In Defense of Bread: A Manifesto

Bread 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.

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.

Top 10 Baking Trends from 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 honey peanut butter and jam cookies.

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, honey graham crackers and vegan nutty granola cereal.

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 tarts, 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!

Top Secrets to Tasty Gluten-Free Baking


Gluten-free baking — think it’s impossible? Think again!

People choose to go gluten-free for a variety of reasons. Doctor’s orders, better digestion or healthier lifestyle choices always seem to top the list. Just one sweep through the grocery store and you’ll find plenty of options for gluten-free eating. If you love the art of baking at home, you’re not limited there, either. Many people think they have to kiss baking goodbye when they go gluten-free, but your oven doesn’t have to go into retirement the moment you switch.

Top Secrets for Gluten-Free Baking

  • Bigger is NOT better. Smaller batches crumble less than trying to push out three or four dozen cookies at once, for example.
  • Get sticky. Gluten is a sticky agent, so adding some gelatin or xanthan gum to your pizza dough will hold your crust together better.
  • Reduce the heat. Lower your oven temperature by about 25 degrees to keep your gluten-free baked goods from browning too quickly.
  • Be a flour chemist. Combine 2-3 different grains for the perfect baking mix. Try sorghum flour, brown rice flour, white and sweet rice flour, millet flour, buckwheat flour, quinoa flour, certified gluten-free oat flour and teff flour.

This chart helps explain the flavor profiles of different flours.



Gluten-Free Fresh Baked Bread

Brown rice flour is the main ingredient in Clabber Girl’s hearty Gluten-Free Oat Bread. One slice, and you’ll never miss another white or wheat loaf again.


1 c. rolled oats (quick cooking)
1 c. oat flour
2 tsp. Clabber Girl Baking Powder
1 tsp salt
1 c. boiling water
1 c. unsweetened almond milk
3/4 c. brown rice flour
1/4 c. flaxseeds (ground)
1/2 c. dates
2 tbsp. roasted almond butter (can use coconut butter)
1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar

Get the directions!

Gluten-Free Sweet Treats

If you love the smell of fresh baked sugary goodness, heat up your oven and try out these decadent and delicious Blueberry Corn Muffins and Banana Pancakes. Our honey peanut butter and jelly cookies are perfect for kids (or the young at heart)! Before your next camping trip or hike, try taking our vegan and gluten-free nutty granola with you to help pack on the protein.

Wiping gluten off the menu means eliminating the starch, not the taste. Living and baking gluten-free can seem daunting at first, but once you get the hang of things, you’ll discover a whole new world of favorite recipes.

50 State Cookies


State CookiesCrank up the ovens, break out those mixers and find the baking sheets… it’s cookie time. And if you’re still in a bind about which cookie to take to the holiday exchange this weekend, we’ve got you covered with 50 of the most unique cookies from the United States. Whether you stick to your state’s most prized cookie or try one from the opposite coast, these 50 state cookies are bound to be crowd-pleasers!

To find out what cookie matches your personality, take our cookie quiz!

Alabama: Alabama Cookies – This cookie has a little crunch both from the pecans and the rice crisp cereal. The cookie also has oats, so we find this a totally acceptable breakfast food.

Alaska: Wilderness Lodge Oatmeal Cookies – Alaska goes a little rogue from the traditional cowboy cookie recipe by adding some raisins. Any dried fruit will work as a substitute.

Arizona: Arizona Chocolate Chip Cookies – Lots of shredded coconut make this more than just your plain ol’ chocolate chip cookie, adding a little extra sweetness.

Arkansas: Almond Macaroon Cookies – With more than one cup of almonds, these cookies are more than just a little nutty. Enjoy with a fruity compote and you’re golden.

California:  Avocado Chocolate Chip Cookies – You read that right. These cookies have a little green in them. But avocados are good for you, so go ahead and treat yourself to a couple more!

Colorado: Cowboy Cookies – Cookies made especially for cowboys. And anyone else who enjoys oats, chocolate and walnuts in their cookies.

Connecticut: Spice Cookies – These cookies are sweet with a zip of extra flavor. It makes sense coming from a state known as the Nutmeg State.

Delaware: Strawberry Shortcake Cookies – Strawberries and cream are the theme of these sugary shortcakes. What could go wrong?

Florida:  Key Lime Cookies – It’s no secret that Floridians love their key limes. So we’re not surprised they add them to their cookie dough, too!

Georgia: Peaches and Cream Oatmeal Cookies – If there weren’t peaches in this state’s favorite cookie, it would be a crime! And the white chocolate chips? They’re just bonus flavor.

