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.
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.
Cocoa: for dutched cocoa, Valrhona or Perignotti and for natural Hershey or Ghiradelli are good.
We generally use caster or superfine sugar for cakes, cookies, preserves, sorbet, ice cream and candied fruit. It gives a finer crumb.
We often use raw Demerara sugar for savory dishes
Kerry Gold, Nature Valley Cultured, President, and Plugra and Land O Lakes. The first four 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.
All purpose flour: Gold Medal Bleached Flour (for cookies and pastry) and Pillsbury Unbleached Flour
King Arthur Italian Style 00 flour
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. 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 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 barnyardy like goat cheese. We like the imported Italian Ricotta di Pecora, which I occasionally order Pastacheese in New Jersey but I’ve never had any made in the USA that’s as flavorful.