♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ -Today on "America's Test Kitchen"... Keith makes Julia mustardy apple butter-glazed pork chops.
Jack challenges Bridget and Julia to a head-to-head tasting of white chocolate chips.
Lisa reviews grill spatulas, and Julia makes Bridget browned butter blondies.
It's all coming up right here on "America's Test Kitchen."
♪♪ -Boneless pork chops cook through quickly, making them ideal for a midweek dinner.
But they don't have a lot of flavor on their own.
You really have to gussy them up with something.
So chops are often glazed to dress them up.
But if you've ever glazed a chop before, you know that the glaze ends up on the plate, not on the meat.
-So today we're gonna cook chops where the glaze actually stays on the meat.
-So first the glaze.
Now, most glazes out there use a jam or jelly.
-It gives a nice sheen, it gives sweetness, and it makes a nice glaze.
The only problem is, is that when you heat up a jam or a jelly, what's it turn to?
-Yeah, it turns to a runny mess.
And so that's never gonna stay on a chop.
So we searched the world over to try to find something that would stick to the chop, that would provide sweetness.
And today we're gonna use apple butter.
It's sweet, it's tangy.
-But there are also a lot of solids in there, so when we heat it up, it's not gonna run all over the place.
So we have 3 tablespoons of apple butter here.
-I'm gonna add 2 tablespoons of maple syrup for sweetness.
-And a little bit of glaze.
1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard for some tanginess and a little bit of heat.
1 teaspoon of soy sauce for seasoning.
-And 1/2 teaspoon of cider vinegar just for a little bit more acidity.
I'm just gonna make sure that is well incorporated and everything is stirred together really well.
Okay, that looks great.
So that's our glaze.
-Nice and easy.
Okay, now for the chops, we are gonna use boneless pork chops here, 6 to 8 ounces each, and they're about inch to 3/4 inch thick.
Also very uniform, so they're gonna cook through really evenly.
So now I'm just gonna season these up with a little bit of kosher salt.
We have a teaspoon of kosher salt here.
That's our seasoning.
Now, for cooking, high heat is the enemy of a good glaze.
When you sear a chop, those proteins on the outside are gonna seize up and release moisture.
-Moisture comes out.
Not good for the glaze.
It's gonna wash the glaze away.
-That makes sense.
-So we are gonna go low and slow.
Low and slow means less moisture coming out of the chops, meaning our glaze will stay in place.
-And better for the meat because you'll have moister pork.
So I have a rack set in a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet.
I've sprayed this with nonstick cooking spray, make sure the chops don't stick to it.
I'm just gonna lay these out here like this.
-Lined with foil.
I'm guessing for easy cleanup.
-Yeah, easy cleanup is always necessary for weeknight cooking.
Also, the wire rack will ensure that we get heat all the way around the pork chops and cook evenly.
Okay, before we cook these, I'm just going to apply a base coat of glaze.
-[ Laughs ] Like painting.
So what that base coat is gonna do, it's gonna dry out in the oven and create a nice, tacky surface.
And then when we go back to apply the rest of the glaze, it will stick really well to the chops.
So I'm just gonna start with a teaspoon.
-So not a lot.
-Not a lot.
It doesn't need to be that much.
A teaspoon per chop.
And I just want to brush the sides and the top.
We're not gonna worry about the bottom here.
Okay, Julia, I think that is a good base coat.
-Got this all touched up and ready to go.
So we are gonna bake this in a 275-degree oven.
-Ooh, that is low.
-Yeah, quite low.
What we're looking for is that we want the internal temp to be 135 to 137, so just below serving temperature.
That's gonna take 40 to 45 minutes.
It doesn't look like much yet.
Just want to make sure that these are at the proper temperature.
So what I'm gonna do now is, we're gonna apply the rest of our glaze.
-So I'm gonna use a tablespoon.
-Well, I can see how the glaze is gonna stick nicely to that chop because the chop is just tacky.
-Yeah, it's the perfect base coat for this glaze.
-You also note there's no moisture coming off these chops.
-Because we've gone nice and slow and low.
Again, just the tops and the sides.
There's gonna be moisture coming off the bottom as the pork rests.
-So it doesn't even make sense to glaze the bottom.
But we do want to get a nice, even coat here.
-It's starting to look better.
