Here Comes the Sun…do, da, do, do!

Here Comes the Sun…do, da, do, do!

I’m not sure why, but the change in season from Winter to Spring makes me crave lemon bars. Trust me, I’ve tried numerous recipes and have sampled my fair share over the years, but these cake like twist on the traditional is lemony lusciousness. Plus they’re a breeze to make, cut, serve and store!

Ingredients
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
2 large eggs
2 1/2 teaspoons lemon zest
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Lemon Glaze
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons lemon zest

Mix flour, salt and butter together in stand mixer. In a separate bowl, whisk eggs, zest and lemon juice until incorporated. Add to mixer and gently fold until batter comes together. Spread in 8 X 8 inch pan and bake in 350 degree oven 20-25 minutes until done. Whisk glaze ingredients together until smooth and spread over cooled bars. Enjoy!

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MADly in LOVE with Vanilla…Cake Mix!

MADly in LOVE with Vanilla…Cake Mix!

My “sweet tooth” and I go way back. I love all kinds of dessert, particularly custards and tarts, raw cookie dough, undercooked brownies…that kind of thing. To be perfectly honest, I can pass on cake unless it’s really moist, which is why it took more than two years to come up with our recipe for our Mad Vanilla Cake! “Mad” because it’s madly delicious and because we use the very best Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla.

Over the years, we have had so many people ask us to share this recipe that we finally packaged it so that our customers can make it at home. With just the addition of a couple of ingredients and any “add ins” that you can imagine, this tender cake, which develops almost a cookie type crust, can be enjoyed in the comforts of your own home!

One of my fondest childhood memories…Cheese Danish!

One of my fondest childhood memories…Cheese Danish!

One of my fondest childhood memories actually revolves around Cheese Danish. Every Sunday after church, my father, my sisters and I would ride bikes to our local bakery. It was a family owned business and at a time when handcrafting, fresh and delicious goodies was the norm, not the exception…”the good old days”.

Our favorite confectionary was the Cheese Danish. I mean what’s not to love when you collide butter pastry with cheesecake like filling and drizzle it with frosting. I am not sure what I loved most…spending time with my Dad or gobbling down danish. What I do know is that the two combined made for some SWEET memories!

“You’re the BOMB”…Cupcake Bomb that is!

Do we really need Valentine’s Day to remind us to tell the people we love that we love them? I think not, that should be an everyday occurrence. For the chocolate lovers in your life you can make “Cupcake Bombs” anytime to sweetly share your feelings. Just make and bake your favorite chocolate cake recipe and mix with cream cheese buttercream to a cookie dough consistency. Form into balls…we use an ice cream scooper and top with chocolate ganache and your desired decoration. What’s that saying…”The way to someone’s heart is through their stomach”!

Grateful for the past, excited about the future…Happy New Year!

Grateful for the past, excited about the future…Happy New Year!

First, we would like to wish you and your families a New Year filled with everything GREAT!
We, personally and professionally, are grateful for so much and wish for a future filled with Love, Laughter, Happiness, Hope and Great Health for all!

2013 brought some great changes to our little bakery. The two I am most excited about include my daughter joining me as my partner in business (lucky, lucky girl) and in addition to having a featured artist each month, we now are home to the creative works of 8 local artists year round. All Natural Baked Goods + Amazing Art = Winning Combination.  Being surrounded by such beauty and talent each day brings us joy and makes for the most comfortable of surroundings.

Finally, we continue to be blessed with the most amazing customers, most of whom have turned into the most amazing friends. Our business has blossomed, along with the historic seaside town of Berlin, MD, thanks in large part to all who have discovered us and this little gem of a destination. Word cannot express our gratitude. Thank you!  We look forward to seeing and serving you the very best in 2014!

Santa’s Helper and his Understudy!

Santa's Helper and his Understudy!

My father is usually one of Santa’s many helpers during the holiday season, but this year he was suffering with some back problems, so my dear friend John agreed to fill those boots. What we didn’t know until it was too late was that my dad sent everything, but Santa’s beard. So on Holiday Arts Night in the bakery, Santa John wore a beard crafted out of a paper plate and cotton balls.

I was sure that there might be some complaints or at least hesitation from the children when seeing this obvious costume misstep. I honestly wondered if it might be better just to say that Santa couldn’t make it this year. Would that be better?

The first little boy bounced into the store. John rang his Santa’s bell and gave a Ho, Ho, Ho, the young lad looked at him hard, looked back at me and I literally held my breath hoping that we weren’t about to disappoint a child. The adorable little fellow finally exclaimed, “See, I told you he would come”! He jumped up in John’s lap and proceeded to disclose his Christmas wishes as did so many other children who joined us that night. Their wonder and innocence alive and well!

