Watkins Original Gourmet Baking Supplies Review

Recently Watkins contacted and sponsored me to review their baking supplies. I jumped at the opportunity. I love baking and trying new things.

Watkins has been around since 1868 and have a headquarters in Minnesota. They make a variety of products; extracts, spices, food coloring, soaps, lotions, cleaners, pain relief, and body scrubs. I had never heard of them before, but the more I have learned, the more I love this company. I love that their products are pure and high quality. I am always on the lookout for good baking products.

I received the following in my box; baking vanilla, pure lemon extract, pure almond extract, pure coffee extract, pure ground cinnamon, and food coloring. I was especially excited about the food coloring because it does not have dyes in it. I have been trying to avoid food dyes with my kids.




The first thing I decided to try was the vanilla. It came in an 11 ounce bottle. I decided to make some chocolate chip cookies.


I used the King Arthur Flour Chocolate Chip Oatmeal recipe for the chocolate chip cookies. The turned out fantastic. I even had someone comment to me they could taste something different in the cookies and asked if I had used something special. I told them I used Watkins vanilla.



Next up I made almond cinnamon cupcakes with an almond cinnamon buttercream frosting that tasted amazing!



Here is the finished product and they tasted as amazing as they look here. I will definitely be making these again. I took them to a function and someone had two at the event and wanted to take more home with her.



 The last thing I tried was the lemon extract, the food coloring and the vanilla again. I made lemon sugar cookies with a lemon buttercream frosting.



The lemon cookies turned out delicious and the frosting colors were amazing! The red was a little pink, but that is typical with red food coloring. I would probably just have to put in more dye to make it darker. I will definitely be using this dye in the future because it was so good and I like that all the ingredients in the dye were natural and not artificial. I let my kids frost the rest of the cookies and they had a lot of fun.



All in all what did I think of Watkins baking products? I LOVED all of them and will be using all of them again. My kids kept begging for all the treats we made this week. I have not really cooked with almond and lemon extract and was excited to go out of my comfort zone and try something new. I would definitely recommend picking up some of these products for baking.



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The Speaker That Changed My Life: JBL Clip + Speaker Review


Earlier this year I had never heard of a wireless speaker. I did not even know they existed. I entered a contest on Instagram and Directv Now when they were promoting a Taylor Swift concert in Houston, Texas. They told me they were sending me a surprise and much to my amazement I got this JLB Clip + wireless speaker.



How It Works
This speaker is amazing for what I use it for. We love listening and dancing to music in our home; Moana, Frozen, and of course Taylor Swift. We have invented so many ways to make our phones louder, putting them in cups to echo, putting them in our pockets with the speakers out...etc. But that does not even compare to this speaker.

The speaker works through blue tooth technology. It blinks blue when waiting for a connection. When the connection is made it turns to solid blue. And it is super easy to do. On the phone side I went into bluetooth settings and searched for the speaker and hit connect. Easy as that.

The songs and such are controlled from phone, the same as always, but the sound is transmitted through the speaker. The volume can even be controlled from the phone or from buttons on the sides of the speaker.

There is also a power button on the side of the speaker. When the speaker needs to be charged, which is not very often, the blue button on the side will turn red.

The charging port is universal and can be charged with a firewire cable. I use my Amazon kindle charger for charging the speaker.


The speaker can also be attached to a belt loop. The next model of JBL clip has a carabiner instead of this loop making it possible to attach to more places.


What did I think?
I was amazed to say the least! The sound quality inside is very good, much better than a cell phone propped in weird positions. The battery lasts forever, we hardly ever have to charge it. It is SUPER portable, I can take it anywhere. It has transformed how we listen to music in our house. We love it. I honestly do know why we did not get one sooner. It was probably because I did not know they existed!

I would highly recommend this speaker to anyone. Let me know if you get it, your life will never be the same.