Hawaii: Hawaiian Cookie Balls – The crushed pineapple and coconut give these cookie balls the Hawaiian flair we all know and love.

Idaho: Potato Chip Cookies – Apparently in Idaho, potatoes have a place in every recipe. But don’t worry, this cookie has all of the sweet stuff, too—cocoa, peanut butter, coconut and chocolate chips.

Illinois: Date-Nut Cookies – If your family is a little nutty, these might be the perfect cookies to serve them.

Indiana: No Bake Cookies – No baking is required, just patience is as you wait for these cookies to cool. Can you resist the temptation?

Iowa: Iowa City Oatmeal Cookies – This isn’t just your any oatmeal cookie. With whole wheat flour, chocolate chips, walnuts and wheat cereal, these cookies cater to all you whole grain lovers.

Kansas: Amish Cookies – Standard sugar cookies with a twist— a hearty amount of powdered sugar.

Kentucky: Brown Butter Bourbon Cookies – Kentucky and bourbon? A perfect pair.  The rich bourbon accentuates the flavors of butter and vanilla.

Louisiana: Citrus Shortbread Cookies – These cookies are just as jazzy as the state they come from.

Maine: Cranberry and Orange Cookies – The bright red color and a sweet glaze makes these cookies perfect for any occasion, but especially so during the holidays.

Maryland: Chocolate Crab Cake Cookies – Your guests will not be eating crab meat in their cookie. We may not understand the name, but we do understand the desire for a chocolate-y, coconut-y cookie!

Massachusetts: Chocolate Chip Cookies – When you’re home of the original chocolate chip cookie, why would any other cookie be your go-to?

Michigan: Cherry Chocolate Chunk Cookies – Chocolate and cherries? Michigan knows how to make some good cookies.

Minnesota: Brown Sugar Butter Cookies – Brown sugar, chocolate chips, and toffee bits. Yes, please!

Mississippi: Mississippi Mud Cookies – No mud in these cookies; just chocolate and yummy marshmallows.

Missouri: Missouri Cookies – Fifteen minutes is all that stands between you and a delicious dessert.

Montana: Huckleberry Cookies – You put huckleberries in salads and pancakes, so why not cookies?

Nebraska: Rubber Cookies – As it turns out, rubber is code for molasses, cinnamon, apples and all sorts of other spicy deliciousness.

Nevada: Spicy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies – In the words of chef Emeril Lagasse, “Let’s kick it up a notch!” These cookies are certainly the way to do it.

New Hampshire: Orange White Chocolate Chip Cookies – When it gets too wintery to eat a creamsicle, put the flavors in a warm cookie instead.

New Jersey: Oatmeal Cranberry Cookies – Beautiful and bright, kind of like your holiday decor.

New Mexico: Bizcochitos (Biscochitos) – These state-recognized cookies have a little kick of flavor from anise seeds and brandy.

New York: Black and White Cookies – Famous in NYC, these cookies are bold and dramatic. Perfect for cookie lovers who can’t decide if they favor vanilla or chocolate icing

North Carolina: Sweet Potato Breakfast Cookies – A little pumpkin pie spice and maple syrup make these sweet potatoes even sweeter. And you can eat them for breakfast.

North Dakota: Honey Whole Wheat Cookies – For the grain lovers of the world, this one’s for you.

Ohio: Cappuccino Flat Cookies – We approve of any cookie that has coffee in it.

Oklahoma: Pecan Pie Cookies – Pecan pie is a favorite in Oklahoma, but pecan pie cookies are just genius.

Oregon: Hazelnut Cookies – Hazelnut coffee is good, but hazelnut cookies? Even better!

Pennsylvania: Chocolate Chip Cookies – You share a home state with Hershey, so this choice is obvious.

Rhode Island: Espiros – With only four ingredients, you can whip these up in no time.

South Carolina: Benne Wafers – Covered in sesame seeds, these cookies have a perfect, toasty crunch.

South Dakota: Triple the Ginger Cookies – One cookie equals three gingerbread men!

Tennessee: Tennessee-Style Marshmallow Cookies – Cookies with a marshmallow center and dipped in chocolate. What’s not to love?

Texas: Fritos Cookies – Drizzle peanut butter, corn syrup, and sugar over corn chips, and you’ve got a cookie.

Utah: Squash Cookies – Put this on your kids’ plate, and they may just eat their veggies. Especially when disguised in sweet cinnamon and nutty pecans.

Vermont: Maple Syrup Cookies – Maple syrup is a state staple!

Virginia: Candied Lemon Ginger Cookies – Don’t even try to resist this combination of lemon and ginger.

