Everything in Berlin turned out just “Peachy”!

Everything is Peachy!

Everything is Peachy!

As some of you might know, Berlin Maryland was home to one of the largest Peach Orchards in the country back in the day. No surprise then that the Taylor House Museum’s annual Peach Festival is the largest festival hosted by the “Coolest Small Town in America”.

Most of you know that “BAKED” is home of the Original Peach Dumpling, which happens to be the “Official Dessert of Berlin”. Again no surprise then that we would be selling peach dumplings both in the store and at the festival and that this weekend is our busiest of the entire year. Every year we increase the amount of dumplings we make and every year we sell out, each one made by hand.

What you might not know is that during the frenzy of preparation for this weekend, our dog Beatrice went into labor, had to have an emergency C-section and gave birth to a litter of 5 French Bulldogs. Suffice it to say, that without the assistance of our family and friends, Nina and I would have been in some very “deep water”.

I have to first give props to my partner and who I will now refer to as the “Peach Dumpling Princess”. Nina is a machine and hand crafted dumpling at a speed which could have set some sort of Olympic Record if Peach Dumpling making was a sport. My son Vince and my daughter Sophia were at home and assisted with the birth of the first two puppies and they remained at home on 24 hour puppy duty throughout the weekend. My husband, AKA “Cupcake” was both on duty when at home, helped us set up for the festival and then worked in the store all day despite an hour of sleep. I cannot image my life without you four and I am eternally grateful for your love and support. I love you all MOST.

Then there are my parents, both in there 80’s helping out anyway they could, my sister Pam who did more dishes yesterday than she probably has in a year, my niece Britty, who was on her feet all day serving at the festival along side of Nina and my friend Melinda and her son Kevin who learned the art of Peach Dumpling making in short order! We are so grateful for you and everything you did to make this weekend a success. We love you all!

Lastly, I have to thank the volunteers and organizer at the Taylor House Museum. You all throw quite the party. Thank you for inviting us and hosting the most amazing festival! Lastly, to the Berlin Chamber of Commerce and Main Street Berlin for making the “Coolest Small Town in America” the coolest place to do business!

I am totally blessed to report that everything in Berlin

Everything is Peachy!

Everything is Peachy!

turned out just “Peachy”!

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Glazed Peach Pie…Oh My!

Perfectly Peachy fresh Peach Pie!

Perfectly Peachy fresh Peach Pie!

I’m gonna be perfectly honest…I love fresh fruit of all kinds. I love most fruit baked into pies, cobbler and crisps, except for the peach! My “Sweet Tooth” usually doesn’t discriminate, but I don’t really care for cooked peaches.

With the Berlin Peach Festival right around the corner and the need to create all things Peach, in addition to our famous Peach Dumpling, we’ve decided this year to roll out the Glazed Peach Pie. Although this pie crust is “BAKED” and the glaze cooked on the stove till thickened, the peachy interior remains raw leaving the fresh peaches in their most natural, tasty state. Of course you can add fresh blueberries to the party for something really special. Enjoy!

GLAZED PEACH PIE

1 (9 inch) pie shell, baked
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup water
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon butter
2 cups fresh peaches, pitted and mashed
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 cups fresh peaches – pitted, skinned,
and sliced

DIRECTIONS:
Combine sugar, water, cornstarch, butter, mashed peaches, and nutmeg in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat until clear and thick. Stir in vanilla.
Fill pie shell with sliced fresh peaches, alternating with the glaze. Refrigerate.

Yield: 8 servings.

Homemade Marshmallow Fluff Dip + Fresh Fruit = Delish and Perfect for 4th of July Festivities!

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Hard to believe that the 4th of July is just days away. I usually start fretting about how fast Summer goes by when we hit this holiday. My husband has suggested, on numerous occasions, that I should see a therapist about this. I can’t help it. Summer is my absolute favorite time of year…the days are longer, water warmer, the kids are out of school and the fresh, local produce selection plentiful. Why, Oh Why does it seem like it’s the time of year that goes by the fastest?

Ok, I am trying to pull myself together here. So, in my efforts to embrace the upcoming Red, White and Blue festivities I would like to share a delicious recipe that is really perfect anytime of year, but particularly during these warm Summer months and holiday cookouts. Don’t be intimated, it’s way easier than you think. Of course, if you don’t want to make the Fluff, you don’t have to, but I suggest you purchase an “all natural” brand without the colorings and additives. Oh, did I mention that this dessert is Gluten Free too…bonus!

