Archive for: rodelle
Cold winter weather prompts many of us to spend extra time in the kitchen cooking and baking, but the springtime might be even better baking weather. As things warm up, all kinds of things come in to season and that makes me want to bake even more. If you’ve been experimenting with some springtime recipes, you should consider entering your creations in Rodelle’s Spring Sweepstakes. This contest is sponsored by Rodelle – my favorite producer of vanilla, as well as other amazing baking ingredients – and by KitchenAid. The grand prize winner will receive a KitchenAid® 5-qt. Stand Mixer & an incredible gift set of Rodelle’s gourmet baking ingredients.
I’m extra excited about the contest because everyone who enters will get access to Baking’s Best Basics, a great recipe app that I worked with Rodelle and KitchenAid to create! The app should work on any mobile device and features lots of go-to recipes for everyday baking, putting great basics at your fingertips for every occasion. I can’t wait for all of you to try out those recipes for yourselves – but entering the contest is the only way to access the download at the moment, so submit those spring recipes!
The contest runs until May 31st, and you can enter via the entry form on Rodelle’s site, where you can also get the full rules for the contest. Unlike some other contests, this one encourages photos and videos of entries, so don’t forget to snap a picture of your creation.
We have all had disasters in the kitchen before. Whether you added salt to a batch of cookies instead of sugar, stepped away from the stove to answer the phone and ended up with kitchen full of smoke, or discovered too late that your cousin put a frozen turkey into the oven for Thanksgiving dinner without defrosting it first, something as gone wrong at least once or twice in every kitchen. Sometimes, these disasters end up turning into something positive (sea salt caramels, anyone?) and turn into a tradition. Other times, they turn into a funny story that you and your family laugh about for years to come.
The Rodelle Challenge invites home bakers to share their best, worst and funniest baking moments for a chance to win a great prize. Rodelle, which is a company that makes some of my favorite vanilla products, has teamed up with KitchenAid to sponsor this annual contest. Six winners will receive a year’s supply of vanilla, cocoa and other baking ingredients AND a KitchenAid stand mixer just for sharing their baking stories. The contest runs through January 5rd, so any memorable baking moments that come up before the end of the year will be just in time to enter.
Of course, I’m keeping my fingers crossed that none of you will have any culinary disasters this holiday season, and that every baked good that comes out of your kitchen turns out to be perfect. But in case something goes wrong, don’t forget to snap a few pictures and enter the 2012 Rodelle Challenge, because you might end up with a brand new stand mixer for your trouble and that will make for a very memorable holiday.
When you have a basket of ripe strawberries, strawberry shortcake is one of the tastiest things that you can make with them. I find myself making strawberry shortcake all summer long, and I am always looking for a little twist to put on it, adding a new flavor or a new texture. One of my current favorite variations is for Strawberry Almond Shortcakes with Vanilla Yogurt Whipped Cream. The cake is moist and tender, with a strong almond flavor that really compliments the strawberries. The strawberries are macerated in vanilla sugar to highlight their natural sweetness and are served with a vanilla-kissed yogurt whipped cream that has a little more body than your average whipped cream.
This dessert is vanilla-heavy, and that is both because I love vanilla and because I put it together as a guest blog for my friends at Rodelle, which happens to make some of the best vanilla products that I’ve worked with. I’ve reviewed their extracts, which have some of the highest vanillin levels on the market, before and always get good results when I work with them. Of course, you can always make this recipe with other brands of vanilla, too.
My full guest post is featured on the Rodelle Blog, but you can skip straight to the recipe for Strawberry Almond Shortcakes with Vanilla Yogurt Whipped Cream if you already have your berries ready to go.
Chocolate extract is an alcohol solution infused with cocoa beans, which makes it very similar to vanilla extract, but with the flavor of cocoa instead of vanilla. It’s an interesting extract to work with because it is unusual and not often called for in recipes, although it can really round out the flavor of a chocolate dessert and highlight the chocolate flavor already there.
Rodelle Organics Organic Chocolate Extract is a high quality chocolate extract and I have had the pleasure of working with it lately. It is produced just like their vanilla extract: by distilling cocoa beans in a water and alcohol solution until that solution captures all of the flavor notes of chocolate. It smells like a bar of dark chocolate when you sniff the bottle, and that is exactly the flavor that gets transferred to any baked good you add this to. Like vanilla extract, it won’t replace actual chocolate in a recipe (a chocolate cake still needs cocoa or chocolate), but it will deepen that flavor and you’ll notice a difference in the finished product. I find that it really makes an impact in custard recipes, such as puddings and ice creams, and is a great addition to any chocolate frosting. It is difficult to detect in some baked goods simply because of the amount of chocolate already present in a recipe, but in simpler desserts (such as chocolate chiffon cakes versus intensely fudgy brownies) it can add a whole new layer of complexity and flavor.
Vanilla is one of the most important flavors in baking and we use both vanilla beans and vanilla extract in our recipes. When you see vanilla in the store, you probably notice that there are quite a few types of vanilla available. Sometimes, you’ll simply see plain old vanilla, but there is also Tahitian, Mexican and Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla. Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla is the most common, as Madagascar produces most of the world’s supply of vanilla, and it is often written simply as “Bourbon Vanilla.”
Although vanilla extract is made up of at least 35% alcohol by volume, the “bourbon” in “Bourbon Vanilla” is not the name of the alcohol used to make it. Bourbon vanilla is the name for all vanilla grown in Madagascar and other islands in the Indian Ocean, including Comoros and Réunion. Réunion was formerly known as the Île Bourbon, and it is the name of that island that gave Bourbon Vanilla its name. Bourbon vanilla beans come from the orchid V. planifolia. Bourbon vanilla beans have a high vanillin content and a very strong, clear and creamy vanilla flavor that is instantly resognizable and a great addition to any recipe.