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Molly James's Profile

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Which packaging scam annoys you the most

About a year ago, Baker's Chocolate reduced their package from 8 to 4 ounces and pretty much kept the price the same ($3.29 vs $2.99). People immediately began complaining and they defended their new product size as saying it was based on "consumer feedback." Regarding pricing, they've defended their decision by saying they can only suggest an MSRP, not mandate it, but would have their product team check on why stores are selling the new, reduced by half product for the same price.

Really, Kraft? Consumer feedback? I can't think of anyone who says "Your product is too big! Reduce the size by half but it's ok to charge me the same. Please and thank you."

I tried they new size, which is in a bar form now instead of the one ounce individually wrapped squares. I think their strategy of trying to compete with premium chocolate that is formed, sized and priced similarly, isn't a good one. Besides, I think it tastes waxy now, although I've seen nothing published that the formula was changed, I'm sure they downgraded the ingredients.

Their new product and pricing strategy backfired, at least with me and others I know that use a lot of chocolate for baking. I discovered I can get Callebaut, among other semi-sweet premium couverture, block chocolates at Whole foods for less per pound. Sometimes as much as $4 less per pound, but I usually buy the Callebaut which is $2 less. I see that as a win on both taste and price for me.

If anyone is interested, at a couple different Whole Foods I've been to, the block chocolate is in the produce section, not the baking isle. The pieces range in weight and wrapped in plastic wrap.

Asking For Piping Tips Because I Suck At It.

I agree with larger tips and practice. Other suggestions would be to check out Youtube for video tutorials, Wilton.com for technique instruction or Wilton cupcake class (it's a short session held at most craft stores). These types of stores also carry the class instruction books if you don't want to take the class. The book will show what tips are used, the needed icing consistency and the technique.

If you want a shortcut on prepared icing, I think Duff, The Cake Boss and Wilton sell small pre-made canisters of decorating icing, that is usually on the thick side of medium to stiff consistency that you can use to practice and use over and over for quite a while. Don't use canned frosting like Duncan Hines, Pillsbury or Betty Crocker as it's far too soft for much of anything other than icing a cake. The type of decoration usually dictates the consistency.

Good luck and have fun! If you don't get it right the first time, you can always eat and enjoy your mistakes!

Mar 16, 2015
Molly James in Home Cooking
1

Does anyone know what this Kitchenaid Standing Mixer bowl is?

Looks like the bowl is now available for both the tilt head http://www.kitchenaid.com/shop/-[KSM1... and bowl lift http://www.kitchenaid.com/shop/-[KSM1...

"The KitchenAid ® Precise Heat Mixing Bowl is great for chocolate, bread and cheese. Temper chocolate, proof bread dough, make fondue, soups, yogurts and more." $299.99 Yikes!!

I could make a joke about the lack of precise detail on among other things, the heat range of the Precise Heat Mixing Bowl, but....

Mar 09, 2015
Molly James in Cookware

Food Storage/Dry goods in Mason Jars?

I don't know either. Just used it the one time for the marshmallows. A lid works fine for me. The one piece canning lids get my vote for convenience.

Mar 08, 2015
Molly James in Cookware

Food Storage/Dry goods in Mason Jars?

I agree the originals suit the purpose, but I was interested in finding a one piece lid, which may be the path the OP is on since s/he mentioned the plastic lids and shared the information.

I'm not looking for anything in addition to the solution I found that works best for me, but thank you for asking. Or was the question directed to the OP who seems to be looking for advice on options?

Mar 08, 2015
Molly James in Cookware

Food Storage/Dry goods in Mason Jars?

I use Mason jars for storage and have switched over to one piece metal lids made by Bormioli. They're meant for canning, so you get a pretty tight seal even without, and work much better than the Ball one piece plastic lid, which was designed for storage only. I picked mine up at the Container Store. A pack of 2 was a $1.49 for the 86mm which fits wide mouth and $1.29 for the 70mm which fits regular jars. http://www.containerstore.com/shop/ki... If you read the reviews, you'll see people use them a multitude of storage needs and are pretty happy with the seal.

If you wanted to stick with Ball, and don't have a FoodSaver, you can use the vacuum adapter for canning jars and the hand held sealer - it's a bit tricky to get a vacuum seal, but it can be done - I tried it on a jar of marshmallows so I could "see" it working. The adapters are pretty inexpensive and the hand held can be found on sale for a good price.

