Monday, October 17, 2011

~Sweet Success~ Great American Bake Sale




A Great American Bake Sale Day



The community support for this event made our bake sale a success.  With the help of many hardworking people, we raised $360.28.   

Great news!  Duncan Hines is going to match our donation, so that makes over $700 for Share Our Strength.  The proceeds will be transformed into vast quantities of food to help hungry elementary school children around the United States.

Thank you again to everyone that helped to support this charity event.  Please visit http://www.shareourstrength.com/ for more information and to learn how you can host a Great American bake sale in your community.  Also, if you would like to take the No Kid Hungry Pledge, then please visit the following website at  http://nokidhungry.org/.

Below, I have posted all of the recipes that we used for our bake sale goodies.  Everything held up nicely and didn't melt (our fingers were tightly crossed).  

 The Recipes


Apple-Cranberry Pie

*This recipe was vegan-ized by Chef Andrea.  Her apple-cranberry dessert was the best pie that I've tasted in a long time.  I couldn't even taste the difference!  If anyone is interested, I will ask Andrea to post her dairy-free substitutions. *

Ingredients

  • Topping

    • Pumpkin Pie
    • Juice of 1 orange
    • Zest of 1 orange
    • 5 cups of peeled, sliced apples (approximately 5 medium apples)
    • 1/2 cup sugar
    • 1/2 cup fresh or frozen cranberries chopped (if frozen, do not thaw)
    • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
    • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
    • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
    • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
    • 1/4 cup sugar
    • 2 tablespoons oats
    • 2 tablespoons butter melted
    • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Directions

  1. To make crust, follow directions for Pumpkin Pie crust. Preheat oven to 400. Roll pie dough out into a 12-inch circle on a lightly floured surface. Place dough in the pie pan and refrigerate while you make the filling and topping.
  2. To make filling, mix all ingredients together in a medium bowl. To make topping, mix all ingredients together in a small bowl. The topping mixture should clump when pressed together.
  3. Add filling to cold pie crust and scatter topping all over the filling. Bake at 400 degrees until the juice in the center of the pie is bubbling, about 1 hour. If the crust or topping becomes too dark, cover the pie loosely with foil.
  4. Transfer to a wire rack; cool completely before serving.

Mini Pumpkin Whoopie Pies 

*Andrea made a vegan-version for the bake sale*










  • Yield Makes about 20



















  • Ingredients

    • For the Cookies

      • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
      • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch-process)
      • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
      • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
      • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
      • 1/4 cup vegetable shortening
      • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
      • 1/2 cup packed dark-brown sugar
      • 1 large egg
      • 1 cup whole milk
      • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
    • For the Filling

      • 4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
      • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
      • 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
      • 1/4 cup canned solid pack pumpkin
      • Pinch of cinnamon
      • Pinch of nutmeg

    Directions

    1. Prepare cookies: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt into a medium bowl; set aside.
    2. Place butter, shortening, and sugars into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on high speed until smooth, about 3 minutes. Add egg; mix until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Mix in half the flour mixture, then the milk and vanilla. Mix in remaining flour mixture.
    3. Drop about 2 teaspoons dough onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper, spacing 2 inches apart. Bake until cookies spring back when lightly touched, 12 to 14 minutes. Transfer baking sheets to wire racks and let cool 10 minutes. Remove cookies from baking sheets and transfer to wire racks using a spatula; let cool completely.
    4. Prepare filling: In the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whip together cream cheese, butter, and confectioners' sugar on medium speed until smooth, about 3 minutes. Add pumpkin, cinnamon, and nutmeg; whip until smooth, scraping down the bowl as necessary.
    5. Pipe or spoon about 2 teaspoons filling on the flat sides of half the cookies. Sandwich with remaining cookies, keeping the flat sides down.

    Chocolate-Almond Caramel Corn

    *This was prepared vegan-style by chef Andrea.  The chocolate-almond caramel corn was great and the chocolate-coated almonds were perfectly delicious.*










  • Yield Makes about 30 cups



















  • Ingredients

    • 25 cups popped popcorn (from about 1 cup kernels)
    • 3 cups unsalted whole skin-on almonds, toasted (about 1 pound)
    • 1 cup sugar
    • 1 cup light corn syrup
    • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
    • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
    • 2 teaspoons coarse salt

    Directions

    1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Put popcorn in a large bowl. Add the nuts; set aside. Put sugar, corn syrup, butter, cocoa, and salt in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring, until mixture comes to a gentle simmer, about 5 minutes.
    2. Pour sugar mixture over popcorn and nuts; toss to coat. Transfer to rimmed baking sheets; bake, stirring every 20 minutes, until almost dry, about 1 hour. Let cool on sheets on wire racks.

