apple pie, rhubarb crisp, on its own.
Tip #5 — Any time I have a recipe that calls for cake flour, I either can’t find it or end up having to shell out at least $4 for a small box. All-purpose flours makes a great substitute with the same fine texture. If a recipe calls for a cup of cake flour, measure out the same of all-purpose flour. Then, remove two tablespoons of flour and replace it with two tablespoons of corn starch. Make sure to sift (for that velvety texture,) and use as directed.