Happy almost Valentine’s Day!!

WEBPinkHeartMeringues
Looking for the perfect way to say “Happy Valentine’s Day”? Snixy Kitchen’s vanilla heart meringues taste like sugary bites of love, and now you can win the ingredients to bake them yourself! Whether you make them ahead or put the oven to work while dinner’s on the stove, these meringues allow you to cook dinner and dessert without all the hassle. Simple and sweet and just enough to tell your Valentine you love them. Head over to Snixy Kitchen for the recipe and to enter to win a gourmet Rodelle baker’s dream gift basket!

2013 Rodelle Challenge Honorable Mention – Mark Scott

mark-scott

Well, first I am a man, my wife always does the baking, she makes fantastic cookies, brownies and cupcakes for us all the time. She has told me on many occasions ” this is the last batch I’m ever doing for you” , You see I never help her and never realized just how much work goes into baking anything. So I finally told myself ” I’m going to bake some cookies and show her” . I broke out her recipe book the measuring cups, bowls and the mixer she has had forever. In fact many times I have kidded her that I was going to buy her a new mixer and she would always get mad at me and say ” NO, My mother gave me that mixer, it was the first thing she ever bought me for my kitchen. Besides it’s the best mixer I have ever used”. Well after consulting Food Network for a more macho recipe, I ended up doctoring very little to her already tasty recipe (Like I said I’m a man and can never leave well enough alone) I set off to baking and completely destroyed the kitchen, but what’s worse is, that favorite mixer of hers……. Well it was laboring quite a bit but the recipe called for mixing at low to medium speed, before long the mixer started to smoke and as I turned up the speed “POP”…..My wife’s favorite mixer was dead, dead. That led me to having to hand mix (I mean with a fork) We did not even have the old school manual hand mixer, all of the rest of the batch’s I had laid out. My hands and forearms were cramped for days after that. I thought my wife was going to kill me when she came home and saw the kitchen, but then I had to tell her about the mixer……”look out !” The silver lining to this story, the cookies came out much different from her’s and tasted so good that during the annual Thanksgiving get together this year everyone told us ” You need to be selling those cookies!” So, as I write this now, my wife is in our kitchen working from my doctored recipe’s 16 batches of test cookies for tasting before the launch of ” The London Bridge Cookie Company” in 2014.

2 3/4 cups AP flour
1 Tsp. salt
1 Tsp. baking powder
1 Tsp. baking soda
2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 3/4 cups packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup sugar in the raw
2 large eggs
2 Tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups white chocolate chips
1 cup macadamia nuts chopped

DIRECTIONS
Sift the flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda into a large bowl.
Beat the butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar and sugar in the raw in a bowl with a mixer on medium high speed until pale and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
Beat the eggs in one at a time, then the vanilla.
“Here’s where it gets tricky” Reduce the mixer to low ” but don’t blow it up”.
Add the flour mixture and beat until combined.
Stir in the white chocolate chips and macadamia nuts by hand.
Cover the dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Drop heaping tablespoons of dough onto the baking sheets, about 2″ apart.
Bake until cookies are golden around the edges but still soft in the middle (about 12 minutes)
Remove, let cool and enjoy.

2013 Rodelle Challenge Runner Up – Shannon Li

Towards my Asian heritage, sponge cake is a huge and common dessert we eat and love to make it a specific way. I decided to make my own version of it and I am not usually the cleanest person. My grandmother was with me that day and this is the first time she actually baked with me. We all know how it is with our grandmothers they can get on our nerves sometimes with all the fussing around. They don’t like it when you change there recipes.While I was making the batter , my grandma kept on bothering me on and on about how I’m not doing it right and why are I am doing it this way . It can get a bit annoying. It hit my breaking point and I hit my breaking point and while holding my spatula I fling ed a whole spoonful of sponge cake batter at my grandma and it smacked her in the face. It was definitely memorable. We kept on laughing on and on. I don’t usually get a chance to spend time with my grandma with a lot of school work and the busy time she has so it was a fun and fantastic time with her.

