- Aug 08, 2013
We always get asked why our baked goods taste so darn good. The answer is, of course, Cheatin' Wheat! Our Cheatin' Wheat Gluten Free Flour is the base for everything we do and is a perfect all purpose blend that is never dense, dry, grainy or metallic tasting. However, we also put a lot of thought into our food to ensure our stuff is just better than the rest. Here are some of my favorite flavor boosting tips, adapted to cooking at home.
1. Use the best quality ingredients you can afford.
Whatever that means for you. We all shop at different stores, have different priorities (organic, all natural, non-GMO) and have different food budgets. So, really all I am advocating is buy the best ingredients you can. If great tasting, quality ingredients go in to the recipe, great tasting, quality desserts come out.
2. Buy fresh butter for your baking.
Butter is one of the most delicate foods in the refrigerator. I guess by delicate I mean susceptible to absorbing other flavors and odors. It doesn't help that many of us store our butter unwrapped in the convenient butter tray. Or that we use the knife we have been using to chop onions to cut off a hunk of butter for cooking. Guess what? If your butter smells and tastes like garlic, onions or leftovers, your baked good is going to taste like that too. No, the box of baking soda won't save you. Just go ahead and buy fresh butter for your baking.
3. Use brown butter instead of melted butter.
Most people associate brown butter, also known as beurre noisette, with savory foods. But I have to tell ya, it is also my go to secret ingredient in any dessert that calls for melted butter. I cannot stress how much I love this stuff. It is one of those magical ingredients that makes everything better. It has a rich, nutty, almost caramel-like flavor. Better yet, it is super easy to make!
4. Don't forget the salt.
I think salt is an essential ingredient in baking. Sure, you may only add a little bit at a time, but don’t take salt for granted! Salt accentuates the flavor of baked goods, particularly the flavors of butter, caramel and chocolate.
5. Make those nuts roasty, toasty.
Taking the time to toast nuts prior to using them in your baked goods may feel like an extra, unnecessary step in the process. However, I am convinced it is well worth it. Nuts are high in fat and oils, which means their flavor, color and aroma intensify from roasting. This is a huge benefit to your baking since it will create more depth of flavor and texture. Check out our brief post on toasting nuts.
6. Plump up that dried fruit.
If you are using dried fruit in a recipe, you have a great reason to add another layer of flavor. You should always soak the dried fruit first, and not in water. Using water to soak your fruit is a missed opportunity. For maximum impact, soak fruit in fruit juice, whiskey, rum, or brandy. This will moisten the fruit, making it tender, juicy, flavorful and a great addition to your baked good.
7. Ain't nothing like the real thang, baby.
Try to avoid imitation anything. There are so many great ingredients in the world, why oh why, choose to buy cheap imitation oils and extracts. I am just going to be honest, they do not taste very good. No ifs, and or buts.....
8. Toast those spices.
Spices make up for their tiny size with big flavor and aroma. These small, colorful flecks are what bring dishes to life and make each dish unique. Spices can add richness, intensity, heat, depth or sweetness. Toasting whole spices before using them releases their essential oils and adds more flavor and fragrance to the finished dish. It only takes 5 minutes and is well worth it.
9. Pre-ground spices are fine, just not sublime.
Grind your spices right before using - this means buying as many spices as you can in their whole form. Whole spices store longer and have a flavor that is fuller, richer and superior to even the freshest ground stuff. This is because the aromatic oils in spices begin to fade within hours of grinding. So even if you’re buying a premium ground spice, it’s at least a few days old and not as good as it could be. And who are we kidding, how long has that ground cinnamon been in the pantry anyway?