How to Use Balsamic in Baking

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The most flavorful desserts combine contrasting, complementary ingredients. Whether salt and caramel, coffee and chocolate or balsamic vinegar and fruit, these pairings enhance a dessert's natural flavor, packing your favorite recipes with extra punch. Balsamic vinegar is a dark, thick vinegar with a sweet and sour taste. Its uses are varied: you can drizzle it over salads, vanilla ice cream, soup broth or roasted vegetables. It has a long shelf life and is generally used in small amounts, so use what you have on hand for baking. You can also use white balsamic as a handy substitute for lemon juice.

Fruit Filling for Shortcakes

Step 1

Add equal parts balsamic vinegar and sugar to 8 parts halved strawberries in a bowl. Stir the mixture with a spoon until it is thoroughly combined.

Step 2

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Place it in the refrigerator to marinate for 24 hours.

Step 3

Make shortcakes according to your preferred recipe. Most recipes require flour, baking powder, butter, sugar and salt in addition to other ingredients. After mixing the dough, you typically use a cookie cutter to cut out the cakes, then bake them on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper.

Step 4

Slice cooled shortcakes with a knife and place the marinated strawberries between the two halves. Place in a bowl with vanilla ice cream. If desired, top with extra marinated strawberries.

Balsamic Sauce for Cakes

Step 1

Use a wooden spoon to mix equal parts sugar and balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan with half a small sprig of rosemary. A small sprig is one branch with its leaves, about 3 inches.

Step 2

Bring to a boil and simmer until the sugar dissolves, about 5 minutes. Stir occasionally. When the back of the wooden spoon leaves a trail, it has reached the right syrupy consistency.

Step 3

Remove the rosemary sprig and cool. Drizzle over cornbread, shortbread or pancakes. The syrup lasts in an airtight container in the refrigerator for at least a month.

Flavoring Chocolate

Step 1

Mix balsamic vinegar with 8 parts dried cherries and microwave for 30 seconds. Set aside to cool.

Step 2

Add balsamic cherries to your favorite brownie, fudge or chocolate cookie recipe. For a batch that yields two dozen medium-sized cookies, brownies or pieces of fudge, use about 1/2 cup balsamic cherries.

Step 3

Drizzle extra balsamic into the batter to bring out the chocolate taste. For a batch of cookies, brownies or fudge that yields two dozen individual pieces, incorporate about 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar.

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