Thursday, November 17, 2011

Week 7, Nov. 17

Wow!  Who needs artificial air fresheners and scented candles when there's the smell of five different sweet rolls, two types of bread, and cookies baking?!  Yum.  Thanks, CSB members, for supporting and giving me an outlet to work out of my home, doing something I enjoy! 

This week each CSB member will be taking home an assortment of sweet rolls.  These are great for dessert, or tomorrow's breakfast, served slightly warmed.  All are whole grain, and two are 100% whole grain (featuring oats and whole wheat).  Flavors are:

~Dark & Dangerous Cinnamon Rolls:  I made these awesome 100% whole grain treats before for a previous CSB session, and they remain my all time favorite!  They're slathered with a thick coat of buttercream, feature two types of cinnamon, and keep well at room temperature for a few days.

~Pecan Sticky Buns:  100% whole grain, gooey, and filled with toasted pecans.

~Angelic Raspberry-Orange Rolls:  Homemade organic raspberry jam (made using fruit from my neighbor's garden last summer), an organic cream cheese center, and a fresh orange glaze.

~Cardamom-Lime Rolls:  A yogurt-based sweet dough, filled with fresh lime zest and a hint of cardamom, and finished with a drizzle of fresh lime glaze.

~Spirited Plum & Dark Chocolate Rolls:  Homemade filling, made using local Italian plums that had been steeped in liquor for months, drained (the resulting liqueur was saved for other purposes), pureed, and turned into an awesome, flavor-packed jam, chunks of dark chocolate, and finished with a light vanilla glaze and mini chocolate chips.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Week 6, Nov. 10

Ah, cookies!  Everyone is familar with such stand-by flavors as Chocolate Chip, Snickerdoodle, and Sugar, but what if we took it up a notch and made some seriously gourmet flavored varieties?  Each CSB member gets to take home a selection of very different, very interesting, and very tasty cookies today.  Read on to find out what treats I baked, and see what is in each type:

~Not-Your-Average-Chocolate-Chip Cookies:  A basic vanilla-scented dough, studded with chunks of Scarffenberger chocolate, handmade salted crispy caramel shards, and topped with a sprinkle of sea salt.  I found this pure, hand-harvested sea salt at a little shop in Portland.  It is the only artisan salt produced in Oregon (Oceanside, to be exact), and is made by Jacobsen Salt Co

~Banana Macadamia Cookies:  Tropical flavored, crunchy, and yet chewy, these feature organic bananas, roasted macadamia nuts, a hint of nutmeg, and a drizzle of dark chocolate.

~To-Die-For Chocolate Cookies:  The name says it all!  These are composed of three different high quality chocolates, hints of exotic spices not usually found in cookies (cayenne!  black pepper!), liqueurs, and dried currants.

~Candy Cap Cookies:  There isn't any candy in these mushroom flavored disks!  Yes, I said MUSHROOMS!!  I stumbled across Candy Cap mushrooms at the Portland Farmers' Market, where they are being touted as "nature's alternative to maple sugar, but without the calories!"  Candy Caps are a fragile, rare mushroom gathered in the Northwestern Coastal areas only.  They feature a heady aroma of butterscotch and maple, and compliment many desserts wonderfully (sorbet, cheesecake, etc.).  I am SO excited to be able to experiment with these personally, and to share such an exotic treat with my CSB members!

Cookies should be stored in separate air-tight containers (to avoid flavor blending).  If freezing, place between layers of wax paper in an air tight, freezer safe container.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Gluten-Free CSB, Month 2

I've said it before, and it's worth saying again:  Being part of this CSB is such a special opportunity.  It's great to "share" the day with several other people and not have to abide by minimum order requirements.  By baking for so many people at once I can offer a creative assortment, versus just one or two flavors.  Today GF CSB members will each receive 6 gourmet cupcakes!  Flavors are:

~Chocolate-Dipped Cranberries (chocolate cake, cranberry filling, dark chocolate ganache, dried cranberries)

~Toasted Hazelnut & Pear (toasted hazelnut cake, spiced pear butter filling, organic cream cheese icing, crushed toasted hazelnuts)

~Hot Chocolate (chocolate cake, toasted marshmallow topping)

~Maple Pecan Fudge (toasted pecan cake, maple buttercream filling, dark chocolate ganache, pecan)

~Cranberry Delight (yellow vanilla cake, cranberry filling, cranberry Italian meringue buttercream)

~Pumpkin Cheesecake (buttermilk spice cake, pumpkin filling, organic cream cheese icing, maple-sugared walnut)

Yes, these are completely gluten-free!  The hazelnuts are Oregon-grown.  I picked the organic pears myself from Valley View Orchard in Ashland, OR, and made the pear butter from scratch.  The cranberries are Oregon-grown as well, and the dried cranberries are from Poverty Ridge.  The chocolate used in the ganache is from Lillie Belle Farms in Central Point, OR, and it's organic, fair-trade.  The pumpkins are locally grown, harvested from Adams Produce.  It's wonderful to live in an area where so much is available that's produced so close by!

Cupcakes will keep well for three days in their bakery box, refrigerated.  To store longer, place in the freezer until solid.  Wrap each individually in plastic wrap and place in a zip-top bag.  To defrost, leave in the plastic wrapper" at room temp for about 45 minutes.  (Do not freeze or refrigerate the Hot Chocolate Cupcake.  Marshmallow gets cranky when chilled!)

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Week 5, Nov. 3

It's starting to snow outside, a very fine icy dust falling from the sky, and I'm grateful to be inside, staying nice and toasty with both ovens baking cakes and the smell of spices and pumpkin wafting throughout the house.  Those autumn flavors help to remind me it's only fall, and hopefully winter will stay away for a bit longer (even if it is snowing already!).

Pumpkins have done very well in the Basin this year, and I was the lucky recipient of several that are perfect for baking into pies, cakes, and other goodies.  CSB members will each receive a sheet-style Pumpkin Spice Cake, made with local pumpkins from Adams Produce in Klamath Falls.  These cakes are whole grain (flour from Bob's Red Mill in Milwaukie, OR) and are topped with a light icing made from fromage blanc.  They're finished with a touch of toasted pecans.

Fromage blanc is a cream-style cheese made from whole milk instead of straight cream.  It's lighter and a little tangier than regular cream cheese, and is wonderful for eating on bagels, spreading on toast or veggies, or using in recipes.  I especially like it in icing, and it compliments the spices in today's cakes perfectly.  I culture it myself and hang it to drain for hours until it's the right consistency.  It's the perfect example of slow food, and I'm so glad to be able to share it with CSB members.

These cakes are presented in bake-and-take containers that should make storage and serving easy.  Keep them refrigerated, and you may freeze them until needed, if desired.  They should defrost perfectly for a moist treat to be enjoyed later on.  This cake also goes very well alongside a piping hot cup of chai or a glass of eggnog.  Enjoy!