    Billy's Vanilla, Vanilla Cupcakes

    *I used all-natural sprinkles sold by India Tree*

    The Martha Stewart Show, May 2006
    • Yield Makes about 30 cupcakes

    Ingredients

    • 1 3/4 cups cake flour, not self-rising
    • 1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
    • 2 cups sugar
    • 1 tablespoon baking powder
    • 3/4 teaspoon salt
    • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes
    • 4 large eggs
    • 1 cup whole milk
    • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
    • Basic Vanilla Buttercream
    • Colored Sprinkles, for decorating, optional
    • Alternate frosting: Billy's Chocolate Buttercream

    Directions

    1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line cupcake pans with paper liners; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine flours, sugar, baking powder, and salt; mix on low speed until combined. Add butter, mixing until just coated with flour.
    2. In a large glass measuring cup, whisk together eggs, milk, and vanilla. With mixer on medium speed, add wet ingredients in 3 parts, scraping down sides of bowl before each addition; beat until ingredients are incorporated but do not overbeat.
    3. Divide batter evenly among liners, filling about 2/3 full. Bake, rotating pan halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 17 to 20 minutes.
    4. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat process with remaining batter. Once cupcakes have cooled, use a small offset spatula to frost tops of each cupcake. Decorate with sprinkles, if desired. Serve at room temperature.

    Chocolate Chip Cupcakes

    *I used sugar-free mini chocolate chip cookies on top of the cupcakes*


    The Martha Stewart Show, May 2006
    • Yield Makes about 30 cupcakes

    Ingredients

    • 1 3/4 cups cake flour, not self-rising
    • 1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
    • 2 cups sugar
    • 1 tablespoon baking powder
    • 3/4 teaspoon salt
    • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes
    • 4 large eggs
    • 1 cup whole milk
    • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
    • Basic Vanilla Buttercream
    • Colored Sprinkles, for decorating, optional
    • Alternate frosting: Billy's Chocolate Buttercream

    Directions

    1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line cupcake pans with paper liners; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine flours, sugar, baking powder, and salt; mix on low speed until combined. Add butter, mixing until just coated with flour.
    2. In a large glass measuring cup, whisk together eggs, milk, and vanilla. With mixer on medium speed, add wet ingredients in 3 parts, scraping down sides of bowl before each addition; beat until ingredients are incorporated but do not overbeat.
    3. Divide batter evenly among liners, filling about 2/3 full. Bake, rotating pan halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 17 to 20 minutes.
    4. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat process with remaining batter. Once cupcakes have cooled, use a small offset spatula to frost tops of each cupcake. Decorate with sprinkles, if desired. Serve at room temperature.

    Carrot-Cake Mini Cupcakes

    *Prepared vegan for the event, also by Andrea.*

    
    The Martha Stewart Show, September 2007
    • Yield Makes 42 mini cupcakes

    Ingredients

    • 1 cup sugar
    • 2 large eggs, room temperature
    • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
    • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
    • 1/4 cup buttermilk
    • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 1 teaspoon baking powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1 1/2 cups grated carrots
    • 1/2 cup raisins
    • Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

    Directions

    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 42 mini muffin cups with mini cupcake liners; set aside.
    2. Beat sugar, eggs, oil, vanilla, and buttermilk together in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment until well combined.
    3. In a large bowl, sift together flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Slowly add three-quarters of the flour mixture to the sugar mixture; mix until well combined. Add carrots and raisins to remaining flour mixture; toss to combine. Stir into batter until well combined.
    4. Fill each muffin cup with about 2 teaspoons batter. Bake until a cake tester inserted into the center of cupcakes comes out clean, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer cupcakes to wire rack to cool. Let cool completely before frosting with cream cheese frosting.

    Bourbon-Pecan Truffles

    *While shaping the truffles into balls, I only kept the container out of the refrigerator for a few minutes before placing it back into the cold environment. I did this a few times to prevent the truffles from melting into chocolate soup.  After they were shaped, I let them sit for an hour in the refrigerator before rolling them into the pecans.  I had a frozen mug next to me that was used to cool down my hands.  This prevented me from melting the truffles and I rolled them into the pecans.*

    Everyday Food, December 2007
    • Prep Time 20 minutes
    • Total Time 3 hours 20 minutes
    • Yield Makes 35

    Ingredients

    • 1 cup heavy cream
    • 1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips (or 10 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped)
    • 2 tablespoons bourbon
    • 1 cup finely chopped pecans

    Directions

    1. In a medium saucepan, bring cream to a boil; remove from heat, and add chocolate and bourbon. Let stand 3 minutes; whisk until smooth. Transfer chocolate mixture to a medium bowl, and refrigerate, uncovered, until thick and firm enough to spoon out in mounds, about 2 hours.
    2. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment or waxed paper. Drop level tablespoons of chocolate mixture onto baking sheet. Refrigerate chocolate mounds until firm, 30 minutes.
    3. Place pecans in a shallow bowl. Using hands, roll each chocolate mound into a ball; roll balls in pecans, pressing lightly to adhere, and place on baking sheet. Refrigerate truffles until set, 30 minutes to 1 hour.

