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Kitchen Queries

Welcome to Kitchen Queries, where the nigella.com team will answer your cooking or food related questions.  We’d love you to submit some of your recipe problems, dilemmas or queries for us to get our teeth into!

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  • Flavourings for Christmas Baking

    Hi! For many years I have been using essence of maraschino and essence of ratafia in my Christmas baking, but now the bottles I have are empty and despite numerous attempts to find them in any supermarket or specialist shop, I am not having any luck. The empty bottles came from a defunct company called Langdale. Any ideas where I can get hold of them? Many thanks.

    From the nigella team:

    Ratafia essence is usually made from extracts of bitter almonds, though sometimes from the kernels of other stone fruits, such as peaches. We haven't been able to find a ratafia essence but you should get a similar flvour from a good quality almond extract. However make sure it is an extract rather than an almond flavouring, as almond flavouring can be a bit sweeter and slightly more like marzipan. Another alternative could be to try using a little amaretto liqueur as this is usually flavoured with apricot kernels. It will be slightly sweeter than an extract though.

    Maraschino is also currently unavailable and as the flavour profile is similar to almonds again an almond extract may be the closest alternative. Again you could try using a flavored liquor such as the maraschino liqueur from Luxardo or cherry brandy, such as Bols.

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