Half size bread pan?

You're very welcome.

When I saw the dimensions you needed, my first thought was "cake pan," and I used that as the search criteria and it came right up.

Enjoy and happy baking!

Mar 02, 2015
Molly James in Cookware

Half size bread pan?

Fat Daddio's makes a 5x5x3 cake pan http://www.amazon.com/Fat-Daddios-Ano...

Both Fat Daddio's and Parrish Magic Line make smaller, not mini, loaf pans.

Other suggestions would be to look for a small vintage Corning Ware casserole in about the size you need, a steam table tray, or make shape and make 2 loaves in a larger bread pan and freeze one.

Mar 01, 2015
Molly James in Cookware

need help identifying a cast iron skillet

The 3 notches in the heat ring makes me think it's an unmarked Lodge. Looks like a nice pan.

Jan 19, 2015
Molly James in Cookware

Which mini-cocotte Staub or LC?

Zwillings online has the grenadine and dark blue for $29.99 http://www.zwillingonline.com/clearan...

They may be seconds, tho. "Description
While supplies last.
Product may have minor visual imperfections or a damaged box."

There are some good prices on other pieces, too.

Oct 30, 2014
Molly James in Cookware

Food Processors and the D word.

Not the OP, but here is the link http://www1.macys.com/shop/product/ki...

I had to go look, as quite a while ago, I was part of a KA focus group for the concept/item (hadn't realized it was on the market now). It's quite similar to the old KA DVSA food processor attachment, that cost new, a fraction of this unit.

Things may have changed since I last looked, but KA was constantly slammed in consumer reviews of the variable blade slicing function (when it was first introduced) on their food processor.

Jul 29, 2014
Molly James in Cookware

Food Processors and the D word.

I was thinking french fry disc, then taking those pieces and feeding them thru the other way. Wouldn't that produce a dice of uniform pieces?

I'd love to test it out, but I don't have a french fry disc :-(

Jul 29, 2014
Molly James in Cookware

Advice for baking and icing equipment purchase

For cake pans, I'd recommend the Parrish Magic Line in either an 8 or 9 inch round (the most common cake size). Parrish Magic line also has square pans that are truly square.

I'm not a huge fan of Wilton products overall, but they do have a nice cake pan line. I think it's called Decorator Preferred or something similar. They also have nice muffin tins that have straighter sides than most and that pan is in whatever their low cost line is.

For good quality, reasonably priced tips, I like Ateco. PME tips are better still, but more costly and may not be worth the cost if you're a casual decorator.

I mostly use disposable bags.

Sheet pans I would get at a restaurant supply store if one is convenient to you, otherwise, Nordicware Naturals is reasonably good.

As someone mentioned, you can take Wilton classes to learn everything from basic decorating in buttercream to more advanced tired cakes and gumpaste design and decorations. Most Michael's, Joann Fabrics and Hobby Lobby offer all the classes. Craftsy.com also offers numerous classes, both free and paid, and you can log in and learn at your own pace. Another alternative is to buy the Wilton course books and or course kits and teach yourself. The kits will contain most of the basic supplies, such as tips and bags, to get you started. Youtube is wonderful for tutorials on just about everything.

Finally, a good source for information on all things cake is the decorating forum at Cake Central http://cakecentral.com/f/9/cake-decor...

Happy baking and decorating.

Jul 19, 2014
Molly James in Cookware

Do I keep this 9qt French Oven?

Sorry, I wasn't clear. I edited my post to clarify 'Fontignac' brand.

My local BB&B is tiny and they don't carry either LC or Fontignac. It was just last week that I first saw a Fontignac piece in person and that was as Tuesday Morning. The piece was a huge oval. Smooth iron. Nice, even color/glaze on the outside but it didn't appear (subjective, I know) to be as thick as the Staub and certainly not as 'flashy,' but it looked good. The interior looked just like my Staub's.

The piece must have been in the 8 or 9 quart range and the price was $109. If I were in the market for something that large, I would seriously consider it.

Nov 04, 2013
Molly James in Cookware

Do I keep this 9qt French Oven?

