Merrily Baking at Merridee’s: The Girl with the Clabber Girl Tattoo

Amy McGee from Merridee's The Clabber Girl has been on baking powder cans since the turn of the 19th century. Aside from a slight makeover in 1923, the girl has remained the same for decades. The Clabber Girl has become an iconic figure in pop culture and can be seen in many different media. However, there is only one person we know of who has gone so far as to permanently show her baking powder pride by donning the Clabber Girl on her skin. I was lucky enough to meet Amy McGee in person at the Clabber Girl Museum and Bake Shop earlier this month.

What inspired Amy to get her Clabber Girl tattoo? She’s the operations manager at Merridee’s Breadbasket in Franklin, Tennessee and loves iconic, vintage baking brands. Merridee’s was started by Merridee McCray, who began by baking out of her home kitchen. Merridee grew up on a family farm in Minnesota and learned how to bake from her mother and grandmother, who was originally from Sweden. As word spread about Merridee’s baking abilities, she opened a shop up in downtown Franklin, where it is still located today. You won’t find pre-made baking mixes at Merridee’s; everything is still made from scratch including pies, brownies, cookies and of course, breads. “Even the croissant dough is made from scratch,” Amy tells me.

Like many avid bakers, Amy started baking in her own kitchen as a child. “I started learning how to bake by testing out different recipes. I’d say ‘today, I want to make the best coffeecake!’ and would work on the recipe for days until I got it just the way I liked best,” Amy explains. She continues to produce the best baked goods that uphold Merridee’s long tradition of baking excellence. Working alongside of Amy is Brittany Carter, who also came to visit us in Terre Haute, Indiana. Carter showed us a number of fun projects she’s worked on while at Merridee’s. One of the most unique requests was a wedding cake made completely from cinnamon rolls.

The cinnamon roll cake is made from an egg bread dough recipe that Merridee herself created. Patrons of Merridee’s have long enjoyed fresh cinnamon rolls for breakfast, and one couple wanted to take their love affair with these classic rolls to the next level. Read on to find out how to make your own cinnamon roll wedding cake!

Cinnamon Roll Wedding Cake
Photo Credit: Stephanie Estelle of [SE] Creative

Cinnamon Roll Wedding Cake

Ingredients:

Dough:

1/3 c. dry milk
2 1/4 c. lukewarm water
2 Tbsp. butter
2 Tbsp. honey
2 tsp. salt
1/3 c. pumpkin
2 eggs, slightly beaten
3 Tbsp. active dry yeast
7 1/2 – 8 c. unbleached bread flour

Cinnamon Sugar Filling:

1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 c. sugar
1/2 c. butter

Glaze:

1 1/2 c. powdered sugar
3 Tbsp. milk
1/4 tsp. vanilla

Directions:

Dissolve dry milk in lukewarm water. Add butter, honey, salt, pumpkin and eggs. Mix well. Add yeast and stir well. Mix in 5 cups of the flour. Beat well until dough is smooth. Then add 2 1/2 – 3 cups more flour to make a stiff but pliable dough. Turn out onto floured board and knead until smooth and elastic. This will take about 8-10 minutes. Place in greased, covered bowl and let rise until dough doubles. Turn out the dough onto lightly floured surface and divide into 14 oz. balls. Cover with a dough cloth, and let rest for a few minutes.

Combine cinnamon and sugar for filling. Roll out one dough ball into a rectangle that measures about 7×9-inches. Spread with an even layer of butter leaving 1-inch with no butter along one 9-inch edge. Sprinkle generously with cinnamon sugar mixture. Roll up lengthwise to end at un-buttered side. Pinch seam together securely. Slice into 8-12 pieces. Put in 8-inch round pan about a 1/2 inch apart. Use parchment paper to line the outside of the rolls so they don’t expand over the pan’s edge. This will help the rolls keep their shape and make the “cake” stack easier.

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Sprinkle the top with cinnamon sugar and let rise until double.

