Soup and Bread

Soup and bread

 

Happily Ever After: The Perfect Pairing of Soup and Bread

Nothing is more comforting than a thick soup and warm bread, especially when you’re sitting at the window watching the temperature outside drop lower and lower. Now, some people may think that any old broth and bread will do, but those of us with refined palates know better. Sipping bone broth steeped with herbs has become more ritualistic, like coffee in the morning or tea in the afternoon. Broth has been around for centuries, but usually as a stock for soup. Recently it’s made its way into the spotlight, as a focal point instead of a base ingredient. Partnering the right soup or broth with perfect bread is more than a meal; it’ an art form.

Soup and bread are such a satisfying pair. Together they fill up your belly with warmth and comfort, chasing away the cold from your bones. Delicious apart, they become a filling, savory meal together. Try out a few of these delectable recipes and let us know your favorite!

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup and Focaccia
Your mouth will water just thinking about this dish. It’s a partnership rooted in perfection. The roasting brings out the natural sweet and nutty flavor of the squash, while the warm dough and hint of olive oil brings out the satisfying chewiness in the focaccia.

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup Ingredients:
3 pounds roasted butternut squash
1 pound hot Italian sausage
2 red bell peppers (medium diced)
1 large red onion (julienne)
1/2 cup cold water with 2 tsp. Clabber Girl Cornstarch
See more (and get the instructions!)

Tomato Soup and Tuscan Bread
Nothing heats up a cold day like tomato soup. The aroma alone can transfer you right back into grandma’s kitchen. Pairing this traditional favorite with a crispy slice of toasted Tuscan bread will warm you up inside and out. This is the perfect soup and bread combo for your next Meatless Monday!

Tomato soup doesn’t have to just be for lunch or dinner. Believe it or not, it’s a delectable ingredient in an unlikely place – cake! Don’t believe us? Try Clabber Girl’s Tomato Soup Cake. This tender, rich cake blends cinnamon, nutmeg and tomato soup to create a moist, spice-cake flavor.

Cowboy Stew and Mexican Cornbread
Bring the heat of the Southwest right into your living room with this savory soup and bread combo. Marinated steak gives the Cowboy Stew its hearty flavor, but the Mexican Cornbread really ignites this pairing. Best of all it’s incredibly easy to make. You can bring this dish to your dinner table and still have time to kick your feet up and watch the fire.

Mexican Cornbread Ingredients:
1 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
3/4 c. cornmeal (yellow)
1/4 c. granulated sugar
2 tsp. Clabber Girl Baking Powder
1/2 tsp. salt (optional)
1 c. milk
1/3 c. mild or hot sliced jalapeno peppers (optional)
1/4 c. plus 1 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 egg (beaten)
1 can mexicorn (11 oz.)
1 1/2 c. grated Colby Jack cheese
4 oz. cream cheese
Instructions

Old Fashioned Down Home Potato Soup and Garlic Cheddar Biscuits
This is a cozy in, get under the covers and put on a good movie type of meal. A warm bowl of this rich, cheesy potato and cream concoction is a home-cooked favorite. We don’t know which is better – the way the garlic cheddar biscuits smell or taste. What we do know, is that they are bursting with flavor. The rustic appearance gives them an extra texture that is perfect for dipping in a creamy bowl of potato soup. Serve the soup with bacon and scallions and throw a handful in the biscuits too, to marry the flavors.

Garlic Cheddar Biscuit Ingredients
2 3/4 c. all-purpose flour
1 tbsp. Clabber Girl Baking Powder
3/4 tsp. garlic powder (divided)
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. shortening
1 c. buttermilk
1 c. shredded cheddar cheese
2 tbsp. melted butter
Instructions

Take “made from scratch” to a whole new level by making your own stock or give your soup an extra boost of flavor with a herb sachet. No matter which soup and bread combo you choose, one thing is for certain—this meal is bound to bring a little extra warmth to your kitchen!

