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!

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.

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.

Ring out the old, Ring in the New…2012 Our Year in Review!

It doesn’t seem possible that another year has passed!  2012 has come and gone and thankfully it was another year full of goodness for Baked Dessert Cafe & Gallery and the little historic town of Berlin, Maryland.  This was the first year that we chose to close shop at the bakery during the celebration so that our focus could simply be on enjoying the evening with our family and friends. Only on its third year, the Berlin Ball Drop has become quite the tradition.  We were amongst the thousands of young and old, locals and visitors who chose to spill into the streets of Berlin watching the ball drop at Broad and Main Street.

Many new customers, along with our loyal seasonal and  local supporters, crossed our threshold this year.  Most new customers found their way to us via Social Media outlets; Yelp and TripAdvisor our new best friends.  In April we celebrated our 2nd year in business and in July our first full year in our new and improved space.

We acquired our liquor license in May which brought new and improved meaning to getting “BAKED” at the beach and added a convenience to our customers looking to purchase great wines and craft brew. New recipes were tried, some big winners, some not.  Our signature desserts the Peach Dumpling, Cupcake Bread Pudding and Cupcake Bombs still the consistent sell outs.  We added new, deliciously Gluten Free and Vegan desserts, meals and bread mix for our customers following those specific diets and we more than doubled our wholesale business.

We received several significant awards this year as well.   The two we are most proud of are the Worcester County Green Business Award and the Berlin Chamber of Commerce Philanthropy Award.  Showing some love to Mother Earth and one another is of the utmost importance to both Shelly and I.   We feel blessed to have been able to donate thousands of dollars to various local charities and thanks to Worcester Youth and Family, we were also able to adopt local families in need during the holidays.

Looking ahead, this New Year will include a trip to the Food and Wine Festival in Charleston in late February, early March and a trip to Spain.  We are so excited to bring back some new and exciting recipes and wine from those journies.  We’ll be packaging our Gluten Free Cake Mix for sale and adding new apparel to our line up.  We are looking forward to continued collaboration with our neighboring businesses to include new and improved service to our customers and

get "BAKED"!

get “BAKED”!

I, of course, will continue to try to keep up with technology.  There’s so much more to come!

2013 will bring new challenges and triumphs I’m sure, but we are ready for both.  We’ve celebrated so much this year;  non of it possible without the love and support of our family, friends, loyal customers and business community.  Thank you all!  We look forward to serving you and our community and we wish everyone a New Year filled with Peace, Love, Laughter, Great Health and Great Eats!

Happy Birthday Shell…per our store policy you get a FREE cupcake!

Just me and my sister.  Happy Birthday Shelly!

Just me and my sister. Happy Birthday Shelly!

Today is my sister Shelly’s birthday…Happy Birthday Shell! Per our store policy, you get a FREE cupcake.

Although I am not going to disclose her age, suffice it to say that we’ve been together for several decades now. Although I often joke with customers that Shelly is my older sister, that simply is not the truth.  My husband refers to us as “Dot and Bee”, a reference to my aunt and grandmother who lived together most of their adult life.

Shelly and I are two of six daughters born to the most amazing parents who began spending summer vacations on the shore when we were all very little. Some of our best childhood memories are at the beach so it’s a no wonder that most of us have migrated here as adults.

10 years ago I couldn’t have imagined that I would own and share a business with Shelly. She and her family made the move to the shore 13 years before. I was still living just outside of Washington, D.C. with my “brood” very content doing volunteer work and baking out of my home. Despite that, a dream developed and came true for both of us.  I’m proud to say that we are still chugging along in our little all-natural bakery going on three years now.

As the title of the blog implies…It’s not all cupcakes and sprinkles! We’ve gone through our share of ups and downs.  Thank God mostly ups. We’ve had differences of opinions, most settled without blood shed. We have different management styles, different talents, different weaknesses and strengths. Shelly handles “the books” since I’m a known spender. I now appropriately refer to her as the “Furor”. I handle the social media, displays and such. Her specialties include cookies and pies. My specialties include cakes, individual desserts and the like. We both specialize in everything else.  Together our favorite part happens to be the people we serve and the community we do business in.