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Bake in a 400 degree F. oven for 10-15 minutes. Test for doneness with a toothpick inserted in the center roll. Once the toothpick comes out dry, the rolls are ready to come out.

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Whisk together the milk and vanilla for the glaze. Whisk in powdered sugar gradually until it is the right consistency.

After the “cakes” have cooled, flip them out of the pans, place the bottom tier on a cake board and start applying the icing. Carter says, “To achieve the desired dripped look we used a piping bag and piped small amounts of the icing along the edge of the rolls so that it would ooze down the cake. We repeated the process on the final two tiers.”

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Top 5 Father’s Day Food Ideas

When you were 3, you gave dad a family portrait. When you were 9, you gave him a necktie. Now you’re all grown up, and finding something that dad will really like is much harder to do! You can mix and match these Father’s Day food ideas and make a party dad will remember.

It’s pizza time!

Load up your pizza with toppings that your dad likes best! Our pizza dough is easy to make and easy on the wallet too. Pair it with a tossed salad and your Father’s Day dinner is done.

Pizza Idea for Father's Day

Let’s grill!

If your dad is more of a barbecue type, then he is going to love our homemade cola barbecue sauce. There are many different notes in the sauce, making it hard to pin down exactly what’s in it. Don’t give away your secret though, just bring dad a second helping of our sweet and tangy baby back rib recipe.

Grill Out for Father's Day

Spice it up!

When your family is a fan of kicking it up a notch, you need to bring the heat. Our spicy shrimp and sausage jambalaya has just the right amount of garlic and smoke flavor to balance out the spicy flavor of your favorite hot sauce. You can serve the jambalaya up with a side of our homemade corn bread for a sweet complement.

Jambalaya Spicy Father's Day

Get saucy!

This slow cooker recipe for pulled pork is so good! We’ve got honey and soy sauce flavors in our barbecue, perfect for a sweet pulled pork sandwich. Serve with a side of our melty mac and cheese and you’re all set!

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

Take a dip!

Our Marvelous Mex Dip refreshing on hot summer days. Dunk some Fritos® into this colorful dip with bell peppers, corn, jalapeño and green onions. You’ll be the toast of the party!

Marvelous Mex Dip

No matter which recipe you choose from our list, one thing is certain: when you make it from scratch, you can control the flavors and your family will feel the love.

Homemade Animal Crackers in 5 Fun Flavors!

 

I have a one and a half year old daughter. As a parent, her diet is extremely important to me. I try hard to only give her the highest quality food and a wide variety of textures and tastes. I have vowed that she will not even know what a “chicken nugget” is until she starts school where, inevitably, she will become aware of this food option. But, as long as she is at home, it is a wide variety of vegetables, fruits, and exotic foods. I’m helping to build her little palate after all!

That being said, little kids do love treats, crackers, cookies, and snacks. I have always made the effort to cook all of her food from scratch. I made my own baby food when she first started eating solids. So, why not continue with cookies and crackers. Sure, it’s convenient to just buy a box at the store but, by making them myself I can be sure of the ingredients in them and that she isn’t getting a bunch of “junk” in her crackers. And, when I started making them, I really couldn’t believe just how easy they are to make and much cheaper!

I have also had a lot of fun experimenting with flavors and different types of flours. Once you have a base recipe, it is easy to swap out flours and add in different flavors. I have five recipes to share that the little one seems to like quite a bit. The first recipe is an Orange-Honey Animal Cracker and I used this as my base recipe and began swapping ingredients to create other flavors.  I have included recipes for:

  • Orange-Honey Almond Animal Crackers
  • Chocolate Almond Animal Crackers
  • Strawberry Almond Animal Crackers
  • Coconut Macha Animal Crackers
  • Aged White Cheddar, Quinoa, and Oregano Animal Crackers

Each recipe yields about 30 medium sized crackers.

I hope that you enjoy these recipes and have as fun as I did creating them. Thanks!

