Cinco de Mayo Party: Margarita Bar

Cinco de Mayo is fast approaching and while everyone else may be thinking tacos and churros, I’m over here thinking about the salty, sour, and tart perfection of the Classic Margarita. As many of us gear up to celebrate, we often find ourselves focusing on the food and not the drinks. And it’s hard to fault that game plan, as the food is the star. This year however, I wanted to change things up and focus on the drinks for once. Because let’s face it, what’s a good party without a good cocktail? But then again, why settle for just one. While I love a classic lime margarita, I also love the versatility of it. There are so many variations on that drink it can make your head spin. But how to pull off multiple different flavors and combinations and still stay on theme?

Easy…enter the Margarita Bar.

Margarita Bar Cinco de Mayo

Behind every tasty and delicious margarita is good tequila and fresh ingredients. Like I said before, there are a TON of different flavor combinations that you can make, some of the ones that I came up with are featured in the pictures throughout this post. I went with 5, but you if you go with just 3 flavors you’re still headed in the directions of an amazing Cinco de Mayo party!

Here’s the low-down on how to make a margarita bar for Cinco de Mayo:

Simple Syrup:

This is where you’re getting the sweetness in the drink from, especially in drinks that are highly acidic (like a classical margarita), and the simple syrup helps balance the sweet and tart/sour flavors. To make simple syrup you just need equal parts water and granulated sugar. Place in a pot on medium heat and simmer until all the sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat and let cool before using.

Strawberry Jalapeno Margarita
Strawberry Jalapeno Margarita

Fruits/Juices/Herbs:

Whatever flavor combinations you decide on, this part is key to making a tasty margarita. If you’re just using juices and herbs you’re all set to throw everything in your shaker, shake, strain into a glass over ice and enjoy. If you’re using fruit, like the Strawberry Jalapeno Margarita then you can muddle the strawberries, jalapeno and mint together or blend everything into a puree like I did. This will give you a slightly thicker margarita, but nevertheless delicious.

Tequila:

This to me, is what makes a margarita a margarita. I prefer to use silver tequila in my drinks, especially for a classic margarita or the Cucumber Jalapeno Margarita so I get the drink color I’m looking for.

Cucumber Jalapeno Margarita
Cucumber Jalapeno Margarita

Grand Marnier:

Is your drink still really tart from all the lime juice? Grand Marnier will help cut that too with some add sweetness. Triple sec or any other orange liquor will work, so go with your preference. Not all margaritas call for it, so it’s really up to you if you want to include it in your drink, but I’d really suggest making the trip to the liquor store if you don’t have it on hand as it can make a world of difference in the outcome of your cocktail.
Once all your ingredients are a go, it’s time to figure what you are going to serve. You can premix a large batch or have all the ingredients ready to guest can make their own drinks. Whichever direction you decide to go in, here’s a list of some of the essentials you’ll need on your Margarita Bar.

Pitches/Wine Carafes/Drink Dispensers:

Whether you’re going with large batches or single serve, you’re going to need a few of these for the beverage table. Premix large batches with all the liquid ingredients (the Lemon Basil Margarita is perfect for this) and serve in a large drink dispenser for guests to pour their own. If you want your bar a little more interactive, use full or half carafes to fill with different juice flavors for guest to choice from.

Lemon Basil Margarita
Lemon Basil Margarita

Drink Shakers:

Give everyone a change to be a bartender for a night! If you’re doing a serve yourself bar, litter your beverage bar with drink shakers for guest to use. Have one on hand just in case if you’re premixing, you never know if you might need it and it’s good to have on hand.

Ice Bucket & Scoops:

These are a must have. Even if you decide to go with drink dispensers, don’t risk pre-icing your drinks and watering that flavor down. Have ice available for guest to add to their cup before pouring themselves a drink. If you’re going for a self-serve make your own drink kind of bar than you can’t pull that off without a lot of ice. Not only do party goers need it for their drinks, but for the drink shakers as well. Be sure to have a bag of ice on hand just in case your ice dispenser can’t keep up too, you’ll thank me later.

Coconut Lime Margarita
Coconut Lime Margarita

Glasses:

You are going to need lots and lots of glasses! If you’re anything like me, than I doubt that you have a secret stash for tons of margarita glasses lying around. No worries though, I used all kinds of different glasses. I think it adds to the charm of a Margarita Bar, plus you don’t have to dish out any money to buy all new glasses just for the party. Pilsner and rocks glass, as well as some mason jars worked perfectly for me!