While I finish glazing these, I'm gonna ask you to set the oven to broil.
We're gonna put these under the broiler, so the really high temperature is gonna kind of caramelize and char the bits... -Mmm.
-...and dry that glaze out and make it nice and glazy.
So we're done glazing.
The broiler's hot.
We're gonna put these chops underneath the broiler 3 to 6 minutes.
And what we're looking for is, we're gonna get a little charred in spots, and that's gonna be nice and glossy.
-Let's check on the progress.
-Yeah, it's been 3 minutes, and you can see that we're getting some charring around the edges and that glaze is nice and tacky.
-Those turned the corner right fast from looking a little homely to downright beautiful.
-The apple butter has stayed in place.
-Kept everything on there.
It hasn't run off.
-You can see them sizzling.
-They look great.
-We've got some charring around there.
The glaze is actually sticking to the chops.
It will stay that way.
So I'm just gonna transfer these over to a platter carefully.
I don't want to disturb our glaze that we worked so hard at.
Let those sit for 5 minutes.
Let the juices redistribute so when we cut into them, we don't get juices all over the place, and we can eat.
-I think these chops have rested long enough.
It's time to eat.
I've picked my chop.
It's calling my name.
-[ Laughing ] Yeah.
-Now, I just want to show you one thing.
We have a little bit of moisture coming out of here, which is natural.
But if we had seared these chops, we'd have three times as much as that.
That's not a lot.
-No, it's not.
-And I'm just gonna add a little minced parsley for you.
The glaze has stuck.
Oh, perfectly cooked.
That apple butter is so reduced... -Yeah.
-...that it packs a really big appley punch.
You can just see how moist those chops are.
-That's thanks to the slow and low heat.
-Sweet, tangy, touch of acidity.
-Thank you, Keith.
I love these pork chops.
I'm glad you like them.
-So if you want to make these sweet-but-savory glazed pork chops, make a thick glaze using apple butter and Dijon.
Roast the chops low and slow in a 275-degree oven and finish glazing under the broiler.
From "America's Test Kitchen," a foolproof and fabulous recipe for mustardy apple butter-glazed pork chops.
This is definitely going in weeknight rotation.
-Oh, my daughter's gonna love these.
♪♪ -I have kind of a love/hate relationship with white chocolate.
How about you?
-Well, I'm not quite a hater, but I'm not a fan.
Tastes like it's missing something to me.
I used to work with it a lot in pastry kitchens.
Wasn't so crazy about it.
Now I kind of like it.
So Jack is here, and he's gonna tell us why we should include white chocolate chips in our kitchen at home.
-Yeah, as long as you're including the right brand.
These are all white chips.
Some of them are white chocolate.
Some of them are just baking morsels.
-Legally to be called white chocolate, whether it's chips or in bar form, it must contain 20% cacao.
There are two parts of chocolate.
There's the cocoa solids that gives it its color and its flavor and the cocoa butter that gives it its creaminess.
White chocolate just gets the cocoa butter.
Now, for brands that are not white chocolate, they're replacing the cocoa butter, which is expensive, with palm kernel oil.
The palm kernel oil allows you to make candy without tempering because that's one of the things I like to do.
And let me show you what the difference is.
This is bark made with white chocolate, and let's see if it snaps.
-That it was really more of a bend.
I didn't hear anything.
So this is actually made with the baking chips.
[ Snap ] -Get a little snappy there.
-Yeah, it actually took some effort to pull it apart.
And so what we found when we actually used the white chocolates, they didn't set up properly.
They were too soft for the candies.
And so that was a big difference.
Other thing is that they have to be creamy.
Now, if they're grainy... -[ Scoffs ] -Yeah.
[ Laughs ] Something that's grainy, Julia?
-Really, what you're getting here is the flavors coming from the vanilla.
You're getting flavor from the sugar.
And some of these, I think, are a little too sweet.
You may get caramelly butterscotch notes.
I thought there was one brand that's kind of citrusy.
So anything that you're liking or not liking in these samples?
What about you, Julie?
Anything that's striking your fancy?
-I'm enjoying this way more than I thought I would.
The caramel notes, the butterscotchy notes, I'm liking that.
This first one?
All sorts of no.
It's overly sweet.
I don't know what that flavor is.
All sorts of vanilla.
