• New York

    Baking Made Easy with Krusteaz

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    If you are an amateur baker, have a crazy busy life or live in a small Manhattan apartment like me – Krusteaz Mix is a GODSEND!!!  The easiest way for you to enjoy some home baked goods.  They can be used for lunch, potlucks, holidays and weekends.

    Krusteaz has an incredible range of both savory and sweet Mix boxes like pancakes, corn bread, flat bread and brownies.

    You can make variations with different nuts, fruits and shapes. It can be muffins, loaves etc… Get creative and get some cool ideas on the website.

    With some effort and a little bit of love – you can bake at home without buying 1000 things!


  • New York

    Baker’s Best Kept Secret: Nielsen-Massey Vanilla

    Last week I got a bag of pears from Union Square farmer’s market and I was wondering what I should do with them!  Some of them were so small that I juiced them with ginger and apples and made really tasty drink.  Then I found the Golden Almond Pear cake and just had to bake a mini one.

    My secret ingredient was the amazing Nielsen-Massey Vanilla extract.

  • New York

    Anything but Boring Nielsen-Massey Vanillas #nielsenmassey

    Vanilla is a classic and amazing flavor used in sweets, cooking and baking everyday. Even real estate professionals use the scent of vanilla for their open house.  I recently tried Neilsen Massy Madagascar Bourbon Vanillas and they have made a world of difference in my weekend French Toast!  I can’t wait to use it in all my favorite recipes…. Panna Cotta!


    Nielsen-Massey are vanilla experts,  crafting vanilla products for over a century. They know everything from where the bean is from, to the best use and pairing for its natural essence to shine. They use proprietary cold extraction process instead of heat extraction.

    Biscotti - Products

    This process gently extracts vanilla’s essential oils, preserving the more than 300 distinctive flavor compounds present in the beans. By protecting our vanilla from heat, even its subtlest flavors survive extraction. Cold extraction is a more delicate, longer process that takes weeks instead of days, to produce the finest flavor and risk losing any of the complexity and robustness of the original bean.

    All vanilla is inspected carefully –bundle by bundle, bean by bean–to ensure each bean meets the Nielsen Massey high standards.

    The vanilla beans used are from the finest growing regions: Madagascar, Mexico and Tahiti. And to showcase the unique flavor profiles of vanillas grown in different regions, we offer origin specific vanilla extracts from Madagascar, Mexico and Tahiti.

    All Nielsen Massey products are Gluten-Free, Allergen-Free, GMO-Free and Kosher, and also have a line of Organic vanillas.

    Some really fun Vanilla facts:

    Culinary Pleasures
    A teaspoon or so of vanilla in Italian tomato sauces or Mexican chili helps cut the acidity of the tomatoes.

    For best results when using our extracts, add them at the end of the cooking process or cream them with butter for baking.

    To taste for yourself the difference between Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla, Mexican Vanilla and Tahitian Vanilla, whip up some whip cream. Just substitute in the different extracts for each batch. Ice cream and custards would also show off the delicious subtleties of each vanilla (though it would be a bigger undertaking).
    Outside The Kitchen
    A few drops of vanilla in a can of paint will help eliminate the unpleasant odor.

    A vanilla bean under your car seat gives a fresh aroma and helps eliminate musty odors.

    Vanilla extract is used by veteran fishermen to mask the smell of their hands so the fish won’t detect them.
    Vanilla beans are hand-pollinated on family farms.

    The curing process, which involves drying the beans in the sun by day and allowing them to sweat in a box at night, can take three to six months. The beans get hot enough in the sun to actually burn your hand.

    Each vanilla flower opens for only one part of one day during the season. If it’s not pollinated on that day, no pod will be produced.

    The entire vanilla-cultivation process, from planting to market, can take from five to six years.

    In Mexico, vanilla was originally pollinated by a tiny native bee called the Melipone.
    Montezuma, Emperor of the Aztecs, greeted Cortez the conqueror in his banquet hall with a chocolate drink, Chocolatl (or Xocolatl), made of ground corn, cacao beans, honey and vanilla pods. While Cortex greatly enjoyed the drink, Montezuma was nonetheless executed shortly after.

    The Spaniards called the plant “vanilla” which means “little scabbard”.

    Thomas Jefferson is credited with introducing vanilla to the United States in the late 1700s. While serving as Ambassador to King Louis XVI of France, he became familiar with vanilla beans and brought 200 vanilla beans back with him when he returned to the United States.

    George Washington liked vanilla ice cream and kept two pewter ice-cream pots at Mount Vernon during his presidency from 1789-1797.

    Dolley Madison created a sensation when she served vanilla ice cream as a dessert in the White House at the second inaugural ball in 1812.

    Find out about the best vanilla in the world http://www.nielsenmassey.com/consumer/index.php

  • New York

    Yummy to Try via @ElsieCake

    Buttermilk Pie, makes one.

    3 eggs
    2/3 cup sugar
    1/2 cup honey (I used this kind, it’s amazing!)
    2 tablespoons flour
    1 cup buttermilk
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract

    Whisk the eggs with the sugar and honey. Now stir in the other ingredients and pour into your favorite pie crust (mine’s store bought—hence the “halfway homemade”). Bake at 350°F for 40-45 minutes until the sides are golden brown and the pie is set (it will still have a slight jiggle in the center). Allow to fully cool before serving.

