CrateChef Stella Parks Baking Box Review + Coupon – February 2018
CrateChef is a bi-monthly subscription box curated by top-name chefs. They send artisan foods, recipes, and kitchen supplies in each box, typically with a cookbook or recipe cards from the featured chef so you can put your items to use!
This box was sent to us at no cost for review. (Check out the review process post to learn more about how we review boxes.)
What is CrateChef?
The Subscription Box: CrateChef
The Cost: $45 a box (plus $6 shipping per box) or $44 a box when you choose a 3-month subscription. You may also purchase a one-time gift box for $49 a box (plus $6 shipping).
The Products: Artisan foods, recipes, and kitchen tools, curated by a different chef each month– usually from the Southern region of the US.
Ships to: U.S.
CrateChef February Review: Pastry Chef Stella Parks
Each CrateChef box comes with a letter from the chef & curator. This month is curated by pastry chef Stella Parks, and the intro letter has a new format: it’s an interview! I really enjoyed reading through this letter, which provided some background on the included cookbook and some other interesting facts.
For example, I had no idea that canned pumpkin is actually closer to butternut squash! There are also some super helpful tips here for baking by weight instead of cup measurements. I do own a kitchen scale but rarely use it, so this is a good reminder of how much density and moisture can affect results in baking.
This next card includes all the info about which items were selected for the box and how to use them. Usually, CrateChef includes recipe cards, too, but this month is different because they’re including a cookbook:
How sweet is this wrapping! I love the care taken to make this truly special for subscribers.
BraveTart: Iconic American Desserts by Stella Parks – Retail Value $35 (found here for $23.79)
This book is supersubstantial– 400 pages of glorious full-color photos and recipes. There are about 80 core recipes (many of which also have variations included in the book) covering everything from cookies and candy and cake to pies and ice cream and even homemade version of classic American brand-name goods, like Thin Mints and Twinkies!
Plus, it’s recent (just published in August 2017) and was also on the New York Times Bestseller List. Nice work, CrateChef!
As if that weren’t enough, the book is also signed by the author, which is another lovely little touch. Let’s take a quick peek inside:
I love a good oatmeal cookie, don’t you?
And my husband LOVES key lime pie… this might be on my shortlist for his birthday this year. I’ve never made one!
And of course, these homemade Oreos from the cover shot of the book! How beautiful are these?
I had a giggle at the McDonald’s Style Apple Turnovers recipe, but dang if those don’t look like some delicious hand pies!
With so many recipes, it’s hard to give you a thorough look through everything in here… there’s also pudding, doughnuts, and even recipes for homemade sprinkles! I only own a couple of other cookbooks focused on baking, and I honestly feel like my bookshelf was just waiting for a book like this to fill that gap. I love it.
I only bake a few times a year and actually just made my first ever from-scratch cake in December, so I don’t have a lot of baking tools in my kitchen… pretty much the bare essentials. I was happy to see this item in the box because I don’t currently have an offset spatula.
I definitely could have used this when I made that cake– I spread my cake icing with a small silicone spatula, and let’s just say it had a very “homespun” look. 😉 Definitely looking forward to giving this a whirl.
Another item I really should own and don’t. I’ve been using my ice cream scooper to haphazardly scoop cookie dough for years, but it doesn’t work incredibly well… it’s too big and the scooping mechanism is constantly getting stuck.
This is a design that looks like it’s been unchanged for the last 50 years, but in a good way! It doesn’t have the smoothest mechanism, but it seems really solid and like it should last through many, many dozens of cookies. There are a bunch of different companies making scoopers that look like this one, so it seems like it’s a pretty time-tested design.
I can’t wait to see how this compares with my ice cream scoop!
Karen’s Naturals Just Strawberries, 1.5 oz – Retail Price $5.55
These freeze-dried strawberries seemed like an unexpected item to me at first! We sometimes have freeze-dried fruit in the house as a snack, but I’ve never thought to use it in baking before.
CrateChef notes a few recipes from the book that use these: Make-Ahead Whipped Cream, Home Made Pop Tarts, and Rice Krispies Treats.