And they're trying to make up for something.
I like these two the best.
-I'm going between two and three here.
-Well, then you focus in on two and three.
-And, Bridget, you can tell me what you're tasting and liking.
-I'm supposed to choose?
I thought I was just invited here to eat chocolate.
I keep going back to this one because it's just so wrong.
-But there's something about it.
There's a flavor in there that's really good.
I don't like the powderiness on the outside.
-The texture's really pretty chewy.
-This one, I have to say, tastes like a... -Mm-hmm.
-...white chocolate bar.
I'm just gonna say it right out loud.
This is chocolate.
-I would not throw any of these out of bed.
-They're gonna melt if you bring them to bed.
-[ Laughs ] -This one, I think, is my favorite.
Getting a little bit of a toffee thing going on there.
-She's in camp two.
-Where did you land up?
You were between two and three.
-I like the texture of three quite a bit.
If you let it sit on your tongue, it melts really nicely.
-But the flavor of two is just stronger and more potent.
And I think I would choose that if I were gonna put it in a cookie.
-So let's start with number one.
-Which neither of you liked, is the Nestlé, and it was in the lower half of the rankings.
Tasters didn't think it was bad, but it was -- -Mm-hmm.
-There were better options on the table.
-Number two is the Ghirardelli.
-And this is the winner.
-It just has really lovely flavor.
This is a baking chip.
It is not white chocolate.
-But it's got that butterscotch.
It's got -- You know, there are milk solids here, so it's got that nice milky thing going on.
-It's a really nice chip.
Number three, the controversial one, is the white chocolate on the table.
-This is Callebaut.
This was at the bottom of the rankings... -Huh.
-...because, number one, it doesn't do very well in the candy test.
It wasn't as easy to work with, and it's... kind of an outlier.
And sometimes when you throw something in, I mean, it's the only white chocolate here.
And it's like, it feels like it's another species.
-It does, yeah.
-Because it, in fact, is made differently than everything else on the table.
-Last, but not least, this was in third place.
This is Guittard.
Again another baking chip, rather than a white chocolate.
It had some interesting notes to it, I thought, a little bit more complexity.
-That is that citrus high note that you're talking about right there.
So the good news is, you're both winners.
You both picked our winner, which is the Ghirardelli Classic White Baking Chip.
♪♪ -When you're cooking on a hot grill, you need a grill spatula that is not gonna let you down.
We tested seven, priced from about $8.50 to about $37.
We grilled dozens of burgers, salmon fillets, and pizzas.
I dropped the spatulas onto the pavement from grill height.
And then to simulate heavy roasts like pork butt or turkey, I used them to lift bags of flour.
Now, here's the thing.
Some of these are just too big.
They ripped up food.
They were too heavy.
Other ones were just kind of bendy and flimsy.
And look at this.
But the Char-Broil Comfort-Grip Spatula was just right.
It's narrow and slim enough at the front edge to fit between closely packed burgers.
It's thin enough to get under delicate salmon, and it's just wide enough to support floppy grilled pizza.
And it was tough enough for heavy roasts.
This thing feels balanced, feels sturdy, but it's not too heavy.
And that handle never got slippery.
Cleans up right in the dishwasher, too.
At about $26, this is our new favorite grill spatula.
♪♪ -Many recipes will treat blondies like, well, brownies gone bad.
Like somebody left out the chocolate.
Or they taste like chocolate chip cookie bars.
Well, we think blondies are pretty special, and they should be their own thing.
And there's no one that I would rather bake with than my friend and favorite blondie, Julia.
-[ Laughs ] Right back at you, blondie.
Now, this recipe is the best blondie recipe in the world.
-Also, it is one of the simplest.
If you notice, there's no stand mixer here.
This is just whisk it together in a bowl, which I love.
-That's magic to me.
-So starting in this bowl, we're gonna mix the dry ingredients.
This is 2 1/4 cups of all-purpose flour.
To this, we're gonna add a whopping 1 1/4 teaspoons of salt.
This is just table salt.
That's a bit more than other recipes.
But we found that the salt really helps bring out that butterscotch flavor, which can be a bit shy at times.
So... -It's true.
It really enhances the other flavors, though.
We're also gonna add some leavener.
This is 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder.
So just three dry ingredients.
Just want to whisk them together.