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Free Your Chocolate

1dark-&-white-chocolate-cookies

 

All About That…Box? 7 Recipes to Free Your Chocolate

We’re two weeks into February, and the time has come yet again: Valentine’s Day is upon us. Cupid lets fly his arrows, and meanwhile everyone else lets fly their opinions of the holiday. Discussions of Valentine’s Day are, perhaps appropriately, seething with words of passion—even those who do not “love” or “hate” the day seem to invoke their apathy toward it with an adamant sort of stoicism. Regardless, winter has dragged us to the very precipice of spring madness, and as the days grow longer, we are called to celebrate all the love in our lives. Amid the roses, champagne, pink hearts and stuffed animals, all the kitsch and cliché associated with February 14th, one traditional treat stands head and shoulders above the crowd: chocolate.

What is it about chocolate that feeds the soul? Watch any channel, any time of year, and chances are you’ll encounter at least one commercial featuring a woman nibbling sensuously on a glossy square, a backdrop of red velvet and melted chocolate weaving an ambience of indulgence behind her. Women love chocolate, or so they say, and as such expect that quaint heart-shaped box come Valentine’s Day. The box is nice, but this narrative is too simple. A soul cannot thrive in a box.

Chocolate is so much more than an affectionate gift—it is a global power. One can taste cacao from Peru, Mexico, Brazil, and Indonesia… from tannin-rich and earthy to bright and fruity, chocolate presents a vast spectrum of flavors that open international doors. Let’s take chocolate out of its box for a moment. The entire world is having an affair with chocolate, and on Valentine’s Day, there is even more of an excuse to feel the love, regardless of where you fall on the love-hate scale.

Chocolate is a comfort when sweet, a pick-me-up when dark, a bit of both when spiced. We’ll take any opportunity to become more intimate with chocolate and Valentine’s Day is just one of those opportunities. By all means, enjoy your boxed chocolate, but don’t stop there, for your soul’s sake.

If you’re looking for some inspiration, either to share with a loved one or to hoard, dragon-like, for yourself, here are seven sweet recipes to get you started on the path to freeing your chocolate. Enjoy a piece of chocolate as you read, keeping in mind that these ideas are just a fraction of chocolate’s potential. February 14th, or any other day when you’re feeling the love, know that the options are limitless when it comes to rich chocolate dessert—no box required.

  1. Add a little extra decadence to fudgy brownies with a rich chocolate frosting. Go ahead and lick the spoon, an experience denied you by prepackaged chocolates. No box, no regrets.
  2. Decorate your chocolate layer cake with fancy chocolate swirls and twirls, should you desire to impress. Fancy not in your box of tricks? Simply run a vegetable peeler or paring knife across the thin edge of a bar of your favorite chocolate, at room temperature, to get curls to garnish instead. Go crazy and use flavored chocolate or a combination of light and dark chocolate. If you dare.
  3. Speaking of various chocolates, these cookies are made with both dark chocolate and white chocolate, for a bit of contrast and an extra level of sweetness. Who says you need to limit yourself to one shade, or fifty shades, of chocolate?
  4. It’s possible to provide a classic sort of treat without a box. If you’re feeling adventurous, take your cookie to the next level and make it a whoopie pie. Far better than the purchased version, these match comfort with creativity.
  5. On the other hand, if your passion for chocolate is so great that you can’t wait until dessert to dig in, consider breakfast in bed, instead. Nothing says “good morning” like double chocolate raspberry muffins. Just try to fit these into a box. If you do, ship them to someone who might like a chocolaty breakfast in bed.
  6. And, while we’re on the subject of raspberries, these holiday pancakes from The Baker Chick are equal parts adorable and delicious. Heart-shaped, sans the heart-shaped container.
  7. But if you’re more of a waffles kind of person, we’ve got those for you, too! Top with homemade whipped cream and strawberries for the kind of fresh, irresistible sweetness and warmth you could never get from something pre-packaged.
     
