Recipe Tips

2 Feb

I don’t know if you’ve noticed or not, but on Wednesdays I’ve been trying to share a delicious recipe from my cooking escapades the week before. This week I’d planned on sharing my family’s favorite No Bake Cookie recipe (I promise I will one day), but I totally forgot to take pictures last time I indulged in that gooey chocolaty delight. So in lieu of an actual recipe, I thought I’d share little secrets to make your tried and true recipes a little tastier. All of these tips can be achieved by using staple ingredients you already have on hand. Well, at least I picture every kitchen having these items on hand, but who knows? Maybe my kitchen is weird. Anyway, I hope you are able to try one of these out soon! Feel free to share any little secret you know as well!


These sweet tips may seem a little off, but I promise they are ultimately delightful if you take the chance.

Sugar tip #1: My mom taught me to add a tablespoon (or so) of brown sugar to tomato-based sauces. Trust me on this. To my brown sugar trained palate, sugarless sauces taste one-dimensional and acidic. But with the addition of a little sugar, the sauces become rich and more balanced. See my Homemade Pizza recipe for real life application.

Sugar tip #2: The second unexpected sugar addition? Green Beans. When my mom sautés green beans, she adds a couple tablespoons of white sugar to the mix. I can’t explain it, but the melding of olive oil, green bean essence and sugary sweetness hits the spot every time.


Spice up your life with cinnamon!

Spicy tip #1: If you are poor and have to buy a cheap-o coffee blend, try adding a dash or two of cinnamon before you turn on the pot. Cinnamon will bring out the best in almost any cup of coffee or make an already delicious cup even better.

Spicy tip #2: I’ve also added cinnamon and nutmeg to my standard pancake and waffle recipes. This subtle addition makes Saturday breakfast a little more special.

Spicy tip #3: Finally, cinnamon and chocolate are surprisingly good partners. Maybe not Peanut Butter and Jelly level, but close. If you don’t believe me, try out my Mexican Chocolate Cake. Then we can talk.

And…ok, fine. Vanilla

It’s true, describing something as ‘vanilla’ often means that it is run of the mill or without that special pizzazz factor. But please, don’t associate this ‘lameness tendency’ when adding vanilla to recipes. By the way, please buy pure vanilla extract – artificial need not apply.

Vanilla Tip: Vanilla is your friend, and sneaking in an extra ½ tsp or so into your cookie, cake or even pancake recipes will take your baking to the next level. I remember learning this tip from my sister-in-law as she liberally added vanilla to her delightful Bailey’s Irish Cream Brownies. Since I started taking her advice and loosening up my strict adherence to vanilla quantities, I’ve gotten a lot more compliments on my chocolate chip cookies. So try it! You know you want more compliments, too!

These are just little tips, but they go a long way!

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