Best Ever Butterscotch Cookies for My Pops

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Today is kind of a big day.  Today is what I like to (jokingly) call my Dad’s “Old Man Birthday.”  That’s right….today my Dad is turning 70 and Fiancé and I are in town to help him celebrate.  And yes, Boyfriend is now Fiancé and since I feel so weird and even a little pretentious typing out the word fiancé all the time – he will now be referred to as “Dude” (per his request).  So as I was saying, Dude and I made a special effort to make sure we were able to spend my Dad’s birthday with him.  For me, it was especially important to be there.  I mean this is the man who taught me how to bake and has in so many ways shaped the person I am today.  While most girls like to say, “I’m turning into my Mother” – the phrase you’re more likely to hear out of my mouth is, “Holy crap, I’ve turned into my Dad.”  I usually say this about once every couple of months to Dude, who whole heartedly agrees with my statement.

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Worst Blogger Ever (and the Best Mango Lime Pie and Key Lime Pie Ever)

Key Lime Pie

Sooooo…………how’s it going?  I guess it’s been a little while since my last post.  I’ve been meaning to write, but as you can see that hasn’t panned out too well.  I’m starting to feel like the parent who promises to take their kid fishing at the cabin and then bails at the last minute and leaves the kid sad and disappointed on the front stoop decked out in all their fishing gear (and yes, that’s an Arrested Development reference).  As it turns out though, I have a legitimate excuse for being such a neglectful blogger the past couple months.  Business has been steadily growing over the summer (which is beyond awesome) and I’m currently looking into expanding The Earnest Baker.  Hopefully I’ll have some exciting news to share within the next couple months, so stay tuned for that!

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Tuesday’s Market Menu – July 16, 2013

Almond Cakes

Mini-Almond Cakes (gluten-free):  Moist bite-sized almond cakes made with browned butter and topped with seasonal fresh fruit.

Homemade Pop Tarts:  The breakfast treat you loved as a kid, but with a grown-up twist.  Flavors like Brown Sugar, Strawberry, and Nutella are enclosed in a light, flaky pastry.  Simply place them in your toaster for a warm, delicious treat anytime of the day!

Salted Caramel Brownies:  The ultimate salty/sweet treat – a thick layer of salted caramel sandwiched between a fudgey dark chocolate brownie.

Huckleberry-Blueberry Streusel Bars:  A buttery shortbread crust is layered with a mix of huckleberries and blueberries and a crumbly streusel topping.

Chocolate Truffle Cookies (gluten-free and dairy-free):  A deep, dark, fudgey chocolate cookie studded with walnuts.

Walnut-Pecan Thumbprints (Vegan):  The healthiest cookie you’ll ever eat.  A hearty, but tender walnut-pecan thumbprint with fruit preserves in the middle.  The perfect fuel for your backcountry adventures this summer!

Tuesday’s Market Menu – June 25, 2013

Nutella Pop Tarts

Homemade Pop Tarts:  The breakfast treat you loved as a kid, but with a grown-up twist.  Flavors like Brown Sugar, Strawberry, and Nutella are enclosed in a light, flaky pastry.  Simply place them in your toaster for a warm, delicious treat anytime of the day!

Salted Caramel Brownies:  The ultimate salty/sweet treat – a thick layer of salted caramel sandwiched between a fudgey dark chocolate brownie.

Chocolate Malted Brownies:  The nostalgic flavor of a Chocolate Malt Shake comes to life in the form of a brownie.

Huckleberry-Blueberry Streusel Bars:  A buttery shortbread crust is layered with a mix of Huckleberries and Blueberries and a crumbly streusel topping.

Chocolate Truffle Cookies (GF):  A deep, dark, fudgey chocolate cookie studded with walnuts.

Walnut-Pecan Thumbprints (Vegan):  The healthiest cookie you’ll ever eat.  A hearty, but tender walnut-pecan thumbprint with fruit preserves in the middle.  The perfect fuel for your backcountry adventures this summer!

Nutella Stuffed Cookies:  A classic Chocolate Chip Cookie made with browned butter and sea salt envelopes a hidden surprise in the middle – Nutella!

Homemade Ice Cream Sandwiches

Dark Chocolate and Pecans

Today marks the first official day of Summer (best day ever), which means the hot sunny days of ice cream and BBQs are finally here.  Last week I was in Miami and had my first ice cream craving of the summer.  So I stopped by Whip N Dip (a staple for all born and raised Miami folks) and decided to buy an ice cream sandwich that was, no joke, the size of my face.  It was incredible.  I’m not sure if it’s because it was crazy hot outside or because it was the largest ice cream sandwich on the face of the earth, but I started wondering why I don’t make these more often.  When I was in college I used to make ice cream sandwiches all the time for my roommates and myself……….that could explain why we all weighed a good 5 to 10 pounds more back then.  To me, ice cream sandwiches are synonymous with Summer.  When I was a little kid, I used to love getting a Chipwich from the ice cream truck.  There was just something about those soft chocolate chip cookies and cold vanilla ice cream rolled in mini-chocolate chips that spoke to me.  It was and still is the perfect dessert for a long hot summer day.

