These ingredients simply express our preferences and and we vouch for them if used in our recipes. If you substitute a specific ingredient called for in a recipe or you omit, substitute, add or change the proportions in a recipe just understand that your changes may affect the final result, especially with baking.
We generally use caster or superfine sugar for cakes, cookies, preserves, sorbet, ice cream and candied fruit. It gives a finer crumb to baked goods and dissolves quicker for the other confections.
We use Domino brand white superfine sugar for preserves and their dark and light brown sugar for baking and cooking.
We often use raw Demerara sugar for savory dishes and for a garnish on baked goods to add some crunch.
Sparkling white sugar is nice for cookies. There are different qualities of sparkling white sugar. We like King Arthur’s product.
We use only unsalted butter unless otherwise specified. Kerry Gold, President, Plugra and Nature Valley Cultured Butter and Land O Lakes are all good butters. The first three are higher in butter fat and cannot necessarily be interchanged with the Land O Lakes. For cooking we like to use the cultured butters but for baking it depends on the recipe. We will try and specify which butter we use, but for baked goods, assume were using Land O Lakes unless otherwise stated.
Bars : We are partial to Valrhona and Lindt as brands. In most recipes we use the 70% bittersweet chocolate. For white and milk chocolate we like Lindt.
Chips: Ghiradelli and Guittard bittersweet chips are the ones we use.
Cocoa: for dutched cocoa, Valrhona or Perignotti and for natural Hershey or Ghiradelli are good.
All purpose flour: Gold Medal Bleached Flour and Pillsbury Unbleached Flour for all baked goods unless otherwise specified. I use the following AP flours for brioche as it has a higher gluten content: King Arthur, Red Bob Mill and Cerasota.
Bread flour: King Arthur or Red Bob Mill
Cake Flour: Swan’s Down
Mascarpone: buy the imported Italian if you can find it, otherwise, BelGioioso is good.
Ricotta: We always buy whole milk Ricotta. If it comes in a plastic tub, we promise you it will be grainy and no amount of pushing it through or sieve or tami will eliminate that unpleasant texture. The only exception to this rule is BelGioioso who make a whole milk Ricotta that does come in a plastic tub but is creamy, not gritty. Whole Foods carries a hand dipped whole milk Ricotta that we usually buy. Make sure it’s fresh. It should taste like fresh milk and it shouldn’t be more than a week old. Make sure you get the cheese that came in that week and use it the same week.
If you can get Sheeps Milk Ricotta, try it because it’s amazing, especially for desserts. It is lighter, creamier and sweeter than that made with cow milk. It has a bit of a tang but not a barnyard flavor like goat cheese. We like the imported Italian Ricotta di Pecora, which I occasionally order from Pastacheese in New Jersey but I’ve never had any made in the USA that’s as flavorful.
We like Red Star Kosher salt for just about anything. We often substitute fine sea salt if that’s what we have on hand. Malden flake salt is what we use for finishing some items, like vegetables when they are done cooking or brioche or caramel tarts.