Saturday, December 13, 2008

Frugal flavoring

Today I'm baking Orange Chocolate Checkers for Home Ec 101's Sweets For The Season. Let's just say they turned out better than our ramshackle gingerbread house!

Cheat: I never have unsweetened chocolate on hand, so I substitute 3 Tbsp. cocoa + 1 Tbsp. shortening!

Lately I'm experimenting with frugal flavors, using baking extracts I bought on clearance: mint, lemon, maple, walnut and rum.

It's so easy to get a variety of flavors from basic recipes--without relying on pricey nuts and chocolates.

What's your favorite flavor extract, and how do you like to use it?


Kelly said...

It is very satisfying to use what is on hand .
Creativity , It's a good thing !!!
Cookies look GREAT : ) Meredith .

Nancy said...

A week ago I made 4 batches of cookies for the freezer and I used what was in the cabinets. The recipes were from a 1950's McCall's cookie cookbook that belonged to my mother. They were wonderful. One was a Vanilla Nut Refrigerator cookie -- roll, refrigerate, slice & bake. I hadn't made them in a while and I forgot how convenient it is to have the dough ready to slice & bake in my fridge. They taste just like the Keebler Pecan Sandies on the grocery store shelf.

One Woman's Journey - a journal being written from Woodhaven - her cottage in the woods. said...

Meredith, one of my favorite flavors - that I just ran out of and cannot find in local stores and online is expensive - is black walnut. Just a drop in pumpkin bread or some cakes really makes it good. If you have ever gone the process of shelling black walnuts you know how easy to use the flavoring is.

Mercedes said...

Hi Meredith,

I have made these cookies using a recipe from Martha Stewart and it uses cocoa too. I love making these cookies for gifting. They look so fancy.


Sandy said...

I love coconut, love to put it in cookies! :)

Anonymous said...

I use orange flavoring in my hot chocolate. With a little coffee added and a dollop of whpped cream, it makes a pretty good mocha valencia. :)

Harper said...

I usually get almond extract. It's cheaper than vanilla and more frequently on sale than most flavors. It also goes with more things than most other extracts.

Tasha said...

I love your substiute for the recipe.

How much unsweetened chocolate does the 3 TB cocoa and 1 TB shortening substitute for?

Thank you,

Vanessa said...

these look beautiful! I'll have to tuck these away in the recipe file for next year.

I use almond flavoring a lot. It is super cheap at Aldi or SAV-A-LOT where we live. My favorite "every day" use for almond flavoring is in blueberry pancakes with a dash of nutmeg. They are surprisingly complementary flavors.

I've enjoyed reading your blog for probably a year now. Thanks for the SOLID thrifty ideas.

Vicky said...

My favorite flavoring is mapline. I use it in homemade pumpkin pie instead of vanilla. It gives a fabulous WOW to the pie. I used it once in whipped cream for the pumpkin pie, and that was good, too.

Meredith said...

Oh, I'm sorry!

1 oz unsweetened chocolate can be substituted by 3 Tbsp. cocoa plus 1 Tbsp. shortening, melted and stirred.

(That's clear when you click through to the recipe at Home Ec 101)

Liz said...

I love vanilla essence! And cocoa instead of chocolate in recipes.

DeeDee said...

I'm a sucker for the traditional Vanilla Extract. You can make Vanilla Extract at home, it consists of split Vanilla Beans soaking in Vodka. You finish it off with a bit of simple syrup and bottle it up with a bean or two in each bottle.

You can also make Vanilla simple syrup, just a standard simple syrup recipe and add in Vanilla Extract once cool. This is great to sweeten coffee & tea and use in whipped cream instead of granulated sugar.
You can sub other flavors like Almond or Rum instead of Vanilla.

Have a Happy Holidays!

Anne Marie@Married to the Empire said...

Vanilla is my favorite, but I'm a snob about it. I only use Mexican vanilla. It's not the inexpensive choice, but it's worth it.

Another fun one is root beer extract. I made some really interesting root beer cookies with it one time. Very different, but really good! And apparently, you can use the extract to make your own root beer. I'm not quite that industrious.

Anonymous said...

I like vanilla, of course. But it's something I think is worth the money to buy the real stuff.

My 2nd favorite is almond extract. Yummmm....Sometimes I'll put a drop in hot chocolate or coffee.

renee9558 said...

Your DD is looking more and more like her mom! They are sooo cute! How's the little man doing?

Anonymous said...

Looks fun!

Did you also add orange extract? I clicked thru to the recipe, but no mention.

I get so disappointed when an orange recipe turns out not intense enough. Even happen when adding zest sometimes!

deb meyers

Anonymous said...

I love that cocoa cheat and use it all the time.

Once I'm back to cooking, I'm going to make an effort to work through the extracts I have. I have bought a variety for recipes I don't make that often - I bet I could put them to good use with a little recipe hunting.


Tubo Family said...

Cocoa isn't a flavoring extract but I do love it and it fits much more easily in my budget than baking choc or chocolate chips. Just found a cocoa-based chocolate macademia nut cookie recipe in my Better Crocker that turned out great & cheap by skipping the macademias and subbing flaked coconut I had on hand. For us it has the bonus of being dairy free so can help convert recipes.

Anonymous said...

I love vanilla . We make Vanilla Tea several times a week here !! 1/2 tsp(or more) of vanilla in a tea cup , 4oz boiling water , 2 oz milk . sweeten to taste . We use honey,stevia or white sugar . Each has a unique taste ! My DS like 2 tsp sugar in his .
This is caffine free and yummy . With Stevia it is OK even at bedtime .

Amiyrah said...

rum extract is my drug of choice lately lol. I mostly use it in my pound cake recipes, but its heavenly in cream cheese icing that will be topping homemade cinnamon buns