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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Cinco de Mayo Margaritas and Guacamole

Margaritas

Cinco de Mayo is one of my favorite holidays.  I always look forward to celebrating it, mostly because I love any excuse to drink Margaritas and eat Mexican food.  And let’s be honest, it’s hard not to have a good time when you’re drinking a Margarita.  Now I might get some flak from the Irish side of my family for saying this, but……….I actually like Cinco de Mayo more than St. Patrick’s Day.  It’s true!  It’s probably because I love me some spicy Mexican food and I’m also one of the random people who actually enjoy drinking tequila – so it’s almost like this holiday was made for me.

My recipe for the perfect Cinco de Mayo includes two things.  The first is a good, strong, homemade Margarita, because let’s face it – it’s not Cinco de Mayo if you don’t drink at least one Margarita.  My other Cinco de Mayo essential is a big bowl of guacamole and tortilla chips.  I seriously cannot get enough guacamole…..it’s a little bit of a problem.  I could probably take down a whole bowl by myself.  Whenever I make it, I end up having to restrain myself and remember to save room for my actual meal.  It doesn’t always work out though.

Like any true Cinco de Mayo enthusiast, I pride myself on making a killer Margarita.  The recipe I use is crazy delicious and a wee bit dangerous……okay a lot bit dangerous if you don’t watch yourself.  I usually warn people before they drink them (they tend to go down easy).  What makes these Margaritas so great is that the recipe is really simple with only a few ingredients.  Just a lot of freshly squeezed lime juice, a little lemon juice, and some tequila and Triple Sec.  That’s it.  Now, I’m going to let you guys in on a little secret.  The surprising source behind my go-to Margarita recipe is none other than Ina Garten……..seriously.  Who knew Barefoot Contessa had it in her?  Turns out the same woman who shows us how to throw lovely outdoor brunches can also make a mean margarita.  I did changer her recipe slightly, but it is still hands-down the best recipe I’ve ever come across.  If you try it, I’m sure you’ll agree.

When it comes to guacamole, I don’t follow an exact recipe.  Guacamole is one of those foods that people seem to have strong opinions about.  Everyone likes it a different way.  Some people are purists and don’t like to add in too much besides a little seasoning.  Other people love to jazz it up with all sorts of mix-ins like diced tomatoes or even cheese.  I fall somewhere in between the two.  I don’t like to add in too much to my guacamole, but I do like it to have a little heat.  My standard guac usually includes avocadoes, diced Jalapeño pepper, chopped shallot, a tiny bit of lime juice, salt, and cilantro (if I remember to buy it!).  The proportions are always different and I add in everything to taste.  If you like your guacamole fairly simple, but with a little bit of a kick this is a great version to try.

Well now you know my favorite way to spend Cinco de Mayo.  I hope you guys have an awesome day and enjoy some good old fashioned Mexican themed fun!

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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.

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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