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.

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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!

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

What to Whip Up for St. Patrick’s Day?

I can’t believe that March is almost here and that means “Saint Patrick’s Day” is right around the corner. Last year we learned the fine art of baking Irish Soda Bread and offered Chocolate Stout Cupcake with Irish Cream Buttercream and Mad Vanilla Cupcakes stuffed with Stout Orange Curd.  What uniquely different dessert  are we going to whip up this year?

I think most people think about desserts that surround Irish Cream Liqueur for St. Patty’s Day and it’s a no wonder.  Did you know that this delicious concoction was created by a guy named Joe Sheridan in 1943 at Foynes flying boat base’s at Shannon Airport.  It all happened when a crowd of tired, thirsty and cold passengers wondered in and Joe served them up some hot coffee laced with sugar, Irish whiskey and a generous amount of Irish double cream.  More than 60 years later, this liqueur is now served world wide.

In addition to using some of Joe’s creation in our desserts, I think we’ll also try some other unusual offerings as well.  How does Chocolate Potato Cake and Donegal Oatmeal Cream sound?  In addition to Irish Soda Bread maybe we’ll also bake some Sweet Seed Cake.  I can’t wait to get started.  The best of the best we’ll post in a later blog, but in the meantime I’m sharing a recipe for homemade Irish Cream Liqueur that is fool proof and far less expensive to make than what you find in the liquor stores.

Irish Cream Whiskey Liqueur

1 3/4 c. your favorite liquor (Irish Whiskey, brandy, rum, bourbon, scotch, or rye whiskey)

1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk

1 c. whipping or light cream

4 eggs

Day 256/365 - 13 Sept - Irish Cream

Day 256/365 - 13 Sept - Irish Cream (Photo credit: anshu_si)

2 tbsp. chocolate flavored syrup

2 tsp. instant coffee

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1/2 tsp. almond extract

Combine all ingredients in a blender and process until smooth. Serve over ice, with club soda or in your favorite dessert recipes. Store tightly covered in refrigerator up to one month. Stir before serving.

The big BALL DROP and Getting “BAKED” at the beach…a year in review!

Sister Love!

Continuing to get "BAKED" in 2012

If I could describe 2011 in one word it would be “AMAZING”!

The last night of it was no exception.  We spent it with the people we love, loyal customers and thousands of others who gathered in Berlin to watch a “Times Square look a like” Ball Drop.  Residents, visitors, young, old and even pets poured into town and peacefully partied into the wee hours to bring in what hopefully for everyone is a Promising New Year.  It brought a whole new meaning to getting “BAKED” for the holiday!

First, our success would not be possible without the love and support of our family and friends.  The support and encouragement from our business neighbors and the continued support from the town of Berlin, its’ Chamber of Commerce, Main Street Program, Grow Berlin Green and more are priceless.  I must single out here two people who work harder than anyone I know insuring that doing business in Berlin is a dream…Michael Day Director of Economic Development  and Olive Mawyer Executive Director.  What can we say to everyone, but THANK YOU!

Without going blow-by-blow, suffice it to say that 2011 was an exciting year, but not without its challenges.  Within months, Shelly got divorced, we bought our partner out and in 5 days we moved our business down the street to our new and improved location at 4 C Bay Street.  Unfortunately, we lost one of our favorite people who also happened to be our landlord.  We really miss Ed and so does this town that he loved so dearly.  Oh yah, there were also Kenny and Shelly’s emergency surgeries right before the holidays.  That really made things interesting.  Sometimes “it’s not all cupcakes and sprinkles”.

On a brighter note, we’ve grown from peddling all natural “BAKED” goods to peddling all natural “BAKED” goods and running a “Fine Art” gallery.  We’ve developed a friendship and partnership with renowned artist Patrick Henry and began showcasing his and other local art talent.  We’ve included organic lunches, homemade Krackers and cheese spread to our ever-expanding all natural menu.   New dessert favorites emerged with the addition of our signature Cupcake Bread Pudding, Cupcake Bombs and Liquor Soaked Bundt Cakes.  More people got “BAKED” for the holidays than ever before!  We began selling our “BAKED” goods wholesale and we are currently working on a new line of comical “BAKED” apparel.  Plus, we hope to have more exciting news come February.  Oh yah, we also won, the now controversial, Berlin Bathtub Race when we partnered with Ayer’s Creek Adventures.  We know people are coming for us this year.

We feel totally blessed to be thriving in Berlin, a town that is filled with incredibly unique restaurants, B&B’s, boutiques, shops, artists and even Burley Oaks microbrewery.  Most, are family run businesses and many are operated by really strong business women.   What an awesome New Year’s resolution…find your passion, do something you love, turn it into a business and then “go for it” with no regrets.

Shelly and I love what we do and who we serve!  We’ve said this a lot, but we must say it again…the best part of our job is the people we serve or as we fondly refer to them as “The Best Customers on the Planet”!  We look forward to another “AMAZING” year filled with getting everyone “BAKED” at the beach.   Mostly, we wish everyone a New Year filled with HOPE, LOVE, HAPPINESS, GREAT HEALTH and PROSPERITY!

If you’ve never been to Berlin, if you’ve never gotten “BAKED” at the beach, then definitley put these on your “2012 to do list”.   You won’t regret it!  PEACE!

The Perfect Little Cookie!

English: These are palmiers, or sugar cookies ...

Image via Wikipedia

My brain hasn’t fully processed the fact that the Summer is over, let alone, Thanksgiving and with Christmas right around the corner, we’re “busy bees” at the bakery.