Little Plates/Shallow Rimmed Bowls:

You can not have a margarita without salt. Okay, you actually can. But you definitely can’t ditch the salt when hosting a Margarita Bar so little plates or shallow rimmed bowls are perfect for this. You can use ones that go with your theme colors or just stick with white like I did. Be sure to have one out for each margarita flavor you are going with or just a couple if you’re sticking with just one salt for all the flavors (kosher salt worked for me, but you can buy margarita salt too). The salt that you’re rimming your glass with is just another area where you get to impart different flavorings and put a spin on your margaritas to kick them up a notch (like the cayenne salt for the Mango Orange Margarita), so get creative if you want.

Mango Orange Margarita
Mango Orange Margarita

Bowls:

You’re going to want bowls of various sizes. This is perfect for garnishes if your serving out of drink dispensers and a must have to serve lime wedges needed to rim your glass with before dipping into the salt. If you’re going with a make your own bar, then little bowls are just right for all the herbs and various fruits you might be using.

Festive straws that match your theme are a great thing to have on the bar, as well as plenty of cocktail napkins. Little chalkboard signs are a great way to label the different drinks if your serving out of drink dispensers. If you can nab some larger chalkboard signs, write out the recipe for the single serving drinks that are available so party goers can make their own.

Once you have all the essentials gathered, it’s only a matter of displaying the bar in a way that is uniquely you. Keep it casual in the kitchen or set up a whole beverage bar station that is sure to be a talking point. Whatever you do, when throwing a Margarita Bar, have fun…and enjoy!

Decorating Cake Pops for Adults: Strawberry Champagne for Valentine’s Day

Decorated Cake Pops for Valentine's DayDecorating a cake can be difficult. It takes time and patience to go through all the necessary steps needed to make your cake beautiful. It’s also a lot of small detail work, which I personally love. So, when Chef Mandy was in the kitchen trying to decorate her tasty little cake pops, it was difficult to not immediately offer up assistance. As her frustration mounted, it was time to suggest a cake pop collaboration. She already had the Valentine’s Day flavors down pat, because what’s not to love about strawberries and champagne? Now it was up to me to do her cake pops some justice and make them shine on the outside, too!

I’ll be honest. Up until that point, I had never actually decorated a cake pop. All of my decorating experience has been with buttercream frosting and fondant. I’ve made Oreo truffles before, so I was hoping that the process would be much the same. What I found through a lot of trial and error were some handy tips and tricks that helped me successfully create a cake pop.

First step is making the actual cake pop. As Chef Mandy suggests, when rolling the crumbled cake and icing, be sure to roll the balls tightly so that when pressed slightly they don’t crack. A firmly rolled cake ball will help prevent the cake pop from falling apart when dipped in the chocolate (I should know…one of my first cake balls came apart in the chocolate because it wasn’t rolled firmly).

Next is to put the cake balls in the fridge to help set them. If you have room in the fridge, you can put your sticks in the cake pops before refrigerating. But if your fridge situation is anything like mine, then it’s okay to put your rolled cake balls in the fridge to set up first and add the sticks later.

While the cake pops are in the fridge, melt your chocolate using a double boiler. Don’t have one? Neither do I! Though double boilers are available for purchase, if you don’t have one, don’t panic. You just need a medium-sized pot and a glass or metal bowl that is large enough to set into the pot with at least 2 inches of clearance between the bottom of the bowl and the inside bottom of the pot. (Check out the picture below for reference!)

DSC06597

DSC06614

Something to keep in mind if you are using white chocolate like I did for the Valentine’s Day Cake Pop is that it is very temperamental. This is why I use a double boiler instead of the microwave for melting chocolate. You have better control while your chocolate is melting and are less likely to burn it.

DSC06611

When you are ready to dip your cake balls in chocolate, only pull a few from the fridge at a time to keep them firm until ready for dipping. If you haven’t already put the stick in, now is the time. Gently push the stick into the cake ball about half way through. Gently dip the cake ball on the stick into the melted chocolate, only covering the cake ball about ¾ of the way. Put the cake ball in a stand (a piece of Styrofoam works as a stand if you don’t have one) and the chocolate will drip down slightly to cover the remaining part of the cake pop.

Once the cake pop is in the stand, you can immediately sprinkle with your choice of sprinkles or nonpareil. You can also let the chocolate set for a few minutes and then drizzle with a different colored chocolate; the choice is up to you and the options are limitless!! Here’s a tip if you want to use different colors: be sure that you buy the colored candy melts. Adding food coloring/dye to white chocolate causes the chocolate to “seize” and you won’t be able to drizzle it. Colored candy melts are available at major mass retailers and many online retailers.

