Category Archives: Product Reviews

Consumer Reports rates brownie mixes

Homemade brownies are unquestionably delicious, but box mix brownies are a standby for even avid at-home bakers (and chefs on reality TV shows who are scared of baking) because they are reliable, take seconds to mix and generally turn out a finished product that will satisfy any chocolate craving. I generally like box mix brownies better than box cake mixes, and I know that I’m ... Read More »

Vosges Love Goddess Chocolate Cake Mix, reviewed

Vosges Love Goddess Chocolate Cake Mix

Vosges is a high end chocolatier who is known for not just high quality chocolate, but the unusual flavor combinations that it it pairs with its chocolate. One of their specialties is a bacon chocolate bar, for instance, and their other exotic bars include ingredients like wasabi, gogi berries, chipotle chiles and more (although they also have plenty of bars that contain more familiar chocolate ... Read More »

Cook’s Illustrated tests springform pans

Springform pans

A springform pan is a type of cake pan that has removable sides. The strip of metal that makes up the sides of the pan is shaped into a ring and is held together with an adjustable latch or buckle. It can be tightened by snapping the latch into place, tightening the ring and creating a tight seal with the pan’s base. When unlatched, the ... Read More »

Cook’s Illustrated rates Vanilla Beans

Vanilla Beans

Vanilla beans can impart a much deeper and more complex vanilla flavor to a custard or other dessert than vanilla extract, but while any vanilla bean is better than none, not all vanilla beans offer the same flavors. They range in quality and price, and in a recent issue (July/Aug 2011) the test kitchen at Cook’s Illustrated set out to test five different brands of ... Read More »

Sof’ella Gourmet Gluten Free Chocolate Cake Mix, reviewed

Sof'ella Gluten Free Chocolate Cake Mix

Not every cake mix is going to appeal to me, but the gourmet mixes that use all natural ingredients tend to catch my eye and get me wondering how they compare to real, homemade baked goods. I’ve tried some mixes with great results, and others with more mixed feelings. This Sof’ella Gourmet Gluten Free Chocolate Cake Mix is a little bit unusual because it is ... Read More »

Penzey’s Spices Cake Spice, reviewed

Penzey's Cake Spice

Spices all have distinctive flavors and add a lot of character to baked goods (and other recipes). Sometimes we’ll encounter one spice on its own in a recipe, but often spices are paired up with other complementary spices to build a solid flavor base for a dish. A great example of this is pumpkin pie spice, a blend of cinnamon, ginger, cloves and nutmeg that ... Read More »

Cook’s Country rates graham crackers

Graham Cracker Brands

When you have a recipe that calls for a graham cracker crust, you can run out to the store and pick one up that is already made. But like so many things, even graham cracker pie crusts are best when you start with whole crackers and make them into a crust yourself. Graham crackers are tasty in pie crust and s’mores, but how much thought ... Read More »

Rodelle Vanilla Sugar, reviewed

Rodelle Vanilla Sugar

I keep a container full of vanilla sugar in the back of my pantry that I refresh every time I have an extra vanilla bean around. Making your own vanilla sugar is a great way to repurpose vanilla beans that you have already use to infuse a custard or other sauce with vanilla, giving them a second life (and getting your money’s worth!) in the ... Read More »

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