    Valentine’s Day is not for all, but chocolate is certainly for most. If these desserts don’t light your fire, open the box even wider. Go sweet and salty and add coarse flakes of sea salt, caramel, or peanut butter to a chocolate recipe. Get cozy with a mug of homemade bittersweet hot chocolate spiced with chilies, perfect to have alongside any of these recipes. Or, go completely savory and make a chocolate mole to slather over corn tortillas and marinated chicken. In the end, Valentine’s Day is exactly what you make it; don’t limit your love, and certainly don’t limit your love of chocolate. Get out of the box, and take your chocolate with you. Your soul deserves it.
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Beat the Winter Blues

 

Beat the Winter Blues with Baking

When the temperature hits single digits and the snow piles up, where are many people likely to spend their days? Under the covers hibernating, of course!

Here at Clabber Girl we think there are better ways to spend the winter days. Sure the sun sets earlier and the wind chill is absurdly low, but that doesn’t mean you have to hunker down and disappear. There are plenty of warm and cozy ways to enjoy these colder months. Want to beat the winter blues? It’s time to get baking.

Host a Brunch Party
Move over breakfast! Get out of the way lunch! Make way for the newest craze in group dining – brunch! This melding of meals has risen to new and creative heights. Hosting brunch is a fabulous way to stay social during the cold winter months. Invite your friends over for a casual and cozy early afternoon brunch. Let the festivities start by gathering your nearest and dearest around these amazing Banana Crunch Streusel Muffins:

Ingredients:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons Davis Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup mashed bananas (about 2-3 bananas)
1 egg, slightly beaten
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

Streusel Topping:
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
3 tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
Instructions

Throw a Game Night
Nothing heats up the cold winter nights like the fire of friendly competition. Game nights are a great way to get friends and families together to relax and reconnect. Even though the games take center stage, the menu is just as important. You’ll likely have a variety of tastes and preferences, so to be sure that the pickiest eaters are satisfied will take a little planning. Finger foods are best, as people tend to graze during these kinds of social events. Clabber Girl’s mouth-watering Polish Sausage Appetizer is a guaranteed crowd pleaser. For your vegetarian friends, pairing up crisp fresh veggies with this Red Beet Hummus dish is sure to delight.

Get the Girls Over
Time flies, especially during the winter months when the days are shorter and our calendars more packed with holidays and family responsibilities. One of the best ways to beat the winter blues is to kick the menfolk out and gather your best girlfriends for a night of cocktails, food and friendship. You can sample different wines or beers, cleansing your palate with these warm and chewy Bagel Dough Soft Pretzels. Or, if you’re trying to keep your waistline in check, nibble on a few of these Healthy Orange Noshers instead.

Okay, so the weather outside may, in fact, be frightful, but that doesn’t mean that life during winter can’t be delightful. With the right attitude, you can build lasting memories surrounded by friends and the savory scents of cozy comfort foods.

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Five Twists on Carrot Cake

With a food holiday almost every day of the year, there is always a reason to get in the kitchen and bake. Today is no different—happy National Carrot Cake Day!  There are so many variations of carrot cake. Do you add coconut, pineapple or raisins? Or are you a purist that sticks with the classic carrot and spice? Or maybe you’re still trying to decide? If so, here are five of our favorite carrot cake recipes with a twist.

Try adding apples into your carrot bread. Fruit and veggies in one sweet treat. That makes it healthy, right? Or sweeten the deal with a little Dulce de leche. Have you ever tried having cream-cheese filled sandwiches for dessert?

Practice your fancy frosting skills and pipe fluffy cream cheese goodness onto these kid-friendly, nut-free cupcakes or be the supermom of the basketball team by bringing cake to practice.

There is only one official carrot cake day, but this delicious spiced cake is always in season. For even more carrot cake recipes to last all year long, visit our recipe database.

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Big Game Bites

 

Getting ready for the big game? There are three essential tips for an unforgettable indoor tailgate – good game, clever commercials and fantastic food. Now, we can’t guarantee everyone a good game, especially with this year’s exciting lineup, nor can we assure you that every one of those infamous commercials will be worth the millions.