I hope that these tips are helpful the next time you are ready to decorate cake pops. Be sure to watch for updates on this post, as the Valentine’s Day Cake Pops were the first of many cake pops I will create this year! They are great options for almost any holiday and I’m sure to come up with new, fun and easier ways to make your cake pop decorating a success!!

Creating Cake Pops for Adults: Strawberry Champagne for Valentine’s Day

Strawberry Champagne Cake Pops

I was recently asked if I would make cake pops. I am not a professional or even a hobbyist cake decorator but, I can bake! So I thought, why not?! Sounds like fun!

People love cake pops! They’re cute, they’re easy to make, they’re fun to decorate, and most of all they’re delicious and fun to eat. We’ve all seen numerous recipes, blogs, ideas, etc.; just take a look at Pinterest and you’ll see hundreds of ideas and recipes for making them at home. Now they’re even sold at Starbucks and other retailers.

As a chef, I quickly set about pursuing ways to modernize cake pops…give them a cool twist…up the ante, so to speak.

So, how do you make your cake pops stand out from the bunch? Two things: unique flavors and alcohol, of course!

My “assignment” was to create cake pops for holidays throughout the year. The next holiday is Valentine’s Day, and what is more iconic for Valentine’s Day than strawberries and champagne? Thus began my thought process for creating alcohol-filled cake pops for each holiday.

  • Strawberry Champagne cake for Valentine’s Day
  • Raspberry Lemon-cello cake for Easter
  • Bourbon Apple Pie cake for July 4th
  • Dark Chocolate Rum cake for Halloween
  • Pumpkin Brandy cake for Thanksgiving
  • Peppermint Schnapps cake for Christmas

And, so it goes.

Side note: I understand that cake pop makers are all the rage these days but, I felt that I didn’t need a gadget. Usually single-use gadgets are great for one purpose and may work well, but that’s it. You spent money on a piece of equipment that you don’t need, which uses space in your kitchen for a recipe that you may make only one or two times per year. Typically you can adapt a recipe to work without purchasing another piece of equipment.

That being said, I designed my recipes so that you can make them without any special equipment. I think that is something we can all appreciate!

Back to the business at hand:

I began my cake pop experiment with the Strawberry Champagne cake pops. Once I had the method and recipe down for one flavor, it would just be a matter of changing the ingredients to create the flavors I chose for the rest of the holidays…with different decorations of course.

Strawberry Champagne Cake Pops:

Champagne and Strawberry Cake Pops

I love strawberry cake. It’s been one of my favorite cake flavors since I was a child. Maybe that had something to do with Strawberry Shortcake and her friends that were all the rage during my childhood in the 1980s…I can’t say for sure! Perhaps that’s why I chose strawberry as the flavor for my wedding cake. I developed and tested a strawberry champagne cake recipe; I wanted a strong strawberry flavor and to actually taste the champagne. Once that was accomplished, I baked the cake and set out to make it into cake pops.

The method I used was to simply bake the cake in a 9×9-inch pan. Once the cake was cooled, I crumbled it into a medium-sized mixing bowl and added a strawberry champagne buttercream frosting, stirring with my hands until it was thick and would hold shape. I rolled the cake mix into balls, just as you would when making meatballs . . . paying attention that they were rolled tightly without cracks and crevices. I laid the balls on a sheet tray, skewered them with cake pop sticks, and put them in the freezer while I melted the dipping chocolate. Freezing them allows them to be firm enough so they don’t “melt” when dipping them in the warm chocolate.

As I said earlier, I am not an experienced cake decorator. But, I wasn’t being asked to make an elaborate wedding cake…I was asked to make cake pops. How hard could that be? After all, I have a fairly extensive food background! I could probably do this no problem!

And, the cake tasted great! I just needed to decorate them. Here are pictures of me decorating my cake pops:

Mandy Decorating Cake Pops 1

Cake Pop Decorating Fail
As you can see, I was not too successful. I just don’t have the patience to decorate! Luckily, we have someone on staff who is an experienced decorator and enjoys decorating and has lots of patience. So, if you are anything like me…have fun with creating flavors and baking but, enlist a friend who likes to decorate to help you complete the project!

Chef Brittney Molinder teamed with me to complete the decorating, and here are her insights.

 

Bake Memories Together This Holiday Season

Perfectly Easy Mini Chocolate Chip CookiesIt’s easy to let the stress of creating a ‘Pinterest perfect’ holiday overshadow the simple pleasures and traditions that the holiday season can bring. We get so busy decorating, planning menus, attending parties and shopping, that many of us wake up on December 26th feeling glad that it is over. By working to impress and perfect, we miss opportunities to be ‘in-the-moment’ along the way.

