Best Pan for Macarons

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The best pan for macarons is using an aluminum baking sheet.

  • Aluminum is the best metal at conducting heat over other baking sheets like stainless steel
  • heats up to temperature faster than stainless steel
  • resists warping, and are extremely sturdy and durable
  • conducts heat evenly throughout the pan

Aluminum is a light colored baking sheet; it doesn’t absorb heat like other metals, such as stainless steel.

With a lighter colored pan, you can bake for a shorter amount of time than if you used a stainless steel pan.

Aluminum baking sheets are used in high grade commercial bakeries around the globe.

Best Pan for Macarons

Macarons require the pans be perfectly clean without any oily residue. Using an old stainless steel pan with oily residue can ruin your macarons, even if you made the batter perfectly.

If you’re having trouble baking your macarons, you can use fresh parchment paper on your aluminum baking pans. The parchment paper will hold back as much oil as it can.

Another option is to use a Silpat on top of your aluminum baking pans. A Silpat is a silicone baking mat that helps the macaron spread out to be flatter and rounder than using parchment paper. A Silpat is designed for even heat distribution to bake your macarons. It is considered the gold standard for baking commercial macarons.

Best Pan for Macarons

Nordicware makes an aluminum baking sheet with high sides on the edge of the baking pan. The Silpat fits directly inside the baking sheet right to the edges.

The high edges of the pan allows the Silpat to stay in place when banging out the air bubbles of your macarons. The Silpat ensures the macarons do not move around like parchment paper does.

I’ve been using Nordicware aluminum baking pans for over a year now, and I’ve had a lot more success making macarons with them over stainless steel. I used to use an old stainless steel pan, and the moment I switched to aluminum I have had consistent success baking macarons.

Best Pan for Macarons

Best Creme Brulee Cups

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The best creme brulee cup is porcelain ramekin.

Chicago Metallic has designed a set for baking creme brulee:

  • Set of 4 ramekins that are heat proof
  • Square pan with metal wire rack to hold ramekins in place
  • Pan is meant to be filled with water to bake the creme brulees in
  • Lift wire rack with ramekins out of the pan with ease
  • 3.5″ ramekins in diameter
  • Ramekins hold 6 fluid ounces – large sized creme brulees
  • Dishwasher safe

One of the most difficult parts of baking creme brulee is making a water bath to bake the creme brulees in.

It’s hard to place the custards into the water without splashing them, or arranging them to be even on a pan putting them into the oven.

Chicago Metallic’s set for baking creme brulee alleviates these difficulties by having a wire rack to place the creme brulees into.

The rack is balanced, so you can place the creme brulees into the oven without worrying about them moving around.

The wire rack can also lift the creme brulees out of the water bath as soon as they are done baking.

Creme brulee is typically baked at 325-350 degrees, but the set of ramekins is heat proof up to 450 degrees F.

Best Creme Brulee Cups

How to bake creme brulee

Creme brulee is made by first making a custard.

Custard is made by heating heavy cream with a sliced vanilla bean, and then adding it to a mixture of egg yolks and sugar.

The hot cream is added very slowly to create the custard. It cannot be done quickly, or the eggs will begin to cook.

Once the mixture as been fully added to the eggs, the mixture is strained and the vanilla extract is added. The custard is cooled in the fridge until it’s chilled.

The next step is to bake the creme brulee in a water bath in the oven.

The creme brulee is cooled and chilled in the fridge for another 4 hours.

When you’re ready to serve the creme brulees, a sugar layer is placed on top of the custard, and a torch is used to melt the sugar into a crystalized caramel layer.

How to bake creme brulee

What is a creme brulee dish called

A creme brulee dish is called a ramekin. The ramekins used to bake creme brulee are heat proof, therefore they can tolerate going in the oven. They are also able to tolerate having a torch blown on them to melt the sugar into a caramalized layer.

What does creme brulee meaning

Creme means cream. Brulee means a burnt or scorched. Together they mean a cream custard dessert topped with a torched sugar caramel layer.

Best Porcelain Espresso Cups

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The best porcelain espresso cups are made by Sweese.