I consider myself blessed to be so close to my family…to work with and live just doors away from Shelly and her children is a gift, one that I hope  never to take for granted.  My sisters are beautiful, strong and talented women who also happen to be my very best friends, Shelly of course included. She has a great sense of humor and we laugh at and with each other often.  Boy do we have some stories!

When/If you see Shelly today feel free to wish her a Happy Birthday…I’m wishing her  loads and loads of Happiness, Love, Laughter and a lifetime of Living Well!

The history of our Peach Dumpling…the Official Dessert of Berlin!

Before we even opened our doors in April of 2010, our friend and business partner Jill had an idea for us to develop and present to the Town Counsel the idea of an official dessert for Berlin, Maryland.

We thought this was a great idea, so brainstorming ideas for a sweet treat that would represent the history and vintage charm of this little seaside town we call home began.  Berlin has such a rich history and one that is rooted with peach orchards.  At one time, this town in Maryland was home to one of the largest orchards in the country.  Yes readers, I said Maryland and not Georgia!  Well, this sealed the deal for us…our dessert had to have the peach as an ingredient.

Next, we decided that the dessert should be somewhat “old school” in nature since the town itself is like a throw back in time.  The very first thing that popped into my mind was a dumpling…we had to create a Peach Dumpling.  Most people are familiar with apple dumplings.  Traditionally a whole or half apple is cored, sprinkled in cinnamon sugar and then wrapped in pie dough and “BAKED”.  We wanted to do something really different, so we “cranked things up a notch”, sliced our peaches and sauteed them in butter, brown sugar and some secret ingredients.  We then folded them into our all butter puff pastry.

We experimented for weeks and ate enough versions of Peach Dumplings to make ourselves and our families silly.  After taste test, after taste test and considering all of the input from our “guinea pigs”, we had the final version…beautiful peaches, local when available, sliced and sauteed in butter, brown sugar, spices and some secret ingredients folded into puff pastry, “BAKED” to perfection and topped with peach reduction and our homemade caramel sauce.

Needless to say, we presented the dessert to the Mayor and Town Counsel and our Peach Dumpling became the Official Dessert of Berlin.  The rest as they say is history!  Since we sell out most every day, I think that we must be doing the peach and the town some justice.

We’re really happy to represent our awesome town by serving it’s Official Dessert!  Every August, Berlin hosts its Annual Peach Festival on the lawn of the Taylor House Museum.  This past weekend, many locals and visitors, young an old, enjoyed some of Berlin’s rich peach history by attending this celebration.  Fresh peaches, homemade local peach ice cream, peach pies, peach breads, peach jams, our “Peach Dumplings” and much more were enjoyed by all as a salute to Berlin’s rich peach history.

We are proud to be part of and serve such a great community rich in so many things and we will happilyImage continue to “BAKE” the Official Dessert of Berlin to perfections for all to enjoy!

Racing for the Cure….

Today, Komen Race for the Cure came to Ocean City, Maryland.  Despite the wind and driving rain, more than 2,000 men, women, children, babies, people of all races, shapes and sizes, ran/walked/strolled the race to help find a cure for breast cancer.  Did you know that the Eastern Shore of Maryland has some of the highest incident and mortality rates?

Myself and Suzie Taylor of Ayer’s Creek Adventures volunteered several months ago to help with operations and recruitment of sponsorships and teams.   Unfortunately, sponsorship opportunities are not very affordable for most small businesses so, in Berlin, we decided that joining forces was the way to go.  We organized sponsorship “Historic Berlin, Maryland” which included 14 local businesses, everything from coffee and thrift shops, to bakeries and hotels, restaurants, B&B’s and spa services.  This was a huge success!  Together, we supported a great cause and hosting a table in the race village allowed us to introduce our town to hundreds of people who didn’t even know that Historic Berlin, Maryland existed.

This event is personal to both Suzie and myself.  My mother, thank God, is a breast cancer survivor thanks to regular breast exams, early detection and access to great health care.  Suzie’s mother, Joann and her Aunt sadly lost their battle with this disease.  It doesn’t get more personal than that.  As a matter of fact, it seemed very personal to everyone in attendance.  If not, I can’t imagine that we wouldn’t all have rolled over this morning and hit the snooze button instead of  crawling out of bed and weathering the coastal storm that, today, decided to target the East Coast.  I know we need the rain!

