Kids in the Kitchen!

Kids in the Kitchen!

Throw caution to the wind and have fun with your kids in the kitchen! Particularly around the Holidays, teach them how to set the table, prepare a side dish and let them make and bake some cookies. Slow down, share the meal as a family and enjoy the fruits of your labor!

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A recipe reminiscent of my childhood!

Raggedy Robbins

"Simply Delicious"

Whether it be the smell and of course the taste of your granny’s freshly baked chocolate puddin’ cake, the smell of sunscreen, a freshly cut lawn or hearing an oldie, but goodie song on the radio, there’s a variety of stimuli that can instantly transport you back to your childhood.  Shelly and I were recently working on new gluten free ideas for desserts and I remembered a recipe that my best friend and I use to enjoy on a regular basis.  We called them Raggedy Robbins, others called them No Bakes.  They should be called just “Simply Delicious”!

We revamped the recipe a “smidge” to include gluten free oats, organic peanut butter and Valrhona cocoa.  As soon as I began combining the ingredients, I was 12 years old again in Lynn’s kitchen, giggling and rehashing the days events.  What boys we thought were cute or quirky and how to wear makeup were the two hottest topics.  We would tell each other to wait for the cookies to set, but most often we ate the gooey mixture hot, right out of the pan.  Thinking about this now makes me instantly happy and reminiscing about it reminds me of how young I was when I began to nurture my “genetic sweet tooth/teeth”.

Lynn’s mother is a kind and patient woman.  She didn’t care what mess we made in her kitchen, she encouraged us to cook, bake and experiment with recipes.  She learned a lot about what we were up to by just quietly listening to our conversation from the other room.  Ingenious on her part and a method I must institute myself.  Somehow, in this age of convenience, prepackaged foods and “not enough time in the day” I think moments like these are lost.  Thinking about this reminds me to cook more with my kids, relax some kitchen rules and share some of my fondest childhood memories and recipes that my children can pass on to future generations.

This is definitely a recipe for just that.  Enjoy!

Raggedy Robbins

1 cup sugar
2 tbsp cocoa powder
1/2 stick butter
1/4 cup cold milk
__________
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup peanut butter
1 1/2 cups quaker quick-cooking oats or Gluten Free Oats
In a 1 1/2 qt saucepan, mix sugar, cocoa powder, butter cut into pieces, cold milk. Cook over medium heat, bring to a rolling boil. Boil 1 additional minute. Stir in vanilla, peanut butter and oats, stirring quickly.  Before mixture cools, drop by teaspoonfuls onto parchment paper or in cupcake liners or eat hot right out of the pan.
*I use an ice cream scooper to drop the cookies.  Actually, I use an ice cream scooper to drop most things.  It has an easy release and is almost a perfect measure.


Recycled Red Velvet Cake…Delicious!

Red Velvet Truffle Bomb

At Baked Dessert Cafe, we bake all natural, buy locally when possible, compost our kitchen waste and of course recycle all of our boxes, plastic, glass and cans, but what about recycling cake?  This idea is not so far fetched, people recycle left over food all of the time!  One night you might have a roast with vegetables, two days later it becomes vegetable beef soup, stale bread can be morphed into croutons or bread pudding.  You see where I’m going with this?

For those of you who bake, you know first hand that there are great baking days and days where something just doesn’t go quite right.  Sometimes this can be explained, other times it’s a great mystery. We recently had one of those days when we were baking our all natural Red Velvet Cupcakes.  The oven was loaded and everything seemed right with the world until the end of the baking cycle.  For some reason the cupcakes didn’t rise to our expectations.  They tasted delicious as usual, they just didn’t look pretty.  We’re not talking about a few cupcakes here, we’re talking about several dozen cupcakes.    What a waste it would be to just discard them just because they weren’t perfect. What to do, what to do?

Why not recycle the cupcakes into another dessert I thought?  My creative wheels began turning and then spinning wildly out of control.  I landed on the idea of the cupcake pop.  I have made cupcake pops before, but didn’t have any lollipop stick for this project and then it hit me.  I would create the “Red Velvet Truffle Bomb”.  I started by pulverizing the cake in the food processor and adding enough cream cheese buttercream frosting to form a dough, similar to the consistency of a cookie dough.  I then scooped generous portions and rolled them into balls, placing them in pretty  cupcake cups.  When making cupcake pops you generally dip them into melted chocolate, but these were pretty big, so I decided instead to smother them with chocolate ganache and top them with a dollop of cream cheese buttercream and our all natural red sugar sprinkles.

Of course these needed to be taste tested.  Shelly and I thought they were fabulous, but our customer’s opinion is most important.   Several lucky patrons were given the concoction and their honest opinions solicited.  Once we had their “lip smacking” seal of approval, the “Red Velvet Truffle Bomb” became our weekly dessert special and I’m proud to add a “sell out”.  What was thought initially to be a disaster turned out to be a great success!

So, the next time you have an “off ” baking day, don’t pitch the end product if it isn’t perfect.  Think about how you can recycle it into a new and delicious creation!  Get creative and remember to get “BAKED” at the beach!

The Sweet Life…striking “the balance”…working it out!

