Archive for February, 2014

Irish Soda Muffins

Wednesday, February 26th, 2014

St. Patrick’s Day will be here soon. We’ll see most bakeries and markets carry the traditional Irish Soda Bread. Have you thought about tweaking the product to offer something a little different?




Muffins are fast and easy, and the individual portion size might reap more customers.

Irish Soda Muffins
Yield: 6-12 large muffins
¼ cup melted butter
¼ cup oil
1 large egg
1 ½ cups buttermilk
4 cups all-purpose flour
¼ cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups total mixed dried fruit and nuts (raisins, dried cranberries, dates, walnuts, etc)
Optional, streusel

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. and grease large 6-cup muffin pan(s).
2. Mix butter, oil, egg, and buttermilk in a medium bowl. Set aside.
3. In a large bowl, mix together all remaining ingredients (except streusel, if using). Add wet ingredients to dry; combine well.
4. Scoop thick batter into muffin cups, sprinkle with streusel, and bake for 25-30 minutes. Tops are a light golden brown when done.

Home-Based Baking at its Best! Muffins are an unusual size for this traditional product.

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Whimsical Breadsticks

Wednesday, February 19th, 2014

For all you bread bakers out there, it’s time for another look at new product development.

Whimsical breadsticks!

Customers appreciate the familiar yet unusual product. Most of us are aware of breadsticks, but these are a silly twist on an old idea. I use the recipe below, but any of your favorite recipes will work.

Yield: approx. 2 pounds, enough for several dozen breadsticks
1½ cups water
1-2 tablespoons oil
1 or 2 teaspoons sugar, optional
4 cups flour – all-purpose or part whole wheat bread flour
2 teaspoons large grind black pepper, optional
1½ teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons yeast

1. Add the ingredients to your bread machine in the order listed here or according to your machine’s instructions.
2. Use the dough cycle and watch the mixing for the first few minutes. The dough should clear the bottom and sides and only occasionally stick to the pan. If the dough appears wet and sticks a lot, add more flour. If it’s clunking around, add (only) a few teaspoons water. (If the dough is too dry, it’s hard to press or roll out. If it’s too wet it’s difficult to work with. However, it will taste delicious, regardless.)
3. Once the cycle finishes, dump dough onto a lightly floured counter. Divide into small pieces and roll each piece into a log. Form into meandering sticks, place on baking trays, spray with water, and sprinkle with herbs, cheese, or large salt pieces.
4. Bake for 20 minutes more or less, at 375 degrees F more or less. Bake until golden brown.

Home-Based Baking at its Best! These are unusual and fun to eat. And a nice addition to anyone’s product line because they are so different!

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Easy Valentine Ideas

Wednesday, February 12th, 2014

An easy way to bake and sell treats for this holiday: use your everyday recipes but bake in heart-shaped pans; or roll out dough to cut with heart shaped cutters. Then add stickers and red ribbons to your boxes and bags, and customers will be happy.

Coffeecakes baked in heart shapes.

Mocha cake in disposable heart bakeware, decorated with chocolate covered coffee beans.

Nothing fancy here: a supermarket bakery trick, simply add some heart decorations.

Package your product line in decorative tins.

Shortbread cookies with raspberry jam.

Pastry hearts and mini pies filled with cherries.

Home-Based Baking at its Best! If you’re new to the baking business and not ready for sales, use this time to do market research. Look through magazines, search internet sites, visit a few stores, watch what customers are buying, and take notes. Next year you’ll be ready for a sweet and profitable season! Start your production early and begin selling a few items in mid-late January or early February. Take your cue from the advertising seen in stores and the media.

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In My Calendar, Everyday is Cookie Day!

Wednesday, February 5th, 2014

Variety sugar cookies made from one recipe.

I’m often asked, “What is your favorite product?” My response is always cookies!

Cookies are a family favorite. More than half the households in the US purchase cookies on a regular basis. If you have a home-based food business, remember that cookies appeal to all types of people and their eating habits so whatever your customer base might be, they are sure to like cookies!

Cut out cookies dipped in white chocolate.

Long shelf life biscotti.

Simple drop cookies.

Sandwich cookies, dipped and sprinkled!

Sandwich cookies make an attractive plate.

The ever-popular Black and Whites.

Holiday ethnic cookies.

Cookies just for kids!

Home-Based Baking at its Best! While October is National Cookie Month, throughout the year there are days devoted to celebrating different cookie varieties.  Use these national “holidays” to generate customer excitement and proudly market your products.

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