Chef Cherie’s Holiday Baking Spice Gift Sets

ccpie2Got the pumpkin pie “blues”? Its never too late to order our baking spice gift sets to help you create the perfect pie for the holidays. Our baking spice gifts sets contain the perfect spice mix for your seasonal baking. Whether its an apple pie, pumpkin pie, gingerbread or something to “flavor up” your favorite recipe. Our gifts sets are for you.

holidaybakingpixOur Holiday Pie and Baking Gift Set contains 5 spices perfect for a tasty holiday pie. Includes cinnamon sugar, apple pie spice, vanilla sugar, pumpkin pie spice and gingerbread spice.


bakingpixChef Cherie’s Baking Spice Gift Set is another great combo of spices for the perfect pie. Includes cinnamon sugar, apple pie spice, maple sugar powder, pumpkin pie spice and gingerbread spice.

Each gift set contains 5 – 2 oz tins, sealed and “wrapped” in a mesh sleeve and topped with a raffia bow. Just add a gift tag and you’re ready to go!

Shop our Gift Spice pages for these and other great gift sets.

Perfect Holiday Gift! Vinegar Powder Sampler Gift Set!

Vinegar Powder Sampler Gift Set

Looking for a great gift idea? Here is one of our most popular spice gift sets. The Vinegar Powder Sampler Gift Set contains 5 tins of powdered vinegars. The gift set includes Red Wine Vinegar, Apple Cider Vinegar, Balsamic Vinegar, Malt Vinegar, Rice Wine Vinegar. This set works great if you love salt and vinegar on anything . Also great for snacks.

Holiday Gift Set

The five tins arrive sealed and gift wrapped in a mesh sleeve topped with a raffia style bow. Just add a gift tag for the perfect holiday gift.

We’re Featuring: Sour Cream Powder

Sour Cream Powder

This week Chef Cherie is featuring:  Sour Cream Powder.

Powdered Sour Cream is a wonderful addition to any recipe that calls for sour cream. It introduces a nice sour cream flavor and adds a lovely creaminess.

Wondering how to use Sour Cream Powder?  Well as you would expect Powered Sour Cream is a perfect way to introduce the rich sour cream flavor to dips and dressings. Add the Sour Cream Powder to our Potato Roast Blend, add some olive oil, coat the potatoes, then bake or saute.  Using our Mexican Spice Blend or Taco Seasoning? Try adding some Sour Cream Powder. Now there’s a match made in tasty heaven!

And of course Powdered Sour Cream is a great way to jazz up your chips and popcorn. Order some today!


Celebrate the Season w/ Pumpkin Lasagna

Pumpkin Lasagna

How about a delish idea for the leftover pumpkins you’ll have this weekend? How about something a bit different?  How About Yummy Pumpkin Lasagna!


  • 1 box Oven Ready Lasagna (rolled flat)
  • 4 cups Pumpkin (cooked, about one small pumpkin)
  • 2 large Vidalia Onions (finely minced)
  • 1 stick Butter
  • 3 tablespoons Canola Oil
  • 3 tablespoons Sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon Cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon Vanilla
  • Salt as needed
  • 3 cups Mozzarella
  • Pecorino Romano (freshly grated, to top before baking)
  • Parmigiano-Reggiano (to garnish)


  • 1 stick Butter
  • 6 tablespoons Flour
  • 6 cups Milk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Nutmeg
  • 3/4 cup Pecorino Romano
  • Salt and Pepper as needed

Click for directions –>

Source: photo and recipe: The Chew / ABC -Pumpkin Lasagna w/ Béchamel Sauce 

Recipe: Pink Peppercorn Brownies


Pink Peppercorns are mighty tasty! Even though they really aren’t peppercorns at all, they do have a sweet and peppery flavor. This sweet peppery flavor makes the pink peppercorn perfect for desserts! We found this recipe for a Pink Peppercorn Brownie and it seems to be the perfect mix of chocolate sweet and peppery bite. According to the baker, she is using them for their color as well as their flavor. Enjoy!

Pink Peppercorn Brownies


3 oz / 6 tbsp Salted butter, cut into pieces
8 oz bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8-1/4 tsp ground cardamom (adjust to taste)
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp vanilla bean paste, or vanilla extract, or scraped seeds from one vanilla bean pod
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
About 2 tsp freshly ground pink peppercorns


Preheat the oven to 350°F,,

Grease well and line the bottom and two long sides of  a 8″ X 11″ brownie pan (can be substituted with a 8″ / 9″ square cake pan). Let the baking paper hang over the long edges, it will make it easier to lift brownie out later. Grease the paper lightly as well.

In a medium saucepan, melt the butter, then add the chocolate and stir over low heat until the chocolate is melted and smooth. Remove from the heat and stir in the sugar, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves and vanilla bean until combined.

Stir in the eggs one at a time until smooth.