The food, however, that’s a different story.

Traditional football finger foods like wings, veggies and meatballs, will always make their way to a Super party. But if you really want to amp up the energy, make some creative choices with your game day menu. Think of your football party snacks as another form of décor and make try out regional recipes of iconic foods from the teams’ hometowns. With the right food, you can capture the sights, smells and culture of Boston and Seattle, creating an awe-inspiring spread that will take center stage.

Pass around some Oysters during Half-Time

Oysters are a part of New England history. In Colonial days they were boiled, scalloped or steamed, and sometimes even roasted over an open fire. Raw and natural, oysters on the half shell taste just like the ocean – fresh, cold and glistening.

Many people pair raw oysters with crackers, but we discovered that these sea-water delicacies taste even better with a thick slice of Clabber Girl’s focaccia bread recipe!

Cheering for Boston? Try a Super Bowl of Clam Chowder

Few things say “Patriots” like a hearty bowl of thick, creamy soup. In true Boston style, serve up a traditional New England Clam Chowder that is creamy and savory.  Trying to cater to a variety of tastes? Try this veggie chowder version in addition to the traditional Boston style!

Seattle fan? Sink your teach into these SpaceNeedle Coffee Cookies

Not only is Seattle home to the Seahawks, but it’s also home to the largest clustering of coffee houses in the country. Home to Starbucks and Seattle’s Best, no Seahawk party is complete without a shot of caffeine. Keep the energy up for the post-half-time lull with these bold and rich coffee drop cookies:

Ingredients:

1 c. shortening (butter)
2 c. light brown sugar (firmly packed)
2 eggs
3 c. sifted flour
3 tsp. Rumford Baking Powder
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
2 c. seedless raisins (cut)
1 c. coffee (cold and strong)

Instructions: Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Cream shortening (butter), add sugar gradually, creaming until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Sift flour, Clabber Girl Baking Powder, cinnamon, and salt together. Add raisins, mix well. Add to creamed mixture alternately with the coffee, beating until smooth. Drop by teaspoonfuls on a greased baking sheet and bake in a moderate oven for 12 to 15 minutes.

 

Take a bite of a Mount Rainier Cherry Cheesecake

There is something special about the flavor of Seattle Rainier cherries. They are juicy and complex, and sometimes carry a slightly bittersweet hint. Using Rainier Cherries turns this cherry cheesecake recipe into a tangy, rich and rapturously delicious dessert.

 

If you want more than just traditional finger foods for game day, fuel up with these signature dishes that are savory and succulent. Using traditional foods from the teams’ hometowns will boost your fandom, and your hosting reputation, to the next level. These mouth-watering munchies will ensure your guests agree that your food scored big.

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Exciting Sweet and Savory Combinations

 

Doughnut Burger.

(Do we even need to say more?)

2014 saw an explosion of sweet and savory combinations like chicken and waffles and chocolate-covered potato chips; how can we ever top those?

Believe it or not, 2015 is set to get even more flavorful.

Sweet and savory conversions are so delectable because they intrigue our complex taste buds. You may already know that the human tongue contains more than

10,000 taste buds, but did you also know that each individual bud contains 50-100 taste receptors? On top of that, each one of those is primed for a specific taste –salty, sweet, bitter and sour.

There’s no denying it – we were made to love food.

With all those taste buds in close proximity, the combination of salty and sweet excites us on a chemical level. That’s why these sweet and savory conversions have become so popular (not to mention they are as much fun to eat as they are to make).

Want to give some of these creative recipes a try in your own kitchen, but aren’t sure where to start? Here are four simple recipes you can try at home.

