We find half and half to be one of the most versatile ingredients in our refrigerator. We use it every morning in our coffee, but it is handy for so many other things. Not as heavy as cream, more rounded than plain milk, and it keeps for a while, too. Here are our top five ways to use it. Read on and tell us yours...
1. Ice cream. For this, you need more than a half-used pint languishing in the fridge. But we'll say that we simplify most ice cream recipes that call for part cream, part half and half and just use all half and half. It's not as rich that way, but with some flavors (like this one), we prefer a base made with half and half, and it makes the whole process easier.
2. Quick chocolate ganache. Ganache is another versatile thing to have on hand. You can dip cookies in it, put it over ice cream, or whip it for cake frosting. These instructions give you a basic template, which calls for cream, but we make ganache all the time with half and half and it works out fine. Our method: throw some chocolate chips in a double boiler; as they start to melt, add half and half, a little at a time, and whisk until the chocolate is melted and you have the consistency you want (thinner for an ice cream topping, thicker for a cake). It makes a great fondue, too.
3. Creamy scrambled eggs. OK, so you're not making these in the microwave. But we sometimes add a little half and half to our eggs as we scramble them on the stovetop. Add a few tablespoons to the beaten eggs and then cook slowly over low heat (which is better for making creamy eggs, half and half or no). We can't remember where we first saw this method, but it's great for keeping your scrambled eggs soft and fluffy.
4. Pasta or pan sauce. If you're making a basic, pan-fried chicken breast, and you've deglazed the pan to pick up all the yummy brown bits, pour in a splash of half and half. You'll have a richer, more show-stopping sauce just like that. As for pasta, a little half and half goes well with tomatoes, helps the sauce coat the pasta, and adds dimension. You don't have to create a cream sauce, per se, or even get the sauce to turn milky. Just a few tablespoons.
5. Cocktails! Like White Russians but not the idea of downing a glass of heavy cream? Use half and half instead. A splash mixed with Baileys over ice is good, too.
What other uses do you have for half and half?
(Image: Elizabeth Passarella)