Most of our special holiday memories aren’t wrapped in Martha Stewart perfection. They are normal moments spent with special people. I can still feel the child-like excitement of being with my mom in the kitchen. I would hover close by, offering to measure baking powder or crack an egg, but always hoping she would give me a spoon or beater to enjoy as payment for my ‘help.’

I was her little baking assistant until Santa brought me a gift that would move me from tag-along treat maker to head baker… the Easy Bake Oven. My first creations were miniature size cookies baked to perfection in a waffle size round baking pan. I don’t remember much about the cookies, but I remember the smiles and the praise from my family as we enjoyed the treats together. Many of today’s toys are fads that last only as long the popularity of a television show or animated character. There are just a few that stand the test of time. The Easy Bake Oven is one of those toys! Why does it continue to show up at the top of so many Christmas wish lists, you may ask? Because it brings generations together to create yummy goodies and a special memory.

Imagine my delight when my five year old announced this year that the toy at the top of her list (with no pressure from Mom) is the Easy Bake Oven. I have a special feeling Santa will come through for her since she is on the ‘Nice List’ this year. I am already imagining the fun times spent together over warm cookies and a glass of milk. Our time in the kitchen won’t be a chore, but a fun experience with many little messes, but even more little smiles. We will savor the simple pleasures and share the true meaning of the season.

I hope that you take the time to create some fun for your family as well. Check out our Clabber Girl Perfectly Easy Mini Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe, specially formulated for the Easy Bake oven or try our full size Triple Chocolate Chip Cookies Recipe for the regular oven. Get started baking memories!

Perfectly Easy Mini Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients

3 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
1/2 Tbsp. sugar
1/8 tsp. Clabber Girl Baking Powder
2 tsp. softened butte
2 tsp. water
4 tsp. mini chocolate chips

Directions

Preheat oven for 20 minutes. Grease pan.

Mix flour, sugars, butter and baking powder with a fork in a small bowl. Add water and chocolate morsels. Mix thoroughly with fork or fingers. Measure 1/2 tsp. of dough and roll into a small ball. Place ball of dough onto a greased pan. Place 6-8 dough balls on the pan. Press each down slightly with finger to ensure it is below the edge of the pan.

Bake for 9 minutes. Do not over bake. Cookies should not be brown on top.

Let cool for 5 minutes.

Repeat the process to use the remaining dough.

Yields approximately 15 mini cookies.

Creating moments that last a life time doesn’t have to mean perfection and exhaustion. We at Clabber Girl believe that it can be as simple as baking memories together. Baking brings joy to the young and young-at-heart. We were in the kitchen with you, your mother and your grandmother, and we are ready to help your sons and daughters begin baking family traditions as well.

Find more recipes for your holiday menu at www.clabbergirl.com and be sure to visit the Clabbergirl Museum and Bakeshop in Terre Haute, Indiana for a unique and memorable culinary experience.

Classic Holiday Cookie Recipes

The holidays are my favorite baking time of year. I enjoy going through old family cookbooks and then looking online for new holiday cookie recipes that sound good. I remember baking with my mom in our kitchen every year. We made several different kinds of muffins and cookies to give out, and it is a tradition that we carry on with the little ones in our family now. Every year I usually end up making about 12 kinds of cookies, and it’s never the same each year. If you are searching for some classic holiday cookie recipes, I have a great mix from the Clabber Girl database right here.

Classic Holiday Cookie Recipes for 2015

Molasses Drop Cookies

Molasses drop cookies are my favorite cookie of all time, not just the holidays. They are sweet and dark and just right for me. Since these call for Rumford Baking Powder instead of baking soda, they will be super soft and chewy – just the perfect texture you want in a molasses cookie. I usually shape mine by rolling into 1 or 2 inch spheres, then use my palm to flatten them down a bit. They won’t spread like a traditional cookie so you have to flatten them yourself.

Old-Fashioned Sugar Cookies: The Quintessential Holiday Cookie Recipe

To me, sugar cookies represent the classic cookie that everyone thinks of at Christmas time. I have a few tips for you to get the perfect sugar cookie every time. First, use cold pans every time. Since it is usually cold out when I make these, I just set the cookie sheets in my garage for a couple of minutes to instantly cool them off in between batches. If your cookie sheets aren’t cold, your cookies will spread more and get crunchier. My second holiday cookie recipe tip is to add a teaspoon of fresh orange zest to your cookie dough (use 1 tsp for every 3 dozen cookies your recipe yields). There is something magical that happens when you add orange zest to sugar cookies; it really helps enhance the vanilla flavor. Last tip for the perfect sugar cookie is to watch how long you bake them. Sugar cookies don’t have to be brown to be done. If you let them bake just until the bottoms are starting to brown, they are so much better. I usually flip up a cookie with a spatula to monitor how done they are and yank them out as soon as the bottoms start to brown.