We're gonna set this aside.
On to the butter.
This is 12 tablespoons of unsalted butter.
And obviously we need to melt it before we can whisk it into the batter.
But melting also helps change the flavor and the texture of the blondies.
Because if you cream butter with sugar, like many recipes do, you're incorporating air, and that'll make a cakey blondie.
We want a chewy blondie, so you need melted butter for that.
So because we're melting the butter, it also gives you the opportunity to add even more of that hallmark butterscotch flavor by browning the butter.
-So we're actually gonna make browned butter blondies.
-Which is why I'm melting it in a skillet.
Now, this is not a nonstick skillet.
This is a skillet so you can see the color of the butter as it turns, which, I have to say, I always thought was kind of silly.
Like, you can tell when browned butter browns.
The other day, I was doing it in a nonstick skillet, and I totally overdid it and burned it and had to start over.
So I'm now a believer in using a light-colored skillet for doing this.
[ Butter sizzling ] -You have really noisy butter.
This butter has something to say.
So you want to melt it for a few minutes over medium-high heat.
Now that it's all melted, I'm gonna cook it for a few more minutes till it has a dark golden color and that nutty aroma.
I'm gonna swirl the pan.
That just keeps the milk solids moving around so it gets a nice and even brown.
-Well, it really is the browned butter that gives our blondies that deep butterscotch flavor.
Butter consists of about 80% fat, 17% water, and a few percent sugars and proteins.
Those are the solids.
Heating butter causes a few things to happen.
First, the solid fat melts.
The milk solids, which are mostly dissolved and suspended in the water, sink to the bottom of the pan.
Next, the water that was in the butter begins to boil and evaporate.
When the water has evaporated, the temperature rises.
The proteins and sugars that make up the milk solids begin to brown as the Maillard reactions happen.
The Maillard reactions also give the butter that deep, nutty flavor that makes our blondies unbeatable.
-[ Laughs ] We are almost there.
And this is the point where the butter goes really fast.
So this is not a walk-away time.
You can see those milk solids on the bottom.
-Those are the first things that'll go.
[ Sniffs ] Oh, you smell that?
-Yeah, they're toasting from the heat.
I like taking it to the very edge.
-You're living dangerously right here.
-Yeah, I know.
Story of my life.
All right, there it is.
Into the big bowl, it goes.
-Oh, that smells good.
Into the hot butter, we're gonna add light brown sugar.
This is 1 3/4 cups of light brown sugar.
Now, obviously, we're on the hunt for flavor here.
And you'd think dark brown sugar would give more flavor, but actually it had too much of a strong molasses flavor.
-It covered up that delicate butterscotch.
So light brown is the way to go.
-And there is a difference between molasses and butterscotch.
-And toffee and all the things.
-That's kind of your wheelhouse, those flavors.
You love those flavors.
-Now, a lot of blondies have a ton of sugar, and that's for good reason.
That's to help give chew.
-But that also makes them really overly sweet.
So we tried backing off from the sugar, but, of course, that has an effect on the texture.
It makes them a lot less chewy.
So our solution is to add corn syrup, because surprisingly, corn syrup is 50% less sweet than sugar.
So by using 1/2 cup of corn syrup, we're gonna maintain that chewy texture, but make them less sweet.
Again, less sweet brings out that butterscotch flavor.
So that's 1/2 cup of light corn syrup.
-And that is very different from high-fructose corn syrup, which we know is not a great thing.
This is just light corn syrup.
We're gonna add three eggs and [Laughs] 2 whopping tablespoons of vanilla, which might be the most vanilla I've ever seen in a bar cookie.
It's a lot.
-It's a flavor.
-It is a flavor, and it's a key flavor in this butterscotch blondie.
-So a lot goes a long way.
-Oh, loving it.
So we're just gonna whisk this all together.
-I have to confess, every time I come across a recipe that uses vanilla, I'll double it.
-So I'd be using 1/4 cup in this.
-If it's less than a teaspoon, I don't trust it.
-It's like, why bother?
Gonna whisk this together.
Doesn't that smell good?
[ Sniffs ] -I hope you're gonna say baking's optional.
-Just pour this over ice cream.
-So into this bowl, we're gonna stir the dry ingredients.
I love bowl mixing.
-It's so easy.