Orange-Honey Almond Animal Crackers

Orange Honey Animal Crackers

½ cup Almond Flour

1 cup all-purpose Flour

¼ tsp. Clabber Girl Baking Soda

½ tsp. salt

¼ cup unsalted butter, chilled

1 Tbsp. Honey

½ cup Buttermilk

Zest of one Orange

 

Preheat the oven to 400F.

In a medium bowl, blend the almond flour, flour, baking soda, and salt.

Cut in the butter using a pastry blender (or your hands) until the mixture becomes like the texture of sand.

Stir in the honey, buttermilk, and orange zest.

The dough may be a bit crumbly. Dump out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead by hand until a dough forms.

With a rolling pin, roll the dough out to 1/8 inch in thickness. Cut into desired shapes with cookie cutters.

Place the crackers onto a lightly greased cookie sheet and bake for about 5 minutes, until the edges are lightly browned.

 

Chocolate Almond Animal Crackers

chocolate cracker

½ cup almond flour

¾ cup all-purpose flour

¼ tsp. Clabber Girl Baking Soda

½ tsp. salt

¼ cup cocoa powder

1/3 cup granulated sugar

¼ cup unsalted butter

¾ cup buttermilk

 

Preheat the oven to 400F.

In a medium bowl, blend the almond flour, flour, baking soda, cocoa powder, sugar, and salt.

Cut in the butter using a pastry blender (or your hands) until the mixture becomes like the texture of sand.

Stir in the buttermilk. Dough may be crumbly.

Dump out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead by hand until a dough forms.

With a rolling pin, roll the dough out to 1/8 inch in thickness. Cut into desired shapes with cookie cutters.

Place the crackers onto a lightly greased cookie sheet and bake for about 5 minutes, until the edges are lightly browned.

Strawberry-Almond Animal Crackers

 

½ cup Almond Flour

1 cup all-purpose Flour

¼ tsp. Clabber Girl Baking Soda

½ tsp. salt

¼ cup unsalted butter, chilled

1 Tbsp. Honey

½ cup Buttermilk

¼ cup freeze-dried strawberries

 

Preheat the oven to 400F.

In a medium bowl, blend the almond flour, flour, baking soda, salt, and freeze-dried strawberries.

Cut in the butter using a pastry blender (or your hands) until the mixture becomes like the texture of sand.

Stir in the honey and buttermilk.

The dough may be a bit crumbly. Dump out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead by hand until a dough forms.

With a rolling pin, roll the dough out to 1/8 inch in thickness. Cut into desired shapes with cookie cutters.

Place the crackers onto a lightly greased cookie sheet and bake for about 5 minutes, until the edges are lightly browned.

Coconut Macha Animal Crackers

Coconut Macha Animal Crackers

½ cup coconut flour

1 cup all-purpose flour

¼ tsp. Clabber Girl Baking Soda

1 Tbsp. Macha Powder

¼ cup unsalted butter

1 Tbsp. Honey

¾ cup buttermilk

 

Preheat the oven to 400F.

In a medium bowl, blend the coconut flour, flour, baking soda, salt, and Macha Powder.

Cut in the butter using a pastry blender (or your hands) until the mixture becomes like the texture of sand.

Stir in the honey and buttermilk.

The dough may be a bit crumbly. Dump out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead by hand until a dough forms.

With a rolling pin, roll the dough out to 1/8 inch in thickness. Cut into desired shapes with cookie cutters.

Place the crackers onto a lightly greased cookie sheet and bake for about 5 minutes, until the edges are lightly browned.

 

Aged White Cheddar, Quinoa, and Oregano Animal Crackers

 

½ cup Quinoa Flour

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 tsp. dried oregano

¼ cup Aged White Cheddar, shredded

¼ tsp. Clabber Girl baking Soda

½ tsp. salt

½ cup Buttermilk

 

Preheat the oven to 400F.

In a medium bowl, blend the quinoa flour, flour, oregano, cheddar, baking soda, and salt.