Add the flour and stir energetically for just a minute, until the batter loses its graininess, becomes smooth and glossy, and pulls away a bit from the sides of the saucepan.

Scrape the mixture into the prepared pan. Sprinkle pink peppercorns evenly over the top of the mixture and then bake until the center feels almost set, about 27-30 minutes. Don’t overbake.

Let cool completely in the pan before lifting out the brownies using the baking paper overhang.

Slice into 16 equal pieces. Store in in airtight container, can be stored for 4 days or frozen for up to a month.

Source: Recipe & Photo: Raspberri Cupcakes – Pink Peppercorn Brownies

Chef Cherie’s Modern Pantry

Once the basic spices and herbs are part of your home cooking its time to start expanding your kitchen’s palate with these spice suggestions:



The golden child of spices right now. Sriracha is everywhere these days. And for good reason. Its the perfect addition when you are looking to add a little “zip” to your recipe. And its versatile. Perfect in appetizers, entrees, desserts. Even beer!!


Whole Dried Chilies
Did you know that Spice Specialist carries over 30 different types of chilies. Both whole and ground. Among the different chilies we carry are Aji Amarillo, Aji Limo, Aji Panca, Ancho,  Chipotle, De Arbol, Guajillo, Habanero, Jalapeno, Mulato, Pasilla, Rocoto, New Mexico Red Chili, Thai Long Chilies and Thai Red Chili. We also carry Cayenne Pepper in different heat indexes as well as chili blends.



Finishing Salts
Once you’ve added sea salt or kosher salt to your spice rack, how about a little something extra? Adding a finishing salt at the end of cooking or right before serving can add a burst of flavor as well as some texture and crunch. A finishing salt can enhance or even change the dish completely. We carry a wide range of smoked and flavored sea salts.  Here are some of the fine salts we offer:

Smoked Salts: including Apple, Cherry, Hickory, Maple, Mesquite, and Pecan, and Large Rock

Hawaiian Salts: including White, Black, Blush Silver, Blush Grey, Bamboo Jade Green, Alaea (red),  and Blush Balsamic.

Himalyan Salts: including Fine Pink, Granulated Pink, Coarse Pink, and Coarse Black

Sea Salts: including  Chili Jalapeno, Lime Jalapeno, Lavender, Lime, Porchini, Black Indian, Fleur de Sel, French Grey, and Large Rock



Smoked Paprika 

While paprika is important in Spanish, Portuguese, Moroccan and Turkish dishes. It is perfect for any cuisine.  Add a hint of smokey goodness to any dish with the smoked paprika available at Chef Cherie.  Aside from our many paprikas we carry Spanish SmokedHot Spanish Smoked and Texas Style Smoked Spanish.



A Middle Eastern spice blend, Za’atar usually includes thyme, oregano, sesame seeds, salt, sumac and the possibility of other spices. Our Za’atar spice blend includes white sesame seeds, sumac berries and thyme.


Photos & inspiration: Tasting Table – Modern Pantry

10 “Must Have” Herbs and Spices

oregano Greek Groundginger Groundbasil Wholegalic Mincedsage Groundrosemary GroundCinnamon Oilcumin Groundallspice Ground

Inspired by an article at and their 10 “Must Have” spices, we thought we’d give you our version of “Chef Cherie’s 10 Must Have Herbs and Spices.” top 10 “Must Haves” included: OreganoGingerBasilGarlicSageRosemaryCinnamon, CuminAllspice Black Pepper.

Now once you have the basics then its time to experiment and explore. Here now is Chef Cherie’s top spices and herbs:

malt Vinegar PowderMalt Vinegar Powder
Used as a replacement for liquid vinegar in certain recipes as well as a preservative. Imparts a salt and vinegar flavor without making your dish soggy.

worcestershire powderWorcestershire Powder
Used to add the flavor of Worcestershire without the liquid.

paprika Hungarian SweetPaprika
Used to add color and flavor to many types of dishes. We carry many types of paprika including: Hungarian Sweet, Hungarian Hot, Spanish, Smoked Spanish, Smoked Hot Spanish and Texas Smoked Spanish Paprika.

sumac Berries GroundGround Sumac Berries
Have a very sour flavor that is similar to that of lemon peel. They are used in marinades, dressings, soups and other dishes.

apple cider vinegarApple Cider Vinegar Powder
Adds a tangy kick to sauces, marinades, salads and more. Made from real apples

Cream of TartarCream of Tartar
Commonly used to give beaten egg whites more volume and to help stabilize them. Is also used to produce a creamier texture for dessert items like frosting and candy.

soy sauce powderSoy Sauce Powder
Adds a bit of Oriental flare to any dish. Made from dehydrated soy sauce and works great in marinades or Asian spice blends

arrowroot powderArrowroot
Typically used as a thickening agent for sauces. Will not give a cloudy coloring to your sauce.