Washington: Apple Peanut Butter Cookies – Our favorite fruit all wrapped up in a tasty treat.

West Virginia: Ginger and Molasses Cookies – Warm, comforting flavors for the holiday season.

Wisconsin: Cheddar Cheese Cookies – With only three ingredients, these cookies are quick and simple, not to mention savory!

Wyoming: Wyoming Whopper Cookies – These peanut butter, oats, and raisin-filled cookies are enjoyed most after a long day hiking in the woods.

“Spirited” Recipes – Baking with Liquor

Liquor Blog

Most cooks know that the secret to a tasty meat sauce is a cup of red table wine; but, did you know that alcohol can also enhance the taste and texture of your baked goods, too? Get creative with cake batter or kick it up a notch with tipsy toppings. You can even add a blast of flavor by soaking your fruit ingredients in a cold vodka or sweet liqueur.

Tips for Spiked Sweets

Now, baking with spirits doesn’t mean you can just go and pour a bottle of whipped cream vodka into your brownie batter and expect a miracle. Alcohol affects texture, moisture and flavor. It’s mixology at a whole new level. Here are seven handy tips and tricks to keep in mind when baking with liquor.

  1. Vodka makes a great flake. Add a couple tablespoons of cold vodka to your pie crust recipe for a dough that’s easier to roll out. The vodka keeps the dough from developing too much gluten, leaving you with a light, flaky crust.
  2. Alcohol alters flavor. Bourbon packs smoky and honey flavors, easy for the palate to notice right away. Vodka is subtler, better used as a wet ingredient than for taste.
  3. Bourbon makes vanilla bloom. Bourbon is the key to a smooth, oak flavored homemade vanilla extract.
  4. Better bottle means better baking. Avoid the cheap stuff and go for the gold. The better quality alcohol, the better impact it will have on your baked goods.
  5. Cream curdling cooking? No thanks. Alcohol can curdle cream, so it’s immensely important that you use a carrier when adding booze to creamy baked goods. Soaking raisins in rum, cherries in vodka and apples in brandy will result in all flavor and no curdle.
  6. Put the rum in the coconut and whip it all up. Add dark and smoky spiced rum along with savory coconut to heavy cream as you whip up soft, white peaks.
  7. Test before serving the kiddos. Worried about alcoholic baked goods around the kids? These recipes have a high burn-off ratio, but it’s always better to double check before serving up a slice to anyone under 21. Typically, after an hour or so in the oven, more than 80 percent of the alcohol has evaporated.

Baking with alcohol can be as much fun as drinking it! Try any one of these dishes out on your friends, and you’re sure to come home with an empty cake tray and a plateful of recipe requests.

Mexican Chocolate Bundt Cake with Tequila Almond Liqueur Ganache

Bundts are time-honored crowd pleasers, and this one will have your friends and family begging for the recipe.

Irish Pub Brownies

These brownies call for a cup of stout beer and are frosted with a buttercream icing. They a great for celebrating St. Patrick’s Day.

Chocolate Raspberry Cake – flourless and gluten-free

Heading to a potluck party and not sure of any dietary restrictions? You can be a hit with this sweet and savory flourless cake, packed with a subtle rum punch.

Baking and Crafting with Kids

Iced Rolled Gingerbread Cookies

It’s two weeks before Christmas, and you need to distract the kiddos while you finish some last minute wrapping (don’t forget our handy Printable Gift Tags!). Or, maybe you just want to see something in their hands other than a video game controller. Either way, Christmas break is the perfect time for kitchen and crafting adventures.

No longer tied to their school desks, children are turbo charged with good cheer while at home for the holidays. You can channel some of that excess energy and get the whole family in the holiday spirit with just a few easy craft and baking projects.

Felt Christmas Stockings

Fido and Tom Cat need stockings, too! Your kids can make and decorate personalized felt stockings for the four-legged members of your family. All you need are a few simple materials you can find at any drugstore.


1. Cut two pieces of felt into identical stocking shapes.
2. Staple the edges, then glue trim along to them cover up.
3. Add decorations, such as buttons, ribbon, felt, cotton balls… anything can be décor!

Cookie Cutter Ornaments

For the top of the tree or on the top of a gift, handmade ornaments can really amp up the holiday cheer. The best part is — the kids can do all the work! Sit them down at the table with cookie cutters, cardboard, glue, ribbon, markers and a hole punch. Don’t forget the toppings! Confetti, glitter and bits of wrapping paper make the perfect decorations.


