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Friday, January 27, 2012

Perfecting Flavor

I'm going to let you in on a trade secret.There IS a difference in the end result of your cakes if you don't use quality ingredients. Seems silly; seems simple; but it's a step that is often overlooked. If you're going out of your way to bake a dessert for someone special, don't you want the finished product to be as tasty as can be? Sometimes it's necessary to spend a few extra dollars to buy the better chocolate or vanilla. Often these ingredients are easily accessible!

For starters, let's talk chocolate. I'll delve into some better brands another day, but for now let's walk through the supermarket together. Put down that Nestle! Don't touch the Hershey's! For a deliciously rich taste and smooth texture, pick up a bag or two of Ghirardelli chocolate chips. This California-based confectionary adds a sophisticated taste to any cake. I often use Ghirardelli in my kitchen, always to rave reviews. The chocolate melts well over a double boiler and has a very creamy taste, unlike the chalky after taste of some of its competitors.

As far as vanilla extract, if you're in a pinch you know where to go in the supermarket but I challenge you to take a trip to the mall instead. If your mall is anything like mine, I'd suggest getting there at opening time and go to Williams Sonoma (one of my FAVORITE stores!). Buy the Nielson-Massey Madagascar Pure Vanilla Extract ( Truthfully, I realize $19 for 8oz might seem like a lot, but recipes never call for much and if you want the best result, you need the best ingredients! This elevates the flavor from the regular store-brand bottles, and it's often a better deal.

Good luck baking! Be sure to send me pictures of your finished cakes, and check out my website:

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