If you follow me on twitter then you probably already know that I’ve been lucky enough to spend some time in sunny Florida over the last couple of weeks. It was a surprise 30th birthday trip for my wife, and it was pretty much the most fun ever. But, I’m not a travel blogger (unfortunately) so what you all really care about is the contents of the two (!!) extra suitcases we brought back with us.
Because the USA has the best baking supplies. Period.
First up, let’s head to Walmart. I’m the sort of person who’s favourite place to go on any foreign holiday is the local supermarket – specifically the sweets aisle. And in Walmart’s candy aisle, I was like a kid in a… well, you know. I picked up various bags of candy – Jolly Ranchers, Hershey’s, Life Savers, and more varieties of M&Ms than you would even thought possible. Most of these have since been either eaten or gifted away, but you get my drift.
As a baker, there was one thing in particular I was looking for down the candy aisle, and that’s some mini M&Ms. Cute little cookies with tiny weeny M&Ms are in my future, for sure. Better get two bags of those then.
I also picked up some Reese’s Pieces and PB Cups, because although you can get them in the UK, they are a) cheaper and b) in much bigger packets in the US. And we all know how both myself and Katie feel about peanut butter baked goods.
Quite possibly the best thing about the USA is the selection of chocolate chips available. Seriously. Next time you find yourself over there, head to a grocery store and get stuck in. Whilst us Brits are limited to milk, white, and dark, in the States you will find butterscotch chips, peanut butter chips, MINT CHOCOLATE CHIPS. You can even get little mini chips – try finding those in Tesco.
It did take me two trips to Walmart to track down the one single bag of Andes Creme de Menthe chips you see before you, but I’m absolutely sure it was worth it. I would have got more if they hadn’t already pretty much sold out.
I also picked up a couple bags of Heath’s Bits o’ Brickle, which are little chewy bits of toffee you can bake into cookies, cakes, etc. Because how good does that sound?!
Why on earth would I want to buy cookies? Isn’t this a baking blog? Surely I can just bake my own?
Well, yeah, I guess. But sometimes you want to be able to make a killer ice box cake without needing to bake your own Nilla wafers first, right? And sometimes you just want that genuine Graham Cracker flavour in your s’mores bakes.
I also picked up some Chewy bars, because they make me nostalgic for the summer I spent road tripping right the way across the USA. Even if they’ve got rid of that adorable little cartoon chip from the packet. Sad face.
Sprinkles, Box Mixes, and Everything Else
When it comes to bright and colourful sprinkles, America has everyone else beaten. So I got a kilo of them.
Yes, I’m assuming there is something in them that causes kids to be hyperactive, and hence have been banned in Britain, but they don’t fade to nothing when baked in a funfetti cake. Or a funfetti cookie. Or a funfetti anything! And that’s cause to celebrate in my opinion.
We also picked up some sliced almonds (yep, sliced not flaked – and super cheap), some sweetened shredded coconut (which is ideal for my macaroon recipe), and a bottle of key lime juice – more on that later.
When it comes to box mixes, I grabbed a funfetti one and a white cake one, because they can come in super handy when you want some authentic all-American cake taste without the faffing around.
And finally, some Hershey’s cocoa powder. Why? Because it’s the best for red velvet cakes, of course.
Bakeware & Kitchenware
Walmart wasn’t the only store that called out to me on my travels. I knew that I needed to find a Williams Sonoma somewhere in Orlando and pick up some reasonably priced Nordic Ware. And I did just that.
Major heart-eyes over the Heritage bundt pan I have been lusting after for years, as well as this gorgeous mini bundt pan. Williams Sonoma was having a Nordic Ware sale on as well, so I got 10% off. Fate.
We did scope out some cute Harry Potter and Marvel spatulas in Williams Sonoma too, but there were only so many more dollars left in the Minnie Mouse purse to spend.
Speaking of the mouse, I also picked up these incredibly gorgeous side plates in the World of Disney in Disney Springs. Aren’t they the cutest? We kept seeing them for sale all around the Disney parks, and on the last day I caved and added two to my shopping basket. They had dinner plates, mugs, serving plates, cutlery… the list goes on. And what a great way to remember our breakfast in the Beast’s castle at Magic Kingdom.
We didn’t try the grey stuff, but I’m sure it’s delicious.
I also couldn’t resist a Mickey Mouse sandwich cutter, which I’d almost purchased a couple of months prior at a stupidly over-inflated price from eBay. I’ve got plans for him heading your way in the next few weeks, all being well.
Lastly, but definitely not leastly, I also FINALLY got myself some Anthropologie Latte Bowls. I’ve been eyeing these babies up for years and years, and the reduced US prices, as well as the availability of way more colours, meant I couldn’t help myself any longer. The girl in Anthropologie at the Mall at Millennia was such a star and wrapped them up extra carefully for us in the hope that they would survive a trip in Katie’s hand luggage back to the UK. And they did!
So that’s it for my American baking supplies haul post. If you’re heading out to the States soon then hopefully this will give you some inspiration – although if not, you can usually find most of this stuff on Amazon or specialist American food sites (at a premium, of course).
I’ll be back in the next few days with a Florida-inspired bake that makes use of some of the above, but don’t worry British readers – I will be adding UK substitutes too.
Have a nice day.