1. Use the cookie cutters to trace shapes on the cardboard and cut out the shape.
2. Cover it with wrapping paper or white or brown butcher’s paper.
3. Decorate!
4. Punch a hole in the top and add ribbon for hanging.

Hot Cocoa Spoons

For quick gift (or an afternoon activity), whip up some easy hot cocoa spoons. Simply melt some chocolate (milk, dark or white…just be sure it’s sweet!) and coat the end of a plastic or wooden spoon, as if you were stirring the chocolate. Then it’s time to decorate! Sprinkle on festive jimmies, roll in crushed peppermint or add a few mini marshmallows. When you’re ready to drink, stir the spoon into a mug of warm hot cocoa for an extra chocolate kick!

Gingerbread Men

No holiday table is complete without happy holiday gingerbread men. The reward of warm gooey cookies is an easy way to get kids away from the TV and into the kitchen. From cracking eggs to decorating faces, gingerbread men are easy for kids to tackle from start to finish.

Ready to bake? Get the instructions here!

Festive Holiday Bars

All those piles of red and green candies are more than just snacks; they’re festive ingredients. You can mix them up in batter for brownies and cupcakes, or try out Clabber Girl’s amazing holiday bars. The taste of the crunchy edges and chewy center is only surpassed when the decadent chocolate morsels melt right in your mouth!


1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup shortening
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons Clabber Girl Baking Powder
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups colored chocolate candy pieces

Get the directions here!

Really want to go nuts? Try it with walnuts!

For more edible Christmas craft ideas – like Marshmallow Pops, Homemade Gumdrops and Reindeer Fudgefollow our Pinterest board!

Hosting a Cookie Exchange

Host a Holiday Cookie Exchange

First time hosting a cookie exchange? Let us help! At a traditional cookie exchange, friends gather to try new recipes, sample a few sweets and maybe even enjoy a some vino. It’s a great way to save time, too. In the time it takes to make one big batch of cookies (and swap treats with your friends), you have a variety of festive cookies take home and enjoy. With a little extra thought and planning, the gathering can take your holiday spirit to a whole new level.

Step 1: Pick a Theme

It’s the holiday season, of course, but not everyone celebrates the same holiday. Last year, one of our Clabber Girl bakers hosted a cookie swap with a “memories” theme. Guests came with old photos of family celebrations and went around the room, explaining the pictures, while everyone sampled cookies inspired by these treasured childhood memories. There were a lot of laughs, and a few tears, too. Other theme ideas include:

Go Nuts! Cookie Swap

Try these Chewy Butterscotch Pecan Cookies, simple Almond Crunch Cookies or elegant Chocolate Walnut Biscotti.

Cookies & Cocktails

Anything goes with this theme! We like Coffee Drop Cookies  or Chocolate Chunk and Cherry Cookies!

Mistletoe & Munchies

Celebrate the season’s flavors with Egg Nog Thumbprint Cookies, or Chocolate Peppermint Cookies.

Step 2: Invitations

A cookie exchange is about celebrating the joy of the holidays. The invitation is where you’ll let your 8-10 friends know the party details and set the tone for the event. Give them plenty of notice; about 4-6 weeks should be plenty of time. The invitation should also include:

  • Specs: The time, date, location and what you, as the host, will provide.
  • Props: Attach the invitation with a colorful ribbon to a wooden baking spoon, an ornament or a Christmas tree cookie cutter.
  • Swap rules: Let your guests know what to expect. Some rules include homemade only or nonperishable preferred cookies. Tell them how many cookies to bring (three dozen, or six?), as well as anything they’ll need to take the cookies home, such as plastic containers or sealable bags.
  • Exciting envelopes: Place your invite in an apron-shaped or a cookie sandwich envelope. You can even tie it to a mason jar filled with your favorite DIY baking mix.

Step 3: The Big Event

Be sure to set the stage by picking décor that sticks to your theme. You’ll also want plenty of colorful trays and cake stands on hand for displaying your friends’ handiwork.

  • Nice Package: A crafty packaging station with cute boxes, bright paper and festive ribbon is a great way to spark conversation and give your guests a special take away party favor. We also have these free gift tags to help decorate the bags people take come.
  • Prizes: Turn your cookie swap into a cookie contest. Offer voting and prizes for creative cookie categories like best dressed, biggest flavor, most creative, best crunch… the possibilities are endless.
  • The Art of Mingling: Some of your guests might be friends and some may be meeting for the first time. Either way, you can keep the conversation going and the laughter flowing with scavenger hunts, holiday mad-libs or other games. Guessing games always bring a good laugh, especially after the second round of cocktails!

Make this year’s cookie exchange the most memorable one yet!