Strawberry & Chicken Pizza

On your family’s next pizza night, ditch the delivery and try out this explosive sweet and savory conversion – strawberries, chicken, onions and bacon – all on one savory slice of homemade pizza. Clabber Girl even has the perfect quick and easy recipe to make your own dough:

Ingredients:

2 1/2 c. all-purpose flour

1 tsp. kosher salt

1/2 tsp. granulated sugar

2 1/2 tsp. Clabber Girl Baking Powder

1 1/2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

1 c. water

Instructions: In a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment; whisk together flour, salt, sugar, and Clabber Girl Baking Powder. Add the olive oil, water and combine ingredients with mixer machine set on low speed. Increase speed to medium and kneed for 3 to 4 minutes until dough is smooth. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and roll the dough to the desired circumference. Bake dough for 15 to 20 minutes or until cooked through.

Brussels Sprouts and Honey

Sautéing your root vegetables with a few tablespoons of honey adds a gust of subtle sweetness that doesn’t overpower the flavor. The natural juiciness of fresh Brussels sprouts comes to life when paired with honey or agave. It’s a perfect side dish for chicken or fish, and pairs nicely with this flaky and tangy Grilled Pineapple and Rosemary Salmon recipe.

Apple and Cheddar Bread

Just about everything tastes better when you add a little cheese, so why not apples? The bitter sweetness of a ripened apple perfectly complements the bold flavor of sharp cheddar. Top your next slice of apple pie with a sprinkle of cheese or add a cupful to this rich apple bread.

Doughnut Burger

You didn’t think we forgot, did you? It sounds crazy, but trust us – it’s amazing! Add a whole new level to your turkey, beef or even veggie burgers by replacing the bun with sticky sweet glazed doughnuts. Clabber Girl’s Orange Glazed Doughnut recipe is the perfect partner for this savory-sweet combo.

Don’t be afraid to experiment. Keep your taste buds guessing and you’ll also keep your friends and family begging for more.

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Baking Better Bread

 

Bread – it’s one of our most beloved foods. It’s the perfect companion to almost any recipe and it has its familiar spot on just about every table. We can eat it for breakfast, lunch, dinner and anything in between. We use the dough in cakes, muffins, loaves and more. We do more than just eat bread; we use it as a means to gather and share. We break bread together.

That means we can also bake bread together.

Most people buy bread in the store or at a bakery, but, believe it or not, you can have the savory smell of baking bread to waft through your own house without slaving for hours in the kitchen. There are three main categories of breads you bake at home:

Yeast-raised dough: The yeast is used as the leavening agent, taking several hours and several stages to help the dough rise. Buns, rolls and breads are all common yeast-rising recipes.

Laminated breads: Bakers will get a forearm workout with all the flipping and folding involved with this type of dough. Flaky, puffy dough is used to create mouth-watering desserts like baklava, strudel and spanakopita.

Quick breads: These recipes span a landscape of baked goods – from biscuits to scones, muffins to loaves. They called “quick” because they must be cooked right after the ingredients are mixed. They don’t use yeast or eggs to rise.

Since we’re looking for a way to make nutritious homemade bread in a short time, let’s rule yeasts and laminates out. For the novice baker or someone who wants to squeeze homemade dumplings into an already busy day, quick breads are the way to go. Typical quick bread ingredients include:

  • All-purpose flour
  • Milk or warm water
  • Salt and sugar (depending on the result – donuts or scones might call for more sweet)
  • A leavening agent, such as Clabber Girl baking powder
  • Butter or vegetable oil
  • Sometimes eggs

Proportions all vary depending on the type of bread you’re baking. In order to bake bread that comes out moist and flavorful from crust to crumb, you need to learn how these raw ingredients work together.

Biscuits

Everyone should know how to create fabulous light and fluffy biscuits. From breakfast to dinner, quick bread biscuits are moist and flavorful without being heavy. Plus, skipping the yeast step cuts down your prep time by hours so you can sleep in a little later.

Clabber Girl baking powder and cream of tartar make this flavorful biscuit recipe a total crowd pleaser.

Piecrusts

Get ready to say goodbye to store bought crusts for good. We may be biased, but we think homemade crusts make pies taste even better. This quick bread piecrust recipe bakes beautifully and is extra special – cream cheese makes for an unforgettable flavor.

