Vain Vanilla Original Baker's Blend Pure Vanilla Extract
This small-batch vanilla extract from Kansas-based Vain Vanilla is prepared completely by hand using only the best ingredients. The Original Baker's Blend is made with top-shelf rum that emphasizes vanilla's sweet characteristics and adds its own cane-sugar dimension. (Commercial vanilla, in contrast, is made with cheap alcohol that is essentially moonshine.) The pods themselves are a mix of two varietals: creamy, smooth and strong Planifolia (which some know as Madagascar Bourbon vanilla) and fruity-floral Tahitensis, or Tahitian vanilla. Together, these vanilla pods produce a perfectly balanced extract that is full-flavored yet delicate, with warm and subtly marshmallowy notes.
We especially love that Vain Vanilla leaves its vanilla pods in the bottle, which has two benefits. First, over time the extract will continue to deepen in color and become more complex as the pods release more flavor compounds; you may, for instance, begin to detect the chocolate, anise or chocolate notes associated with Tahitian vanilla. Second, when you're done with the vanilla extract, you can still slice open the pods and use the beans themselves in your desserts.
Use Vain Vanilla Original Baker's Blend as the key flavoring for our Dutch Butter Cake (Boterkoek) or in the custard layer of our Brown Sugar Tart. Rum has a similar warmth and depth as brown sugar, so the aroma of this vanilla extract perfectly accents desserts made with the sweetener—our Danish Dream Cake is another example. We also like the buttery, full quality of Vain Vanilla's product with nutty almonds. Or make our Chocolate-Orange Tart, which features vanilla in both the filling and tart shell.
- Net Weight: 8 oz.
- Ingredients: Vanilla bean and rum
Milk Street Caramel Brûlé Coffee Sugar
Our Caramel Brûlé Coffee Sugar comes from the Vietnamese tradition, picked up from the French, of using sweetened condensed milk to temper strong coffee. Vietnamese coffee beans are uniquely roasted with a little butter and sugar, giving them a uniquely caramelized flavor that comes through in the cup. Our blend is vanilla forward with a hint of maltiness and rounded creamy sweetness with just a hint of cinnamon. It’s as good in black coffee as it is in strong black British tea or Indian-style chai.
- Net Weight: 4.6 ounces
- Ingredients: Sugar, Malted Milk Powder (Malted Barley, Wheat, Milk, Water, Hydrolyzed Wheat Gluten, Sodium Bicarbonate, Salt), Non-Fat Dry Milk, Natural Flavor, Cinnamon, Natural Flavor with other Natural Flavors (Maltodextrin, Salt, Gum Acacia, Guar Gum, Sodium Bicarbonate, Silicon Dioxide [free flow agent]), Corn Syrup Solids, Salt.
- Allergens: Milk and wheat
Il Colle Del Gusto Sicilian Pistachio Spread
For those who thought the Italians couldn’t top themselves after Nutella, we have good news. We recently discovered—and became obsessed with—Pistacchiosa, a sweet pistachio paste from Il Colle Del Gusto that renders other sweet spreads and nut butters second best. Made from Sicilian pistachios and extra-virgin olive oil, Pistacchiosa is a creamy, aromatic spread you will want to put on all your desserts and, yes, eat straight out of the jar.
The marriage of pistachio and olive oil came about via a different union, between Antonio Della Corte and Annamaria Conti. He worked in gelato and pastry shops creating sweet mixes; she ran a farm and bed-and-breakfast and loved to make her own olive oil. The rest is history. They started their company, Il Colle Del Gusto, and sold a line of spreads at farmers markets around Rome, among them Pistacchiosa.
We love to pair this intensely rich pistachio butter with fruity flavors: raspberry or strawberry jam and marmalade or a handful of chopped dried cherries or apricots. Ribbon a layer through your favorite pound cake, or smear across warm hearty whole-grain toast sprinkled with coarse salt or crumbled fresh goat cheese and a drizzle of honey. We also like to fold Pistacchiosa into a batch of ice cream or gelato and serve with grated bittersweet chocolate. Add a thin veneer to sandwich cookies such as our Citrus-Plum Linzer Cookies —the possibilities are endless, if you can keep from eating Pistacchiosa straight off the spoon.
- Net Weight: 250 grams
- Ingredients: Sicilian pistachios, sugar, extra-virgin olive oil, rice flour, sunflower lecithin as emulsifier
- Allergens: Contains pistachios and traces of other nuts, including peanuts. May contain traces of soy.
- Place of Origin: Italy
Little Apple Treats Original Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is one of the most common vinegars most home cooks reach for, yet what’s sold in most supermarkets is harshly acidic and tasting of anything but apples. Sebastopol’s Little Apple Treats makes apple cider vinegar, however, is a world apart from the supermarket stuff. Produced from hand-picked apples, not the low-grade and windfall apples most companies use, and aged in oak barrels for two years before bottling, the cider is bright and sharp, with a bold apple flavor and subtle caramel tones contributed by the barrel aging. This is the best American apple cider vinegar we’ve tasted, every bit on par with the fancy, expensive French stuff from Normandy.
The vinegar’s flavor will really shine in our Apple and Fennel Salad with Candied Pecans, a New Orleans-Lebanese mash up by chef Alon Shaya. Or try the Smoky Grilled Pork Chops with Cider Gastrique from another New Orleans chef, Isaac Toups.