BBB carries Fontignac as their other ECI line. Both Fontignac and Staub are under the Zwilling umbrella. Staub probably does the manufacturing for the Fontignac brand.

I've no personal experience with Fontignac, but Staub products are excellent.

Nov 04, 2013
Molly James in Cookware

Temp-taions bakeware

HI, dixiegal.

Are you familiar with the QVC Community Temptations forum?
http://community.qvc.com/forums/tempt...

I have no personal experience with Temptations, but know of the piece you're interested in. The first time I saw it, it reminded me of a set of casseroles I had in the late 70's or early 80's, made by Anchor Hocking/Fire King, I think. They were clear and the lids could also be used as trays. Loved the concept. Lost them in a move, but really enjoyed using them because of the versatility. Still miss them all these years later.

If you get the piece, please let me know what you think about
it.

Feb 19, 2013
Molly James in Cookware

le creuset 5qt multi-pot

Thanks, cutipie!

I hope you get your toy and now thanks to you, I may get one as well!

Dec 24, 2012
Molly James in Cookware

le creuset 5qt multi-pot

Can you please clarify the sale at cutleryandmore.com? I usually get sale notifications and didn't receive one for the 20% off sale you posted about nor is it listed on their website.

The last notification I remember getting was for 20% off Wusthof knives and that was a few weeks ago.

Dec 24, 2012
Molly James in Cookware

Do older Kitchenaid mixer attachments work with a new mixer?

Does your question relate to hub attachments? If yes, then they should fit.

If your question relates to things like bowls, beaters, etc. they tend to be model specific. I don't think, for example a bowl or beater from a 4C will fit any of the newer models.

Your question reminds me how much I miss the old KA Conversations forums. Kitchenaid shut it down a few years ago and moved to a Facebook page. It's a very different environment, but may be helpful to you if pose questions to a KA rep.

Dec 01, 2012
Molly James in Cookware

Confused about cutting boards

I condition by oiling it once a day for the first week and then put a mix of oil/beeswax on it. It just took me a bit to get started doing that.

I'm sure it would be fine to use after oiling once or twice. (I think that's the general recommendation).

Jul 09, 2012
Molly James in Cookware

Confused about cutting boards

I did a lot of research here and at kitchen knife forums looking for a good cutting board and I recently received my first Boardsmith, in walnut. I'm still conditioning it and it's so far unused, but I have to say that it is a thing of beauty and craftsmanship and that's just for a stock piece! The craftsmanship truly reminds me of old school furniture makers -those that took pride in their work and had it reflected in what they made. That's high praise from me.

Based on all the good reviews Boardsmith gets, I'm sure I'm going to be very happy using it. My only regret is not getting something custom designed, but I think that can be remedied.

Jul 09, 2012
Molly James in Cookware

Vintage Kitchenaid Metal Meat Grinder

I agree going into a gun shop may be intimidating for some, but for some of us, a gun shop may be hard to find. I live in Chicago and although I know the laws of gun ownership have changed a bit in the past few years, I believe gun shops are still prohibited in the city. I could be wrong, of course.

Mar 24, 2012
Molly James in Cookware

Vintage Kitchenaid Metal Meat Grinder

Thanks for the assurances the plates look like as they should.

The grinder was a thrift store find. I almost didn't even look in the box because it was in such horrible (dirty, greasy, musty smelly) condition, but two aisles over, I decided to go back and take a look. I'm glad I did, because what was inside was in pretty good condition.

Sueatmo, I have no idea how old my grinder is. I didn't even think about it missing the pusher until I started researching it on ebay. I have an old maple muddler that I intend on redirecting to use as the pusher. I may even see if I can find something in stainless steel that I won't have to worry about.

I'm excited to try out the grinder, but it will have to wait a tad. My mixer is on loan for a few more weeks.

Mar 24, 2012
Molly James in Cookware

Vintage Kitchenaid Metal Meat Grinder

The automotive department has those brushes, too. I picked up a couple last summer and the unused one has now been diverted to the kitchen.

Mar 24, 2012
Molly James in Cookware

Vintage Kitchenaid Metal Meat Grinder

Yes, oxidation is rust and I misspoke. I meant and should have said orange colored, pitting rust. The plates and blade are totally smooth, and are a very light grey.

Mar 23, 2012
Molly James in Cookware

Vintage Kitchenaid Metal Meat Grinder

Thanks all for the info.