Sweese has designed espresso cups that are:

  • thick walled – retain heat
  • hold 2 fluid ounces – enough for 2 espresso shots
  • professional grade porcelain
  • dishwasher safe
  • microwave safe
  • 2 sizes – 2.3″ wide or 3.5″ side
  • Set of 6 espresso cups
Best Porcelain Espresso Cups

How tall are espresso cups

Porcelain espresso cups are only 2 inches tall, which is the perfect size for them to fit under your portafilter of your espresso machine.

How many shots does an espresso cup hold

You can brew 2 espresso shots into 1 espresso cup.

There is still enough room after brewing the espresso shots into the cup for espresso not to splash over the sides of the cup when you remove it from your espresso machine.

How many shots does an espresso cup hold

How are porcelain espresso cups made

Porcelain espresso cups are made from kaolin clay and cured in temperatures reaching 2600 degrees Fahrenheit.

Due to the process of making porcelain using extremely high temperatures, the color of the porcelain becomes an extraordinary white color.

Porcelain is unique in that the walls of the cups can be made thin, almost translucent when held up the light.

Porcelain is also known as “fine China” because in China they have perfected making porcelain into beautiful, high end glassware.

Porcelain espresso cups with a thick wall will retain heat for long time.

Espresso cups can be easily cleaned in the dishwasher without worrying it being damaged due to its strong makeup.

Espresso cups are meant for brewing espresso, therefore they are designed to be short and fit under your espresso machine’s portafilter.

You can brew 2 espresso shots into each espresso cup.

espresso tastings with espresso cups

Swesse has designed an espresso cup that can be used for espresso tastings.

It’s nice to serve your espresso tastings with a side of freshly steamed milk. Your guests can enjoy a small macchiato with their espresso tastings.

If you’re wanting to host an espresso tasting bar, serve your espresso with a bit of brown sugar. The brown sugar adds a little bit of sweetness and will let the caramel espresso flavor come through in the espresso tasting.

Why is espresso served in a small cup

Espresso should be served to a small cup to prevent the crema from spreading too thin and dissipating. By brewing espresso in a small cup, the crema will linger on the top of the brewed espresso, which holds the caramel and buttery flavors.

What is the best size espresso cup

The best sized espresso cup is 2-3 ounces.

You can brew 2 shots of espresso in a 2 ounce cup.

You can brew 3 shots of espresso in a 3 ounce cup.

Each of these espresso cups is small enough for a layer of crema to sit on the top of the espresso, without spreading too thin and dissolving immediately.

You want an espresso cup that will be small so that the crema remains on the top of shot. This will prevent the espresso from becoming a bitter flavor, since the crema holds the buttery and caramel flavors of an espresso shot.

What are espresso cups called

Espresso cups are called a demitasse. A demitasse is the French word for half cup, meaning a small sized cup.

Best Food Processor for Salsa

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The best food processor for salsa is the Hamilton Beach 12 cup Food Processor.

  • Makes a large batch of salsa with ease
  • 7-11 “pulses” using the food processor creates 1 huge batch of restaurant style salsa
  • Fits all of your ingredients in the food processor at once. No need to add anything separately
  • Easily dissemble for cleaning
  • Dishwasher safe

You only want to use the “pulse” button on your food processor for making salsa. Using the pulse button keeps your salsa chunky, and not pureed. If you use the “low” or “high” buttons on your food processor the salsa will turn to mush, and will not be very appetizing.

Using canned whole tomatoes for making salsa in your food processor keeps the salsa bulky. It’s best to drain out all of the juices from the cans of tomatoes prior to putting them in the food processor. The salsa will make it’s own juices from center of the tomatoes. You don’t need to add any of the liquid it comes with it in the can.

How to use fresh tomatoes for salsa in a food processor

You can also use fresh tomatoes to make salsa in your food processor. You have a couple of options to make them into salsa.