Snickerdoodles

These holiday cookies are a family favorite of ours. Snickerdoodles are rolled in a cinnamon sugar blend (usually 1:2 or 1:4 ratio). I love making these with my nephews!  I usually prepare the dough and let them roll the cookie dough balls in the cinnamon sugar mixture. It’s one holiday cookie recipe that even the youngest helpers can have fun making. Once they are big enough to hold the mixer on their own, kids can help make the dough too.

Snowball cookies

I love the way snowball cookies or Mexican wedding cakes just melt in your mouth. They are a pretty cookie that look so different in a tin next to these other classic holiday cookie recipes. This is one holiday cookie recipe that doesn’t call for a lot of flour. It is mostly made up of corn starch and butter. I like adding in a half cup of almond pieces for an extra crunch. Don’t worry if you can’t get your dough into perfect ball shapes. I have made mine into fingers instead, just rolling them into a log about 3 inches long by half an inch wide.

Gingerbread

I think this is probably the second most well known holiday cookie recipe: gingerbread. If you are making gingerbread for a younger audience, scale back the spices. Gingerbread can be too spicy for younger pallets. If you are making these for children, try cutting the ginger, nutmeg and cloves in half. Gingerbread is a very old recipe that has been passed down for centuries, if not millenia. Decorate your gingerbread with our Royal Icing recipe.

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Every time I make oatmeal raisin cookies, they are a crowd pleaser, and everyone’s favorite. I like to make the basic recipe, then make a batch with just walnuts and another batch with both raisins and walnuts. If anyone I am baking for has a nut allergy, I tend to make cookies with nuts last. I don’t even bring out the nuts until I have made all the nut-free cookies. I thoroughly wash all my pans and tools to make sure there isn’t any unintentional residue. This way people can enjoy the other cookies I’ve made and those who aren’t allergic to nuts can have these cookies too.

Gluten Free Peanut Butter and Jelly Cookies

If you have anyone who is gluten intolerant or adhere to a gluten free diet, these gluten free peanut butter and jelly cookies are so tasty! Unlike some gluten free baked goods that can taste tough, these are softer due to the peanut butter. I prefer strawberry preserves but any jelly could be used.

These are all of our classic holiday cookie recipes. I plan on making these and more in the coming weeks. Did I leave out any of your favorite classics out? Let me know in the comments section. The picture below is from a baking marathon in 2012. Cookies pictured from left to right: holiday wreaths, snickerdoodles, gingerbread, shortbread cookies, sugar cookies, raisin oatmeal cookies, walnut oatmeal cookies, molasses cookies, snowball cookies, butter cookies and peanut butter cookies.

 

How to Bake a Yule Log

I first came across Yule Logs in French class back in high school where they were called bûche de Noël. I learned how these are a holiday tradition in France and some bakers get really into making their logs look like real wood. You can cut off one end of the log, remove some of the roll and decorate it to look like a branch. People also decorate Yule Logs with raspberries, fondant mushrooms and powdered sugar that looks like snow. Making this cake is unlike any other cake I’ve made before. You are basically making a sponge cake that gets its volume from the egg whites, not from flour. The finished product is a very light and spongy cake with a delicate crumb.

To start, you will want to preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. and generously grease a 15 x 10 x 1-inch jelly roll pan. Set out 8 oz. of cream cheese so that it gets to room temperature. In a small bowl, stir together 1/2 c. all-purpose flour, 1 tsp. Clabber Girl Baking Powder, 1/4 c. unsweetened cocoa powder and 1/4 tsp. salt.

Yule Log Step 1

In a separate medium bowl, beat 4 egg yolks (reserve the whites) with a 1/2 tsp. of vanilla extract until it thickens and turns a lemon yellow color. Add in 1/3 c. granulated sugar and beat to incorporate.

Yule Log Step 2

In a third large bowl, beat 4 egg whites until you get soft peaks. Soft peaks appear after just a couple of minutes of beating fresh eggs. You’ll notice the egg whites will more than double in volume and get very bubbly as air is incorporated. When you lift up your beater, the peaks will show up in the bowl and slowly melt back into the bowl. At this point, add 1/2 c. granulated sugar.

Yule Log Step 3

Continue to beat after you’ve added the sugar. Within a couple of minutes, the egg whites and sugar will turn glossier and whiter, forming stiff peaks. When you lift up your beater, the peaks will show up in the bowl and retain their shape.

