Thursday, November 19, 2015

#BakeItForward

Baking it forward with Ginger-Bread Pudding!

This morning, the illustrious Chef Alex Guarnaschelli showed up in my Twitter feed with this wonderful message:


Now, how could one refuse such a command from their Queen? I shan't shun my duties to Her Royal Majesty! And you shan't, either! Forthwith! Pip pip cor blimey! British things that are probably offensive! Ha ha!



Okay, I'm done.

Anyway, No Kid Hungry is a fantastic charity organization that fights against childhood hunger. Did you know that, even though about a third of children nowadays are overweight, 1 in 5 children in America are not sure where their next meal is going to come from? I think that's messed up on about ten different levels, but we all know my thoughts on childhood obesity by now, especially if you're a regular reader of my blog.

No Kid Hungry also partners with the Great American Bake Sale, which lets you personally start a bake sale to get your community involved and end childhood hunger! If that's a little too much for you, but you still want to help, simply tweet a picture of your baked goods, be they for the holidays or for "just because" with the hashtag: #BakeItForward and Food network will donate $1 per share to the No Kid Hungry fund! Need more proof? Okay, here you go:



See? Food Network is out there, helping us get involved! Sure, they could just donate a bunch of money, but isn't it more important to get the whole community involved? Isn't it more important to raise light to the issue that a fifth of American children are going hungry, and that we all need to do something about it? It's been a week since Food Network tweeted this and I'm just now finding out about it!

Share things on twitter and Instagram... Here are some of the things I'm sharing!



Ooooh, these are yummy Linzer Cookies, filled with cherry jam!



And just look at this wonderful Ginger-Bread pudding I made today, using leftover bits of gingerbread cake, all warm and gooey. I realize that the plating is a bit kitschy, but it's still a baked item, and I hope that Food Network will allow it.


Care to Bake it Forward with
a yummy pretzel bun??
Baking isn't just about feeding someone, it's about patience, and love. Some of my fondest memories come from being in my grandpa's bakery as a child, being plucked from my bed at 4 am and put in his truck, waking up in the bakery to the smell of cinnamon rolls being baked.

I remember being seven, and Grandpa in his white apron, handing me a hot cinnamon roll that was about the size of my face. I remember that joy, the smell, the steam rising from the oven. Baking is so important to me that I can't even express how much it makes me just well up inside to know that something as simple as a cinnamon roll, a warm bun from the oven, has made this much of a mark on me and my life.

I love baking because it's both science and art. Having the skill to bake is the most powerful skill I think I have.

Do I want bread? I shall have bread, and I shall not have to leave my house to get it! I see where cookies are not and say "That will not do." I want an English muffin and I can make an English Muffin. I am a Goddess that creates baked goods instead of people, and you can be, too.

Now, do you want to help? Of course you do! So, what are you waiting for? Get out there, and bake something! Snap a picture with your phone and get it on the internet! Fire up that twitter, that instagram! Do it!

Eh? What's that? You aren't sure what you want to bake? Hmmm, that is a problem, isn't it? Well, may I suggest a delicious  Red Velvet Cheesecake with Graham Cracker crust? If you'll forgive the quality of the picture, this recipe is a real throwback to my start in the Pastry world! I made it for a friend, who was going through a rough time, and it was my first at-home cheesecake, that was not made in a restaurant! If I can make this, you can, too!



Hmm, that one takes too much time? Yeah, I can see that. Cheesecake is a little tricky, too, and might not be the best start if you're just  now starting to learn to bake. How about a Lemon Cherry Yogurt Cake, which is healthier than your average cake, and a delicious snack that you can easily bake in many shapes! You can bake this one in cupcake form, in ring form, in circle or square form...and it's delightfully moist. It's a very good cake that's just fine with or without icing. You can make a glaze for it, of course, but I just wanted a little powdered sugar on mine.


What? You mean  you want something more festive? Naturally! You'll want a festive cake for the holidays.... Okay, try this, Kansas City!

How about a Be Royal Roulade, in honor of the Kansas City Royals WINNING THE WORLD SERIES?!?!?!!!! You just try to NOT bake this for your holiday and get glowing reviews!


This cake is a fantastically fun bright blue spongecake with a marscarpone MOOOOOOOOOUSSE, fit for Royalty. And, if you like the roulade cakes, try a yule log, complete with chocolate bark and marshmallow meringue mushrooms.


Yeah. I know that it's on a star-spangled glass cutting board. I realize that it's more appropriate, probably, for the 4th of July. But the point is you can use the same recipe for the royal roulade(minus the blue food coloring) and make a Yule Log for your Christmas/Yuletide gatherings this year. For the bark, just melt some chocolate ganache over a double boiler and "brush" it on with a silicone brush for texture! You can do the same thing with chocolate frosting, of course, but there's just something nice about the real chocolate stuff...

What? You just want cookies? Oh, fine. Here you go. Cookies.

This one is made from chocolate chips, orange zest, and mini marshmallows
This recipe is my ultimate go-to "vanilla base dough", adapted from Milk & Cookies's recipe in their cookbook. You can use it to make chocolate chip cookies, of course, but you can also add mini marshmallows, chopped up pretzels, dried fruits and nuts, or even your favorite cereal to create your perfect cookie.

That should get you started on your Bake it Forward journey. Now, please, get out there and bake.