  • Use the large feed tube to push the tomato down into the food processor. You can use the slicer, or S blade for cutting up the tomatoes into small pieces.
  • Place the tomatoes directly into the food processor fitted with the S blade.
  • Cut the tomatoes in half or in quarters, then place them into the food processor fitted with the S blade.
best food processor for salsa

Watch the Hamilton Beach Food Processor make Salsa in seconds

How to make salsa in a food processor


  • 1 10 ounce can of diced tomatoes and green chilis (You can find Rotel tomatoes and green chilis in your local grocery store)
  • 1 28 ounce can whole tomatoes with juice 
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1/4 cup onion, chopped finely
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 jalapeno diced small and thin, remove seeds and membrane for a more mild salsa
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 lime, juiced


  1. Prepare your ingredients.
  2. Place the juice of both of the cans of tomatoes in a large bowl. You can mix your salsa with the juice later on if you want to. This will prevent the food processor from leaking everywhere from being overfilled.
  3. Place your ingredients into your food processor.
  4. Only use the “pulse” part of your food processor to create restaurant style salsa. This is the trick to making sure you don’t over blend the salsa into nothing. We are trying to create a salsa that is still a bit chunky, not too pulverized. Use the pulse on your food processor by touching it once and then remove your finger. It should only be pulsed 7-11 times to create your salsa. Pulse the salsa for less time if you want a more chunky salsa.
  5. Pour the salsa into the large bowl with your tomato juices if you removed them in Step 2. Mix the salsa with the tomato juices to create your salsa.
  6. Taste test your salsa. Make any adjustments that you need. You might need to add more garlic, lime, salt, or sugar for your own preference.

It’s easy to prepare a fresh salsa using the Hamilton Beach Food Processor.

You can have it prepared and made in about 5 minutes using a couple fresh ingredients and canned tomatoes.

Create your own tasty restaurant style salsa at home in the summer with your favorite tortilla chips using your Hamilton Beach food processor.

Best Food Processor for Salsa

Oster Expressbake Bread Machine Review

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Oster 2-Pound Expressbake Bread Machine is a good starting point for having your first bread maker.

It has step by step instructions for beginners to help you learn how to make your first loaf. 

Although the cookbook it comes with doesn’t come with many recipes, it gives you a great starting base to begin making bread at home. 

I have tried these recipes in the cookbook:

  • White bread
  • Italian herb bread
  • Pizza dough
  • Bread pretzels
  • Bagels

My favourite recipes by far is the bagel recipe! There’s nothing better than having a fresh bagel out of the oven, and lathering on the cream cheese for breakfast on the weekend.

I received the Oster 2lb Bread Machine for Christmas 2 years ago. My husband said he didn’t think we would use it much, but his attitude changed within a few weeks. 

I have used my bread maker to make several different types of cakes, rolls, dough,  and bread. We’ve only had one for 2 years and I can’t imagine not having it.

My husband realized he could use it for making pizza dough, he didn’t have a huge mess to clean up after. When he makes pizza dough, it makes enough for 2 large pizzas. I never expected such a small machine to be able to make that much dough at once. 

Sometimes we use ½ the dough for a pizza, and then leave the other ½ in the fridge and use it the following day to make another pizza. 

We use our bread machine at least once a week to make different recipes. It saves us time, it’s less mess, and it saves us money. I love using it make quick dough recipes like pizza pretzels for lunches during the week.

I like to leave my bread maker on the floor when it’s in use. When it’s actively mixing 1 ball of dough, it can unbalance itself easily. We’ve had ours end up on the floor, so now it just lives on the ground after that.

The lid for this machine just rests on the top, there isn’t a latch or anything for it. 


  • Simple operation
  • Expressbake- makes bread in 1 hour
  • Compact
  • Paddle comes off easily after baking


  • Pan can wear out over time
  • Loud/rattles around
  • Bread maker cookbook doesn’t have many recipes

I love having a bread maker to make bagels, pizza pretzels, and pizza dough for my family on a weekly basis. The Oster Bread Machine has made learning how to make bread easy. We’ve had our bread maker for just over 2 years and I would recommend it to any beginner who is looking for a bread maker machine.

oster expressbake bread machine REVIEW

Best Macaron Baking Sheet

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The best macaron baking sheet is by Nordic Ware.

Nordic Ware creates a commercial grade baker’s natural aluminum baking sheet.