    Repost via http://www.abeautifulmess.com/2013/02/halfway-homemade-buttermilk-honey-pie.html

  • New York

    Recipes to Try via @Pinterest – Banana Foster Cake

    Bananas Foster Cake

    Recipe from “My Sweet Vegan,” by Hannah Kaminsky

    “Modeled after the traditional flavors of bananas foster, the layers are soaked in rum before assembly and topped with a caramel frosting that pulls the whole dessert together. In the typical showy fashion of traditional bananas foster, the banana slices used for garnish could be made with the addition of some rum, and then set ablaze to let the alcohol cook off. Knowing my personal ineptitude with fire, I think it is safer to recommend a simple sauté. The end results are still extraordinary, even without the stovetop bonfire.”

    Banana Cake

    • 2-1/2 Cups All-Purpose Flour
    • 2 Teaspoons Baking Powder
    • 2 Teaspoons Baking Soda
    • 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
    • 2/3 Cup Plain Soymilk [use rice, almond, or hemp milk for a soy-free option]
    • 1 Teaspoon Apple Cider Vinegar
    • 1/2 Cup Dairy-Free Margarine [use Earth Balance Soy-Free for a soy-free option]
    • 3/4 Cup Granulated Sugar
    • 1/2 Cup Dark Brown Sugar
    • 5 Ripe, Medium-Sized Bananas
    • 1 Tablespoon Vanilla Extract
    • 6 Tablespoons Rum (Any Variety)

    Caramel Frosting

    • 1 Cup Dairy-Free Margarine [use Earth Balance Soy-Free for a soy-free option]
    • 3-1/2 Cups Confectioner’s Sugar
    • 1/3 Cup Brown Sugar
    • 1-1/2 Teaspoons Water
    • 1 Teaspoon Vanilla ExtractSautéed Bananas
    • 1 Firm, Large Banana, sliced into ¼ inch rounds
    • 2 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
    • 1 Tablespoon Water

    Preheat your oven to 350ºF (175ºC) and lightly grease and flour two 8 inch round cake pans. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, and set aside. In a separate small bowl, combine the soymilk and vinegar, also moving this to the side. In your stand mixer, cream together the margarine and both sugars until light and fluffy. Mash the bananas well and mix them in, along with the vanilla. Add the flour mixture, alternately with your now curdled soymilk, into your mixer. Ensure that everything is fully combined before equally dividing the batter between your two prepared pans.

    Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of each layer comes out clean. Remove from the oven, and while they are still warm, poke the cake tops numerous times with your testing toothpick. Evenly pour 3 tablespoons of the rum over each of the layers. Let the cake layers cool completely before turning them out of the pans to frost.

    For the frosting, cream the margarine well and incorporate the confectioner’s sugar slowly. Microwave the brown sugar together with the water for approximately 30 to 60 seconds, just until the sugar dissolves and it begins to bubble a bit. Let the brown sugar stand for a few minutes to cool off, then pour it into the margarine mixture. With the mixer on high, beat the frosting vigorously until all of the ingredients are fully incorporated. Stir in the vanilla, and frost the cake as desired.

    For the banana garnish, combine the brown sugar and water in a non-stick skillet over medium heat. Cook until the sugar dissolves. Add the banana, and stir to coat all of the pieces well. Cook for about 2 minutes, until the sugar bubbles and darkens into a golden caramel, stirring gently every so often. Remove the bananas from the skillet and transfer them to a silpat. Separate each slice so that they do not stick together. Let them cool completely before garnishing the cake.

    Makes 10 to 12 Servings


    For more of Hannah Kaminsky’s recipes, see her popular cookbook, My Sweet Vegan and her Sweet Vegan ebook collection (includes Blondies + Brownies, A La Mode, and much more)

  • WorldWide

    Get Baked: Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies with @ZulkaSugar

    The holidays are a great time to experiment in the kitchen.  I was recently inspired to mix up a recipe for peanut butter chocolate chip cookies using a substitute for both white and brown sugars.  Zulka makes sugar that is minimally processed and comes straight from freshly-harvested sugar cane.  Their brown sugar is non-GMO project verified and blended with fresh molasses.  Together, they perfect an already stellar recipe.  Have at it and watch them disappear within a few minutes.


    Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies 
    1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
    3/4 tsp baking soda
    1/2 tsp baking powder
    1/4 tsp salt
    1/2 cup softened, unsalted butter 
    1 cup crunchy peanut butter
    3/4 cup Zulka Morena pure cane sugar
    1/2 cup packed Zulka Brown pure cane sugar
    1 egg
    1 Tbsp milk
    1 tsp vanilla extract
    1 cup peanut butter chips
    1 cup chocolate chips

    Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  In a large bowl, combine butter, peanut butter, and both sugars until well blended and creamy.  Mix in the egg, vanilla extract, and milk.  In a separate bowl, mix flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.  Combine the two mixtures, then mix in both chips.  Roll about 2 Tbsp of dough into a balls and place about 2” apart on an ungreased or paper lined baking sheet.  Press down lightly onto the baking sheet just enough to slightly flatten.  Bake for about 10 minutes and allow to cool completely before enjoying.  This recipe makes about 24-30 cookies.

    Voilà! These cookies are dangerously delicious.

    Read more about Zulka all-natural and unrefined granulated sugar at zulka.com.  Other creations of theirs include powdered pure cane sugar and picante sugar, which adds a touch of chili spice!  This is the good stuff, and it tastes great in coffee too.  SWEET.