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!

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Marshmallow Fluff

I don’t know why Fall makes me think of Marshmallow Fluff, but it does.

This delicious confectionary concoction is simply wonderful on nut butter sandwiches, stuffed into Whoopie Pies, mixed with cream cheese for a creamy fruit dip and even all by itself by the spoonful.

Commercial Marshmallow Fluff contains all kinds

"Marshmallow Fluffiness"

Pure Deliciousness!

of artificial additives and colorings, but you don’t have to settle for such nastiness. Just make your own with this easy recipe and enjoy all natural “Fluff” within minutes. Oh, and did I mention that it’s naturally Gluten Free!

3 egg whites
2 cups light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups sifted powdered sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

In large bowl of electric mixer, add egg whites, corn syrup and salt. Beat on high speed until doubled in volume. On low speed, add powdered sugar and mix until well blended. Add vanilla extract and mix gently.

Your homemade Marshmallow Fluff is now ready to use. Refrigerate in a covered container for up to 2 weeks.

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.


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.