The Great Canadian Baking Show

6 expensive baking ingredients that are worth the splurge

Contestants of Season 6 of The Great Canadian Baking Show say that these six expensive ingredients can elevate your baking.

The bakers from The Great Canadian Baking show say these ingredients make their recipes shine.

Groceries are getting pricey and while the fundamental elements in baking are usually the least expensive — sugar and flour won't make too much of a dent in your bank account — there are some delightful ingredients that come with a premium price tag. Are they worth it?

The bakers for Season 6 of The Great Canadian Baking Show share the worth-the-splurge ingredients that — despite their hefty price — can take your baking to the next level. 


Zoya, a baker from Edmonton, thinks that saffron is an expensive, yet essential, ingredient in baking. (Marika Wheeler/CBC)

Edmonton's Zoya argues that good quality saffron is a wonderful ingredient to bake with. Harvested from the threads of a crocus flower, it's revered for its vivid colour, health benefits and distinctive flavour. 

That said, it is the most expensive spice in the world, and often known as "red gold."

Black Tahini

Tahini isn't just for baking. Many dishes, like baba ghanoush, feature this key ingredient. (Suresh Doss)

Tahini is a paste made from ground sesame seeds and originates in Middle Eastern cuisine. Usually used in dips like hummus, with its rich, nutty taste, tahini can also be a essential baking ingredient according the Season 6 bakers Rosemary and Kristi.

If you want to get super-fancy, however, Kristi also recommends the premium black tahini —which uses the unhulled sesame seed — for an interesting, slightly bitter taste.

(Good) Chocolate

Tempering chocolate allows bakers to more easily manipulate the delicious ingredient. (The Great Canadian Baking Show)

Chocolate is a key ingredient in so many sweet treats. But, as Chi points out, you'll need some high-quality and expensive chocolate for tempering. 

Tempering is the process of heating and cooling chocolate to give it a smooth and glossy appearance, vital for creating these delicious treats.


Spending a bit more money on butter will help to elevate your bakes, according to the Season 6 bakers. (The Great Canadian Baking Show)

Winnipeg's Nigel thinks that getting the highest quality butter you can is the best way to get your baking project off to a great start. Although butter prices can be steep, this ingredient is important to determining the texture and taste of a recipe. 

Almond flour

Almond flour is nutrient rich and gives your bakes another dimension of flavour. (Credit: iStock/Getty Images)

Flour is a foundational ingredient in baking. But, almond flour provides an interesting —if pricier — alternative. 

Jomar thinks it's well worth the splurge. Low in carbs and packed with nutrients, almond flour has a slightly sweeter taste.


The highest quality vanilla beans can be found in Madagascar. (Suto Norbert Zsolt/Shutterstock)

Vanilla is found in everything from from ice cream to cake. 

But, it's not cheap. 

Lydiane, Lauren and Andre all think that good vanilla is an ingredient you should invest in.

Lydiane, however, takes this next-level, getting her jet-setting friends to ship her vanilla from both Tahiti and Mexico. "Fake vanilla can make things taste fake, so get yourself a good bottle," she says. 

As any season's bakers will tell you, you can't fake it 'til you make it when it comes to baking. What ingredient do you splurge on?


Oliver Thompson is a writer, producer and musician.

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