Latest News and My New Favorite Ingredient

The Earnest Baker Logo

It’s amazing to think that it’s been almost three months since I made the decision to start The Earnest Baker.   It’s even harder to believe that I only have a little over six weeks left until the Farmer’s Market starts and I’m officially open for business.  This means I’m in the homestretch now, which is equally exciting and nerve wracking.  I’m excited, because I cannot wait to open and finally be able share all the baked goods I’ve been working on.  At the same time though, it’s nerve wracking because there’s still a good amount I need to get done.

I wanted to share a couple pieces of exciting news with you guys.  You may or may not have noticed the new header on the site.  You may have also noticed the slightly boring (but in my mind super cool) picture at the beginning of this post.  What you’re looking at is the official logo for The Earnest Baker!  I’m really stoked about this development, because it makes everything seem a little more real.  It also means I’m getting business cards and who doesn’t love business cards??  Seriously, business cards are awesome.  I get to say things like, “Here, take my business card” and sound all professional.  I’m probably getting overly excited about this…….I’ll calm myself down now.

The second thing I wanted to tell you guys is that The Earnest Baker is now Facebook official (people say that, right?).  The Earnest Baker now has its very own Facebook page that you can check out.  This is pretty cool, because it’s another way to stay connected.  What I love most is that Facebook is a quick way to post updates and it’s also a really easy way to interact with everyone.  I’ll post news and pictures regularly on the page and if you have anything you want to ask, share, or even a special request – please shoot me a comment!  I promise to respond quickly.

Okay, now on to the more fun foodie stuff.  Caramelized White Chocolate and I are having a bit of a love affair.  It is, without a doubt, my new favorite ingredient.  Caramelized White Chocolate is becoming very popular with pastry chefs and for good reason…….it’s insanely delicious.  It’s made by “roasting” white chocolate in the oven at relatively low heat (250°F) and stirring it every 5 to 10 minutes for about 30 minutes to an hour.  Once it’s done, you stir in a good pinch of sea salt.  What you end up with at the end of this process is really quite magical.  It transforms the cloyingly sweet white chocolate we all know into this beautiful roasted, caramelly, salty-sweet liquid.  Just thinking about it makes me want more!

You can use the Caramelized White Chocolate for a variety of purposes.  It’s great on top of ice cream or sandwiched in between two shortbread cookies.  It’s also a great addition to stir into cookie dough or cake batter.  I’ve been playing around with it, so you can expect to see a few baked goods with it this summer!  If you’d like to give it a try (and I highly suggest you do), here are the links to the websites I referenced while making it:

David Lebovitz’s Caramelized White Chocolate Recipe

Food52 Caramelized White Chocolate

The process requires a decent amount attention, so it’s a good thing to do when you have an hour to kill.  I set a timer and dragged it around the house with me to remind me when to stir and check on it.  It’s totally worth it though.  If you end up becoming as addicted to Caramelized White Chocolate as I am, please don’t blame me……blame the chocolate!  Although, it’ll be pretty dang hard to stay mad at that delicious substance for too long.

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Gluten-Free Peanut Butter Protein Bars

Peanut Butter Protein Bars

As much as I wish I could eat sweets all day, I understand that it’s probably a good idea to eat something good for me every once in a while.  In my dessert addicted mind, I like to believe that healthy foods will counterbalance all the cakes and cookies I eat.  I mean if I eat a healthy dinner of wild salmon and roasted vegetables that totally negates the giant slice of pound cake I eat after…….right???  Maybe???  Okay, so I know that’s not how it works, but it would be nice if it did.

Eating healthy has been on my mind lately for a couple of reasons.  The first is because I’m testing so many recipes for the business that I’m eating more sweets than I usually do.  I know……I didn’t think that was possible either, but apparently it is and it’s not as fun as I thought it would be.  The other reason I’m on a health-kick is because I recently started training for the Half Marathon I’m running in July.  This will be the sixth Half I’ve run and I’m really hoping to PR, which means I need to train hard and eat right.

My attitude towards food changes a bit when I’m in training.  Instead of just eating whatever is around, I actually put a little thought into what I’m eating and why I’m eating it.  This might sound a little cheesy, but bear with me here……..during training, I look at food as fuel to boost my running performance and to help keep me healthy and fit.  Ughhh…..I can’t believe I just wrote that, but it’s true!  I guess it’s time to admit my other deep, dark nerdy secret.  I love reading about nutrition and how eating certain foods before and after a run can help improve my overall fitness.  I think it’s fascinating to read why the ideal post-long run recovery meal has a carbs to protein ration of 4:1.  And I also think it’s pretty cool to read how tart cherries help to reduce muscle soreness.  What can I say…….I’ve got some nerdish tendencies and I embrace every one of them.

One of my favorite things to make when I’m in training is Homemade Peanut Butter Protein Bars.  I’m always trying to find ways to sneak more protein into my diet (I don’t eat a lot of meat) and these bars are the perfect way to do that.  They’re packed with protein, super filling, can be easily customized and, most importantly, taste crazy good.  Oh and I almost forgot to mention, they’re also Gluten-Free!  I’ve had a lot of requests for GF recipes, so I’m stoked to finally be able to share one.

The recipe for these protein bars originally came from my boyfriend’s Dad.  He found the recipe in Mountain Flyer magazine and instinctively knew it was something Boyfriend and I would love to make.  The original recipe is fantastic, but we tweaked it to make it a little healthier and more to our liking.  We can’t get enough of these bars and make them constantly during the summer.   They’re great as a post-workout snack or to take as fuel for long hikes and bike rides.  They are kind of filling and can easily be eaten as a meal replacement as well. Personally, I love to eat them as a quick healthy breakfast on busy mornings.

I really hope you guys love these protein bars as much as we do.  They can be adapted in a multitude of ways, so feel free to get creative and come up with your absolute perfect combination.  If you’re not a fan of Peanut Butter, use Almond Butter! If you want to add a little extra fiber to the bars, swap out the Rice Puffs for Kamut Puffs (please note Kamut is not GF friendly).  My favorite way to make the bars is with crunchy peanut butter, rice protein powder, dried tart cherries, and toasted pecans.  So get in the kitchen and get crazy and feel good knowing that you’re making something healthy and nutritious!

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