I really want to organize a “Recipe Exchange” where customers bring their favorite dessert/appetizer with copies of the recipe to share with the group, but time just keeps ticking away.  There just aren’t enough hours in a day!  Oh well,  maybe it’s not too late to pull that off, even if it’s an online exchange!  Anyhow, that idea and a favorite customer of ours made me think about the “Cookie Exchange” parties that I participated in for many years with my friends.  What a concept!  You bring several dozen cookies with copies of your recipe and by the end of the celebration you return home with an assortment of holiday sweets perfect for making gift platters or just enjoying with your family.

A cookie that we make and is a popular favorite, no matter what time of year, is the Palmier, also known as an Elephant Ear.   There’s a lot to love about this little cookie from its delicately crunchy texture, to its sweet cinnamon taste and its adorable heart shape.  Plus, if you forego making the puff pastry from scratch and opt for store-bought instead, you can whip these little gems up within minutes.  It’s also a great cookie to make with your kids!  I should note here that this is a French pastry and in France they do not use cinnamon, only sugar.  I am a “mut” and my husband is Italian, plus we love cinnamon, so our recipe is loaded with it.  You can get really creative here and add different spices and nuts is you please.

Get baking for the holidays and add the tasty Palmier to your repertoire.

Puff Pastry

2 cups all-purpose flour, 2/3 cup cake flour, 
10 ounces butter, cold (2 1/2 sticks), divided, 
1 1/4 tsp salt, 
3/4 – 1 cup cold water

Take 8 ounces of butter (2 sticks) and shape into a block roughly 1/4 inch thick. If you are using stick butter, slice each stick into three long pieces and make a 2×3 block. Press butter together well and refrigerate.

Combine flours and salt in food processor. Pulse lightly to combine. Add remaining 2 ounces (1/2 stick) of butter and cut in until dough looks like sand. With the motor running, add 3/4 cup water. If dough has not come together, add remaining water slowly
flatten dough into a smooth disk, wrap and chill for 1 hour.

On a well floured surface, roll dough out into a large (10 inches or so) circle. Set butter block in the center and fold up the extra dough as though you were folding an envelope: fold over the sides, the fold the top down and the bottom up. Turn the seam side down and roll until envelope has quadrupled in size. Use short strokes, keeping the pressure as even as possible, and lots of flour.
 Fold the dough in thirds as though you were folding a business letter. This is one turn. Wrap and refrigerate dough for at least one hour and up to two days.
 To make turns 2, 3 and 4, place chilled dough seam side down on a well-floured surface and roll out again into a large rectangle. Try to keep the dough as evenly rectangular as possible. Fold as you would a business letter. Wrap and chill.
 Dough can be frozen until ready to use.

Palmiers


1 recipe for puff pastry,
lots of sugar and cinnamon

Preheat oven to 400F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
Roll out your puff pastry on a floured surface until it is as thin as you can get it. Cover generously with sugar and cinnamon. Starting at the right side, roll the pastry until it reaches the center. Repeat with the left side.
Cut roll into 1/2 inch segments.
Spread more sugar onto your work surface. Fold each segment into a V shape and press it down into the sugar and cinnamon mixture, flattening it with the palm of your hand.   Place each Palmier on the baking sheet and bake 12-15 minutes in a pre-heated 400 degree oven until golden brown.

Chocolate + Bourbon + Pecans = Delicious Pie!

With the Preakness only days away, we’re can’t help but think about the Triple Crown of horse racing and what better dessert to serve up than a warm Chocolate, Bourbon and Pecan concoction similar to the Kentucky Bourbon Derby Pie!

The “Derby Pie” was the creation of Melrose Inn owners Walter and Leaudra Kern in 1950 in Prospect Kentucky and is often associated to the Kentucky Derby.  Their son assisted and the name was actually chosen by pulling various name ideas out of a hat.  In 1969, the Kern family trademarked the name “Derby Pie” and by 2008 had sued to protect this copyright more than 20 times.

The Kern’s Kitchen’s recipe is top secret, only known to a small group of family members and one employee.  Because of the lawsuits, others who make similar pies have had to rename them and alter the recipe slightly.  The “Derby Pie” is also known as the Pegasus Pie, a reference to the Pegasus Parade at the Kentucky Derby Festival and as the May Day Pie, in reference to the first Saturday in May.

Traditionally the pie is a chocolate and walnut tart in a pie shell usually with a pastry dough crust. It is also commonly made with pecans, chocolate chips and Kentucky bourbon, although butterscotchcaramel, and other types of nuts are common additions. In our recipe, we use Shelly’s “secret” all butter crust and opt for Calabaut chocolate chips, pecans and of course, Kentucky Bourbon.

The best way to describe this confectionary concoction is to say, “it’s like eating a chocolate chip, pecan cookie in a pie form” and “it is absolutely fabulous served warm with or without vanilla ice cream”.  You don’t have to wait for the Kentucky Derby to enjoy this delicious dessert, it’s the perfect dessert any day of the year!

Single Pie Crust * we use our secret all butter crust

2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, melted
3 to 4 tablespoons bourbon
1/4 cup corn starch
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate bits
Combine the eggs, sugar, melted butter and bourbon. Add the cornstarch to the mixture, blending in slowly.Stir in the pecans and chocolate bits. Pour into an unbaked 9 inch pie shell.Bake in a pre-heated 350°F oven for approximately 45 minutes.