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Five Clever Ways to Utilize a Food Processor

In the test kitchen, food processors are utilized frequently. From chopping to slicing to shredding, a high-quality food processor is indispensable to any well-equipped kitchen. However, did you know that food processors can do much more than quickly prepare a mirepoix or tomato sauce? Read on to discover five lesser-known food processor applications. 

1. Pizza Dough Kneading in Under 2 Minutes 

Sure, you can knead pizza dough by hand (in 8 minutes) or in a stand mixer (in 5 minutes), but why not use a food processor to save time (and prevent hand cramps)? Pulse flour, sugar, and yeast in a food processor until no dry flour remains (approximately five pulses), then add ice water and process for about 10 seconds, or until no dry flour remains. Allow the dough to rest for 10 minutes before refrigerating it for at least 24 hours and up to three days. Here are some additional tips for kneading dough in a food processor. 

Knead to Know: When the dough is properly kneaded, it should appear smooth and almost shiny. The dough should feel very elastic and spring back into place when pulled. The images below depict under-kneaded, properly kneaded, and over-kneaded dough in a food processor (from left to right). 

2. Crush Your Ice 

You’ve probably never considered your food processor as a tool for making cocktails, but it’s ideal for crushing ice: Pulse up to 2 cups of ice cubes until they are finely crushed (8 to 10 pulses). Then, pour crushed ice into a copper mug, add vodka, ginger beer, and a lime wedge, and savor your Moscow Mule. 

3. Make a Quick Brown Sugar Substitute 

Most brown sugar is produced by adding molasses to granulated white sugar or sugarcane syrup before crystallization. For light brown sugar, pulse 1 cup of granulated sugar with 1 tablespoon of molasses; for dark brown sugar, pulse 1 cup of granulated sugar with 2 tablespoons of molasses. 

4. Grind Your Own Nut Flours 

In the test kitchen, we process nuts in many ways, and the consistency difference between nut butter and nut flour depends on how long the nuts are processed. The longer they are processed, the more oil they release, bringing them closer to nut butter. 

16 to 20 pulses are required to finely grind 2 cups of whole almonds, cashews, hazelnuts, peanuts, or pistachios into nut flour. You will obtain approximately 212 cups of nut flour, suitable for gluten-free and paleo baking. 

5. Create One’s Breadcrumbs 

The convenience of store-bought breadcrumbs is unrivaled but making your breadcrumbs allows you to control the crumb size and use any bread you desire. (You are interested in pumpernickel breadcrumbs? That’s a little odd but go for it!) Rip the bread into pieces and pulse it in a food processor until the desired consistency is achieved. 

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