Now announcing…Broma Bakery!

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Rodelle’s Brand Ambassador program is a collection of top-talent in the food blogger community – click here to check out all of the great Rodelle Brand Ambassadors! We are really excited today to officially announce Sarah from Broma Bakery as the newest Rodelle Brand Ambassador!!

Sarah is the talented voice behind Broma Bakery and has blogging since 2010. Broma Bakery is a glorious collection of beautifully photographed sweets and treats – everything from candies to scones. Be sure to check out Sarah’s recipe index to plan your next special occasion, or even mid-week dessert. We promise you won’t be disappointed!

To top it all of, Sarah just posted the. most. incredible. Cookies and Cream Macarons!! Everyone’s favorite oreo’s, parading around as a delicate and often tricky treat with a homemade crunchy exterior, light interior and filled with creamy buttercream! Sarah’s ingredient list is spot on and her directions are thorough enough that novice bakers should not fret over the task of trying to make macarons at home!

Let us know if you try them out!

2014 Rodelle Challenge: Grand Prize Winner Elayne Prechtel

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Elayne shared her 2014 Rodelle Challenge Entry on our Facebook page, 25 of our fans liked it and there were so many shares and positive comments that we definitely agreed that this story is a truly special memory:

“This is a special story that changed everything about how I interact and involve my kids in the kitchen.  If it hadn’t of happened, I would probably be shooing them out of the kitchen to this day!  Way back in 2003, I was busy, operating in solo mode in the kitchen (’cause all of us moms know how much easier it is to concentrate with 1 cook in the kitchen), when my then 2 yr. old daughter walked into the kitchen and decided to unexpectedly jump in and “help” by grabbing a towel.

Unbeknownst to her and to my surprise she grabbed a towel that I had previously dusted with a boat load of powdered sugar for an ice cream roll!  In an instant, she was covered head to toe in powdered sugar – the look on her face was priceless and the shock on my face said it all! I fortunately had my wits about me that day and ran to grab the camera!  Looking through the lens of the camera, I had one of those pivotal moments in time that I hope every mom will have.

I truly  “saw” my daughter, saw her intentions, saw, deep within her eyes, her true willingness to want to help me; and I just melted.  I almost blew this moment because I realized that I could have immediately reacted in anger for the mess that had to be cleaned up in the kitchen and the mess on her but instead, I busted out laughing while taking her picture.  I knew that laughing at the whole ordeal was the secret to handling this truly, messy moment and that having my kids in the kitchen with me was so much more important than having a clean, untouched, sane kitchen!

I learned that day, in an instant, that sharing the experience in the kitchen with your family and children is how memories are made, where life happens, where families bond and joy and real laughter is created!  From that day on, all my kids have been involved in the kitchen.  So much so that a personal legacy project of building a cookbook for them was started sharing recipes, life lessons, photographs and stories.  Ironically enough, this is the god’s honest truth (ask my husband and kids), I wrote in there on several chocolate recipes, I love to use Rodelle cocoa!!  So the other day driving home from our Thanksgiving trip reading our local paper’s food section about the Rodelle Challenge contest, I knew I had to write in and share ’cause this is one of the stories that was shared in our legacy cookbook!!”

We are sure Elayne will love baking with her family for many more years to come!

2014 Rodelle Challenge: Grand Prize Winner Claudia Galvez

Claudia_alexcookies (1)Claudia touched our hearts with this sweet story about baking with her son!

“My baking memory is actually somewhat recent but I will forever cherish it.  I have a son who will be 11 yrs old next month. He was diagnosed with autism at the age of four. Before being diagnosed, I always wondered why certain noises were too much for him to handle. Noises like the vacuum cleaner, the lawnmower, babies crying, a hand mixer, blender and other loud noises. He also can’t stand to have his hands “dirty”. If he feels that they are dirty from touching anything, he will wash them. Of course it is due to his autism. Whenever I  cooked or baked and had to use an appliance, I’d let him know so that he would go to his room and close the door. Well, not so long ago he wasn’t closing his door anymore when I would use the blender or mixer. I asked him one day if he wanted to bake some cookies. He said yes. This involved noise from the hand mixer and touching dough to form the cookies. I really couldn’t believe that he was ok with that. He of course felt the need to wash his hands when he saw that he had flour in them and that’s ok. He’s improved so  much. This is the second time that we make cookies and I know that we will be baking more in the near future. I am one proud momma and this is my best memory!”

2014 Rodelle Challenge: Grand Prize Winner Jannine Fisk

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Jannine’s entry for the 2014 Challenge was such a feat that it was hard to beat:

“Triple Crown Baker”

“My very best baking moment is also my proudest baking moment … the day I learned that my baking entries had won the “Triple Crown” of ribbons at my state fair’s “Cooking with Honey Contest”.

On the evening of October 2, 2009, I answered my telephone to hear a very excited friend of mine shouting, “You did it! You did it! You won the Triple Crown!” My friend, Susan was calling from inside the Beekeeping Department Building at the Topsfield Fair, which is Massachusetts’ state fair and the oldest state fair in the country. Susan had gone to opening night at the Fair and knew that I had several entries in the “Cooking with Honey” contest sponsored by the Beekeeping Department at the Fair. Her first stop at the Fair was to see my entries and find out how many ribbons I had won.