Pepper –  Urfa or Aleppo
pepper Urfa CrushedUrfa – Has a smoky taste with hints of a raisin-like flavor. A Middle Eastern pepper used in savory dishes. (Turkey)
pepper Aleppo CrushedAleppo – Has a mild to moderate level of heat, with cumin-like fruity undertones. There are also hints of chocolate and salt as well. (Syria)

balsamic powderBalsamic Vinegar Powder
The Connoisseur’s Sweet Vinegar. Adds a mild tartness to barbecue sauces, seasonings, rubs, marinades, salad dressings, and dry mixes.


Recipe: Spiced Fruit Syrup w/ Grains of Paradise

It’s been said that Grains of Paradise is the best spice you’ve never heard of!! Grains of Paradise are from the ginger family and have a pungent, peppery flavor.

“I put a few between my teeth and crunched. They cracked like coriander, releasing a billowing aroma, and then a slowly intensifying heat, like pepperGrains of Paradise. The taste changed by the second. The heat lingered. But the spice was pleasantly tempered, ripe with flavors reminiscent of jasmine, hazelnut, butter and citrus, and with the kind of oiliness you get from nuts. They were entirely different from black peppercorns… Grains of paradise are dense fragrance underlined with heat. And that brings food to life in a way that black pepper never does.” *

Here’s a simple recipe “Spiced Fruit Syrup” using Grains of Paradise.

Spiced Fruit Syrup with Grains of Paradise **


3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup dry white vermouth
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons chopped rosemary leaves
2 tablespoons chopped ginger
2 teaspoons slightly crushed grains of paradise
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar


Combine 3/4 cup sugar, 3/4 cup dry white vermouth, 1/2 cup water, 2 tablespoons chopped rosemary leaves, 2 tablespoons chopped ginger, 2 teaspoons slightly crushed grains of paradise, and 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar in a large pot.

Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer for about 10 minutes. Strain and cool.

Sprinkle over fresh fruits such as strawberries, mango, melon, and peaches.

 ** Recipe: Chow – Spiced Fruit Syrup with Grains of Paradise

* Quote: NY Times – What Peppercorns Only Dream of Being (Amanda Hesser)

Holiday Recipe Rosh Hashana: Roast Chicken W/ Honey & Chili


Roast Chicken W/ Honey & Chili for Rosh Hashana

“Every Rosh Hashana, Jews smear honey on sliced apples and thick pieces of challah with the idea that a sweet New Year’s meal will usher in a sweet new year…But… what to make for the holiday meal this fall, another thought occurred… A little bit of spice would be a most welcome addition — both to the table and… coming year.”

“After all, pairing something sweet with something spicy is a classic culinary maneuver. The sweetness tames the heat while the chiles keep the dish in question from becoming cloying. Think of a Mexican hot chocolate spiked with chile powder or, closer to the theme at hand, gefilte fish topped with horseradish. And a few well-placed crushed red pepper flakes would go a long way to liven up an otherwise traditional Rosh Hashana meal.” *


1 lemon, plus 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 ½ teaspoons kosher salt, more for pot
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 ½ tablespoons whole grain mustard
3 tablespoons honey
1 bay leaf
½ to 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, to taste
Black pepper, to taste
1 4-pound chicken, cut into 8 pieces
3 cups sliced carrots (1/4-inch thick)
1 onion, halved and thinly sliced
2/3 cup sliced dates
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
¼ cup chopped cilantro or parsley, for garnish
2 scallions, thinly sliced, for garnish
¼ cup chopped toasted pistachio nuts, for garnish


Quarter the lemon lengthwise, removing any seeds. Thinly slice crosswise into small wedges and add to small pot of boiling, salted water. Blanch for 2 minutes and drain. Reserve slices.

In a saucepan, whisk together lemon juice, orange juice, oil, mustard, honey, salt, bay leaf, red pepper flakes and black pepper to taste. Bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Let cool.

Put chicken in a bowl and add honey mixture. Add carrots, onion, dates, thyme and blanched lemon slices. Turn mixture several times to coat. Let marinate for at least 30 minutes at room temperature, but preferably overnight in the refrigerator.

Heat oven to 425 degrees. Transfer all ingredients, including marinade, to a sheet pan with a rim. Chicken should be skin side up. Roast until chicken is browned and cooked through, about 20 to 30 minutes for breasts and 30 to 40 for legs and wings (remove the pieces as they are done cooking). When the chicken is done, give the carrot mixture in the pan a stir; if the pan looks dry add 2 to 3 tablespoons water.Continue roasting the carrots until they are tender, about 7 to 12 minutes longer.

Spoon carrots over chicken and top with cilantro, scallions and pistachio nuts


* Original recipe & Photo: New York Times – Dining & Wine - For a Holiday, Sweet Kisses Spice (Melissa Clark)