Stir in the buttermilk.

The dough may be a bit crumbly. Dump out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead by hand until a dough forms.

With a rolling pin, roll the dough out to 1/8 inch in thickness. Cut into desired shapes with cookie cutters.

Place the crackers onto a lightly greased cookie sheet and bake for about 5 minutes, until the edges are lightly browned.

Animal Crackers Pinterest Promo

Strawberry Pound Cake Parfaits

Pound cake is confectionery perfection. A slight exaggeration? I think not! What isn’t beautiful about a dense, moist, buttery cake? The amount of butter and eggs might frighten the weak, but you’re strong. I know when you take that first bit you’re going to forget all about the numbers and just be transcended into pound cake nirvana.



Grandma's Pound Cake

The pound cake recipe actually comes from my Grandma Crawford. Back in the day, my Grandma Crawford was known around her church and neighborhood for her baked goods, especially her pound cakes. My father tells as a kid growing up of friends and family coming to door with ingredients in hand, asking Grandma Crawford to make one of her pound cakes. And of course in true Crawford fashion, she did. For this particular recipe, I adapted her Butternut Pound Cake, which happens to be my mother’s favorite cake. I’ve made another one of my Grandma’s beloved pound cakes before, her Cinnamon-Apple Pound Cake, which happens to be my favorite cake. Both are indescribably good for their own reasons.

The original recipe is found in an old spiral notebook, handwritten by my mother. The pages are worn and the writing is slowly beginning to fade, but I knew I wanted to use Grandma Crawford’s recipe. This cake bakes beautifully, forming a perfectly golden crust on the outside and a soft yellow inside. With summer upon us, I wanted to take apart in this season’s strawberry harvest. The tartness of the strawberries complimented the sweetened cream and the rich pound cake beautifully. I decided to serve these parfaits in mini trifle bowls that belonged to my Grandma Crawford (to keep in theme!) Grandma Crawford unfortunately passed away when I was fairly little, but if she was here today, I know we would talk sweets and bake delicious pound cakes together! Maybe even a parfait or two.

Strawberry Pound Cake ParfaitsStrawberry Pound Cake Parfaits

Ingredients
For the Pound Cake:
½ pound unsalted butter, room temperature
½ cup shortening
3 cups sugar
5 eggs, room temperature
1 cup evaporated milk
2 tablespoons butternut flavoring or vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons Clabber Girl Baking Powder
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon Clabber Girl Baking Soda

For the whipped cream:
3 tablespoons sugar
1 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoons vanilla extract (optional)

3 cups of sliced strawberries

Directions
Step 1. For the pound cake. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F, Grease and flour a 15-cup bunt pan. In a medium mixing bowl, beat the butter and shortening until combined. Gradually add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time.

Note: For room temperature eggs quickly, add them to a 4 cup liquid measuring cup and fill with lukewarm water. Allow to sit for 10-15 minutes.

Step 2. In a 1 cup liquid measuring cup, combine the evaporated milk and butternut flavoring or vanilla extract. Set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. In thirds, alternate adding the flour mixture and evaporated milk mixture to the butter and egg mixture, making sure to end with the flour. Transfer batter to the greased and flour pan and bake for 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool for 30 minutes in pan, then remove from pan and let cool completely.

Step 3. For the whipped cream. Place a metal mixing bowl and metal whisk into the freezer for 10 to 15 minutes. Doing this will allow the cream to stay cold and create stiff peaks quicker. Place the sugar into a mixing bowl and add the heavy cream. With a hand mixer or metal whisk, whisk just until the cream reaches stiff peaks, about 7 to 9 minutes. Add the vanilla extract in one tablespoon increments until desired taste is reached. Store in an airtight container for up to 10 hours. When ready to use, whisk for 10 to 15 seconds to reincorporate the air back into the cream.

