GREAT GIFTS FALL 2016
Betterbaking.com’s Pre-holiday Gift Round Up 2016
As you know, we’re always testing and trying out interesting products for both baking as well as lifestyle. Here’s some special finds I'm happy to share with you. It also includes a full feature and bonus recipes on Nordicware Bundt (c) pans in honour of the company's 70th Anniversary Bundt Pan Feature and Free Recipes!.
Anything on this list is a great gift for the holiday season ahead or …you! Enjoy. (I’ve also snuck in a bonus recipe for Sweet Potato Pie Biscotti that has almost replaced Pumpkin Pie Biscotti as my favorite.
Nordicware Bundt Pans
Fat Daddio Pans
Keurig Coffee Makes
Dahon Folding Bikes
Le Creuset Cookware, Bakeware and Fine Tabletop Wares
Who doesn’t know and love Le Creuset? Whether you’re a new cook in your first apartment or a seasoned pro, iconic Le Creuset’s enamel cookware says: a cook lives here. But Le Creuset has so much more to offer. Their flagship stores in North America are like an oasis of art (art from the kitchen), showcasing beautiful, useful, high performance and densely hued cook and bakeware. We recently tested their salt and pepper mills in the Betterbaking.com kitchen and were blown away!
Le Creuset’s new Salt & Pepper Mills (MSRP $40 each) are a beautiful combination of modern technology and classic form. The perfect host gift, the salt and pepper mills are sold separately and available in a rainbow of 13 iconic Le Creuset colours. The ceramic grinder is strong enough to perfectly crack peppercorns and the corrosion-resistant mechanism is perfect for producing a fine salt.
What I like in particular about Le Creuset salt and pepper mills is the rainbow of colours that makes you want a set in each colour. You can certainly mix and match colours as per your décor or seasonal accents, plus they make a great gift for so many occasions. Then add a 10 year (who does that anymore!?) warranty.
But best of all – nothing is better than freshly ground Tellicherry pepper or Himalayan Pink Salt – among other grindable peppers and salts you find in gourmet stores (even Costco!). For that however, you need a reliable mill that is not all looks and Le Creuset has that covered. These outperformed everything we have in the test kitchen!
We recommend these highly and with the holiday gift season upon us, suggest to make a visit to a store or online and pick out some Le Creuset special finds before they sell out!
Visit www.lecreuset.ca or www.lecreuset.com
Hot coffee, fresh and fragrant, by the cup is every coffee lover’s dream. Nothing is great about drip coffee that stays in the carafe for hours, quickly turning to that scorched taste. So what if you had an on-tap coffee brewer, dispenser that brewed a cup at a time (any strength, in various cup sizes) that promised outstanding coffee each and every time? Say yes – and welcome to the original one-cup brewer: Keurig.
Today’s Keurig is a state-of-the-art wonder that has made me abandon my time-consuming pour-over coffee with its filters, special kettles and grinds. I am so smitten with the ease of Keurig, the performance and taste, I doubt I’ll ever return to either pour-over or the old school electric drip machine.
I love the 11 colours the Keurig 200 comes in, the option to make one cup, any size, or a thermal café for a crowd. The variety of K-cups is astounding and it’s a super way to try so many types of coffee brands you wouldn’t have known about. But there’s also the do-it-yourself K-cup that allows you to use your own favorite grind of coffee – it’s a money saver but also offers that customized option wherein you can use any coffee you normally do but with Keurig ease. Keurig units now operate with a touch panel, alerting you to when to add water or change to a new filter pods (you pop in the reservoir); they make hot cider, tea and any hot chocolate mix you like. K-Cups are available on the Keurig site or in supermarkets everywhere. In particular the Green Mountain and A L Van Houtte were two varieties that shone!
Any of the Keurig’s five models (including programmable models) make a perfect gift for students, first apartments (the unit is so compact!) housewarming, or the home or traditional office. We're proclaiming this BB's Gift of the Year!
