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Flavor Boosters!

About 20 years ago my husband gave me a Christmas stocking stuffer that just keeps on giving. It was a box of 24, 1-dram jars of assorted flavors for cooking. Knowing my experimental verve in the kitchen this was a very thoughtful gift.
I have used LorAnn super strength flavors ever since. These are edible; food grade flavorings that are 3 to 4 times stronger than the store bought extracts, and have no sugar or other sweetener added. Due to their concentration they are appropriate for food preparation but not for using undiluted. Do not confuse them with the essential oils used in medical therapy. Medicinal oils are neither used nor safe in cooking. READ all essential oil bottles carefully for their proper use. 
LorAnn flavorings can enhance or change the taste of cakes, cookies, jello, candy, popcorn, frosting, ice cream and drinks. We will explore some of the tasty variations I have tried. White cake can be just about any flavor you want. It is like a blank canvas, and there are over 100 flavors to choose from. The kids like bubble gum, root beer and cotton candy. My adult friends favor Bavarian crème, pralines and crème, sparkling wine and just about any of the fruit flavors. Add 1\2 of a tsp. to a cake mix or an equivalent scratch mix. For chocolate cake I like the cherry, mint and nut flavors. For yellow cakes I prefer orange brandy and other fruit flavors. Crème de menthe and mint chocolate chip add a real tang to cookies.
Peppermint, spearmint and other minty flavors are delicious in any food when a strong mint taste is wanted.  Minted frosting on chocolate cake is quite nice.  Homemade ice creams and jams can be made to vary by your choice of any flavor but the mints do stand out.
My friend Dixie can attest to the fact that the spice flavors such as cinnamon and cloves really boost the taste of jello. I made the strawberry delight for our gourmet gal’s lunch and she asked me what was in the jello. I had added 1\4 tsp. of cinnamon flavor to one layer of jello and 1\4 tsp. cloves to the other (strawberry delight recipe). Try my version or one of your own. 
I took a jello poke cake to a dinner recently. It was a boxed white cake to which I added 3\4 tsp. of the Bavarian crème flavoring. The jello was strawberry and I added 3\4 tsp. of the raspberry flavoring. I prettied it up with strawberries decorating the cool whip topping (poke cake recipe). It is really delicious when served cold!
In terms of drinks I really like an 8 oz. tequila sunrise with 1\8 tsp. of pomegranate or raspberry flavoring! You can really rattle your taste buds with the variations available. Tutti frutti and tropical punch are tasty in non alcoholic drinks. Let me know if you discover any refreshing libation combinations!
If LorAnn flavorings are stored in a dark, cool place tightly sealed they will last for years. I am pretty sure yours will be consumed way before that. They are often used in professional beer brewing, chocolate crafting, and candy making. There are some savory versions like thyme and rosemary that can be used in soups and gravies. You know me; I prefer fresh or dried herbs for my recipes.
I hope you are excited about a new taste adventure. The possibilities are endless with over one hundred flavors to experiment with. Thanks Dixie Coutant for inspiring me to write this column. Enjoy some flavor bolstering in your kitchen and share your findings with me at herbbasket.net. You will have access to LorAnn’s Website there as well.

Jello Poke Cake
Ingredients:
1 (18 ounce) box white cake mix
3 eggs (or as called for by your cake mix)
1/3 cup butter (or as called for by your cake mix) or 1/3 cup oil (or as called for by your cake mix)
1 cup water (or as called for by your cake mix)
1 (3 ounce) box any flavor Jello gelatin
Cool Whip (for frosting)
fruit ( to match the jello flavor) (optional)
Directions:
Prepare cake according to package instructions.( 9 by 13)
Allow to cool completely in pan.
Using a fork, poke holes all over the top of the cake through to the bottom.
Prepare jello according to package instructions except do not allow it to set.
Pour jello slowly over the entire surface of the cooled cake (cake will look soggy, but that’s ok).
Chill cake until jello sets completely (several hours or overnight).
To remove cake from pan, set the pan in a dish of hot water for 1 minute. Can also be cut in the baking pan.