I tried tried the magnet and the're magnetized. I used some Bar Keeper's Friend and a stiff bristled brush and most of the oxidation was removed, however, the pieces are still a very light grey (almost like the color of a new tin lined pan that's starting to turn dark). Perhaps that's the way they're supposed to be?

I didn't find any rust or old food residue, and they generally look like they've been only slightly used. I'm thinking perhaps they may be carbon, so I put a little shortening on them. Is that the proper care?

Mar 23, 2012
Molly James in Cookware

Vintage Kitchenaid Metal Meat Grinder

I'm hoping someone can help me with some information.

I just picked up one of these in great condition and really want to give it a good cleaning before I use it.

The main body and auger are cast aluminum, so I know how to clean them. However, I'm embarrassed to say, I can't tell what the plates and blade are made of. I think they're aluminum, but not sure. Whatever they are, they have heavy oxidation. Before I go crazy in trying to get them all shiny again, can someone please educate me on the material and subsequent care of the plates and blade?

What I picked up looks like this http://www.ebay.com/itm/260983375664?... including the dark plates and blade.

Mar 23, 2012
Molly James in Cookware

Trying to pick a blender for my disabled son.

I see you have a Magic Bullet. Have you considered a Ninja Master Prep (from what I've heard, similar but much more powerful)? http://www.samsclub.com/sams/shop/pro...

I can't compare it to a Vita Mix or a Blendtec as I have not experience with those models, but I have become a huge Ninja fan since getting one several months back.. It's a great blender and fairly inexpensive. Reminds me of the old Osters from the 60's/70's, in that it will turn ice into snow, blends expertly and chops pieces consistently.

It's a simply operation; just press the big power button on the motor, which sits on top and disengages from the container, release quickly for pulse or hold for pureeing, pulverizing, blending, etc. Just one caveat with chopping - you have to pulse in quick short bursts or you run the risk of liquifying.

If you think this might be something that could potentially meet your needs, check at the reviews on Sam's Club, Amazon, or BBB.

The Ninja Warrior is their immersion blender. I have that too, but haven't used it yet. Although not as widely available as the Master Prep, it's gotten great reviews as well.

Jan 13, 2012
Molly James in Cookware

Kitchenaid Stand mixer - which size to get?

Guide link http://www.amazon.com/b/ref=amb_link_... Ok, I see the link is still being parsed when I post. Try this: Google "Amazon Kitchenaid Guide" The link will take you to a consolidated KA standmixer page. On the left, the last text section is for Guides and Charts, click on Model Comparison.

In my experience, making pizza dough in the Artisan causes the machine to bounce around and "walk" a bit while kneading- not good if the machine is near the counter edge!

The 600 does have metal gears, and it's stronger motor is more capable of kneading heavier or more dense doughs.

I agree with the suggestion below if you get the 600, the 3 quart bowl is a great addition if you intend on using it for much smaller quantities.

Jan 05, 2012
Molly James in Cookware

Kitchenaid Stand mixer - which size to get?

charmdesign, here's a good guide that compares all the KA models
http://www.amazon.com/b?ie=UTF8&n...

As you look through the guide, think about how you'll be using your mixer to help determine the best mixer for your needs.

A very quick summary between the Artisan and the Pro 600 is the Artisan is a tilt head with a 5 quart capacity and its motor is 325 watts. The 600 is a bowl lift, 6 quart capacity and it's motor is 575 watts. Theoretically, the 600 should be able to handle heavier loads.

If you decide on the 600 and it's not available at your local Kohl's, try another or look online. There is a $50 rebate on the 600 that expires today, but keep in mind KA offers rebates on both machines several times yearly. If you can be patient, get your mixer during a rebate period.

Whichever model you select, the great thing about Kohl's is they will price match to other retailers and you can use multiple coupons to further reduce the price. Additionally, if you hit a Kohl's sale and get their cash back, it's usually a great deal after all the discounts (for example, right before Christmas, with sale prices, discounts and Kohl's cash back, members at slickdeals.net were reporting the Artisan for about $145 and the 600 at about $225.

I have both models and use the 600 the most due to bread doughs and capacity.

Happy choosing! Please let us know which one you selected.

Dec 31, 2011
Molly James in Cookware