No one has to tell us about diets, indulging in sweets in moderation and watching the waist line.  Our stretchy pants feel the pain of having to taste most everything that leaves the building everyday.  Plus, I’m sure that you’ve read our previous post about “you can have your cake and eat it too” so I am not going to elaborate on that subject.  So what, you ask, am I blogging about now?  Well, it’s our newest endeavor.

We want to connect our customers with our local fitness centers, personal trainers/coaches and share healthy eating tips.  You think it’s “weird” that the owners of a dessert cafe are blogging about fitness?  Let me be clear, we definitely want you to get “BAKED” at the beach, but it is as important to us that our customers are happy and most importantly healthy.  We hope you know that this is why we are committed to baking au’naturale.   We seriously believe that good health and happiness are all about striking “the balance” between the “healthy” and the “indulgent”.   Sometimes that balancing act is just down right difficult.

This  idea came to me when I saw a customer of ours at the gym.  She kindly commented on our facebook post and picture of our Monster Cream Puff asking, “Do you think I could eat half of one if I walk for 30 minutes on the treadmill”?  “Why yes”, I replied and voila the proverbial lightbulb in my head went off.  Why not  connect with the local fitness gurus and share fitness tips, “specials” and wellness strategies with our fans?  Why not ask our fans to share their success stories, tips and recipes.  I don’t know about you, but I can use all of the help that I can get!

No matter if you are a local, just visiting or vacationing at the beach, there are a plethora of fitness centers to choose from and most offer yearly, seasonal, monthly, weekly and daily rates.  Some are even open 24 hours a day.  Fitness centers are not a “one size fits all” and gyms here are no exception.  They offer different fitness philosophies, different work out schedules, classes and styles and varying approaches to reaching your fitness goals.  Most of the centers provide personal coaching, some are class oriented, some more “free weight” minded.  Some follow specific diet regimens like the Paleo Diet which one of our friends and customers recently shared a dessert recipe from.  It was so delicious, Chocolate Babies are now on our “favorites” menu.

Shelly and I come from a large family who celebrate every occasion with food and we own a bakery for gosh sakes. We are constantly striving to strike “the balance” and so we work out almost every morning together.  I personally can’t imagine the strain on our stretchy pants if we didn’t.   One of the factors that we considered when joining a gym was the convenience of the location to the bakery and our children’s school.  Let’s face it, some days are harder than others and for us convenience was a major consideration.  I’ll be honest, the struggle for me is walking through the gym door.  Once I make it past that threshold, I’m “golden” and I always feel physically and mentally better for it.

So, in addition to providing you the very best all natural desserts, breads and beverages, we’re also going to be “rooting out” fitness tips, gym specials and healthy dessert recipes for your overall wellbeing and enjoyment.  We’ll be providing more gluten free, diabetic friendly and vegan dessert options at “BAKED” and are interested in your own personal success stories, winning tips, strategies and recipes.  Visit us on facebook, share your strategies and join our quest to strike “the balance” for a happy, healthy, sweet life.

Pinch me…I’m not Irish, but I love Soda Bread!

Soda breads are a variety of quick bread and are appropriately named since “bread soda”, otherwise known as baking soda, is used as a raising agent rather than yeast.   The ingredients of traditional soda bread are flourbread sodasalt, and buttermilk.  Although, you can get really creative  here and include raisins, seeds, nuts, savory herbs, even oats.  The buttermilk in the dough contains lactic acid, which reacts with the baking soda to form tiny bubbles of carbon dioxide. * I have seen some recipes that replace the buttermilk with live yogurt or even stout.  I wanted to go the traditional route and didn’t have buttermilk on hand, so I made my own by simply adding 1 tablespoon of white vinegar or you can use lemon juice per one cup of milk.

You can form the bread loaf into the “traditional” round or flatten it and cook it on a griddle for the “griddle cake” form. Whichever shape your Irish Soda Bread takes it is important to resist the urge to over knead this dough.  Only work it long enough to incorporate the ingredients.  This brings me to the best thing about soda breads and is one of the reasons that they began to appear in the mid-19th century in Europe.  Soda breads are easy and inexpensive to make and they are delicious!  Of course the beginning of the 19th century was also when bicarbonate of soda first became available for use.

There are several stories about the significance of the cross made in the middle of the Irish Soda Bread loaf.  Some say that it is the “sign of the cross” and wards off evil spirits.  Others, that the cut in the top of this loaf assists the cooking process by allowing air circulation which in turn helps the loaf rise better.  Most admit that the  cut is an easy guideline for serving even slices.  What I am certain of is that this bread won’t last long on the dinner table.  It’s fabulous, particularly served warm slathered in butter.

The following recipe makes 2 loafs

7 cups unbleached, unbromated flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

1-1/2 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon sugar (optional)

3 cups buttermilk

Sift to combine the flour, baking soda, salt and sugar in a large bowl.  Making a well in the center, add the buttermilk and stir to form dough.  Turn out onto a floured surface and gently knead just enough to incorporate the ingredients. Form into a log and divide in half to form 2 round loafs.  Place on baking sheet lined with parchment paper, cut a 1″ deep cross into the top of each loaf and bake for 45 minutes in a 375 degree oven or until a knife inserted in center comes out clean.  Enjoy!