    Cook's Note

    To make sure the chocolate does not melt, work with a few truffles at a time (keeping the rest refrigerated), and roll them in the nuts quickly.


    Caramel Popcorn

    Everyday Food, October 2007
    • Prep Time 10 minutes
    • Total Time 1 hour
    • Yield Serves 6

    Ingredients

    • 4 tablespoons butter, plus more for baking sheet
    • 10 cups plain unsalted popped (from 1/2 cup kernels or a 3.3-ounce bag microwave popcorn) popcorn
    • 1 cup cashews, coarsely chopped (optional)
    • 1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
    • Coarse salt

    Directions

    1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Butter a large rimmed baking sheet; set aside. Place popcorn in a large bowl; if using cashews, add to bowl and toss to combine. Set aside.
    2. In a small saucepan, bring butter, sugar, 1/8 teaspoon salt, and 2 tablespoons water to a boil, stirring constantly. Working quickly, drizzle popcorn with sugar syrup, and toss.
    3. Spread popcorn evenly on prepared baking sheet. Bake, tossing occasionally, until golden and shiny, about 40 minutes. Transfer hot popcorn to parchment-paper-lined baking sheet; let cool.

    Rosemary-Caramel Popcorn

    Martha Stewart Living, December 2010
    • Prep Time 10 minutes
    • Total Time 1 hour 25 minutes
    • Yield Makes 16 cups
      Serves 8

    Ingredients

    • 2 tablespoons safflower oil
    • 1/2 cup popcorn kernels
    • 1 stick unsalted butter
    • 1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
    • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
    • 1 tablespoon rosemary leaves
    • 1 teaspoon gray flaked sea salt, preferably sel gris
    • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda

    Directions

    1. Heat oil and a few popcorn kernels in a large stockpot, covered, over high heat. When they pop, add remaining popcorn kernels. Cook, shaking pot, until popped. Transfer popcorn to a large bowl.
    2. Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Heat butter, sugar, and corn syrup in a small saucepan over high heat. Cook, stirring, until butter and sugar melt and a candy thermometer reaches 255 degrees. Remove from heat, and stir in rosemary, salt, and baking soda. Pour over popcorn; toss. Transfer to a baking sheet.
    3. Bake, stirring occasionally, until dried, about 45 minutes. Let cool before serving.


    I usually post pictures about the cooking process, however, I decided to skip that for this post.  Instead, I focused on the bake sale day and on the people that helped to make this a successful event.

    There were a few food-failures and some major burns and scalds that occurred on my end.  Other than that, everything came out wonderfully.  Maybe there is something to be said about baking for a good cause? 
    Andrea and I worked hard in our kitchens baking, preparing, cooking and planning the details of the bake sale.  Andrea prepared all of the delicious vegan and gluten-free desserts, while I baked the others.  

    At times we were so busy that I couldn't stop to take any pictures.  However, I still tried to capture the days highlights. 



    Photo Gallery

    The spun-sugar was the most intriguing food item, to me anyway.  Before now, the spun-sugar process has always failed me and I've ended up disappointed with only one or two little strands (If I'm lucky).  After a few unsuccessful attempts with the spun sugar, I turned to YouTube for help.  I watched numerous videos, but nothing compared to my chosen video technique.  You can watch the video by clicking on this link, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=21AoY24Kqpg


     The hot, sugar-syrup eventually becomes the beautiful spun sugar.  If you make this dessert, please be very careful. This was a dangerous task!  I burned my lip and hands to the third degree. I wouldn't consider this to be a kid-friendly activity by any means.  Instead, give the kids the finished dessert and watch them ooh and ahh. Oh, and then go ice your burns again because you'll need to.  A little ice and some aloe will help significantly.


    1/2 cup water, 50 g corn syrup and 1 cup of sugar go into the pot on high heat.  Once the syrup becomes a light golden brown, remove the pot from the heat. I waited about a minute to make sure that the sugar mixture was thick enough. The recipe and process were taken from the YouTube video that I watched (the link is listed above).
     