Yule Log Step 4

Fold in your egg yolk and flour mixture into your egg whites to get your Yule Log batter. Although your puppy may want to help you at this point, remember this is a chocolate batter that isn’t good for dogs!

Yule Log Step 5

Pour the batter into the prepared jelly roll pan. Use a spatula to get the batter into the corners and make it even in the pan. At this point you are ready for the oven. Put the jelly roll into a 375 degree F. oven for 12-15 minutes. Mine took me exactly 12 minutes, so be careful about the time.

Yule Log Step 6

While the pan is in the oven, you can prepare to roll the cake as soon as it comes out of the oven. Place a large dish towel on the counter. Cover with plastic wrap and sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Yule Log Step 7

Test the cake by putting your finger on the center part and seeing if it springs back when touched gently.

Yule Log Step 8

Carefully flip over the pan onto the prepared towel. Pound on the back side of the pan to ensure it releases. In hindsight, I would recommend lining with parchment paper so the cake looks better. Start at one end of the towel and roll it up while you prepare the filling. I thought this would be the hardest part, but it was really easy. You roll the cake while it is still warm so that it doesn’t crack or break when you add the frosting and roll it later on.

Yule Log Step 9

In a medium bowl, whip together 8 oz. of room temperature cream cheese and 1/2 c. of granulated sugar. Add 8 oz. of frozen whipped topping and mix well.

Yule Log Step 10

Add 2 Tbsp. of Corn Starch, I used Davis Corn Starch, 1/4 c. unsweetened cocoa powder and 1/8 tsp. salt. Mix until combined well.

Yule Log Step 11

Unroll the cake and spread the filling all the way to the edges.

Yule Log Step 12

I had a little extra frosting left over, you don’t want the filling to be too thick to roll.

Yule Log Step 13

Here comes the fun part! Roll the cake up, pressing together so that the filling doesn’t squeeze out.

Yule Log Step 14

Use the plastic wrap to cover up the Yule Log and chill for 2 hours in the refrigerator.

Yule Log Step 15

Remove the chilled cake and decorate it!

Yule Log Step 16

We enjoyed about half of the Yule Log at home and brought in the other half to work. It will make ten 1-inch size wheels.

Yule Log Recipe:

1/2 c. all-purpose flour

1 tsp. Clabber Girl Baking Powder

1/4 c. unsweetened cocoa

1/4 tsp. salt

4 egg yolks

1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

1/3 c. granulated sugar

4 egg whites

1/2 c. granulated sugar

powdered sugar, for sprinkling

Filling:

8 oz. package of cream cheese, room temperature

1/2 c. granulated sugar

8 oz. frozen whipped topping

2 Tbsp. Clabber Girl Corn Starch

1/4 c. unsweetened cocoa

1/8 tsp. salt

Garnish: raspberries

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.; grease and flour a 15x10x1-inch pan; set aside.

In a medium bowl combine flour, Clabber Girl Baking Powder, cocoa and salt. In a separate bowl beat egg yolks and vanilla until thick and lemon colored; whisk in the 1/3 cup of sugar. In a small bowl beat egg whites to soft peaks and add 1/2 cup of sugar gradually, beating well after each addition. Beat to form stiff peaks; fold in egg yolk and flour mixtures.

Pour into prepared pan and bake at 375 degrees F. for 12 to 15 minutes, or until cake springs back when touched gently. Immediately remove from pan and roll into towel sprinkled with powdered sugar. Let cool. Meanwhile, prepare filling. In a medium bowl whip together the cream cheese and sugar. Add whipped topping and mix well. Add cornstarch, cocoa and salt; whip until combined, about one minute. Unroll cake and spread with filling mixture. Carefully roll up again, gently pressing just enough to roll without thinning the filling out.

Chill for 2 hours and serve.

Giving Thanks to our Customers

1933 Grocery Store with Clabber Girl Baking PowderClabber Girl has been the leading baking powder in America for decades. We wouldn’t be here without the loyalty of our customers and want to take some time to thank you.

Why are we giving thanks?

Thank you for not just using our baking powder, but for passing along family traditions of baking at home to the next generation. Almost every family has its own special baking traditions. You have helped pass along family favorites from biscuits and cornbread to holiday specialties like pumpkin rolls and sugar cookies. Clabber Girl is used as a leavening agent in kitchens by hands small and large.

So what is baking powder exactly?

Clabber Girl gets its name from clabber milk. Before the invention of baking powder in the 1870s, people left milk out at room temperature to sour. This sour milk was called clabber milk.  Clabber Girl earned its reputation in the 1920s and 1930s after a nationwide advertising campaign made it a recognizable household brand. From billboards on the sides of barns to in-store promotions like this picture from 1933, Clabber Girl has been the most popular baking powder in the decades since.

