Drain cottage cheese to make it thicker and less watery.
Remove oil from natural nut or seed butters—the ones you have to stir, made only with the nuts or seeds and optional salt. I do this when I want a thicker nut or seed butter to flavor frostings or fillings without making them runny. You can fold bits of partially defatted nut butter into meringue for decadent melt-in-your-mouth cookies, or mix with coconut butter and spread on toast. To remove excess oil, spread nut or seed butter over a double layer of coffee filters. When filters become saturated , scrape the nut/seed butter onto a set of fresh filters to hasten extraction. Stop when the desired consistency is reached.
Bundle and tie herbs and spices (bouquet garni), or even loose tea leaves for soups and stews.
Clarify simple syrups that have been infused with puréed or crushed fruits or vegetables.
Absent a juicer, strain herbs, petals, or leaves liquefied in your blender/food processor. This works for small quantities, perhaps for cocktail making.
Do you have a use for coffee filters? Tell us about it in the comments!
Alice Medrich is a Berkeley, California-based pastry chef, chocolatier, and cookbook author. You can read more about what she's up to here.
My career was sparked by a single bite of a chocolate truffle, made by my Paris landlady in 1972. I returned home to open this country’s first chocolate bakery and dessert shop, Cocolat, and I am often “blamed” for introducing chocolate truffles to America. Today I am the James Beard Foundation and IACP award-winning author of ten cookbooks, teach a chocolate dessert class on Craftsy.com, and work with some of the world’s best chocolate companies. In 2018, I won the IACP Award for Best Food-Focused Column (this one!).