Flatbreads

Homemade flatbread is an all-star dish, the perfect companion for pasta, soup, salads and more. It’s easy to get creative with the flavor; you can make it plain for the perfect BLT or heighten it up with spices and seasonings. Ditch the delivery by trying out this amazing onion flatbread recipe as the crust for your next pizza night.

Here at Clabber Girl we know for a fact – if you bake it, the family will come! Gather your loved ones around the table with a new dish from our online recipe box.

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Baking Terms Glossary

 

You’re baking bread for the first time and you can’t wait for the savory smell of rising dough to start wafting through your house. You bought all high quality ingredients and have been following the recipe to the letter, until one little phrase throws you off – “fold the dough.”

Folding the dough? Like a t-shirt? If you’re confused, don’t worry; you’re not the only one. Most, if not all, first-time bakers encounter specific terminology that makes them shake their heads. That’s why we’ve compiled this list of common basic baking techniques.

So go ahead, bust out those brand new recipes this weekend and give them a whirl.

Baking powder: A leavener used for cooking; an inert filler used to keep ingredients separated.

Baking soda: An alkaline ingredient, and when mixed with acidic ingredients, it reacts and releases bubbles of carbon dioxide.

Beat: Thoroughly combine ingredients and incorporate air with a rapid, circular motion.

Bulk fermentation: Let your yeast bread dough sit and rise at room temperature for two hours. This will make your flavor and texture richer and fluffier.

Buttercream: Soft, spreadable icing that is commonly used on cakes, cupcakes and cookies. Buttercream is versatile and often takes on a flavor such as chocolate or salted caramel.

Caramelize: Heat sugar until it is melted and brown.

Creaming: Blend all ingredients to create a fluffy mixture.

Crimp: Seal the edges of two layers of dough with the tines of a fork or your fingertips.

Crumb coat: A thin layer of frosting that is applied to the cake to keep crumbs “trapped” so that they don’t appear on the final layer of frosting. Refrigerate your cake for 15 minutes between applying the crumb coat and the final layer of frosting.

Cutting in: Combine the flour and dry ingredients with the fat quickly, which is why this
technique is often used with butter. Toss chunks of cold butter into the flour and use a
pastry blender (or two knives, but trust us, the pastry blender is far easier) to mix.

Dash: A measurement less than ⅛ teaspoon.

Docking: Prick the dough with a fork before baking to let some of the steam vent. This is
particularly useful for shortbread.

Double boiler: Used to melt delicate ingredients such as chocolate that can burn easily. To make a double boiler, place a bowl on top of a pan of simmering water. The bowl will not touch the water, but the steam from the water will help heat the ingredient at a lower temperature than if it had direct contact with the bottom of the pan.

Dulce de leche: A caramel-like sauce that is created by heating milk and salt over a double boiler on a medium heat. Let mixture cook for 1- 1 ½ hours, stirring occasionally and adding water when necessary. The mixture should be thick and dark-caramel colored. When finished heating, beat until smooth.

Dust: The light sprinkling of baked good or other surface with a dry ingredient like flour, meal, or powdered sugar.

Fold in: Gently combine a heavier mixture with a more delicate substance, such as beaten egg whites or whipped cream, without causing loss of air.

Glaze: Brushing food with milk, egg, or sugar before baking in order to produce a shiny golden finish; to brush a thin coating of icing on top of a baked cake, cookie or bread to give the food a sweet and shiny finish.

Knead: Fold, push, and turn dough or other mixture to produce a smooth, elastic texture.

Leavening: The production of a gas in a dough batter using an agent like baking powder, yeast, baking soda, or even egg whites. Leavening agents work via the production of gas in the dough.

Partially set: Refrigerate a gelatin mixture until it thickens to the consistency of unbeaten egg whites

Piping: Use a pastry bag to add frosting and other creamy toppings to cupcakes, cakes
and cookies; piping can also be used to fill pastries.