I have “raced for the cure” before in D.C. and get very emotional when the “Survivors Parade of Pink” starts.  Today was no exception.  I can’t help but marvel at the courage and strength of the women and men presented and of course, those souls and their families who lost the battle before the cure was found.  Personally, I would love to know how much money is spent each year on determining the various causes of breast cancer.  When my mother was 50, she didn’t know one person with breast cancer.  I just turned 50 and I know handfuls of friends and family with this disease.  Why, exactly, are some areas experiencing higher incident and mortality rate?  I could go on and on.

Suzie’s sister Shelly and I ran together.  We were perfectly matched for our pace.  For the first leg, down the boardwalk, the wind was hitting us head on and then we rounded the corner both figuratively and literally.  There were lots of supporters along the way, standing and cheering us on.  This made me think about what this world would be like if we all had people in our lives acting as personal motivators cheering “You can do it”, “Great job”, “Way to go” .  We were passed by some who made it look easy, but there were also people behind us who scratched their way to the finish line,  everyone proud that they completed the course.

The "cutest team" award!In all it was an exceptional day!  I realize that there is often some controversy with organizations such as Komen, but if you only focus on that you’ve missed the point in my opinion.  In addition to raising money to help find a cure, races such as this one, allow for a community of people to come together as one family.  Being amongst that crowd, knowing that we all support the same cause, running/walking for or in memory of a loved one was, for me, both uplifting and spiritual.  I know that I was not the only one who felt that.  To me it reinforces the fact that we’re never alone if we care enough to reach out to one another, we need to live in this moment and spend time with the people we love.  Most importantly, I know that, like today’s race, when people come together great things are possible!

We don’t accept tips, but we will PAY IT FORWARD everyday!

If you know us, you know that we are big fans of the “Pay It Forward” movement.

If you don’t know, the expression “pay it forward” is used to describe the concept of asking that a good turn be repaid by having a good turn done to others.  In other words, you do a good deed for someone and in turn they do a good deed for someone and so on.  Hence the term “pay it forward”.  Can you even imagine our world if everyone, everyday subscribed to this concept?

Our customers try to give us tips all the time.  We’re grateful, but reply, “We don’t accept tips unless it’s a life tip or a really good stock tip, but we will collect for a charity”.  Over the course of the last two years, we’ve mostly concentrated on “Paying It Forward” by collecting food and money for the local churches who help feed the hungry, our efforts usually concentrated on collecting during the holiday season.  We realize that the need in our community is an everyday need, not just seasonal so, we’re making some positive changes.

I have to add here that I am repeatedly amazed and humbled by the dedication and generosity of the people in our community who care for those in need.  One church around the corner feeds more than 200 people every Wednesday.   Another operates the Church Mouse Thrift Shop in town.  Run solely by volunteers, the Church Mouse profits mainly fund community outreach programs and the list of these types of organizations could go on and on.

Without getting too sappy here, God has given Shelly and I so much that we are compelled to “Pay It Forward” and have decided to refocus our efforts on making sure that we do just that everyday, all year-long.  So beginning in April, which also happens to be our second Anniversary in business, we will raise money and awareness for the programs in our community who “Pay It Forward” everyday and are in need of help.

For the month of April we will work to “Pay It Forward” to Diakonia in Ocean City.  Diakonia has been helping individuals and families in Worcester County and on the Lower Shore for more than 30 years.  They “Pay It Forward” by providing shelter, food, clothing and the resources to rebuild the lives of those in need.  Diakonia is the only comprehensive provider of emergency and transitional housing for men, women and families on the Lower Shore.  As you can imagine, the need here is great.

Diakonia’s moto is “Help for today, Hope for tomorrow”.  Enough said!  We invite you to join us and “Pay It Forward”.Baked Dessert Cafe and Gallery

You asked for it…Moist and Flavorful Irish Soda Bread!