I hate dragging out the mixer if you don't have to.
So you really want to mix this together and make sure there's no lumps or streaks of flour.
That looks pretty well combined.
-Now for the stir-ins.
We're gonna add a ton of nuts because I'm a big fan of nuts.
Again, they add to that toasted flavor.
Today, we're using pecans.
That's a cup of toasted pecans.
And now I'm just gonna chop them into pieces so that they incorporate into the bars a bit more.
-And you definitely want to toast the pecans before you add them to the batter because they will actually toast in a dry environment, whereas if you put them into a wet batter, you're gonna end up with raw pecans or raw nuts by the time that the batter is finished baking.
-Yeah, you only do that once.
-Yeah, that's exactly right.
-Into the batter, they go.
Last, but definitely not least, the chips.
-You got to have a little bit of chocolate in a blondie.
So these are milk chocolate chips.
We like their more mellow flavor.
Again, lets that butterscotch flavor come through.
-White chocolate chips -- classic.
But they're really quite sweet.
Although I have to say, when I make this for my daughter, I sneak a few white chips in there because she loves them.
Do you just put one in and ask her to hunt for it?
-The lucky blondie.
That looks nicely incorporated.
So here is the pan that I've prepared ahead of time.
It's your classic 9x13 baking pan with the square sides.
And I've got the foil sling in there.
That makes them easy to remove once they're cooled.
And I've sprayed it with vegetable oil spray.
So into the pan, they go.
-Oh, I know.
All right, so these are ready for the oven.
Now, there is one optional thing, and today we're totally opting in because I know this is up your alley.
This is -- -How do you know what's up my alley?
-Because I know you.
This is flaked sea salt, the good stuff.
We're just gonna sprinkle a little over the top.
Again, that salt helps bring out the butterscotch, makes them a little less sweet.
So this is the good stuff.
You can add anywhere from 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon.
-The only thing better than caramel and butterscotch and toffee is salted caramel... -Mm-hmm.
-...salted butterscotch, -Oh!
-...and salted toffee.
-I'm with you.
So these are ready for the oven.
They're gonna bake for 35 to 40 minutes.
And you can tell they're done by the color and how they feel.
Let me get that for you.
So when you're looking for the doneness of these blondies, you want to look for the color.
This is a nice, deep golden brown.
Also, you want to press it.
It should spring back lightly when you press it lightly.
-Little bit of give.
Now, this has to cool for quite a while.
2 hours in the pan as it is.
But then we can come back and taste them.
These blondies are nice and cool.
-Yes, they are.
-Now, using the handy-dandy sling, I'm just gonna gently lift that out of the pan.
Sometimes they can stick a little, so it's really nice to use an offset spatula like this.
Just slide it right between the foil and the blondies.
That just ensures that all the pieces are absolutely uniform.
All right, now it's just gonna slide right off.
-[ Laughs ] All right, so we're gonna cut it into 24 pieces.
-Because they are very rich.
-They are very rich.
-Six by four.
All right, Bridget, I have a very important question for you.
No pressure, but it could determine the rest of our relationship.
-Any time she says, "No pressure," I usually run.
What do you like?
-I would eat that whole thing.
-It really doesn't matter.
Well, I think the corners are, like, the premier piece, so I'm gonna give you a corner.
-I'm gonna give me a corner.
I just want to see how chewy this is.
I'm gonna break it.
-Nice and moist.
That chew is the perfect chew.
It's crisp on the edges, especially the corners.
But the inside is that really satisfying chew.
-It's deep, and it's rich, and it almost tastes scotchy.
-Not just butterscotchy, but, like, actual deep-flavored scotch.
-And that's the vanilla.
-And the little bit of flaked salt on top just helps it not taste too sweet.
-And with all those pecans, mmm!
-Thanks for sharing, Julia.
-You're welcome, blondie.
So to make blondies with deep, rich butterscotch flavor, start by browning butter in a skillet.
Use corn syrup to cut the sweetness, and add a lot of vanilla extract.
So from "America's Test Kitchen," the undeniably delicious, unbeatable browned butter blondies.
And you can get this recipe, as well as all the recipes from this season, along with product reviews and select episodes, on our website.
-I have to catch up to you.
-[ Laughs ] I'm on my third one.
One, two, three.
There we go.