How does baking powder work?

Clabber Girl is a double acting baking powder. The formula starts working when it is combined with a liquid and then again when exposed to heat. We call Clabber Girl the balanced baking powder due to the even release of leavening power both in the mixing bowl and the oven. Baking powder gives a light and fluffy texture when used. You can even use it in non-traditional ways such as adding some to pie crust, scrambled eggs and even mashed potatoes for a lighter texture.

Thank you again for enjoying baking and sharing this love with others. You have kept us going strong for over 100 years!

Thanksgiving with Clabber Girl

Baking Powder and Cornstarch… your holiday helpers

thanksgiving

As you make your Thanksgiving grocery list this year, make sure you have two very important ingredients at the top: baking powder and cornstarch. These ingredients have their obvious uses in side dishes such as cornbread and biscuits. But there are also other, nontraditional uses for baking powder and cornstarch that will make your life in the kitchen a little easier and your Thanksgiving dishes a little more delicious. In fact, you may find these two ingredients working so hard on Turkey Day, that you might just give them a seat at the table! Here are a few ways to use these ingredients for your big feast:

The turkey: For a juicy turkey with crispy skin, stir a little baking powder into your turkey rub. Add one tablespoon of baking powder per four pounds of bird and let it sit out overnight. Note: do NOT use baking soda for this.

The stuffing: Whisk baking powder into your eggs before mixing into your stuffing for a little extra lift. Dense, chewy stuffing is now a thing of the past!

The cornbread: Everyone loves cornbread! Whether you’re serving it as a side or making cornbread stuffing, baking powder is the perfect leavening to make your cornbread extra nice and airy.

The gravy: Going into the science would get boring, but ultimately cornstarch is a better thickener than flour for your gravy because it better absorbs the fat from your turkey drippings. The result: a super savory gravy. No complaints there!

The mashed potatoes: As crazy as it sounds, adding a little bit of baking powder to your mashed potatoes makes them extra fluffy. Who doesn’t want that?

The cranberry sauce: Use cornstarch to thicken your cranberry sauce. Another tip? Add orange to give a little zing to your cranberry sauce, making it a new family favorite.

The pie crust: No worries! Adding a little bit of baking powder to your pie crust won’t make it rise, but it will help it not have any doughy places in the middle. A little goes a long way so just add ¼ teaspoon to your pie crust recipe. Perfect pie slices for everyone!

The pumpkin pie: Calling all vegans… this one is for you! Thicken your pumpkin pie filling with cornstarch. Your Thanksgiving dessert can be just as delicious and decadent as pies with egg and cream!

And last but not least…

The biscuits!: A favorite side dish to many, baking powder is a must in your biscuits. Whether you choose traditional buttermilk biscuits or go a little crazy with cheeses, spices or herbs, if they’ve got baking powder in them, they’re bound to be a crowd winner!

Thanksgiving is only the start of many holiday celebrations this season. Keep those cans of baking powder and cornstarch handy for all of your holiday baking!

Thanksgiving Bread Basket

What will be in your bread basket?

The turkey gets a lot of talk. The stuffing is carefully seasoned. The pie crusts are delicately rolled out and the pumpkin filling properly spiced. But what about the bread? For some, Grandma’s age-old yeast roll recipe is a Thanksgiving must, while others stick to buttermilk biscuits or cornbread. And while all of these are delicious traditional options, what if your family doesn’t have a bread tradition? Or, better yet, maybe your Friendsgiving is an opportunity to take a (gasp) break from tradition?

bread basket

Double duty options

Add dimension and whole-grain flavor to your Thanksgiving table with this seeded wheat quick bread.  With no yeast needed, this bread has crusty goodness you like without all of the extra time and work. Make a double batch and the leftovers can be used for a turkey sandwich on Friday.

Havarti cheese and dill flavors will give your basic buttermilk biscuits a holiday makeover!

Or maybe you want to stick with the traditional flavors of Thanksgiving?

Move the sweet potatoes from the casserole dish to the breadbasket? These sweet potato biscuits have the familiar hints of cinnamon and nutmeg that you have come to know and love with this side dish.

Baking gluten-free bread this Thanksgiving?

These white cheddar scallion biscuits have the cheesy goodness that you crave. Another good, cheesy gluten-free option—gluten-free parmesan rosemary rolls. Who doesn’t love a good herb-filled dinner roll at the Thanksgiving table?