Proofing: When you give your bread dough one final rise. Shape your dough into loaves and let them sit in the refrigerator. This will give the dough extra flavor and improves the bread quality, from crust to crumb.

Sifting: Pass the flour through a sifter to add air for a light, spongy texture; this can also help accurately measure ingredients.

Softened: Margarine, butter, ice cream, or cream cheese that is in a state soft enough for easy blending, but not melted.

Unleavened: Baked goods that do not use a leavening agent like baking soda, cream of tartar, baking powder, or yeast.

Whisk: Hand or electric whisking will incorporate air into the mixture, creating lighter
texture.

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In Defense of Bread: A Manifesto

 

WE, the judges, have called to order here an assembly on the controversy of our generation: bread. Bread we broke, and bread we have declared is broken; it is not good any more. Bread has become the fluff of meals, something to fill the empty spaces and stretch the “good” stuff. We have broken bread, says the plaintiff, and now we cry out murder most foul for our waistlines. The defendant, voiceless, has deferred to us to examine the case.

You, bread, who have always been there for us, await our verdict. Since we learned the use of fire and left wet grain to the devices of the morning yeast that bred in dew, we have leaned on you for survival. You rose from the coarse grit of wild seeds to become what you are today. You are old, bread, and with age comes a history of triumphs and, yes, mistakes.

All over the world, people have pulled you from their environment with callused palms and wrists sore from kneading. From wheat ground fine, you have been rolled out and baked on stone. You have been born from amaranth, corn, oat, and barley. Where one family gathers around you, airy with yeast, another cuts through a crust into buttery layers of soda and raisins, another pulls flat loaves from ashy coals. You have appeared in our lives in every shape, size, and material we have managed to taste.

Yet, once nestled on our hearthstones, you now march neatly out of factories. You have been refined, processed, standardized. No longer seen as a wonder, you have been tossed onto the sidelines, perhaps smeared with tuna salad, perhaps forgotten. People removed you from their fires and picked you from a shelf, instead, then called you a criminal when you broke their hearts.

But that is not the end of your story, bread. Though the people have cried “fluff,” we have seen the meals of times gone by. Grandma cooked the beans for hours, but every last one of her corn muffins was gone before the pot was empty. Our treasured aunt’s rolls—she makes so many, she ties them in trash bags and hands them out to greedy nieces and nephews on holidays. We’ve awaited eagerly our sister’s biscuits on her weekend visits. We’ve helped gather spring violets for scones. Remember when Dad would make waffles, and the smell alone could get you out of bed faster than lightning?

You are still here, bread, and as precious as ever. You may be marching out of factories and into lunchboxes, but you are also rising out of corn, tapioca, and quinoa. Gluten does not a loaf of bread make, indeed. You can be found whole, and made with love in all forms: round, flat, fortified with milk, sweetened with honey, or simply baked in wafers that carry us to the Promised Land. Bittersweet with spelt, dense with egg, or heady with rye and caraway, you persevere. You are as varied as the fingerprints that get pressed into your crust. Perhaps that is why we both love and accuse you, bread. You are just like us: unique, changing, sometimes flawed, but nonetheless fueling the deep connection that binds all of humanity. You are put through the fire, and return with new life.

Is this the case we have brought up against you, bread? Or is it, perhaps, our duty to you to bring you to your potential? Do we fear the flour dusting our fronts, lumps in dough, or simply the patience that waiting in front of a warm oven requires? Assemble the jury. We have a verdict to dole out. When we have gathered, and every seat in the courtroom is filled, we will do what generations have done since our ancestors first took eyes to stars and kernel to grindstone: We will break bread.

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Top 10 Baking Trends from 2014

 

The New Year is nearly upon us, and amidst all the Yuletide merriment we all tend to both look forward and reflect on the past. In the Clabber Girl kitchen, it’s only natural to to associate some of our favorite memories with our favorite menus. The baking bliss really overtook us in 2014 with new culinary adventures, creative flavor combinations and modern twists on old favorites.

