Nielsen-Massey Vanillas review and giveaway: when baked desserts are done right!

The kitchen is filled with zesty rich aromas, and my daughter is getting impatient: she wants cake, and she wants it now! My repeated attempts to temper her kitchen tantrums are a failure – and, after all, who can blame her? The flowery notes in the air are pungent and unrestrained, promising heaps of flavor and refreshing baked joy. They are just too alluring to resist. Faces covered in sweat, MIL and I have been baking for about one hour, and the waiting will soon be over. I take the round pan out of the oven, and a fresh explosion of citrusy notes permeates the hot air in an instant. Say hello to orange ricotta strudel! πŸ™‚

I have baked a lot this summer. From Γ©clairs to cookies and from clafoutis to strudels, I have baked – and baked – and baked some more! – and have found it very therapeutic. In the process, I have used a variety of extracts to elevate my desserts. Indeed, extracts can add or enhance the flavors of baked goods and can provide convenience to the busy baker. My mom used a lot of extracts in her baking when I was growing up. Sadly, these were all fake extracts – colored water with a drop of artificial flavors and very little else. Since then, we both have learned to appreciate the value of the “real deal,” of authentic extracts made with natural ingredients. This is why I was very excited when I was contacted by Nielsen-Massey Vanillas, a Waukegan IL based company with worldwide distribution, for a product review and a giveaway. I chose their pure orange extract for my review.

What is an extract? As explained on the Nielsen-Massey Vanillas website, “the taste and fragrance of many fruits, plants and nuts are contained in their essential oils. These oils can be “extracted” by steeping the ingredient in alcohol so that the natural oils can dissolve and be kept in suspension (…) The FDA dictates that the solution must be at least 35% alcohol in order to be called an extract.” Throughout the years, Nielsen-Massey Vanillas products have received various certifications, and they are now gluten-free, allergen-free, GMO-free and kosher. They are good for up to 3 years and can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature, away from direct heat and sunlight.

The Nielsen-Massey Vanillas pure orange extract can be used to enhance the flavors of both sweet and savory dishes. From jams and marmalades to fruit pies and salad dressings, this orange extract is a versatile addition to anyone’s pantry.

I thought the fresh citrusy notes of this extract would work well in a cheese-based dessert such as ricotta strudel. I followed the recipe I originally posted here, and added 1tsp Nielsen-Massey Vanillas pure orange extract to the ricotta filling. You don’t want the orange flavor to overpower the other flavors, and this is why you must exercise restraint when using this extract. One teaspoon is just about right πŸ™‚

Once the ricotta filling was ready, I followed the usual steps in this recipe. I spread the strudel filling evenly on top of the dough. I then rolled the dough into several cylinders, which I covered with granulated sugar…

… and made small incisions in the dough with a fork. I placed the baking pan in the oven and baked the strudel until golden brown.

Once it was done, I took the strudel out of the oven and let it cool.

I cut the strudel into slices and served it with powdered sugar and orange zest sprinkled on top.

My family thoroughly enjoyed this citrus-infused rendition of the ricotta strudel. Deep and wholesome, the orange extract added one refreshing layer of flavor which tasted crisp and authentic, just like the actual fruit. I also enjoyed the convenience of using the extract instead of squeezing the orange into the filling, which would have rendered it too wet and would have forced me to revise the quantities in my recipe altogether. I will continue to use Nielsen-Massey Vanillas pure orange extract in this recipe, and I will experiment with others – not just for the flavor, but also for the aroma. This extract is the perfect yummy air freshener for our kitchen, and everybody in my family seems to love it. Too bad pics don’t come with smells πŸ™‚

Nielsen-Massey Vanillas is offering Chicago Loves Panini readers the chance to win one bottle of pure orange extract similar to the one I received, to recreate this recipe at home.

To enter the giveaway, leave a comment on this post and answer the following question: What is your favorite baked dessert?

Giveaway open to US residents only. One entry per person. Deadline for entries is 6PM central time on August 25th, 2017. One winner will be chosen on or around August 26th, 2017 by using a random number generator and will have 72 hours to respond to the winner notification email. I reserve the right to pick an alternative winner if the original winner does not contact me 72 hours after receipt of winner notification email.

Good luck!

*Disclaimer: Nielsen-Massey Vanillas sent me a complimentary product to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed here are my own.


11 Comments

  • Margot C

    August 11, 2017

    I like baking cakes, lately I’ve been making classic Golden cake with a whipped cream filling that has shaved dark chocolate in it and chocolate buttercream frosting.

    Reply
  • Maria

    August 12, 2017

    I love a good strawberry-rhubarb! I experimented with different recipes for the dough, and found a favorite one (which also happens to be the easiest and quickest), where I use a processor to incorporate cold butter cubes into the flour mixture. This allows for minimal melting of the butter and its equal distribution throughout the dough for a perfect flaky structure once baked! I haven’t had much luck with preparing yeast dough, and am excited to try this proven recipe;) Thank you for the great post M!

    Reply
  • Char

    August 13, 2017

    I really love to make cookies, any kind! You have a great blog, thank you so much for the offer πŸ™‚

    Reply
  • Pingback: Bottle of Nielsen-Massey Pure Orange Extract Giveaway | Just Sweep

  • Jill H

    August 13, 2017

    Cookies are always might favorite and I love trying new recipes, one with this orange extract would be yummy.

    Reply
  • Surinder Gurm

    August 13, 2017

    Key lime pie

    Reply
  • Elizabeth Elder

    August 14, 2017

    My favorite baked dessert is apple pie πŸ™‚ MMMMMMM!

    Reply
  • Jen D.

    August 14, 2017

    My husband and I bake a delicious cherry pie together – he makes the crust and I make the filling.

    Reply
  • Kristen

    August 14, 2017

    My favorite is mocha crunch cake.

    Reply
  • jberry

    August 14, 2017

    I’m a fool for classic sticky toffee pudding.

    Reply
  • Lisa A

    August 14, 2017

    My favorite baked dessert has to be any sort of cookie, warm out of the oven!

    Reply

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