  • Pure Aluminum – durable and long lasting
  • Reinforced high edges around baking pan – prevents pan from warping
  • Flat baking pan (no ridges or design on baking pan) – bottoms of macaron shells will be perfectly flat
  • Even baking distribution to cook the macarons equally throughout the baking pan
  • 2 Half Sheets will make 1 batch of macarons (~40 filled macarons)
  • Silicone Baking Mat fits perfectly inside the baking pan
Best Macaron Baking Sheet

Nordic Ware’s natural aluminum baking pan has very high edges, which makes grabbing the pan out of the oven much easier.

The baking pan is designed that silicone baking mat’s will fit perfectly inside the edges of the baking pan. There is no part of the baking pan that isn’t covered by silicone, therefore you can pipe the maximum number of macarons onto the baking sheet.

Best Macaron Baking Sheet

For a half sheet, you can fit 40 macarons shells piped onto the baking sheet. This will create 20 filled macarons.

Typically 1 batch of macarons makes 40 filled macarons, therefore it’s best to have 2 half baking sheets.

Piped macarons need to be on a baking sheet, and a silicone baking mat or parchment paper.

Best Macaron Baking Sheet

The air bubbles need to be removed from the macarons before baking, this is usually done by banging the bottom of the baking pan. Another option is dropping the baking pan onto a flat surface to remove the air bubbles.

Nordic Ware’s natural aluminum baking pan is very strong, you’ll have no problem banging the bottom of the pan to remove the air bubbles from the macarons before baking.

Why is aluminum the best material for baking macarons

Aluminum is the best metal at conducting heat over other baking sheets like stainless steel.

Stainless steel baking pans can create hot spots and will not bake macarons evenly.

Older stainless steel pans can make macarons have sticky bottom shells, and will come out of the oven undercooked.

Aluminum baking sheets resist warping, and are extremely sturdy and durable.

Aluminum baking pans conduct heat evenly throughout the pan.

Aluminum is a light colored baking sheet; it doesn’t absorb heat like other metals, such as stainless steel.

With a lighter colored pan, you can bake your macarons for a shorter amount of time than if you used a stainless steel baking sheet.

Aluminum baking sheets are the choice of high grade commercial bakeries around the globe.

How to clean aluminum baking sheets used for macarons

To clean your aluminum baking sheets, soak them with soap and water and wash with a cloth until clean.

Allow the pan to air dry completely before storage.

Do not wash aluminum baking sheets in the dishwasher as this can cause them to oxidize and break down.

Macarons need their aluminum pans to be perfectly clean. There can be no oily residue present on the baking pan. If there is, the macarons will absorb the oil and will not turn out. The macarons will be sticky and under-baked, or will not turn out at all.

If you’re having trouble removing the oily residue from the aluminum baking pan, pour very hot water on the pan, and this should remove the oil from the baking pan.

Best Food Coloring for Macarons

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The best food coloring for macarons is Americolor’s Soft Gel Paste Colors.

Americolor has an array of gel paste colors that only use a tiny amount to give a batch of macarons a burst of color.

  • Strong color using a small amount of food coloring
  • Use only a toothpick amount of gel for every batch of macarons
  • bright and dark colors available
  • no separation of the color
  • color spreads evenly
  • squeeze bottle – ergonomic and economical

Americolor’s “student kit” comes with every color of the rainbow to get you started. It even comes with black just in case you want to make some cookies and crème macarons.

When you’re coloring macarons, you need to add more color than you think. As you add the meringue, the color will become lighter than the initial macaronage batter.

Typically you need to add the food coloring to your egg whites, then add your icing sugar and almond flour. Then you will add the meringue.

The meringue will dilute out the color since the batter will become larger.

Make sure to use more color and make it darker initially that you would like the macarons to have. It will take some practice to make sure you get the color you’re looking for.

You can even use the gel paste color to paint on macarons after they have finished baking. Emulsify the gel food coloring with a bit of almond extract and paint the food coloring onto the macarons.

