Penzeys is probably no big secret, I’ve been ordering from them for years (and shopping at their Houston location when I lived up there), and most people I know do the same. Their shipping is inexpensive and quick, and they always throw in some other new spice blend for me to try. The products are high quality and there are several of their blends that I insist that I cannot live without, which says alot for someone who likes to create her own seasoning ratios!
Cake Spice — Mixed from China cinnamon, star anise, nutmeg, allspice, ginger, cloves. I use it in sweet breads, cookies, and pies. I often use this when a recipe calls for cinnamon and sprinkle a little bit more on top for extra flavor and color.
Pizza Seasoning — My secret for great spagetti sauce and pizza sauce is this. I buy inexpensive canned, no sugar added spagetti sauce and add Penzey’s pizza seasoning. Sometimes also olive tapenade or sun-dried tomato pesto, but always, always the pizza seasoning. It’s blended from salt, cracked and ground Indian fennel seed, Turkish oregano leaf and powder, sugar, garlic, Tellicherry black pepper, sweet California basil, white onion, crushed red pepper and cayenne red pepper powder. That bit of fennel in the mix gives it a nice hint of italian sausage without having any actual so it’s a wonderful vegetarian option as well.
Bouquet Garni — Made from savory, rosemary, thyme, Turkish oregano, basil, dill weed, marjoram, sage and tarragon. This is my go-to dried green herb mix. I add it for more depth of flavor to just about everything. It is salt free so you can control the amount of salt you get in your dish as well. I make croutons by cubing old bred and tossing the bread cubes in a skillet with olive oil, sea salt, fresh ground pepper, and bouquet garni.
Ok, it isn’t a blend but I love their Double Strenth Vanilla — Yes, it is expensive but you only have to use half as much and the flavor is amazing.
I purchase almost all of my spices here, both mixed and unmixed and I like to try new things, which they always have tons of. They also make great hot chocolate mix (though not sugar free) and wonderful salad dressing mixes. Their catolog is full of wonderful recipes and information about the different types of each herb and spice and how their flavors work in food.
You can download their most current catolog here.