Dehydration is for more than Preserving Summer Fruits and Vegetables + Recipes

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Dehydration is for more than preserving summer fruits and vegetables
Pastry Chef Jimmy MacMillian dehydrates raw desserts – guest post via Savory Agency

WAUKEGAN, IL (August 20, 2012) – As the summer turns to fall most gardeners are hard at work harvesting their crops and enjoying the fruits (and vegetables) of their labor. Methods such as canning and dehydrating are used to preserve the garden’s bounty, but what innovative Pastry Chef Jimmy MacMillian wants at-home chefs to know is that a dehydrator can be used year-round.

“I use several unique techniques to develop my pastry products and dehydrating desserts is an up and coming method that my team has been experimenting with,” said MacMillian, executive pastry chef and founder of the Chicago Restaurant Pastry Competition. “We have used dehydration with desserts such as brownies and macaroons, and the result is a pastry that captures the ingredients’ raw flavor with the texture of an oven baked item.”

A dehydrator is essentially a low-heat container that is conducive to making a variety of raw recipes such as dry salads and fruits that would otherwise spoil. This method removes moisture from the food while preserving the color and flavor. It also creates preserved snacks that last for weeks and even months.

Dehydrators are most commonly used to preserve fresh fruits and produce and by those who follow a raw food diet. The dehydrator creates crispy snacks that are often missing from a raw food diet including crackers, granola, snack bars and even desserts.

“Dehydration and vanilla are a great pair because dehydration retains and preserves flavor, while vanilla acts as a flavor potentiator,” said Beth Nielsen, chief culinary officer of Nielsen-Massey Vanillas. “Vanilla enhances our ability to taste other flavors by intensifying those flavors, so when creating raw foods such as nuts and fruits with a dehydrator, vanilla can be used to boost these flavors.”

With the recipes below from Chef MacMillian, at-home cooks can expand the function of a dehydrator by making something sweet. Madagascar Vanilla Brownies, Vanilla Almond Macaroons and Chocolate Ginger Macaroons are each enhanced with the flavors of vanilla and preserved through dehydration.

Madagascar Vanilla Brownies
By Chef Jimmy MacMillian

Yields= one 11”X16”X1” Dehydrator Tray

4 ½ cups almond flour, fine
3 cups cocoa powder
1 ½ teaspoons sea salt
½ teaspoons Ceylon cinnamon, grated
1 cup maple syrup
½ cup agave syrup, light
1 ½ cup water
3 teaspoons Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Extract

Prepare dehydrator tray by lining bottom, sides and vent with plastic wrap. Make sure to punch a hole over the vent so the warm air can circulate.

In a small mixing bowl combine almond flour, cocoa powder, sea salt & cinnamon. Add maple syrup, agave, water and Madagascar vanilla extract. Combine well with rubber spatula. Pour brownie mix into prepared dehydrator pan. If your dehydrator trays have no lip, you can use a small pan and place that inside the dehydrator.

Set to 115°F and dry overnight; approximately 8-10 hours. (Times vary from dehydrator to dehydrator). Remove pan from dehydrator, cut into squares and enjoy!

Note: Ceylon cinnamon bark has a unique, tree fruit aroma. You may use any ground cinnamon that you like.

Vanilla Almond Macaroons
By Chef Jimmy MacMillian

1 ¾ cups dried coconut
¾ cup ground almonds
¾ cup + 2 tablespoons almond or cashew flour
¾ cup maple syrup
1/3 cup coconut oil
1 ¼ teaspoons Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Extract
½ teaspoon Nielsen-Massey Pure Almond Extract
Pinch of sea salt
Apricot flake salt (optional)

In a large mixing bowl, mix together dried coconut, almonds, flour and salt. Add maple syrup, coconut oil, Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Extract and Pure Almond Extract to the bowl and mix. Place small scoops of mixture on parchment or waxed paper and press down slightly. Sprinkle optional apricot flake salt on top of cookies.

Place in dehydrator and set it to 125°F – 150°F. Dehydrate for 24 hours. At the halfway point check on the macaroons by pinching slightly to confirm they are dehydrating correctly. The macaroons should have a crunchy exterior with a soft inside.

Chocolate Ginger Macaroons
By Chef Jimmy MacMillian

1 ¾ cups dried coconut
¾ cup chopped macadamia nuts
¾ cup + 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
¾ cup maple syrup
¼ cup + 2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 ½ teaspoons ground ginger
1 ¼ teaspoons Nielsen-Massey Tahitian Pure Vanilla Extract
1 ¼ teaspoons Nielsen-Massey Pure Chocolate Extract
Pinch of sea salt

In a large mixing bowl, mix together dried coconut, macadamia nuts, cocoa powder, ginger and salt. Add maple syrup, coconut oil, Tahitian Pure Vanilla Extract and Pure Chocolate Extract to the bowl and mix well. Place small scoops of mixture on parchment or waxed paper and press down slightly.

Place in dehydrator and set it to 125°F – 150°F. Dehydrate for 24 hours. At the halfway point check on the macaroons by pinching slightly to confirm they are dehydrating correctly. The macaroons should have a crunchy exterior with a soft inside.

Note: If a dehydrator is unavailable, the macaroons and brownies can also be put in the oven at the same temperature and time.

About Nielsen-Massey Vanillas
Throughout its more than 100 year history, Nielsen-Massey Vanillas has earned its reputation as a manufacturer of the finest extracts in the world. The full line of Nielsen-Massey’s Pure Vanilla products include: Vanilla Beans and Extracts from Madagascar, Tahiti and Mexico; sugar and alcohol-free Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Powder; Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Bean Paste; Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Sugar and Certified Organic Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Extract and Beans.

Nielsen-Massey Vanillas also has a line of Pure Flavors: Pure Chocolate Extract, Pure Almond Extract, Pure Orange Extract, Pure Lemon Extract, Pure Coffee Extract, Pure Peppermint Extract, Orange Blossom Water and Rose Water. All Nielsen-Massey products are Allergen-Free and certified kosher and Gluten-Free. The company is headquartered in Waukegan, Illinois, with production facilities in Waukegan and Leeuwarden, The Netherlands.

About Jimmy MacMillian
Jimmy MacMillian is the Executive Pastry Chef at The University Club of Chicago overseeing all baking and pastry operations and owner of JMPurePastry LLC. He previously worked as the Executive Pastry Chef at Avenues and The Peninsula Chicago. He has studied the culinary arts at Ecole Nationale Seperieure de Patisserie in Yssingeaux, France, the French Pastry School in Chicago, The Chocolate Academy in Zurich, Switzerland and St. Hyacinthe, Quebec and at the Aula Chocovic in Barcelona. He was honored in 2011 as a Rising Star of Chicago by StarChefs.com and received a James Beard nomination in 2009. His company JMPurePastry LLC founded the Chicago Restaurant Pastry Competition with the goal of promoting creative restaurant desserts and creating a video series to broadcast to a worldwide audience.

I received this information from Savor Agency, no compensation was received. My opinion is 100% my own.

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