    This was my first, successful attempt at making the spun-sugar.  My dad suggested adding a few harder pieces to the spun-sugar to create more dimension.  My dad helped me tremendously with this.  He even burned his finger while helping me, but he never left the stove.
    The second try produced a lighter, more ethereal product.  The darker-version has more of a rich, caramel-like flavor, while the lighter has sugary-sweet notes. 
    Once the food was packed and ready to go, I headed to our bake sale location, Veera Yoga Studio. Sanj (in the light blue shirt), Kevin (dark blue shirt), My dad (yellow shirt), and Olivia's friend in pink helped with the set up. 

    Kevin, Andrea's husband, is happily bagging the the vegan chocolate-almond caramel popcorn.   
    We are setting up the food and getting the tables ready while serving a few early bird customers. 

     
    Once we were ready to go, happy bake sale supporters made their way over to our tent.
    A mother and son make a donation.
    These are Andrea's vegan carrot-cake mini cupcakes that she decided to make into full-sized desserts.  The food coloring is made with all-natural food dye from India Tree.  
    The spun sugar (foreground) and the chocolate chip cupcakes (background).
    The bourbon-pecan truffles.  The food tags and nearly all of our cupcake tins are the Martha Stewart brand.  I found them to be pretty, high quality and affordable too.  Look for them at Michaels.


    This is Gangotri, owner of Veera Yoga Studio and her adorable son, Arjun.  Baby number two is on its way soon. 

    Here she is laughing and enjoying her day, as usual.  It is always such a pleasure to see her because of her her magnetic spirit. 
    Here is my dad.  He walked all over the shopping center holding up this sign and talking with people about the bake sale.  Many people came over to our tables because of his efforts.  When I'm 68 I want to be that energetic.  He walked non-stop for six hours.
    Andrea and I are going strong!  Sleep-deprived and running on hope, we kept our minds on the cause.  Go Great American Bake Sale!
    There's my dad again working hard to raise funds.
    A family shows their support.
    This was just about the best pie that I've ever tasted...and it's vegan!  Andrea did a fantastic job.  The crust was perfect too. 
    The chocolate chip cupcakes.
    This is the vegan chocolate-almond popcorn from Andrea's kitchen.  Again, fantastic, especially with the chocolate-coated almonds.
    The classic caramel corn.
    Andrea's vegan and gluten-free chocolate pumpkin whoopie pies.
    Here's dad with Kevin and Olivia (Andrea's husband and daughter).  Olivia made all of our signs, as well as our menu listing.  For much of the day she waved a bake sale sign and worked very hard. 

    This is Gail and her two, delightful children.  Gail emailed me a few days before the bake sale with some words of encouragement.  She has hosted numerous, very successful Great American Bake Sales in the recent past.  Gail gave us helpful advice about future bake sale events when she met up with us. 

    I was amazed at how well-behaved and mature her children were.  They bought some treats with their own money and even donated a little extra for the cause.  Every bake sale that this family hosts is a family effort from start to finish.   The responsibility that this has instilled in her children is evident already.  

    Thanks again, Gail for driving the long distance to our bake sale.  Good luck to you and your future, very successful bake sales. 

    Until October 26th, their baked goods are part of a contest.  If they win, she and her family will receive a brand new Kindle and a sponsor prize pack.  Please show your support for their effort! 


    A Veera Yoga studio employee is showing his support.
    Olivia and her dad have super-cool sign waving skills.
    After the crowd slowed down, Kevin, my dad and Andrea gather around for a photo op...and for a quick snack.
     
    A little pooped, Olivia snuck in a small nap in order to recharge.
    Upon awakening, Olivia enjoyed the vanilla cupcakes with the rosemary-caramel popcorn on top. She was now ready to help us close down. 
    Time to close up.

    I feel very fortunate to have such great family and friends that also share my passion for cooking and for helping food-based charities such as Share Our Strength. 

    We all have the power to do good things. 
     

    ~Just Dessert~

    We received so much help from everyone at the yoga studio, and from family and friends.  It was a community effort and everyone poured their hearts into this event.


    I would like to thank the following people for their kindness.

    Andrea Seppinni and family- for your delicious baked goods, bake sale signs and help with this event.

    Gangotri and Sanj Garg- for the use of your studio patio, office, refrigerator, tent and comfy chairs

    Carl May (my dad)- for your moral support as I baked and vented and for your amazing sign-holding talent

    Bake sale attendees- for your donations

    Benjamin Dickerson (my husband) with Simple Elegance Landscape Design and Consulting- for your financial contribution and for your understanding about the do-overs that took place for what seemed like half of the time

    Rafael Pacheco with Custom Arbors- for your financial contribution that greatly assisted with our Whole Foods bill

    Whole Foods- for your donation of bakery boxes

    Danielle and Debra Dickerson- for generously donating some baking ingredients and for babysitting my children





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