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Tuesday’s Market Menu – June 18, 2013

Chocolate Truffle Cookies

Chocolate Truffle Cookies (GF):  A deep, dark, fudgey chocolate cookie studded with walnuts.

Salted Caramel Brownies:  The ultimate salty/sweet treat – a thick layer of salted caramel sandwiched between a fudgey dark chocolate brownie.

Chocolate Malted Brownies:  The nostalgic flavor of a Chocolate Malt Shake comes to life in the form of a brownie.

Homemade Pop Tarts:  The breakfast treat you loved as a kid, but with a grown-up twist.  Flavors like Brown Sugar, Strawberry, and Nutella are enclosed in a light, flaky pastry.  Simply place them in your toaster for a warm, delicious treat anytime of the day!

Huckleberry-Blueberry Streusel Bars:  A buttery shortbread crust is layered with a mix of Huckleberries and Blueberries and crumbly streusel topping.

Tuesday’s Market Menu – June 11, 2013

Backcountry Thumbprints

Backcountry Thumbprints (Vegan):  The healthiest cookie you’ll ever eat.  A hearty, but tender walnut-pecan thumbprint with fruit preserves in the middle.  The perfect fuel for your backcountry adventures this summer!

Salted Caramel Brownies:  The ultimate salty/sweet treat – a thick layer of salted caramel sandwiched between a fudgey dark chocolate brownie.

Chocolate Malted Brownies:  The nostalgic flavor of a Chocolate Malt Shake comes to life in the form of a brownie.

Homemade Pop Tarts:  The breakfast treat you loved as a kid, but with a grown-up twist.  Flavors like Brown Sugar and Strawberry are enclosed in a light, flaky pastry.  Simply place them in your toaster for a warm, delicious treat anytime of the day!

Oatmeal Biscoff Cookies:  A chewy Oatmeal Cookie is taken to a new level with the addition of Biscoff Spread and rum-soaked raisins.

Huckleberry-Blueberry Streusel Bars:  A buttery shortbread crust is layered with a mix of Huckleberries and Blueberries and crumbly streusel topping.

Chocolate Truffle Cookies (GF):  A deep, dark, fudgey chocolate cookie with hazelnuts.

Tuesday’s Market Menu – June, 4 2013

Salted Caramel Brownies Tomorrow marks the first day of the Bogert Farmer’s Market 2013 Season, which means in about 24 hours The Earnest Baker is officially open for business!  I can’t believe it’s finally here and I’m so excited to share some more details with you guys.  Each Tuesday I’ll feature a rotating menu of about six different products.  I plan on having a wide variety of options, including some vegan and gluten-free items.  To make things easy for you guys, I’ll be posting Tuesday’s menu on my blog each week.  This way you’ll know exactly what items will be available and can plan ahead.

Tuesday’s Market Menu will be posted each Monday afternoon.  If you notice that one of your favorite items happens to be on there and you’d like me to set some aside from you – just send me a message!  And starting in about two weeks, I’ll also be taking special requests for Market Day (details regarding that will be posted next week).  This week’s menu features my six absolute favorite items.  Over the past four months, I’ve worked hard developing and testing recipes and, at the end of that process, these desserts are the ones I love most and can’t get enough of.  I hope you like them as much as I do!

Tuesday’s Market Menu (June 4, 2013)

Salted Caramel Brownies :  The ultimate salty/sweet treat – a thick layer of salted caramel sandwiched between a fudgey dark chocolate brownie.

Financiers (Gluten-Free):  Moist bite-sized almond cakes topped with seasonal fresh fruit.

Homemade Pop TartsThe breakfast treat you loved as a kid, but with a grown-up twist.  Flavors like Brown Sugar, Nutella, and Strawberry are enclosed in a light, flaky pastry.  Simply place them in your toaster for a warm, delicious treat any time of the day!

Nutella Stuffed CookiesA classic Chocolate Chip Cookie made with browned butter and sea salt envelopes a hidden surprise in the middle – Nutella!

Backcountry Thumbprints (Vegan):  The healthiest cookie you’ll ever eat.  A hearty, but tender walnut-pecan thumbprint with fruit preserves in the middle.  The perfect fuel for your backcountry adventures this summer!