Best Food Coloring for Macarons

Can you use regular food coloring in macarons

Macarons cannot use water based food coloring as the liquid will interfere with the consistency. Macarons have a very specific liquid to dry ingredient ratio. By adding liquid food coloring to the macaronage batter this will throw off the recipe and unfortunately, the macarons will not turn out.

How do you add food coloring to macarons

  1. Use a toothpick to obtain a small amount of food coloring.
  2. Add food coloring to your initial egg whites. Mix the color well until it fully emulsifies into the egg whites.
  3. Add in your sifted and measured almond flour and icing sugar.
  4. Mix together until combine. The consistency should be a paste at this point for macarons. Scrape the bottom of the bowl to incorporate all of the almond flour and make it a uniform color throughout the macaron mixture.
Best Food Coloring for Macarons

What can you add to macaron shells other than food coloring

  • tea
  • coffee
  • lavender
  • dried and crumpled roses
  • cookie crumbs

Adding a dusting of food decoration to the top of your macarons before they dry. Right after piping your macarons you can add a little of the above foods to your macarons and let them dry for 30 minutes before baking them. It will add a pop of color and flavor to your macarons.

What can you add to macaron shells other than food coloring

Best Silicone Pastry Mat

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The best silicone pastry mat is the Silpat silicone pastry mat. They are one of the most durable and long-lasting silicone pastry mats.

Silpat silicone pastry mats are able to be used 2000-3000 times before needing to be replaced. You should only need new pastry mats every 10 years, depending on how often you bake.

Silpat silicone pastry mats have one of the highest tolerances for heat in the oven. Usually silicone pastry mats are only good up to about 420°F before they start to deteriorate. Silpat pastry mats can be used up to 500°F in the oven.

Silpat silicone pastry mats come in a variety of sizes that fit perfectly in a baking sheet.

best silicone pastry mat

Silpat baking mat sizes

  • Full Sheet Size, 16-1/2″ x 24-1/2″
  • Countertop Workstation Mat, 15-1/8″ x 23″
  • Half Sheet Size, 11-5/8 x 16-1/2
  • Toaster Oven Baking Mat – 7 7/8″ x 10 7/8″
  • Octagonal Microwave Size Baking Mat – 10 1/4″
  • Round, 12″
  • Cake Liner Round 9″

Silpat temperature range

Silpat’s can be used in the freezer and up to 500°F in the oven.

What to use Silicone Pastry Mats for

Silicone pastry mats are special because they can be used to create fancy chocolate decorations in the freezer, and be used in the oven to bake macarons.

Silpat silicone mats allow macarons to spread wider, which produces more of a rounder and flatter macaron. Silpat silicone pastry mats are commercial grade, and are used in bakeries worldwide. Since the Silpat produces the ideal macaron that is round and flat, this gives macarons a more professional look to them.

Silpat pastry mats can be used in the freezer to create unique chocolate decorations. You can pipe chocolate directly on the Silpat and then place it in the freezer for about 20 minutes. Gently peel the chocolate decoration off of the Silpat mat and it’s ready to use.

Silpat pastry mats fit perfectly in a baking sheet. Instead of using parchment paper to line your baking sheet, you can use a Silpat pastry mat. Silpat pastry mats work very well when baking foods like croissants and scones.

How to Make Chocolate Snowflakes

Silpat silicone pastry mats can be used to line a baking sheet to prevent the baking pan from getting quite dirty and difficult to clean.

How to clean a Silpat silicone baking mat

The silicone has a non-stick coating to it, which makes it very easy to clean. Wipe the Silpat mat clean with a cloth soaked in soap and water. Rinse the Silpat with hot water.

Silpat silicone mats need to be perfectly clean without any oil residue on them to be used for macarons. If you silicone mat has an oily film to it, use hot water to remove the oil effectively from your silicone mat.

Best Food Baller

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The best food baller is the Kmeivol melon baller.

  • comfort grip handle
  • stainless steel – durable and resists rusting
  • heavy duty
  • dishwasher safe

What can you use a melon baller for

A melon baller can be used for a few different purposes:

  • ball fruit for drinks, fruit platters, or for plating
  • cookie dough – perfect size every time
  • ice cream scoop – or for making fancy ice cream desserts like Italian Tartufo

Try using a food baller to create small fruit balls to include in cocktails.