As adults, we can get so “twisted” during the holidays…stressing about little details, worrying about everything from holiday decor to gift giving . Somehow, we grow out of simply believing in the magic of the season.

I am so grateful to my friend John, who never thought twice about being Santa’s understudy when asked, even when he realized there was no beard. I am also totally grateful to the smallest of our customers who reminded me to celebrate the season from a child’s point of view.

Think BIG, Shop SMALL!

Think BIG, Shop SMALL!

With Black Friday behind us and Holiday Shopping in full swing, think BIG picture and shop SMALL. Today is Small Business Saturday! Celebrate it and support your local community by avoiding the corporate chains and spending your hard earned $$$ in small, local bakeries, restaurants, boutiques and more! Buying from small local businesses plants the seed necessary to grow strong community!

The “Battle to Save the Boobies”!

The “Battle to Save the Boobies”, A.K.A. Komen Race for the Cure, was run in Ocean City, Maryland for the second year in a row this morning.  Unlike last year, this race day was  beautiful, crisp morning air, clear sunshine with the race route offering a spectacular view of the Atlantic Ocean.

The “BAKED” team included myself, my husband, my sister Shelly her children George and Stevie and my daughter Sophia.  We ran the race in celebration of our mother, Shirley, who is a breast cancer survivor.  In large part, our Mom’s healing and recovery were directly related to her religious monthly self exams, annual mammograms and regular check ups which allowed her cancer to be detected at a Stage I.  Because of early detection, her medical team was able to excise her tumor without need for chemotherapy or radiation.  Thank God, our mother has been cancer free now for almost 5 years.

Unfortunately, not everyone’s breast cancer story has as happy an ending.  Our dear friend Suzie, who also chaired this years Komen Race, lost both her mother and aunt to this deadly disease.  Suzy has turned her heartbreak into a heartfelt passion to be part of finding a cure for breast cancer in honor of her loved ones and so other’s hope for survival is realized.  I am so very proud of her and grateful for her efforts, in addition to her team of volunteers who tirelessly work to make events like these successful….raising money for research and increasing public awareness regarding prevention is critical.   

As you can imagine, our emotions were running pretty high to start and then we began the race alongside of a woman who had just finished her chemotherapy regimen two weeks prior.  She was slight of frame, had no hair and was visibly struggling to keep pace.  She stayed with us the whole way, sometimes we slowed down, sometimes she ran faster to catch up.  We were so honored and inspired to cross the finish line with her!   Her broad smile and sense of humor in spite of her circumstances was simply amazing.  Her courage and stamina, her will to defy and survive incredible!

This “warrior” of a woman was a bold reminder that the “Battle to Save the Boobies” is just that, a battle.  It’s a battle that too many women face.  It’s a battle that requires our support, one that is desperate for reinforcements, foot soldiers, state of the art weaponry.  It’s a battle that requires we all be educated about the enemy so that one day very soon, we can prevent, conquer and cure breast cancer.Image

 

 

May God Bless and Keep You Brucie Boy!

ImageI am blessed to have such a great family and group of friends to share my life.  Some of those friends have literally become part of my family, as is the case with my dear friend Bruce who lost his battle with Pulmonary Fibrosis on Saturday.

You might have met Bruce in our bakery on occasion.  He was our “Guest Chef” during a 2nd Friday Art Stroll and an avid cook/baker.  He told me that his love of cooking developed from tinkering in the kitchen with his mother and grandmother when he was just a young boy.  Some of his most amazing recipes were his German Apple Cake, his  Coconut Pound Cake and his Curried Crab Soup…”DELISH” he use to say.  Unlike some great chefs/cooks, Bruce was happy to share his recipes with others and even allowed us to bake and sell his creations in the cafe.  As much as Bruce enjoyed his own preparations, cooking for his family and friends gave him the most pleasure.

The one thing I wish I had recorded and kept to share with you about Bruce was his laugh.  His laugh was the best laugh I’ve ever heard.  It was absolutely contagious!  When Bruce laughed it just made you happy.  I will forever miss Bruce, his kind and gentle spirit, his warm hugs and kisses, his love and friendship, but honest to God, I will miss hearing Bruce’s laugh the most.

I am grateful to have met Bruce and to have shared any part of my life with him.  May God Bless and Keep you Brucie, prayers for you, John, Doris, Ron, Gail and all of your family and network of friends who will dearly miss you.