SIT DOWN and read the recipe. Too many
people start grabbing ingredients. Make
note of certain words [and/or phrases
describing] processes that you’re going
to have to pay attention to: e.g., “cream
together the sugar and the butter.”
Creaming doesn’t necessarily mean just
mixing; in the case of baking a cake,
“creaming” is the word that determines
the outcome of the cake.
Organize. When you don’t know where
to find the things that you need while
SALT Y CHOCOLATY PEANUT
BUT TERY CRUNCHY BARS
16 ounces sugar
12 ounces orange blossom honey
18 ounces creamy peanut butter
12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
1 teaspoon vegetable shortening
½ teaspoon Maldon salt
Line a half sheet pan with a silicone baking mat or
a piece of parchment paper coated with nonstick
Combine the sugar, honey and ½ cup water in a
4-quart saucepan, and bring to a boil over medium
heat. Cover and boil for 5 minutes.
Put the peanut butter in a large heatproof bowl and place
the bowl on a kitchen towel or no-skid pad.
Remove the lid of the saucepan and clip a candy thermometer to the side. When the mixture reaches 295 F,
remove from the heat and quickly pour the sugar mixture over the peanut butter, and use a wooden spoon
(not metal, as it can a;ect the crystallization) to combine. Don’t try for a homogenous mixture. There should
still be some streaks of peanut butter throughout.
Immediately pour the mixture into the prepared pan
and spread into an even layer. The mixture will begin to
harden right away. Use a pizza wheel to cut the candy
into 1-inch squares while still warm. Cool completely,
about 45 minutes.
Add enough water to a large saucepan to come up
the sides 1 inch, then bring to a simmer over medium
heat. Combine the chocolate chips and shortening in
a medium heatproof bowl and melt over the simmering water, stirring occasionally until completely
smooth. Pour over the cooled peanut butter candy
and spread into an even layer. Cool for 3 to 4 minutes
and then sprinkle with the salt.
After the chocolate has set completely, cut the candy
again with the pizza wheel, following the lines creat-
ed by the ;rst cuts. Store in an airtight container for
up to 1 week. Or just eat it all right then and there.
No one would blame you one bit.
Note: I usually give this stu; away as bribes—
it’s that powerful. Makes 120 1-inch pieces.
All recipes adapted with permission from Alton Brown:
EveryDayCook, by Alton Brown (Ballantine Books, 2016).
3 ounces white wine (such as sauvignon blanc)
4 ounces chicken broth
½ lemon for 1½ tablespoons juice, plus 1 lemon,
sliced into 8 wafer-thin slices
8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper,
plus more for serving
1 cup all-purpose ;our
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
8 ounces white button mushrooms, sliced thin
3 tablespoons capers, drained but not rinsed
2 tablespoons chopped fresh ;at-leaf parsley
Combine the wine, broth and lemon juice. Set aside.
Season thighs with 1 teaspoon of the salt and the
pepper. Place ;our in a gallon freezer bag and add
1 thigh to the bag. Seal, and shake to coat. Then open
the bag just enough to allow air out. Place the bag on
a sturdy counter and ;atten with a meat pounder,
;ipping once, until the thigh is about ¼-inch thick.
Remove thigh to a plate and repeat with all thighs.
Place a heavy, straight-sided 12-inch sauté pan with
a tight-;tting lid over high heat for 1 minute. Add
1 tablespoon each of the butter and the oil to the
pan. When the butter just stops bubbling, carefully
add 4 thighs. Cook, gently shaking the pan, for 90
seconds, then ;ip and repeat for another 90 seconds.
Remove the chicken from the pan, add another
1 tablespoon each of the butter and oil, and repeat
with remaining thighs.
Remove chicken from the pan and add mushrooms
and remaining teaspoon of salt. Stir to sauté for 2 min-
utes, or until the mushrooms start to turn golden.
Stir the mushrooms out to the circumference of the
pan and add the capers right into the middle. Stir,
cooking for another minute.
Return the chicken to the pan and reduce heat to low.
Distribute lemon slices across the top of the chicken,
add the wine mixture and slap on the lid. Braise for
5 to 7 minutes, until the chicken is fork tender.
Move the thighs (discard the lemon slices) to a serving platter. Increase the heat to high and add the
remaining tablespoon of butter to the sauce. Boil
gently, stirring constantly until it reaches sauce consistency (about 30 seconds), then pour over chicken.
Add more pepper to taste and top with parsley. Serve
with rice or noodles. Makes 6 servings.
you’re cooking, it makes cooking a really,
really crappy experience.
Keep a solid pantry. I don’t know how
many times you turn around and you’re
like, “Oh crap, I’m making brownies and
my cocoa powder is approximately 75
years old.” Just because it’s still in your
pantry doesn’t mean it’s any good. I buy
very small amounts of things, because I
know they’re going to go bad. If you’re
going to buy Costco-style, buy smart.
Alton’s top tips for home cooks S A R