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Homemade S'more Cake and Churro S'mores SoBakeable Review


Have you ever had a really good S'more? You know the kind where the chocolate and the marshmallow is melted? We were on vacation in Utah a few weeks ago and had S'mores, but by the time the marshmallow got in the graham cracker, the marshmallow was cold and the chocolate hard. That reminded me why I generally do not eat S'mores. Not that I do not love the ingredients, I do not like the hardness of it all. Well today I just tasted the best S'more I have ever eaten and I want to eat some more. Notice the pun. :) And want to know why? Everything was perfectly melted, the way a S'more should be!

This very yummy post was sponsored by SoBakeable. (I love doing posts like these btw, ones where I get to eat yummy baked items)
What is SoBakeable?
I am so excited to share with you today my review of SoBakeable. They are a San Francisco based company founded by Chloe, who is from Australia and Jocelyn, who is from South Africa. They both moved to the US when their husbands started working here. They spend a lot of time together and really enjoy baking. They decided to start SoBakeable so others could eat the yummy things they made too. They focus on dessert items.

What do They Make?
SoBakeable has kits available on their website for different baked goods. The kits are for beginning to advanced bakers. They even have an app to download for videos and instructions on making their baked goods. Right now their offerings are; S'more Kits, Cookie Cups, Salted Caramel Brownies, Chocolate Lover, Crazy About Coolies, Fresh & Fruity, Fancy Celebration, Vanilla Cupcakes, Sprinkles and Baking Tools. They range in prices from 19.95 to 49.95.

I received the S'mores kit and I can tell you it was delish. The S'mores kit came with instructions for S'more Cake and Churro S'mores.

What's In the Kit?
Each kit comes with all the dry ingredients packaged nicely, a list of wet ingredients to buy, and instructions on how to make the dessert. Here's what came in my kit.

The S'more Cake Kit  came with chocolate chips, sugar, cake mix, crumbs, and meringue mix.
The Churro S'mores Kit came with delicious Smash Mallow Cinnamon Churro, Graham Crackers, and Chocolate Chips.
Baking
I was not too nervous to make the Churro S'mores. They looked pretty easy, melt the chocolate and warm the marshmallows. I was however nervous to make the S'more Cake. I kept putting if off scared I would mess it up. I have never made homemade marshmallow and I was super nervous about browning the top. I thought I would burn it. I decided to finally be brave and went to work. And am so glad I did.

I love to get all the ingredients and tools together before I start so I do not have to look for anything while I am cooking. I love my Breville mixer because it has a scraping mixer attachment so I do not have to scrape the sides.

Here's the finished cake. They even included a liner for the bottom for easy removal. They said to test the cake by toothpick. I did that, but I also like to feel the firmness of the cake. When it is springy everywhere, ie it pushes back up when you press it, it is done.

They had me make a ganache and melt the chocolate in the microwave. I usually use the double boiler method, but the microwave was super easy. I used a Wilton wand to spread the chocolate just like the instructions said.

Here I am starting the homemade marshmallow, so far so good.

And guess what? It turned out! I really surprised myself.  To get the little ridges I spread out the marshmallow and then dipped and raised wherever I wanted a ridge. I could have left it in a little longer, but I was nervous about burning the top. It was hard to tell if it was golden brown in the oven.

And here are the S'mores. They turned out amazing as well.

What did I think?
The food was delicious. The cake was to die for! The sponge was fluffy, the topping was sweet, but not too sweet and the chocolate added a nice layer in between. The S'more was so good. The marshmallows they use for the middle are covered in cinnamon and sugar. Yum!

I was super surprised how well I did. Their instructions helped me develop some more baking skills I did not even know I had. I made homemade marshmallow for goodness sake. I loved that the ingredients were premeasured so I did not have to measure anything. I just opened the bag and threw things in. The cake was super easy to make. I probably made the batter in 6 minutes using my mixer. The only thing I would change is to have more graham crackers. I only got enough for crackers to make three S'mores, but I definitely have enough chocolate and marshmallows to make 14. I will go buy some more graham crackers to finish the S'mores, because they were delicious. Other than that it was an amazing experience baking. I loved everything I made and surprised myself. Hurry to sobakeable.com, enter BAKINGFUN to save $5 dollars, and get baking! You will not regret it.

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