Contest entries must be dropped off for judging two days before opening day. The food items are judged, displayed and the ribbons are revealed on opening night of the Fair. That year there were 32 categories offered, ranging from cakes, cookies and brownies to pies, cheesecake, muffins and so much more. There were also several categories that focused on condiments such as barbecue sauce, ketchup and salad dressing as well as jam and jelly. The rules state that for each entry at least 25% of the total sweetener in the recipe must come from honey. Everything must be made from scratch and bakers must be amateurs … no professionals allowed.

All recipes had to be your own and could not have been previously submitted. The rules were strict and the competition was fierce. Honey can be tricky to bake with, due to its high natural sugar content. Adjustments must be made in the recipe for both bake temperature and acidity. I had entered the Coooking with Honey contests in previous years, but I had never submitted as many entries in one year as I did in 2009. This time, I entered all 32 categories, which meant I began my cooking and baking nearly a week ahead of the delivery day. I took the week before the Fair as a vacation week from work, stocked up on fresh ingredients and got into the kitchen.

Some of the items could be made ahead, such as the condiments, candy and fudge, but other items such as cakes, pies, breads and muffins have a much shorter shelf life so they had to be made as close to delivery time as possible, to ensure freshness. That meant baking for almost 24 hours straight on the day before delivery! I knew it was going to be a challenge but I was up for the task. I had all of my recipes typed to submit with my entries, my display containers ready and a timeline checklist that I had made to make sure I stayed on track. When I got to the last item on my list, I was exhausted but very pleased with how all of my items had turned out.

I packaged everything in containers for transport, loaded them all in the back of my SUV and headed for the Fairgrounds. I was proud of my entries and hopeful that I would come home with at least a few blue ribbons. I never imagined that every one of my entries would earn a ribbon that year! The Fair awards ribbons for first, second and third place for each of the categories. These ribbons also come with a point value. At the end of the judging, all of the ribbons for each entrant are gathered and the points are tallied. The entrant with the highest number of points wins the “Harold S. Livingston Memorial Award”, which is the highest honor in the Beekeeping Department.

The Department also offers two other special awards. The first is for a contest called the “Challenge Recipe”, in which the recipe is supplied by the Fair and every entrant bakes the same recipe. The best “Challenge Recipe” entry wins the “Franklin T. Ellis Award” which is judged on adherence to the recipe, presentation, texture and taste. The other major award is the “Ronald and Esther Perley Award” which is given to the item deemed “Best of Show”, chosen from all entries in all 32 categories. When my friend called me that night to tell me the results, I could hardly believe my ears. I had not only won 32 ribbons for my entries (more than half of them blue ribbons for first place!) but I had also won all three of the Special Awards. The “Triple Crown” of Baking! She jokingly called me the “Bee Queen” and the nickname has stuck. I knew my plan to prepare 32 entries was very ambitious and as tired as I was, it was completely worth it. I had won the three most prestigious cooking awards at the Fair, along with 32 ribbons and bragging rights for a lifetime. It was definitely my very best baking moment!”

Congratulations, Jannine!!

2014 Rodelle Challenge: Grand Prize Winner Donna Pochoday-Stelmach

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Donna entered a couple of excellent stories in the 2014 Rodelle Challenge, and we selected this one to share since it is such a sweet tribute:

My 100-Year Old, Aunt Katya & Her Ukrainian Walnut-Almond Torte.

Early this November, 2014, my only living aunt in the United States, who was born in Ukraine and immigrated to New York in 1960, was turning an extraordinary and blessed 100 years old.  As an avid at-home baker, it was presumed that I would be the one to bake a special cake for her, with some Ukrainian influences for this momentous celebration.

My aunt Katya loved Ukrainian dancing and singing in her youth in Ukraine, as well as, observing performances later in New York, which reminded her of the beautiful landscapes of her former Western Ukrainian homeland.

Throughout her life, Aunt Katya was a vibrant, active woman, who was very courageous and brave, having gone through many traumatic life experiences and changes in Eastern Europe and then the U.S.   She was a tremendous role model for me when I was growing up. So with love for her, I especially wanted to bring back some happy memories and joy to her birthday celebration with the torte I decided to bake for this occasion.

Since nuts are very commonly used in many Ukrainian recipes, and tortes are considered to be the crème de la crème of Ukrainian cakes, I made a huge 14-inch walnut-almond torte, with 3 frostings: chocolate-cocoa-coffee Buttercream, almond-vanilla Buttercream, an apricot jam filing, and a lemon-almond frosting. I then decorated the sides with chocolate-nut scrolls. Using marzipan paste, I shaped a Ukrainian dancing boy and girl and a colorful Ukrainian flower wreath, from marzipan paste, which was then arranged over the top of the torte.
Since the torte was so huge, I could not find a wide enough cooler in the house in which to transport this large torte from New Jersey to New York. So I had my 13-year old son hold the torte on his lap, with ice packs underneath, during the length of the trip to New York, so that it would not get damaged along the way.

When it came time to bring out the cake, I added only a few candles thinking that she would be unable to blow many out. To my surprise, she blew all of them out in the first attempt. Always the fighter, never giving up on any challenge!

Sadly, my aunt passed away only 3 weeks later.  Despite our great loss, I know that she left this world being surrounded by the love of family, happy memories and some of her favorite food.”