Matcha Pound Cake:  A rich, buttery pound cake made with Matcha green tea and Caramelized White Chocolate.

Summer Berry and Challah Bread Pudding

Berry Bread PuddingSummer is finally here!!  Which makes me happy for two very specific reasons.  One, because Summer is by far my favorite season.  I love the long, hot, sunny days and the hiking and the camping and the being able to run in shorts and a tank top……it really doesn’t get much better than Summer.  The other reason I’m so happy is because it means the Farmer’s Market is starting soon and by soon, I mean in five days.  It’s crazy to think that it’s finally here and I can FINALLY start selling everything I’ve been working so hard on for the past four months.

As you can imagine, the past couple weeks have been a wee bit busy for me with finalizing details and some super last minute recipe testing.  There are still a few things that need to be ironed out, but for the most part everything is pretty much done.  Now comes the baking, and selling, and getting word out about The Earnest Baker……so I guess this is kind of just the beginning in a weird sort of way.  On that note, this week’s post is going to be short and sweet (like I mentioned before, only five more days until I’m officially open).  Since Summer is here and I’ve been eating an insane amount of berries lately, I wanted to share my favorite summertime dessert with you guys – Summer Berry and Challah Bread Pudding.

Now you might think bread pudding doesn’t exactly sound like a typical summer dessert, but this Summer Berry and Challah Bread Pudding is the perfect summertime treat.  It takes advantage of all the gorgeous, fresh berries that are finally in season and really highlights and enhances the flavor of the fruit.  The soft, rich Challah and the lightly sweetened custard base are a wonderful balance to the tartness of the berries.  This dessert is a staple in my house during the summer and I hope it will become one in your house as well.  Sometimes I even eat the bread pudding for breakfast…….I mean it has bread and fruit sooooo that’s kind of breakfastey….right??

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Banana Bran Muffins

Bran Muffins

No matter how long you’ve been baking or how much experience you have in the kitchen, you are bound to have a mishap every once in a while.  You might get distracted and forget to add in an ingredient or you might leave something in the oven too long or maybe (and this is my usual mistake) you forget to buy a key ingredient when you’re at the grocery store.  Most of the time, these mistakes result in a ruined baked good or a last minute dash to the store.  Sometimes though, these mistakes turn out to be a happy accident and the resulting product is magical.  The story of ganache is a perfect example of this.  Legend has it that a pastry apprentice accidentally spilled cream into a bowl of chocolate.  Instead of throwing the chocolate out, he stirred it together with the cream and it turned into a beautiful thick chocolate sauce.  The result of his mistake was the indispensable pastry staple we all know and love today – ganache (which funnily enough translates to “fool” in French and is supposedly what the chef called his apprentice after his mishap!).

A couple weeks ago, I made what I like to call a “fortunate mistake.”  I was making a batch of my favorite Cranberry Walnut Muffins and, as is typical of me, realized I forgot to buy buttermilk.  It was early in the morning and I was hungry, so I really didn’t want to go to the store.  Instead, I decided to root around my fridge to see what I had that I could substitute for buttermilk.  I didn’t have any milk, so making my own buttermilk was out of the question. What I did have was a lonely little container of Fage Greek Yogurt, staring at me and begging to be used.  It was my only option and like I said, I was really hungry, so I decided to give it a shot.

Greek yogurt is obviously very different than buttermilk, so I knew I was going to have make some changes to my recipe.  This kind of yogurt has a lot of protein (20 grams per cup!), which is awesome when you’re eating it on its own…….but not so awesome when you’re trying to make a tender muffin.  To keep the batter from getting tough, I knew I needed to add another source of moisture in to the recipe.  I did the usual scan of my kitchen and stopped when I noticed a sad, single, ripe banana that was just pleading to be made into something delicious.  So I went ahead and mashed up the banana and threw it in the recipe.  At this point, I had made so many changes that I thought one more couldn’t hurt and decided to swap out the oat bran for flaxseed meal……cause who doesn’t love their Omega 3’s??

I had absolutely no idea if these muffins were going to turn out.  Part of me thought I would end up with tough, rubbery banana flavored hockey pucks.  Luckily for me though, the Baking gods aligned and the muffins came out perfect.  They were moist and tender with the just the right balance of banana flavor.  I actually liked them so much that they’ve become my new weekday breakfast staple.  It’s rare for mistakes like this to turn out so well and even rarer to substitute a bunch of ingredients in a recipe and have it work out so perfectly!  But when it does, I feel obligated to share the love and so I present to you the recipe for my new favorite muffins.  I hope they make you as happy as they make me!

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