Sponge Cake:
6 large eggs (room temperature)
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp lemon juice
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup canola oil
1 tsp Rodelle Vanilla Extract 
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease and spray cooking spray in a cake pan. Separate the egg white from egg yolks. Take the egg yolk and mix it in a medium speed in a electronic mixing bowl while pouring the sugar slowly at a time until it turns in to a pale yellow color then add the milk vanilla extract and oil in increasing the speed to high. While that is on, in a separate bowl sift the flour and baking powder. Then slowly add the flour mixture to the liquid mixture slowing the speed to low. When combined, in a large bowl mix the egg white separately, (make sure your egg white bowl is extremely clean with no water or else it won’t fluff) until it turns a bit bubbly when it is bubbly add the lemon juice and keep mixing on high speed till it forms stiff peaks which we would call a meringue. After that fold it the egg white in to the wet mixture. Make sure you don’t over mix or else it won’t be fluffy, but mix till combines. Pour the mixture in to the cake pan and bake for 25-30 minute. Make sure you leave some room because it will expand. Once done it may look large but later when you let it rest it will deflate which is what is suppose to happen. Let it rest for 20 minutes and cut then it. We suggest you serve with whip cream

2013 Rodelle Challenge Runner Up – Vivian Levine

Lattice Top Cherry Pie

When my daughter, Sheri, was 10 years old, she came home from school one day and I decided to teach her how to bake a Lattice Top Cherry Pie.
We had such fun cutting the strips of dough and weaving them in and out across the top of the pie. It looked beautiful after baking and turned out picture perfect. We were so proud of it that we decided to display it in the center of the dining room table as a centerpiece while cooling and to surprise the other family members as they arrived home.
About 20 minutes later, my 13-year-old son, Steve, made his normal bee-line for the kitchen after returning home from baseball practice. His eyes literally popped out of their sockets, dancing with delight, as he bent down “pie” level to peer closely at the mouthwatering site. Just then, a violent, unstoppable sneeze erupted like a volcanic blast from his nostrils, misting the entire surface of the pie with an added ingredient! The three of us were dumbfounded and looked at each other in total shock, disbelief and silence. Sheri and I were devastated by the turn of events! How could we enjoy eating the misted pie or could we even eat it at all? Should we tell Dad what happened when he arrived home from work? These questions “mystified” us!!
After dinner, the three of us salivated as we watched Steve devour the pie ALL BY HIMSELF, with not only dancing eyes but with dancing taste buds as well.

2 (16 oz.) cans pitted tart red cherries
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/3 cup cornstarch
Dash salt
1 tablespoon butter
1/4 teaspoon Rodelle Pure Almond Extract
1 box refrigerated pie crusts, softened as directed on box
Milk for brushing on surface, optional
Sugar for sprinkling on surface, optional

Drain cherries; reserve 1 cup liquid. In a medium saucepan, combine 3/4 cup sugar, cornstarch and salt; stir in reserved liquid. Cook and stir over medium heat until thick and bubbly. Cook and stir 1 minute more. Remove from heat. Stir in remaining sugar, cherries, butter and almond extract. Let stand while preparing pastry.
Unroll pie crusts. Line a 9-inch pie plate with one crust; trim to 1/2-inch beyond edge of pie plate. Pour cherry filling into pastry-lined plate. Cut remaining pastry into 1/2-inch wide strips. Weave strips atop filling to make a lattice crust; flute edge. Brush top of pastry with some milk and sprinkle with sugar, if desired. To prevent overbrowning, cover edge of pie with foil. Bake at 375-degrees F. for 25 minutes. Remove foil; bake 25 to 30 minutes more or till crust is golden. Cool pie on rack before serving.

2013 Rodelle Challenge Honorable Mention – Heather Smoot

I came across this contest to share the best, worst or funniest baking story. This is my best baking story, but not in the traditional sense. In this story my cake doesn’t turn out perfectly. It only happened yesterday. Over the past few months , my husband and I started baking together, and posting pictures of our cakes on Facebook. Randomly, a friend of a friend ( a woman neither of us knew) commented on a cake we made, and asked about making one for her granddaughter, Layla’s first birthday. Slightly taken aback by her praise the answer was, “sure sounds fun”. Then there was no response for an entire day. When she responded back she asked that her stop in communication be excused, because her granddaughter ( the very one she inquired about a cake for) had been taken to the hospital. She then went on to explain that Layla had been through three major surgeries, and may be in the hospital at the time of her birthday. After wiping the tears from my face I said I would be praying for her, and would be happy to bake some treats to bring to the hospital for the family and maybe the birthday girl to share. The woman we were speaking with over Facebook expressed her sincere gratitude and appreciation in our offer to bring over treats immediately. If we had not been baking and posting pictures on Facebook, we may have never known about this brave little soon-to-be one year old.