Saturday, November 12, 2011

After a summer of farmers' markets, a holiday fair, and a pie-baking class, we are really and truly exhausted. So we're going to give ourselves a birthday/holiday present -- we're taking some time off. We hope to be back in the kitchen, making your favorite sweet treats, after the beginning of 2012. Meanwhile, if you find yourself in a baked-goods emergency, please call or e-mail and we'll see if we can help you out!

Monday, October 31, 2011

We're not taking any more orders for Thanksgiving week -- sorry! If you are interested in anything for the December holidays, please let us know as soon as possible. We won't be delivering after December 15. Consider ordering frozen cookie dough with baking instructions for a fun time with the family, fresh, hot cookies, and a home that smells delightful!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

We had a successful, if exhausting, summer, selling our delicious cookies, brownies, challah and other delights at the new Farmers' Market at the Shadyside Upper School in Fox Chapel. We haven't finished doing the math yet, but we think we made over $750 for the Food Bank, thanks to our loyal customers. A big draw was our new Compost Cookies, a chewy, buttery cookie made interesting with the addition of potato chips, pretzels, and whatever sweet things we could find in the pantry. That could be chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, white chocolate chips, caramels, chopped Hershey's kisses, Reese's peanut butter cups... anything goes! Did you know that candy corn melts into a clear orange blotch when you bake it? Fact!

Another hit was our sweet spiced nuts, pecans with dried cherries and an international mix of spices, including cinnamon and chipotle. Sounds strange, but they are delicious and addicting. We're going to add them to our regular menu -- ask for a bag when you place your order.

We introduced many people to challah this summer; with or without raisins, we have the best, most butter, tenderest challah available. And so pretty! We discovered how to braid it to make a round loaf for the holidays -- what could be more festive?

Now that the Farmers' Market is over, at least for us, we'll be able to bake to order and deliver it to you again. We have a delicious apple cake for fall, made luscious with a caramel glaze, and consider hermits (chewy, spiced and fruit-laden cookies) for a special fall treat. And don't forget our signature Butter Rum cake -- we've gotten a few more people seriously addicted to it. Call us today to order one, delivered right to your door.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Back in the saddle again

We promised you we'd be back, and we keep our promises! We'll be at the Shadyside Academy Farmers' Market (Fox Chapel, Upper School) this Wednesday from 3:00 pm to 6:30 pm. Come early to ensure we have a full menu to offer you. We'll have our Fudge-alicious brownies, peanut-butter swirl brownies, chocolate chip cookies, compost cookies (a surprise in every bite!), and challah -- and a few more things, besides. We like to try something new every week, depending on what inspiration strikes us. Stop by to see us!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Baby, It's Hot Outside!

We've been working hard this summer, selling our goods at the new Fox Chapel Farmers' Market (Wednesdays, 3-6:30, at Shady Side Academy Upper School). We've made over $1000 to send to the Greater Pittsburgh Food Bank -- we're very proud of that! And we've introduced our baked goods and our mission to many new customers and old friends.

We'll be taking the month of August (which, we've decided, begins on July 27th!) to rest and recuperate. We hope to be back baking the last week of August and to return to the Farmers' Market on August 31. Please call us or visit us at the market this fall!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Why bake? includes a recipe

We've had a small break (okay, it's been over four months) since our last post. We've been trying to think of useful tips to share with you, but most of the things that come to mind seem trivial or obvious. So let's look at the bigger picture.

If you go to your local grocery store, chances are that they have shelves and tables full of baked goods for sale. Perhaps they even have an in-store bakery, where you can get fresh bread, cupcakes, beautifully decorated cakes (some places can put an edible photo on your cake), and many, many different kinds of cookies. There are still a few free-standing bakeries around -- these days, they are lovely little places, with pink boxes, adorable little pastries, and mind-boggling flavor combinations. You could buy a mix to make brownies or a cake that requires that you add just an egg, water and butter. If you are really desperate, you can grab some Little Debbie or Hostess cakes off the convenience store shelves.

So why bother to bake? Why dirty every bowl in the kitchen (my favorite approach), powder yourself top-to-toe with flour, get brownie batter on the faucet, egg shells on the counter-top, and a burn on your forearm? (Gee, put like that, it makes me want to quit the baking business altogether...)

Because it's fun. Because you get to make delicious messes. Because the results are so much better than commercially-made baked goods that you won't consider them to be the same kind of food. Because, when you make something with love, real butter, good chocolate, and fresh eggs, the result is flavorful, tender, rich, and something you won't regret eating later -- unlike something mass-produced from a mix (yes, that's how they do it in a commercial bakery) that's full of preservatives, conditioners, chemicals, and things you wouldn't want to touch, let alone eat.

If you buy a brownie mix, you have to dirty a bowl, a spoon (or spatula) to stir, and a pan. If you make brownies from scratch, you have to dirty a bowl, a spoon or spatula, a pan, a couple of measuring spoons and a measuring cup -- or, instead of the measuring cup, a bowl to weigh things in. You have to run the dishwasher (or fill the sink) to wash those few things anyway -- why not get a better product at the small cost of spending an extra half-a-minute loading the dishwasher or washing those extra items by hand?

Try this recipe. If these aren't 100% better than any box or purchased brownies, call me and I'll take them off your hands!

All-American Brownies

from Fertig, Judith M. All-American desserts: 400 start-spangled, razzle-dazzle recipes for America’s best-loved desserts. Boston: Harvard Common Press, 2003.

1-1/4 c. (3.625 oz) cocoa powder (natural or dutched)
1-1/4 c. (5.5 oz) all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 c. chopped nuts, not optional
1-1/2 c. (3 sticks, 12 oz) unsalted butter, melted
3 c. sugar (1 lb. 5 oz)
7 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350˚. Line the bottom and sides of a 9x13” baking pan with foil and grease the foil with butter. (Or spray with "Pam" or similar flavorless cooking spray.)

Whisk together the cocoa, flour, salt, and chopped nuts, in small mixing bowl.

In large mixing bowl beat the melted butter and sugar together. Beat in the eggs and continue beating until well-blended. Beat in the vanilla. Add the egg mixture to the dry ingredients and beat on low speed until well-blended. Pour into the prepared pan.

Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out almost clean, 40-45 minutes. If brownies tend to burn in your oven, cover the edges with strips of foil toward the end of the baking time.

Let cool in the pan, then cut into squares.