I recently discovered a totally unique company with artisanal baking products. Beautiful, hand carved dough whisks, spoons, cutting boards and a lame, that French cutting blade for French and European style sourdoughs, are just some of the products Zatoba is making its mark with. Zatoba pursues excellence with youthful passion and vibrance. In their own words: “they perceive with fresh perspective; looking for new solutions to solve old problems”
Zatoba asks the questions like "why use plastic when you can use heirloom quality hardwood? Why use chemical sealants when you can use organic Bees Wax? Why use offshore production when we can craft things ourselves locally? Why not just do things better? Why not do things right!" Why not, indeed? What I love about this product line is that each item is both utilitarian and aesthetic. It’s an extra way to enjoy baking by celebrating the vary tools you use. A company that takes the time to make artware of everyday items is remarkable, especially in this day and age.
But there’s more: how do the actions of Zatoba affect others and how can we make that influence positive? Zatoba answers these questions with Action! Following the motto "Don't just say it, do it; believe in better and be better" This is why they included seeds and organic soil directly into their packaging, allowing customers to grow herbs and flowers to accompany their products. This company does not just use renewable lumber, they actually renew it. For every Black walnut spoon purchased this business plants a tree in partnership with One Tree Planted. Over the lifetime of this tree, it is calculated to replace Hundreds of times more material than thee amounts used, and filter 40 tons of Co2 from the air.
Dough Whisk, Product Features:
Zatoba handcrafts your dough whisk from premium black walnut and stainless steel. The whisks top is carefully sealed in place to ensure maximum durability and easy cleaning. The design is specifically catered to the need of the discerning baking enthusiasts. Zatoba's elegantly formed whisk top was inspired by the functional beauty of spirals found throughout nature. This tool makes short work in carrot cake batter, muffins or scones, or béchamel sauce, breaking up bubbles and crumbs and creating an exceptionally smooth baking experience. Many professional bakers rave about the whisk dynamic design and the fact it prevents cross contamination when working with sourdough yeast. Making this your go-to, all-purpose mixing tool.
Black Walnut Bread Lame, Product Features
Zatoba strives to make a superior baking experience which is why they revolutionized the bread lame (pronounced Lahm) in France. Often referred to as a bread slasher, this lame is lovingly designed from a seasoned slab of American Black Walnut. Every slasher is unique and represents the character and passion of the artisan at Zatoba. The crisp smell of walnut shavings compliment the organic beeswax polish, and the sturdy brass shield glows against the dark grain. When your lame arrives in a 100% recycled box you'll know that it is ready for a lifetime of dough slashing. The packaging includes the bread lame along with a pack of adjustable, razor sharp blades; assisting with the deepest dough slash patterns and designs. Once your bread bakes, these patters will expand showcasing your beautiful works of art each and every time.
Visit www.Zatoba.com soon and make sure you register so you don’t miss any of their frequent specials.
Nordic Ware celebrates 70 Years of Innovation! Bundt pans still rule!
Free Bundt © Pan Feature with Three Free Recipes! Bundt Pan Feature and Free Recipes!
If you’ve ever baked, been to a pot luck, school bake-sale or baking fund raiser, chances are you’ve used a Bundt © cake pan or seen someone bring in a glamourous, round cake with fluted sides. That, my dears, is not just any pan. That’s an American success story and a pan that has its own patent. Read all about it in Bundt Pan Feature and Free Recipes!.
To celebrate 70 years of baking sweetness across the continent, Nordicware has launched a series of beautiful anniversary pans including their classic Bundt © and the Crown Bundt © among other pans and bakeware. The Bundt © pans are made of the iconic cast aluminum but the company also has other pans (and appealing mini Bundt © pans) from brownie, scone to shortbread pans.
There’s clean. And then there’s steam clean - Shark 2-in-1 Steam Pocket Mop
That’s the claim of Shark Clean brand floor steam cleaners and trying them is believing! Steam not only lets you achieve a quick and simple clean on your sealed hard floors, it also enables you to remove 99.9% of common household bacteria* when and where you need it—with no chemical residue. Floors of any type get clean but also sanitized.