Ok, I’m not Irish.  As a matter of fact, I consider myself to be a “mutt” although my husband says that I am Italian by marriage.  So suffice it to say that the only reason I ever even thought to make Irish Soda Bread was for our bakery customers who request it for the St. Patrick’s Day holiday.

Over the years I have tried several traditional Irish Soda Bread recipes and most have turned out as expected.  Honestly, I find this type of bread to be on the dry side  and overall unappealing; this coming from a total “bread head”.  This year I decided to continue my quest to find an Irish Soda Bread recipe that was moist and flavorful.  After researching and reading numerous reviews, I decided to try several and came up with a real winner with the recipe I found on allrecipes.com.

This Irish Soda Bread was a breeze to make and is a recipe that I will continue to bake year round.  Both moist and full of flavor, this bread would be a perfect accompaniment to breakfast, lunch and/or dinner.   I made two varieties this week, plain and whiskey soaked raisin studded.  I’ll also experiment with the recipe to see if I can replicate it in a Gluten Free variety.

Note, if you don’t have buttermilk handy you can simply make your own by adding 1 tablespoon of lemon juice per cup of milk.  Allow this mixture to sit for 5 minutes before using.  Making your own buttermilk is also less expensive than buying buttermilk in the store.  I guarantee that you’re not going to be disappointed with this Irish Soda Bread recipe.

Ingredients

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 egg, lightly beatenMoist and Flavorful Irish Soda Bread
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Grease a 9×5 inch loaf pan.Combine flour, baking powder, sugar, salt and baking soda. Blend egg and buttermilk together, and add all at once to the flour mixture. Mix just until moistened. Stir in butter. Pour into prepared pan.
  2. Bake for 65 to 70 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the bread comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack. Wrap in foil for several hours, or overnight, for best flavor.

Totally “Baked” Danny Boy Cupcake!

You all might have heard about a popular drink served particularly around St. Patty’s Day call the Irish Car Bomb.  You make one by adding Bailey’s and Jameson to a shot glass.  You layer the Bailey’s on the bottom.  After you pour the Guinness into a pint glass or beer mug 3/4 of the way full you simply drop the shot glass into the Guinness and chug.  This drink sounds like it can get you totally “BAKED”.

I love the idea of making this drink into a cake/cupcake, but I thoroughly dislike the name.  One of our faithful facebook followers suggested that we rename it the Buzzed Danny Boy which we think is an awesome name, but since we always try to play off of our “BAKED” name we have decided to rename this concoction the Totally “BAKED” Danny Boy.

We’re lucky to have a fantastic micro-brewry right here in town so I strolled on over to Burley Oak Brewery and grabbed myself a growler of their Black Cow Stout.  Now, I’ve made Chocolate Stout Cupcakes with Burley Oak brew before, but adding this Black Cow to my recipe really cranked things up a notch.  The cupcake was so moist and balanced it was delicious without the accouterments of filling or frosting, but in our efforts to recreate the drink in a cake/cupcake form we’ve filled them with Irish Whiskey Ganache and topped them with our homemade Irish Cream Liquor buttercream.  The Totally “Baked” Danny Boy cupcakes are rolling out the door for a limited time only.

For your baking enjoyment I’m including the following recipe for Chocolate Stout Cupcakes.  It’s the best that I’ve found and is courtesy of David Lieberman of the Food Network.

  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups all-purposeflour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • Pinch fine salt
  • 1 bottle stout beer (I recommend Burley Oak’s Black Cow)
  • 1 stick butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup sour cream

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the cocoa, sugar, flour, baking soda, and salt.

In another medium mixing bowl, combine the stout, melted butter, and vanilla. Beat in eggs, 1 at time. Mix in sour cream until thoroughly combined and smooth. Gradually mix the dry ingredients into the wet mixture.

Lightly grease 24 muffin tins. Divide the batter equally between muffin tins, filling each 3/4 full. Bake for about 12 minutes and then rotate the pans. Bake another 12 to 13 minutes until risen, nicely domed, and set in the middle but still soft and tender. Cool before turning out.

My suggestion…You can top these cupcake with any of your favorite fillings and/or buttercream frostings, but honestly they’re absolutely delicious all by themselves.Totally "BAKED" Danny Boy Cupcake