Category Archives: Product Reviews

Deep Chocolate Cake with a Raspberry Mousse Heart

Deep Chocolate Cake with a Raspberry Mousse Heart

When I saw Wilton’s Tasty Fill Heart Cake Set, I knew that I wanted to try making one of the lovely heart-centered cakes myself. A cake with a heart-shaped center is perfect Valentine’s Day. After I picked up the cake pan set, all I needed to do was decide what flavor cake I wanted to make. I decided to work backwards and, knowing that I ... Read More »

CI tastes tests instant espresso for baking

Instant coffee is a great ingredient to have in the kitchen pantry if you like to bake. Many recipes, especially recipes involving chocolate, call for either a small amount of brewed coffee or simply for a bit of instant coffee to be added to highlight the darker chocolate notes in the recipe. It’s very convenient to be able to whip up a strong cup of ... Read More »

Trader Joe’s Macarons à la Parisienne, reviewed

Trader Joe's Macarons, close-up

French macarons are a little bit more difficult to make than your average chocolate chip cookie. They’re not by any means impossible, but the light meringue cookies take a bit of time and patience to bake and sandwich together. The finished cookies are well-worth the wait because of their lovely texture, with a crisp shell and creamy center, and how flavorful they are. Another thing ... Read More »

Pillsbury Easy Frost Frosting, reviewed

Pillsbury Easy Frost, reviewed

I was pretty skeptical when I tried Pillsbury Easy Frost Frostings because I just don’t care for store-bought frostings too much. They may be easy to use, and it is certainly convenient to have a can in the back of the pantry in case of a cake-frosting emergency, but they tend to be flat and artificial tasting. They don’t compare to the flavor of a quick ... Read More »

Trader Joe’s Buttermilk Biscuits, reviewed (refrigerated)

Trader Joe's Buttermilk Biscuits

The last time I tried biscuits from Trader Joe’s, it was a disaster. Not only were the baking directions on the package terrible, the biscuits looked and tasted bad no matter what you did. Often, TJ’s stocks very good ready-make products, but perhaps bake-from-frozen biscuits were not the way to go. I was willing to give them the benefit of the doubt where biscuits were ... Read More »

Smuckers PlateScapers Vanilla, reviewed

Smuckers PlateScapers, plated

A few years ago, there was a dessert plate-garnishing craze in restaurants. Whipped cream, chocolate swirls, caramel shards, confectioners sugar and coulis in a dozen different flavors were heaped onto plates to the point where they almost obscured the actual dessert! Fortunately, there has been a big scaling back and now plate garnishes tend to be limited to things that actually complement the flavor of ... Read More »

Pepperidge Farms Puff Pastry Shells, reviewed

Pepperidge Farms Puff Pastry Shells

Puff pastry is a very easy product to work with, which is one of the reasons that it is a staple in many bakers’ freezers. It helps that it has a wonderfully light, crispy and flaky texture and a buttery flavor, too. Homemade puff pastry is great when you have a bit of time to make it, but store-bought is the way to go most ... Read More »

CI taste tests ground cinnamon

CI taste tests ground cinnamon

At one time, you could search for cinnamon on the spice aisle at the grocery store and see just a plainly market bottle staring back at you. No country of origin listed, no special variety mentioned. In most stores these days, the selection looks quite a bit different, with various brands and types of cinnamon to choose from.  Is there a difference between the brand ... Read More »

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