Every year around the holiday season, the same question pops up: What should I bake? There’s so much to do and so little time – and as much as I’d love to spend days trying, tasting, and perfecting new recipes in the kitchen, that really isn’t possible. Unavoidably, I revert to a few foolproof family recipes, and I build my menu around them for certainty and peace of mind. I do love some peace of mind in the midst of the holiday shopping/cooking craziness, lol
How do I reinvent my family recipes, and step them up a notch? The answer is simple: I work on their spice content, fine-tuning it until my family (aka testers 😉) approve of it. And when it comes to spices, there’s no better ally in the kitchen than Nielsen-Massey Vanillas and their wonderful range of products.
I have been incorporating Nielsen-Massey extracts into my family’s recipes for a few years now (some of my previous reviews can be found here, here, and here). Nielsen-Massey Vanillas contacted me again recently and offered to send me products from their Holiday Bundle to review and give away.
Every year Nielsen Massey puts together a holiday bundle, and this year makes no exception. The 2019 Holiday Flavors Bundle includes some of their most popular extracts: Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Extract (which boasts a full, sweet, creamy and mellow flavor with velvety after-tones); Pure Peppermint Extract (which sports a refreshing vibrant flavor, and is great in both sweet and savory applications); Pure Almond Extract (which provides a sweet, nutty flavor, and is a perfect complement to chocolate, maple and butterscotch).
For this review I received the Madagascar vanilla and almond extracts.
I couldn’t wait to work with both of these products!
For this post I decided to revisit one of my mother-in-law’s recipes, which I posted on this blog awhile ago. The recipe may look very laborious to you, but I can assure you the end result is so worth it! Originally, this is a strudel recipe; however, on this occasion I decided to take the strudel dough and to use it in a novel way, to make jam filled tiny vegan pastries which are very popular in my home country. I used Nielsen Massey Madagascar Bourbon pure vanilla extract in the dough.
The filling was a mixture of homemade plum jam and chopped nuts. You can use any jam you have in the pantry – the more tartness, the better.
After rolling the dough on a flat surface and cutting it into small squares (size is up to you – but remember the smaller the squares, the quicker they bake), I put about 1 tbsp of the jam & nut mixture on top of each square.
At this point I could almost taste the soon-to-come deliciousness. Mmmmmm…
I rolled the squares to make cigarette-shaped pastries, which I placed on a baking pan lined with parchment paper.
I put the pan in the preheated oven and baked the pastries for about 25 minutes or until golden-brown and bubbling. I then took them out of the oven.
I let the pastries cool down, and generously sprinkled powdered sugar on top.
I served the pastries with hot chocolate, in which I poured 1/8 tsp Nielsen Massey almond extract. Vanilla + almond = the perfect spice match!
These pastries exhibited a delicious vanilla flavor and aroma, and were moist and not overly sweet. They kept well on the kitchen countertop for several days, stored in a bowl covered with a towel. Since I cut the dough into very small pieces, I ended up getting over 80 pastries (obviously, the smaller the pieces, the more pastries you’re gonna end up with). My family loved this reinvention of a much treasured recipe, and appreciated the pairing of the tart plum jam with the delicate, floral vanilla flavor. With Nielsen Massey products on hand, making a flawless dessert cannot be easier!
You are welcome to check out Nielsen-Massey’s website for exciting recipes, as well as baking tips and demos. You can also head to my Instagram account and enter my giveaway for a chance to win a combo of Nielsen-Massey products similar to the one I reviewed.
Good luck! 🙂
Disclaimer: While I received complimentary products to facilitate this review, all opinions expressed here are my own.