 

Let’s relive our favorite moments savoring the sweet tooth. Here are the top 10 baking trends and recipes that rocked kitchens in 2014.

 

10. Small Bites

Not only are they super cute, but they are also super sweet. Mini desserts let us indulge without the guilt. 2014 was the year for party platters stacked with elegant samples of bite-sized cheesecakes, cupcakes, brownies and more. Missed out on the mini trend? It’s not too late. A batch of these Mini Apple Pie Bundt Cakes will make a bigger splash than the ball drop at your New Year’s Eve party!

 

9. Whoopie Pies

A sandwich is just a sandwich – unless it’s made from two soft cakes stuffed with a rich cream filling! This decadent dessert from New England spread to kitchens across the country with recipes like this dreamy, creamy Chocolate  Raspberry Whoopie Pie.

 

8. Gluten-Free

Gluten-free foods took grocery stores by storm in 2014. Gluten, a protein in wheat, can make the digestion process rather uncomfortable, especially for those with celiac disease. However, you can find decadent and moist gluten-free breads in thousands of ovens across the country. Compliment dinner with these gluten-free parmesan-rosemary rolls or finish up a meal with these gluten-free Purim honey cake cupcakes.

 

7. Surprise Inside!

From gender reveal cakes to multicolored rainbow layers, decorating the inside of your fluffy layer cake has becomes just as much fun as decorating the outside. New parents slice into a cake to see either blue or pink, finally discovering the sex of their baby. Color isn’t the only way to sneak in a surprise inside – layer cakes with shapes or checker boards and breads with pumpkins, Christmas trees or flowers also top the lists. Our Pinterest board has even more ideas!

 

6. Fancy Frosting

Some desserts look too good to eat! Okay, maybe not, but the art of decorating really found momentum in 2014. Piping designs, frosting techniques and fondant decorations turned thousands of cakes and cookies into majestic, mouth-watering works of art. You can make it hardcore homemade by creating a fluffy frosting from scratch.

 

5. Au-naturale

Baking bread in 2014 got down to the grainy basics. More and more kitchen weekend warriors rolled out their own dough, used only organic, local ingredients and removed any artificial flavors or substances from their recipes. The result? Piping hot and healthy whole grain biscuits, multi-grain deli rolls, whole-wheat buns and gluten-free oat bread.

 

4. Brown Butter

For a recipe so simple, the richness and flavor is so incredible it’s almost unbelievable. Brown butter is just that – butter that has been heated and stirred constantly until it’s brown. The nutty, toasted flavor blends up richer sauces and moist baked goods. Try using brown butter in the buttercream frosting Clabber Girl’s savory Irish pub brownies.

 

3. Salted Caramel

It’s nature’s most decadent love story –a bite of sea salt embedded in the honey sweetness caramel. The combination is a euphoric experience. In 2014, this sinful sweet moved from the novelty dessert menu and into the mainstream. Recipes for cakes, cookies, candies, ice cream, frostings and cupcakes have all been enchanted by the smooth flavor of salted caramel.

 

2. Spirited Sweets

The flavor combinations of alcohol and baking make for a wicked sweet treat. Liquor isn’t the only spirited ingredient at hand; craft beer has been topping baker’s 2014 lists for both breads and desserts. Nothing says comfort food like beer bread or craft brew cheddar biscuits.

 

1. Biscuit Sandwiches (our favorite!)

Buttermilk biscuits, a staple on any comfort food menu, are migrating from the breakfast table to any table. From beef brisket to kale, tomato and goat cheese, biscuit sandwiches have dominated restaurants and recipes in 2014. The next time you cook up some thick, savory applewood smoked bacon for a BLT, toss away the bread and try our decadent, flaky cheddar and chive drop biscuits instead.

 

In 2014 ovens were bringing the heat with these top baking trends. Party platters piled high with concoctions from cooks unafraid of tackling new, inventive and challenging recipes. What about your favorite recipes? Tell us about some of the sweetest successes or funniest flops from your kitchen in 2014!

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