Friday, September 9, 2011

Spice World: Muscovado Sugar

What’s not to like about a sugar that resembles chocolate? 

The Musc

I know, muscovado sugar is not technically a spice, but rum is made of it and I would not balk if someone stir fried it into my pad Thai or sprinkled it on top of salsa. Plus, it’s located in the Chef Tools spice department

Muscovado is the focus of this edition of Spice World because of its versatility and uniqueness among sugar. That is, muscovado is direct-to-you from the sugar cane, unrefined and unadulterated. Muscovado is dark – darker than brown sugar, which is white sugar mixed with molasses – and slightly wet, like beach sand near the tide.  

The flavor is, of course, sweet, but a little heavy, similar to molasses. In the brown sugar flavor hierarchy, muscovado is closest to molasses, while turbinado is close to caramel and demerara is close to toffee.  Can you remember the last time you ate a gingerbread cookie? It’s that kind of sweetness. Muscovado complements more savory-sweet items.

So, recipe suggestions: sprinkle it in any stir fry and discover how well soy sauce and sugar mix; sauté with carrots; use it in place of standard sugar in sugar cookies for darker, richer morsels; baked beans; mix it with salt, pepper, cayenne and garlic powder for a nice meat rub; but the best recipe I found from Yummly is to use it in ginger beer.

At any rate, keep a bag of muscovado in the pantry (long shelf life) for those occasions when brown sugar just isn’t sweet enough.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Meri Meri Party Kits

Triceratopses and stegosauruses go together like pirates and galleon ships just like flower fairies and princesses go together like the Eiffel Tower and the Arch de Triumph. 

Of course, I’m talking about Meri Meri party supplies. 

A couple of weeks ago, we here at Chef Tools started noticing that party throwers were buying three or four pieces in one line by Meri Meri. For example, the napkins, plates and centerpiece from the Meri Meri Peter Rabbit line. So we thought, “Why not combine those items into one kit?”

So, we did. And now Meri Meri party kits are available for an introductory period at our store; eventually we’ll put them up on These kits will help you save money, and shorten the amount of time you have to spend clicking around on the Internet.

The Flower Fairies party kit
We put together the kits – depending on the line – in several different sizes. We have large kits that include cake stands, napkins, party hats, invitations, plates, cups, garland and cupcake kits. The small kits include cups napkins and plates – enough for up to 12 guests. Some of the Meri Meri lines we kitted-up include Flower Fairies, Peter Rabbit, Cowboy, Big Rig, Roarrrr! Dinosaur, Parisian, Space Cadet and Animal Parade. 

So check out the kits and throw an awesome party. Just be careful which ones you order – pirates and cowboys don’t typically get along …