Homemade Marshmallow Fluff Dip

3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup water
1/8 teaspoon fine salt
2 large egg whites, at room temperature
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

INSTRUCTIONS
Stir together the sugar, corn syrup, water, and salt in a small saucepan over high heat. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally, until the mixture reaches 240°F on a candy/fat thermometer.
Place the egg whites and cream of tartar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Whip the egg whites to soft peaks on medium speed.

When the syrup reaches 240°F, with the mixer speed now on low, slowly drizzle about 2 tablespoons of syrup into the egg whites to warm them. Slowly drizzle in the rest of the syrup into the egg whites. Increase the speed to medium high and whip until the marshmallow crème is stiff and glossy, about 7 minutes. Add in the vanilla and whip 2 minutes more. Use immediately or refrigerate stored in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

Here’s where is gets really interesting…mix equal parts of the prepared Marshmallow Fluff with softened cream cheese and serve with you choice of fresh fruit…strawberries, nectarines, apples, pineapple etc. That’s it…prepare for your taste buds to be amazed!

Genesis 2:2…God rested on the 7th day!

Genesis 2:2...God rested on the 7th day!

By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work.

It’s not a popular decision amongst our loyal customers and visitors that BAKED is closed on Sunday, but we have chosen that to be our day of rest and dedication to family time. We once heard the grandson of the founder of Chic Fil A state that his grandfather said closing on Sundays was the best business decision he ever made. I mean really, how much money do you suppose Chic Fil A loses by not being open on Sundays. Life can’t be all about the almighty dollar or it shouldn’t be!

Many have asked us to just hire someone to open on Sundays in our absence, but that really wouldn’t offer a true day of rest either. So, we do apologize for any inconvenience to our customers when they roll up on Sunday and see our sign that says…Gone to the Beach, but we hope that they also find a day or time of rest and relaxation in the hustle and bustle of our too often busy world and we look forward to serving them on Monday.

You too can “Pate a Choux”…this one’s for you Mam-aw!

IMG_1437My Mam-aw was an amazing cook! Her personality and culinary skills were both “Sweet and Savory”. She made Sunday dinners that were equivalent to Thanksgiving every week. She never asked anyone to bring a dish or assist her with preparation. My Mam-aw just found great joy by having her family gather around the dining room table each week to simply share great food and conversation. These nights created some of my very best childhood memories and one of the very first memories I have of cooking with her was making “Pate a Choux”.

Although “Pate a Choux”, like my Mam-aw, could be both Sweet and Savory, it was her “go to” for Bridal and Baby Showers. She would make a tray and stuff them with her homemade Chicken Salad, which made for an amazing and creative little sandwich.

Of course you can easily morph them into amazing desserts by stuffing them with homemade Pastry Cream, Whipped Cream, fresh Fruit…the sky is the limit here. Get creative! Honestly, my favorite way to enjoy them is hot, right out of the oven just by themselves. Their taste and texture somewhat similar to a Pop Over.

I know the name alone and its’ pronunciation is a bit intimidating, but I assure you that this “PUFF” is one of the easiest and most versatile recipes to make and even store for later use. All you need to know are some key tricks to insure success and you too will be able to “Pate a Choux”.

RECIPE
1 cup butter
2 cups water
pinch salt and sugar
2 cup all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
6 eggs

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In 2 quart pot, combine the butter, water, salt and sugar. I hate sifting so just whisk together the flour and baking powder. Once the water and butter come to a rolling boil, dump the flour mixture in all at once. Stir with a wooden spoon or paddle to incorporate until the dough begins to pull away from the sides of the pan. *STIR VIGOROUSLY UNTIL IT FORMS A BALL .

Transfer the mixture to a mixing bowl or standing mixer equipped with the paddle attachment. *MIX THE DOUGH FOR A MINUTE OR SO TO RELEASE SOME OF THE HEAT. Add the eggs, one at a time, completely incorporating each one before adding the next. Beat until the dough gets thick and ribbony.

Line your baking pan with parchment paper and either using an ice cream scooper spoon dough onto pan with proper spacing for expansion. Transfer pan to the oven and cook for 10 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees and cook for 25 minutes longer. *DO NOT OPEN THE OVEN, not even once, DURING THE ENTIRE COOKING TIME.