- Net volume: 375 milliliters
- Ingredients: Organic apples
La Vecchia Dispensa Organic Apple Saba
The Italian condiment saba dates back to the ancient Romans, who first started cooking fruit juice down to a syrup, in order to remove its water content and preserve their harvest. We at Milk Street are obsessed with the Organic Apple Saba from La Vecchia Dispensa for its especially complex taste, with a rich quality reminiscent of dried fruit—think raisins or plums—and a semi-tart, bright finish that is pure apple. The family-owned company in Modena, Italy, has specialized in the age-old technique for fermenting saba into vinegar for four generations. We love how the company has adapted its expertise to make Organic Apple Saba: Over the course of 48 hours, local apple juice is cooked down to deepen its fruity sweetness, mellow out tartness and develop a rich, caramelized aroma. We guarantee you've never tasted anything like this rich, luxurious condiment.
The deep sweetness of La Vecchia Dispensa's Organic Apple Saba can serve as a great complementary flavor in savory recipes, similar to balsamic. Glaze roasted chicken or pork, or drizzle over seared salmon and garnish with a handful of toasted almonds or walnuts. We also like it tossed with braised greens (try spinach, chard or kale) and blended with caramelized onions and sautéed apples. Use the saba to enhance simple pureeed winter squash soup or meaty green lentils, like our Lentil Salad with Gorgonzola.
On the sweet side, swirl Organic Apple Saba into yogurt or over oatmeal topped with walnuts and dried cherries. Drizzle it over toast slathered with tahini, French toast, pancakes with apple butter, or toasted pound cake. It's absolutely delicious with ice cream—especially vanilla, dulce de leche, ginger or cinnamon— either on its own or on a sophisticated sundae, with toasted nuts and brown sugar-spiked whipped cream. Or simply mix a teaspoon or two with seltzer water and a bit of lemon juice for a refreshing drink—add an optional dash of bitters for an adult twist.
- Net Volume: 3.38 fluid ounces
- Ingredients: 100% organic apple juice
- Place of Origin: Italy
Leonardi Saba Mosto d'Uva Cotto
Saba is simply grape 'must' (juice) cooked down and aged to molasses-rich, raisin-like sweetness and a thick, syrupy texture. In this case, those grapes are Trebbiano, the same used for balsamic vinegar. A drizzle can balance bitter braised greens, intensify the sweetness of roasted meats and balance the acidity of dressing and vinaigrettes. On the sweet side, try drizzling over ice cream, fruit or oatmeal. A little goes a long way.
- 250 ml
India Tree Dark Muscovado Sugar
Conventional brown sugar is simply white, refined sugar moistened with molasses. On the other hand, raw muscovado sugar has a rich, earthy and almost smoky flavor, as well as a high molasses content. India Tree’s moist-textured variety, processed in Mauritius, can be substituted for dark brown sugar in any recipe (we tested this) or used to add extra flavor to coffee, tea or cocktails (perfect in an Old Fashioned). Try muscovado sugar in blondies or gingerbread for extra dimension, or showcase its complex flavor in our Brown Sugar Tart. Its earthiness works great in savory applications, too, especially in rich meat dishes such as our Colombian Braised Beef (Posta Negra).
- Net Weight: 1 pound
- Ingredients: Unrefined brown sugar, molasses
- Certifications: Kosher, fair trade
Cepa Vieja Sherry Vinegar
Vinagres de Yema’s Cepa Vieja falls somewhere between a balsamic and a red wine vinegar, with a sweet flavor and lingering hint of raisiny must that is typical of aged sherries. Aged in 100-year-old oak barrels, the final product has the complexity of every previous batch, as well as smoky notes from the oak itself. The company—founded by renowned winemaker Fernando T. De Terry y Galarza in Spain’s Andalucia—produces its vinegar via the solera method, the same process used to blend sherries of different ages. With the flavor profile of sherry vinegar that has been aged for 25 years, Cepa Vieja is the oldest vintage available from the company. Try it combined with sweet-tart grapes in our Roasted Chicken Breasts with Grapes and Sherry Vinegar.
- Net Volume: 500 milliliters
- Ingredients: Sherry vinegar, potassium metabisulfite (as preservative)
- Place of Origin: Spain
The Art of Pecan Pecan Oil
We are obsessed with the bold flavor of Art of Pecan's Pure Pecan Oil, which retains all of its nutty aroma and tastes like fresh pecans in liquid form: buttery and sweet up front, with a subtle pleasant bitterness toward the finish to balance the richness of the oil. this limited-production product is made from native Texas pecans that have a more intense flavor and natural sweetness than other varieties. Once a year, the company partners with Texas ranches to access their land and shake a new crop of pecans from their trees. The Art of Pecan then expeller-presses the pecans at peak freshness at a dedicated mill in Dripping Springs, Texas.
Light-bodied with a clean—not cloying—finish, this oil is ideal as a finishing touch on all kinds of dishes. While Pure Pecan Oil has a higher smoke point than peanut and soybean oil for cooking, we recommend you use it raw to fully appreciate its flavor. Try it for a rich, nutty addition to pasta dishes, or use it in conjunction with olive oil to upgrade your pesto, such as in our Rigatoni with Ricotta-Sage Pesto. We also like a bit of this oil on our Gemelli Pasta with Chevre, Arugula and Walnuts to amplify the nutty flavors and balance the goat cheese in this recipe. The Art of Pecan's Pure Pecan Oil is also ideal for salad dressings, especially those that feature the nuts themselves. Try substituting it for olive oil in our Shaved Pear and Endive Salad with Blue Cheese and Pecans or Apple and Fennel Salad with Candied Pecans. On the sweet side, brush pecan oil on our French Walnut Tart before serving for a lustrous sheen and added aroma—since walnuts and pecans are in the same family, The Art of Pecan's oil can enhance the flavor of both nuts. You can also drizzle pecan oil on our Maple-Whiskey Pudding Cakes for more complexity and warm richness.
- Net Weight: 8.45 fluid ounces
- Ingredients: Pecan Oil
- Allergens: Contains oil from tree nuts (pecans)
- Place of Origin: Texas