Coca-Cola, the fizzy drink that's been around since 1886, isn't just a beverage to quench your thirst. In fact, you can use cola in a variety of your recipes, from savory main dishes to sweet and delicious desserts. Coca-Cola, with its flavorful ingredients and spices, not only adds a distinctive taste to your dishes, but it helps to create light, airy baked goods and tender, soft meats.
Love Me Tender: Coca-Cola Meat Marinade
Coca-Cola contains phosphoric acid and citric acid, both of which act as flavoring agents and preservatives. These acids not only give the soda a tangy flavor, but they also make the beverage an excellent meat tenderizer. Coke has an acidic pH value of about 2.5, approximately the same as the pH value of orange juice and just slightly less acidic than lemon juice or vinegar. This means that the acids in the soda can help break down the connective fibers in tough cuts of meat, just like citrus juices or vinegar. The soda also imparts a pleasantly sweet citrus flavor to the meat when you use it as a marinade.
Light as Air: Baking With Coke
Instead of using water in your baked goods, substitute Coca-Cola instead. The carbonation in the soda adds an airy texture to your cakes, muffins and brownies. The fizzy bubbles and acidity in the cola help to leaven the baked goods when combined with baking soda and other acids like buttermilk. While you can add Coke to any flavor of cake, it works best with chocolate because of its dark brown color. Not only does Coke make the cake pleasantly moist, but its proprietary blend of ingredients, which includes hints of vanilla, lime, nutmeg, orange, lemon and cinnamon, give the cake a unique flavor as well.
All Dressed Up: Dressing Foods With Coke
Salad dressings are usually made with oils and acidic ingredients like citrus juice or vinegar. Substitute Coca-Cola for the acid in your dressing to give your salad a sweet, tangy kick. Dress your meats, including ham, beef and chicken, with a bit of Coke to create a sweet glaze made with cola instead of honey or sugar. You can also mix up a sweet and savory sauce for your meats using Coke combined with barbecue or soy sauce. Dress up your desserts by mixing Coca-Cola with your frosting, or make a glaze out of it, which you can use to top cakes and other baked goods.
Taking Things Slowly: Cooking With Coke
Mix some Coke into the broth you use to slow cook stews, meats, vegetables or soups. Add some savory seasonings to counteract the sweetness in the cola. You can also use canned Coca-Cola, can and all, to cook a chicken. Put some of the Coke aside, about 1/3 of the can, and lower a raw chicken over the open can, inserting the can into the cavity of the chicken. With the chicken standing on the can, cook it in the oven or over a grill, where the liquid inside will evaporate and keep the bird moist, while imparting a pleasant flavor into the meat. Use the remaining Coca-Cola to baste the bird while cooking it.
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- FOX News Magazine: 10 Refreshing Dishes You Can Make With Coca-Cola
- Ocala Star Banner: Cola's Acids Help With Tenderizing Tough Meat
- The Wall Street Journal: Southern-Style Cola Cakes
- This American Life: Original Cola Recipe
- Live Science: Acids in Popular Sodas Erode Tooth Enamel
- Southern Living: 100 Ways to Cook Southern
- Science Buddies: What Does It Mean for a Solution to be Acidic or Basic (Alkaline)?
- Photo Credit Keith Bell/Hemera/Getty Images
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