We tried this steam cleaning mop in the BB test kitchen where it steamed away layers and layers of grime without using a trace of soap (and hence, no scum or use of harsh detergents). There’s a shaggy side for cleaning large areas of floor and a scrub side that provides added scrub power when you need it. The mop itself detaches (it features a Velcro closure) for popping in your washer, getting and clean and ready for the next floor mission! There’s also a host of attachments made for cleaning moldings, window frames, appliance crevices and any surface (not just floors) that needs the Shark treatment.http://www.sharkclean.com/
The Hon brothers started the revolution of their day with the world’s first folding bicycle small enough to fit under a train seat. 220+ patents and over 30 years of quiet evolution and ingenious technologies later, DAHON is the leader in folding bike technology, changing the way people around the world get from “A” to “B”. The technologies behind Dr. David Hon’s patents for frame and wheel configurations, metal alloys and folding mechanisms have delivered the mechanical basis for 98% of today’s folding bicycles. With five million DAHON folding bikes in motion, they are incontestably the global leader in folding bicycles – now a firm element of lifestyle in over 30 countries.
Headquartered in California, DAHON now produces their distinctive folding bikes in their own factories and production lines in China, and most recently Bulgaria – where all production for Europe takes place. DAHON’s superior parts and component technology continue to be sourced from the world’s best manufacturers. When the oil crisis hit in 1975, many Californians realized that better urban mobility was needed to shift their reliance from gas-guzzling cars, and Dr. Hon was one of them. People envisioned alternatives in combinations of mass transit and light, economical vehicles, both human and electric powered. Recalling his days at college, where he had dismantled his bike every day to be able to stuff it into his car, he began his own tinkering on a folding bike that would appeal to the masses: light, good looking, quickly foldable – and affordable. Prototypes began to take form in his garage. The rest, as they say, is folding bike history.
I’ve always driven a folding bike – which led me to Dahon. Folders used to be called “Commuter’ bikes for their appeal to commuters who could take them on train or buses, part of their commute, and then hop on the bike to commute the rest of the journey on their bikes.
I began with a bright yellow folding bike from Italy called an Amica. I went to a local bike store at fifteen to purchase a new bike, armed with my piggy bank of quarters and dimes and the minute I saw the cute, foldable bike, I was sold. I forget my intention to get a 3-speed CCM and I bought the canary Amica and biked it home that day. The Amica wore out and I graduated to a beautiful Raleigh folding bike. Alas, that bike didn’t last a few Canadian winters improperly stored and I discovered the KHS line of folding bikes but I knew there were a were leaders in folding bikes, and when I needed a new bike, I would accept no other but Dahon, the leader in folding bikes.
What’s great about the Dahon bike (I have the rust-resistant, Marina D7) is that it does indeed, fold on a dime. You can throw it in your Civic and head out to the country or bike pathway without needing expertise, tools or (obviously) a bike rack. The bike is a 26 pound wonder, with 7-Speed Shimano derailer and 20 inch wheels. Make no mistake –smaller is not slower. I’ve driven the bike with friends on renown brand racing bikes and handily out-biked them. This bike is sheer fun. It’s an exuberant ride and handles bumps with amazing shock absorption. Plus you get stares – it’s aesthetically a beautiful bike. When you think joy ride, keeping ‘green’, keeping fit and having fun – think Dahon.
I love naturally non-stick anodized aluminum bakeware. It doesn't stick, it's light coloured so cakes don't get overbrown and these pans feature great release. One of, if not the best examples of this sort of bakeware is the Fat Daddio's Angel Food Cake Pan. It's sturdy and commercially heavy weight and constructed to take years of baking, especially something like my famed Moist and Majestic Honey Cake. I can't recommend this brand highly enough for all your bakeware needs, especially in your core, basic pans (layer cakes, loaves, quick breads and more)