Has Anyone Tried Spices, Etc. Natural Flavorings/extracts?

Baking By TracyLH Updated 4 Jun 2009 , 11:48am by TracyLH

TracyLH Posted 31 May 2009 , 4:00pm
post #1 of 17

I am in search of all-natural coconut extract and Cook's Illustrated rated the Spices, Etc. all-natural coconut flavoring the highest. Has anyone tried any of their other flavorings and if so, what did you think of them? I thought maple would be nice for fall, my father loves key lime and toffee sounded interesting, to name just a few. Before making the step to order, has anyone tried their all-natural extracts at all? Thanks for any help!

Here is a link to their all-natural flavorings, if anyone want to see it:


Also, in case anyone is interested, here are the results of the last Cook's Illustrated coconut extact/flavorings taste test:


Pure extracts are essential oils extracted from natural flavoring agents such as fruit rinds, nuts, and herbs and then dissolved in alcohol. Imitation extracts are fabricated from chemical compounds that mimic natural flavors; these compounds are then also dissolved in alcohol. As with most things natural and synthetic, natural products cost more. When it came to coconut extract, we wanted to know whether "pure" was worth the price. So we made buttercream frosting for our Coconut Layer Cake using three extractsincluding one each of imitation, natural, and gourmet extractsand put them to the test.

One flavoring was uniformly rejected for bringing new meaning to the word artificial. One taster commented, "I feel like I'm eating suntan lotion." Tasters couldnt detect any off flavors in our runner-up and considered this extract "subtle" and "good." Our winner, made from the pulp of coconuts, was the most "deeply coconutty" and highly praised of the group

Published Thursday, March 01, 2001. From Cook's Illustrated.

We wanted to know whether "pure" extract was worth the price.
Highly Recommended
  Spices Etc. Natural Coconut Flavoring
Made from the pulp of coconuts, this was the most "deeply coconutty" and highly praised of the group.  $3.25 for 1-ounce bottle

  McCormick Imitation Coconut Extract
Tasters didn't note any off flavors and considered this extract "subtle" and "good."  $2.42 for 1-ounce bottle

Not Recommended
  LorAnn Gourmet Coconut Flavor
LorAnn Gourmet was uniformly rejected, bringing new meaning to the word artificial. One taster commented, "I feel like I'm eating suntan lotion."  $5.45 for 1-ounce bottle

16 replies
Pebbles13 Posted 31 May 2009 , 8:41pm
post #2 of 17

Tracy, I'm giving your thread a little bumpity-bump.

I've never heard of Spices, etc., but being that Cook's Illustrated gave it the highest recommendation, it peaked my interest. It seems to me that CI is usually spot-on with their recommendations. I checked out the site, and the flavors look interesting. Besides lemon, coconut is one of my favorite flavors icon_smile.gif I hope someone out there has used them and gets back to you.

cookiemookie Posted 31 May 2009 , 9:22pm
post #3 of 17

I'm watching this one too! CI tends to be spot on with their selections.

TracyLH Posted 1 Jun 2009 , 3:01pm
post #4 of 17

I agree about CI! Hopefully someone can chime in on this company. If not, I will repost under the 'General' section to reach a broader spectrum.

bonniebakes Posted 1 Jun 2009 , 6:02pm
post #5 of 17

sorry, I can't help (except to give this a bump)... but I am also curious. I'd love to find a place that has good, natural flavorings....

verono Posted 1 Jun 2009 , 8:22pm
post #6 of 17

Wow, another thing on my (already exaustive) list of things that I want !

Honeydukes Posted 2 Jun 2009 , 7:08pm
post #7 of 17

Tracy, can't help you with the flavoring -- sounds good though. Just wanted to let you know that Country Kitchens is now carrying some natural food colors. Thought you might be interested.


vicki0052 Posted 3 Jun 2009 , 4:11am
post #8 of 17

Hi: I just looked at the website and the site had some good sounding flavors. I also requested one of their catalogs. I plan on buying some of their flavors and will let everyone know how the flavors do. Vicki0052

TracyLH Posted 3 Jun 2009 , 12:20pm
post #9 of 17

Thanks Honeydukes and Vicki! icon_biggrin.gif Honey - Have you tried any of those flavors, by chance?

playingwithsugar Posted 3 Jun 2009 , 12:34pm
post #10 of 17

Wow, that's a big selection.

TracyLH -

If you order the French Vanilla, would you please let me know how it is after you use it?


Theresa icon_smile.gif

TracyLH Posted 3 Jun 2009 , 12:43pm
post #11 of 17

I wasn't thinking to try the French Vanilla, but I will post if I try the Coconut or any others. icon_smile.gif

GeminiRJ Posted 3 Jun 2009 , 5:34pm
post #12 of 17

How do these compare to regular extracts? For instance, I use 2 tsp. of vanilla in my sugar cookie recipe. What amount of these flavorings would I use? Some of those flavors sounded wonderful...just wondering how I would incorporate them into my recipe.

TracyLH Posted 3 Jun 2009 , 10:06pm
post #13 of 17

Good question! I find that when I am playing with a new flavor, I cut the recipe in half and do about 3 - 4 versions before I get it the way I want. Lots o' cookies, but the family loves the testers in the cookie jar! thumbs_up.gif (Now if I can just stay out of it! icon_lol.gif ) Hopeully someone will chime in with some thoughts on amounts!

sadsmile Posted 3 Jun 2009 , 10:15pm
post #14 of 17

Spice islands makes a Chai Spice that is out of this world that I love in Pumpkin bread.

artscallion Posted 3 Jun 2009 , 10:30pm
post #15 of 17

I haven't used that particular brand of natural flavoring. Though I am a HUGE fan of CI's books and recipes. The problem with CI ratings, is that they only pick a few brands to include in their tests. They do the same when testing equipment. So they're pretty accurate on choosing the best of what they test. And I know they can't test every brand. But I find there are often better choices out there that they didn't even test.

Two natural flavoring brands that I do recommend are Frontier Natural flavors. They are alcohol free and also have a second brand name they produce, Simply Organic.
Their flavors are strong and true.

vicki0052 Posted 4 Jun 2009 , 12:31am
post #16 of 17

Hi Everyone: Oh my, If these flavors are as good as I hope the are, I'm never going back to LorAnn's or Wiltons. This is the best website ever. The flavors are everything you would ever want. I get paid on Friday and I am going to order a few of the small sizes. I can't wait to try these in my icings. Anyone that tries this first please let us know how they are. I'm sold on this site. Vicki0052

TracyLH Posted 4 Jun 2009 , 11:48am
post #17 of 17

Thanks, Artscallion! Much appreciated!

Vicki and anyone else who is ordering - please let us know what you think! I'll chime in as well. For now, I can say that I swear by Boyajian oils. I use the lemon in pizzelles and cookies and it is wonderful! thumbs_up.gif

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