Use when cool, or freeze, wrapped in a plastic bag, for 2-3 months.

God answered my prayers…everything, every second beyond this point is just “Icing on my cake”!

I know that technically this is a blog about a bakery, but today I feel compelled to acknowledge what is my greatest accomplishment in life and it has nothing to do with business or bakeries.

For as long as I can remember, I knew I wanted a family. I’ve loved children and babies even when I was one myself. God answered my prayers and blessed me with three of the most amazing people…Vince, Nina and Sophia. As if that wasn’t enough, I got greedy and I asked God to allow me to survive in this world long enough to watch each one graduate from high school, believing at that point my children would be grown and capable of taking care of themselves and each other…no matter what.

This past Friday our youngest crossed that threshold. I can hardly believe that my three children are officially adults. Despite some parenting mistakes along the way, they have blossomed into the most amazing people I know. These three are not only siblings, they are best friends. So very different from one another, yet similar in that all three are kind, caring individuals who are following their own dreams and passions. They support, love, care and find protection in one another which, quite literally, comforts my soul.

God answered my prayers and I am grateful beyond words…everything, every second beyond this point, is just icing on my cake!

Shouldn’t everyday be Mother’s Day?

Shouldn't everyday be Mother's Day?

Shouldn’t everyday be Mother’s Day?

If you have ever met my mother in our little bakery, it’s unlikely that you would forget her. She’s short in stature, but she is as feisty as they come. If you encounter her at “BAKED”, which she frequents most everyday, expect that you’ll be strong armed into making a purchase, even if you’re diabetic. That has happened on more than one occasion.

I am one of 6 daughters, so my sisters and I calculated that our mother endured approximately 30 years of puberty, the birth place of her true craziness. Honestly, I know those years were tough on both of my parents, but particularly on my mother. I am happy to report that she survived the drama without addiction to alcohol and/or drug dependency…that we know of.

When I was pregnant with my first child, she lectured me on the worries and struggles that motherhood would bring. She rejoiced when after my son, I gave birth to 2 more children, both daughters. I think thoughts of revenge were behind her elation. When my children were teenagers, she again lectured me about the trials and tribulations those awkward years would bring and warned me that the worry and struggle of motherhood doesn’t end once your children are adults. She told me the burden of motherhood actually intensifies when your children venture off on their own, marry and have children themselves.

Blessed with 3 grown children, it is only after becoming a mother myself that I truly began to appreciate my own mother. She is one of a kind! I understand that their is nothing greater than a Mother’s Love and that Mother’s Day is 24/7 kind of deal.

Last night we celebrated her 80th Birthday with family and friends.

My Partner is Amazing!

My Partner is Amazing!

It is difficult to put into words how I feel about “my partner in crime” at the bakery! Nina’s not just a another pretty face. Her beauty runs deep and I am so blessed to share my days and dreams with her!

It’s been one year since my daughter joined me at BAKED Dessert Cafe. Her kind spirit, generous heart and people loving nature welcome all who cross our door way. Her creativity and culinary talent have brought great changes to what we now refer to as our “bakery dynasty” and so much more is to come.

I love owning an all natural bakery/cafe. I love sharing that business with my daughter, but most of all I LOVE Miss Nina or as her father and I refer to her as…our little “Newnie Bird”!

Getting BAKED might mean that you get NAKED!

Getting BAKED might mean that you get NAKED!

The newest trend in special occasion cakes is the NAKED cake. Nothing profane here, a NAKED cake is simply a cake that goes sans frosting around it’s sides leaving the beauty of the cake itself exposed and highlighting the delicious filling.

I love the simplicity of this cake and its homemade, handcrafted style proving that simple can also be stylish!

We do business in the “Coolest Small Town in America”!

This past weekend, Berlin celebrated it’s big win in Budget Travels Coolest Small Town in America contest. With street closures, live music, festival food and parades people of all ages partied in Berlin style!

There are so many things that make Berlin the Coolest…it’s historic charm, fantastic restaurants, it’s own craft brewery, proximity to the Atlantic Ocean, unique boutiques, bakeries and arts designation, but the people in Berlin are really what makes it standout.

Whether you are a local or a visitor no matter; when you are in Berlin, you’re in a time and place where people are still kind and friendly to one another, where festivals and celebrations offer something for the whole family, where residence and business owners look out for one another and where service to others is the norm, not the exception.