Could these BE any cuter?! These chocolate-covered almonds are made to look like pimento olives, and they're so perfectly accurate, they have fooled my friends and family! The best part is, in addition to being adorable, they taste delicious, with two layers of candy coating on top of fresh, crunchy almonds. Eat them as a snack or use them to decorate cakes!
This Princess Cake and Cookie Emulsion makes all of your baked goods taste like they came straight from a bakery! This is my secret ingredient for giving my cakes and buttercreams that professional taste. It's hard to describe, but it tastes like a mix of vanilla, almond, and lemon extract, with just a sprinkling of pixie dust (or other magic!) added in. Give it a try and see if you don't agree!
Red tart cherries are the perfect addition to any dessert! They add a much-needed tart flavor to balance out the sweetness. Fresh tart cherries are the best, but they have a very short season and can be difficult to find in stores. When you want that tart flavor year-round, try buying them in cans. They work well for pies, cakes, and ice creams.
Almond extract adds a wonderfully realistic almond flavor to all sorts of desserts. My favorite almond flavoring isn't an extract at all--it's called a "bakery emulsion." Unlike an extract, it's not alcohol-based, and the almond flavor is less likely to evaporate during the baking process. It's a strong flavor, so you need just a small amount to get a robust almond taste!
Kettle Corn Popcorn is the best of all worlds - crunchy and a bit chewy, sweet and a bit salty, and perfect for using in desserts! Whether it's a big batch of caramel corn, a tray of popcorn balls, or popcorn cookies (yes, cookies!) I love using this popcorn to make my desserts special.
These Lindt White Chocolate Bars are great for baking, candy-making, and just munching plain! I usually choose dark chocolate over white, but if I had to pick one white bar to have in my pantry, it would be Lindt. They're easy to find, relatively affordable, and work well in almost any recipe calling for white chocolate. They're not the fanciest, but they get the job done at a good price!
Sure, we'd all like to make cake from scratch all the time. But sometimes it's just not possible! In those instances, I turn to the baker's friend, cake mix. You just need a few minutes of mixing and 20-30 minutes of baking to have a delicious cake in no time! These mixes are also great for making cake balls and cake pops!
These gorgeous Sixlets are one of my decorating secrets! Just a few placed on cupcakes or a cake can immediately make the dessert look polished and professional. I love the pastel colors in this Spring mix, but to be honest, I've never met a Sixlet I didn't like!
Rose water is magic! By adding a small amount of rose water to your cakes, frostings, or candy, you can give them the most lovely, light floral flavor. Use too much and it's overpowering, but if you add just a dab--it's delicious!
This is my favorite brand of raspberry jam! Raspberries are the first ingredient, and they use cane sugar, not corn syrup, to sweeten the jam. It has a fresh, clear raspberry taste that is equally good on toast, or in baked goods. It's more expensive to buy online, so I'd recommend trying to source it locally if you can.
I love these Mini Peanut Butter Cups! I add them to cookies, sprinkle them on top of brownies, put them on top of peanut butter fudge, and use them as cake and cupcake decorations. I try to keep a box in the fridge at all times, because they're so versatile I'm always finding more uses for them!
Freeze-dried fruit is my favorite secret weapon for making amazing fruit-flavored desserts! Using freeze-dried fruit adds wonderfully realistic and sweet-tart fruit flavor, without adding any additional moisture that might throw off dessert recipes.
Is it just me, or are these wafers impossible to find? I love using them to make icebox cakes and other no-bake desserts, but sometimes finding them in stores can be harder than spotting a unicorn! So whenever I do find them, I make sure to buy 3 or 4 boxes for future cookie emergencies. These thin, crispy chocolate cookies are the perfect icebox cake component, because they're not too sweet, with a deep dark chocolate flavor.
Ultra Gel is my thickener of choice for fruit pie fillings. It's amazing--it thickens the fruit juices beautifully, without lumps or any starchy taste or texture. I use it 1:1 for recipes that call for flour as a thickener, and ever since I've started using Ultra Gel, my apple and berry pies are better than ever!
Gelatin sheets aren't easy for me to find in stores, so I end up buying mine online. I love the platinum or gold-strength ones because they're super strong, crystal-clear, and don't have any sort of funky taste or smell. I could never make my famous Snow Globe Cupcakes without 'em!
Pecans are one of my favorite nuts! I grew up shelling the pecans that grew on my grandfather's many pecan trees. I love the nuts, but can say with total honesty that if I never shell a pecan again, it will be too soon. So I'm thankful that it's so easy to find shelled pecans in stores! I like to buy my nuts raw, to give me maximum flexibility to toast or bake with them.
If possible, I suggest buying these in the store, because they are much cheaper that way. But if you don't have a Trader Joe's nearby, I suggest you beg, borrow, or steal these nuts somehow, because they are AMAZING. Rich and buttery and silky-smooth, with coarse grains of salt and crispy bits of rosemary clinging to the outside. I rarely do anything but shovel them in my mouth by the handful, but when I have some self-restraint, they're great in both baked goods and salads.
If you're nuts for nuts like I am, then buying in bulk is the way to go! Almonds can be so expensive when you buy them in teensy packages in the baking aisle--I much prefer to buy mine in large quantities to save some dough. Be sure to keep them in a cool place so they don't go rancid before you can use them up!
Sure, you could make your own almond meal, but who has time to blanch almonds, dry them, then process them? Plus, even when you make your own, it probably won't be as finely textured as the kind you can buy. I like to save myself some time and effort and buy my almond meal by the bag. I use it in all sorts of baking recipes, from bread, to muffins, to cookies--even granola!
Red gel food coloring changed my LIFE. Okay, that's a bit of an exaggeration, but it's safe to say that it changed my red desserts! Trying to get a pure red color with liquid food coloring is impossible. Gel food coloring can provide a much bolder, more vibrant red, so you can get a stronger color while adding less coloring. Win-win!