Choose one or all six. Whatever your choice, you’re bound to surprise your guests by breaking with tradition and having a little adventure in the kitchen this Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving Meal Planner

 

give-thanks-menuEvery year I scour the internet looking for new recipes to add to my traditional Thanksgiving spread. Last year we tried creamed spinach with a touch of nutmeg and a new type of stuffing with sage. Both went over really well! This year, I researched the Clabber Girl recipe vault and found that I could make our complete meal with these recipes. I get so excited for Thanksgiving, it is the one meal I make from scratch every year and spend days preparing for. My dad always offers to buy our meal already prepared from the grocery store, and I always respond, “Don’t you dare!”. To me, Thanksgiving is a personal journey at the peak of harvest season. To celebrate its bounty, I want to carefully curate a menu featuring local ingredients as much as possible. You can use this post as a plan for your own Thanksgiving meal,  download a blank menu template, this full menu template and a shopping list sorted by grocery store aisle too!

Thanksgiving Appetizers

There are three appetizers on our menu this year: sweet and sour meatballssweet popcorn snax and rosemary Parmesan crackers. I love making meatballs for Thanksgiving as I can make them in advance and freeze them, then just reheat in a slow cooker the day of. The sweet popcorn snax will be perfect for putting in candy bowls around the house for people to enjoy. I am especially happy to find this rosemary Parmesan cracker recipe. There are so many toppings and ways to cut up the crackers, I will be able to get really creative. One topping I know I want to try is soaking some figs in a high quality balsamic vinegar overnight, then putting it on top of crackers with goat cheese.

Thanksgiving Main Dishes: Turkey or Ham?

There are some strong feelings in my family when it comes to what to serve as the main dish. Thanksgiving traditionalists demand turkey, and this apple roasted turkey with gravy is sure to please them. The other camp feels that having a spicy baked ham on Christmas and Easter is not enough, and that it should also be served as the main dish at Thanksgiving. In order to appease everyone, both are made. For our turkey, I usually pre-order a fresh turkey from our local grocery store. These are farm raised and super fresh. For both the turkey and ham, I don’t have to crowd the oven on Thanksgiving. I make the turkey the day before Thanksgiving. After the turkey is cooled off, I slice it up and add the slices and reserved juices to a slow cooker the day of Thanksgiving. The ham can be made completely in a slow cooker as you are just warming up the ham anyway.

Thanksgiving Bread Basket

When it comes to bread, our family likes a lot of options. Thankfully, the Clabber Girl recipe database base has a wide variety. This year I am making two savory favorites: biscuits and cornbread, along with a family favorite: old fashioned pumpkin bread. When choosing what kinds of breads to make, I consider what type of dressing and desserts I’ll be making. The cornbread will be used in our dressing this year and the pumpkin bread will be used in a bread pudding dessert that sounds delicious.

Thanksgiving Side Dishes

This is the toughest category for me. It is difficult to choose just a few to feature on the menu, and depending on what the produce is like at our Farmer’s Market this year, my choices may have to change. So far I planned on the cranberry cornbread dressing, since it would play well with the fruity notes in our roasted turkey and glazed ham. If I left off mashed potatoes from the menu, I would probably lose my host privileges, we take them that seriously.  For our vegetable sides, I plan on making a green bean casserole, my sister-in-law’s favorite and a creamed spinach that we tried for the first time last year. The green bean casserole is extra special this year as the cream of mushroom reduction and French fried onions will be made from scratch. Last, but not least, is the most simple cranberry sauce you can make. This is another do ahead menu item and believe me, it is so much better than any canned sauce.

Thanksgiving Desserts

I decided to go very traditional this year sticking to pies with one exception: pumpkin bread pudding. Bread pudding is my mom’s favorite and I can’t wait for her to try this out. As for the pies, I thought this apple crostata with a lattice top would be beautiful. Living in the Midwest, apples are prominent this time of year and we buy them by the half bushel. For this cherry pie, I will be using the cherries we picked in June and froze. Thanksgiving wouldn’t be the same without a classic pumpkin pie. I usually make at least two of these so everyone can enjoy. Our pecan trees weren’t very bountiful this year, but I should have enough for a classic Southern pecan pie too. We crack the pecans while watching television and often recruit kids in our family to help.

Thanksgiving Beverages

In addition to red and white wine, I also like to have some kid-friendly options. This year I am going to try out our hot chocolate mix and spiced apple cider. Both of these can be warmed up in slow cookers and will help to fill our house with wonderful smells.

As you can tell from all these recipes, I think the slow cooker is your best friend when preparing for a meal like this. I make almost the entire meal in advance, and really just have the side dishes to focus on the day of Thanksgiving. Hope this helps out with your own Thanksgiving plans. Don’t forget to download a free blank menu template or menu that’s already filled out and get your shopping list!