You an use cantaloupe, kiwi, watermelon, pineapple, or honeydew with your food baller. After you get a good sized piece of fruit, place it in the drink for added presentation. Your guests will love it.

Another use of a food baller is using it in ice cream. One Italian dessert uses a food baller is a tartufo dessert.

how to make desserts in silicone molds

It’s made with using a food baller to get the center – this could be ice cream, ganache, etc.

Around the center is 2 more layers of ice cream. The multi-layered dessert is decadent, and the center is a perfect circle, thanks to the food baller.

How to Serve Ice Cream at a Dinner Party

Cookie dough is run to roll in your hands to create small smalls of dough, but it doesn’t get the size perfect every time. Use a food baller to create perfect sized cookie balls and your cookies will all be finished at the same time. Sometimes having larger cookies will cause the smaller cookies to burn. Therefore, using a food baller to create cookie dough balls will make your cookies all the same cooking time, every time you bake.

Can you freeze melon balls

You can freeze melon balls of fruit as needed. Frozen melon balls are best used for frozen drinks as they act as an ice cube. They will add a little bit of flavor to the drink without overpowering it since the fruit is frozen. Only freeze the fruit for a couple of days before using for drinks.

Best Garlic Mincer

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The best garlic mincer is by OXO.

Oxo has created a black and silver garlic mincer that creates the most garlic out of all of the garlic presses I have personally tried.

  • produces a large amount of garlic
  • very little garlic remaining in the basket after mincing
  • easy cleaning
  • dishwasher safe
Best Garlic Mincer

Oxo’s garlic press can push up to 3 large garlic cloves through the mincer at one time. I have tried other garlic mincers where you only get 1/3 of the garlic clove out of the garlic mincer.

This particular garlic mincer gives about 90% of the garlic clove and then leaves behind only a small amount of garlic. I remove the leftover garlic by using a butter knife, and then putting it directly in my green bin.

I usually peel the garlic before putting it in the mincer. I find I get more garlic out of the garlic mincer that way.

Best Garlic Mincer

I typically always put the Oxo garlic mincer in the dishwasher because it cleans it much better. I place it flat in the top rack of the dishwasher and it comes out perfectly clean.

Is a garlic press worth it

A garlic press is definitely worth the investment in a kitchen tool. Depending on how much you cook, many recipes require minced garlic for pasta dishes, stir-fry’s, etc.

A garlic press is worth purchasing if you aren’t comfortable using a large knife to cut up your garlic, or using a grater. These options are ok, but they are not ideal. They are much more risky than using a garlic press.

Is it better to mince or chop garlic

Do you need to peel garlic before using a garlic press

You do not need to peel garlic before using it in a garlic press. However, you will get more garlic if you do peel the paper skin away before mining your garlic.

Is it better to mince or chop garlic

It’s better to mince garlic than to chop garlic. Mincing garlic makes garlic granules much smaller than chopping. Since more surface area is exposed of the garlic, the flavor is much stronger. Chopped garlic is usually in bigger pieces, so someone is more likely to get a large piece in their food, which isn’t ideal. The flavor is not as strong using chopped garlic over minced garlic.

How to mince garlic without a mincer

Instead of a garlic press, you can use a grater. Carefully grate the garlic on a grater that has small holes so you can get tiny bits of garlic for your recipe. You don’t want too big of garlic pieces.

You can use a sharp knife instead of a garlic press. This is much more difficult to get little bits of garlic. Typically you’ll want to slice the garlic in half first, and then cut smaller sections of of the garlic until you have small cubes.

Can you grate garlic instead of mincing

You can grate garlic instead of mincing if you don’t have a garlic press. Use a grater that has small holes so you can grate the garlic small enough for your recipe.

Is there a tool to mince garlic

To mince garlic you can use the garlic press tool.

A garlic press has small holes that the garlic is forced through with a metal piece.

The metal comes behind the garlic and pushes it through the holes, giving the garlic a minced preparation.

Is a garlic press worth it

How to prepare and mince a garlic clove