Step 4. For assembly. Slice the pound cake into cubes, about the size of a nickel. In a parfait glass or trifle bowl, start with the cubed pound cake and layer it with strawberries and whipped cream, repeat this process until you reach the top of your glass. Serve immediately.

Strawberry Pound Cake Parfait Close Up

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

One of my favorite summer desserts is homemade Strawberry Rhubarb Pie! I am a big fan of fruit pies, so this is one I make every summer when we can harvest the ingredients right from my own garden. The combination tartness from the rhubarb and sweetness from the strawberries is just SO delicious. Paired with the crust from the pie making it truly a summer dessert must have!

strawberry rhubarb pie4

Our strawberries in the garden and producing well! We have a decent size patch and the end of May/most of June we enjoy strawberries fresh from our own patch. This is the second year for our rhubarb plants and they are producing good stalks as well for us to harvest! What better way to use both the strawberries and rhubarb than in a pie!

strawberry rhubarb pie full

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

Ingredients:
Crust:
1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. Clabber Girl Baking Powder
1/4 tsp. salt
10 Tbsp. butter, cold and cut into chunks
4 oz. cold water

Filling:
2 Tbsp. Clabber Girl Corn Starch
2 cups fresh rhubarb, chopped
1 cup granulated sugar
3 cups fresh strawberries, sliced
2 Tbsp. butter
1 egg white
2 Tbsp. granulated sugar
1/4 tsp. vanilla

Directions:
Pie crust:
In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Add the chunks of cold butter and mix the butter into the flour using a pastry blender. Continue to do this until the mixture looks like bread crumbs or small pieces of butter. Add the cold water and stir it into the mixture so that it all sticks together. Clump the dough all together to form a ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1-2 hours. You want the dough chilled and cold, but not hard.

Roll out the dough to a 13 inch circle on a lightly floured surface. Save some dough for your top lattice strips. Lay the circle of crust dough in your greased pie dish. Roll out the remaining dough and cut into 1 inch wide strips for the lattice top and leave aside until fruit in the pie crust.

strawberry rhubarb pie filling

Pie Filling:
Whisk Clabber Girl Corn Starch together with 1/4 cup water until well blended. Combine with the rhubarb and sugar in a medium pot and heat until thickened. Then add to strawberries. Add the vanilla and stir all together. Then let sit for about 30 minutes for your filling to thicken. Pour the fruit mixture into the pie crust. Add the butter chunks on top.

Arrange the crust strips in a lattice pattern over the fruit mixture and press the strip ends into the crust. Brush the egg whites onto the top of the crust strips and sprinkle with sugar.

Bake at 400 degrees F. for about 35 minutes or golden in color. Let cool for filling to settle and thicken.

Quick Breakfast Puffs

I was looking forward to looking the Rumford Complete Cook Book again this month to try another recipe. It is fun to read how the recipes are written from 1908. This time I picked the Quick Breakfast Puffs. I always look for easy breakfast ideas for the kids, sometimes needing something that is “grab and go.”

Whole Quick Breakfast Puffs

After making these Quick Breakfast Puffs, I definitely think they would be great for breakfast!! My kids loved them too!

Quick Breakfast Puffs Long

The Quick Breakfast Puffs recipe is on page 120 of the Rumford Complete Cook Book. Below is the photo that is in the cookbook.

Quick Breakfast Puff Recipe

Here is my version of the recipe.

Quick Breakfast Puffs

Ingredients

2 eggs
1 c. milk
1 Tbsp. melted butter
1 1/2 c. flour
2 tsp. Rumford Baking Powder
1/2 tsp. salt

Directions

In a mixing bowl, beat the eggs well. Then add the milk and melted butter and mix. Add the flour, salt, and baking powder to the liquid mixture and beat with hand mixer for roughly 2 minutes. Pour the batter into a greased muffin pan, or add muffin liners. Bake at 450 degrees F for 15 to 18 minutes.

They have a light and fluffy egg taste and are so yummy! Cut in half and add a little butter or some bacon and cheese for a complete breakfast.