Home Made Pop Tarts? YES PLEASE. My son is going through a strawberry toaster pastry obsession right now, and I think making a big batch of these sounds like the perfect weekend project for us!
We also got a code for 20% off any reorders, should these pop tarts be something we decide to make regularly at home. 🙂
(This 8 oz size doesn’t appear to be available online. The pro-rated price for 8 oz using the bulk bag prize is $3.12, but I’d guess the retail value to be closer to $5 since smaller sizes are always marked up a bit more.)
I’ve never really thought about where that classic “malted milk” flavor comes from before. Turns out this is a mixture of evaporated milk, barley malt, and wheat flour. Interesting!
The powder is nothing too exciting to look at, but it did have a classic malted aroma.
Again, CrateChef calls out a few included recipes that use this product– Blondies and Home Made Crunch Bars.
Yes, Home Made Crunch Bars! These used to be my absolute favorite candy as a kid, so even though I don’t love working with chocolate, I think I *may* have to try that recipe sometime. It’s actually shockingly easy sounding and has just three ingredients: Rice Krispies, malted milk powder, and chocolate.
J.K. Adams Maple French Dowel Rolling Pin, 20.5″ x 1.75″ – Retail Price $12.00
I absolutely despise my current rolling pin, which is a Teflon-coated number that still somehow manages to stick to everything while weighing approximately 25 pounds. (Ok, maybe not, but you get the idea… it’s heavy!)
This simple wooden dowel, by comparison, feels so nice and easy to roll, even with my smallish hands. And it looks great without taking up a large amount of space in my drawers, which is always a plus.
CrateChef notes the tapered design makes it easier to adjust the pressure to make square crusts in particular. This brand is also manufactured in Vermont; I love to see American-made brands represented in boxes.
Like the other tools in this box, this is a deceptively simple item! It’s something that will definitely up my baking game, despite its unassuming appearance. I haven’t even used it yet aside from a few practice rolls on the counter, and I’m daydreaming about dropping my other rolling pin off at Goodwill already.
Do you use a wooden pin like this one for baking? Do you prefer to oil yours regularly or let it ‘season’ itself over time? Tell me your secrets!
Finally, we have a little bonus item in the box, too: a simple set of cellophane window treat bags!
Even though I’m not a regular year-round baker, I almost always bake gifts for the holidays, so I’m constantly looking out for new ways to package things up for gifting. These are simple and cute and will definitely get used in my kitchen.
Verdict: This honestly may be my favorite CrateChef box yet! While I’m more of a savory cook than a baker, I do love the challenge that comes with baking and the pride of giving baked goods as gifts. The cookbook and the items included this month have not only given me a good dose of inspiration, but will also totally give me a much needed helping hand in the baking department– and a mix of new ideas and great recipes and tools is pretty much exactly what I want from this box, so they really hit the nail on the head this month for me personally. 🙂
This month, I received $73.49 in retail value for a box that costs $51 (including shipping). That’s on par with previous months and what I’ve come to expect for a kitchen gear box like this one. Plus, I loved the little details this month, like the gift wrapped and signed book… it made the box feel even more special. If you’re curious about this cookbook or know someone who would love it as a gift, I’d say you can’t go wrong with picking this box up with our 10% off coupon.
Value Breakdown: For the $51 price point of this box, including shipping, here’s what you’re paying for each item:
- BraveTart Cookbook: $24.29
- Offset Spatula: $6.90
- Cookie Scoop: $4.15
- Rolling Pin: $8.32
- Freeze-Dried Strawberries: $3.85
- Malted Milk Powder: $3.47
If I sign up today, will I get this box? Yes, if you choose! When you join CrateChef, you can select which box you receive first. The Chef Parks box is currently available as of March 9th, 2018.
CrateChef is bi-monthly, so their next box will be released in April.
COUPON– Use code ADDICTION10 to save 10% off your first box!
Keep Track of Your Subscriptions: Add this box to your subscription list or wishlist!
What do you think of this month’s CrateChef? Are you planning to bake anything from this cookbook? Tell us in the comments!