This concoction holds an important place in my baking kitchen. I first learned of this mixture while attending a Viking Bakeshop Basics class.  After further research, I found a similar recipe in my “Baking and Pastry – Mastering the Art and Craft – Culinary Institute of America” textbook.

Pan release is designed to be used when baking any batter based mixture.  Forget the can of Pam; forget the ‘grease and flour the pan’ routine!  Pan Release to the rescue!
As we were told in the Viking class, “your baked goods will not stick to the pan if you use this mixture.”  The CIA textbook states that this will create a “nonstick surface.”  I have been using this since October 2008 (7 months), with 100% success.  I’m still using my original mixture; it keeps well if stored in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator.  Initially, I erred on the side of spreading the pan release thickly.  You will need to use a generous coating on your pan, but not an excessive coating.  Too much pan release and you will have a light ‘floury film’ on your baked goods.  After you use this a couple of times, you will easily know how thickly to apply the pan release.
Add this ‘recipe’ to your files today.  
The Viking class recipe stated:  Use equal portions of Crisco, flour, and Vegetable Oil; store in refrigerator.
I followed the CIA instructions as listed on page 826 of the above mentioned book.  
1 lb / 454g Shortening (I used Crisco)
1 lb/ 454g Bread Flour
1 lb/ 454g Vegetable Oil (I used Crisco Oil)
Mix the shortening and flour; gradually add the oil until all is well mixed.  Store in the refrigerator.
Happy No-Stick Baking!

Vanilla Scones

How many of us remember that something that Mom baked?  I would venture to say that many of us do remember a special treat that our mothers baked.  It might have been ordinary, everyday baking, or it might have been a favorite Amalgamation cake that Mom only baked at Christmas.

May represents Mother’s day.  My mother has not been able to bake for several years; so, when I bake, I remember her.

I never saw my mother use a vanilla bean.  She would have enjoyed baking with vanilla sugar.  The vanilla sugar ‘shake’ with vanilla bean ‘straw’ represent my contribution to recycling (I always save the bean, after scraping the seeds, and bury it in a container of granulated sugar.).  The sugar shake smells divine.  And, it lends its own special contribution to my baking.

I used the vanilla sugar to make triple vanilla scones.  They were delicious!  I found the recipe on Food Blog Search.  That took me to this post by Cookie Baker Lynn from 2008.  Good food just does not go out of style. 

I followed the recipe as printed, using heavy whipping cream and I weighed the dry ingredients by using this converter.  Let me offer this piece of advice.  Use the food processor as she suggests.  I used my 4.5 qt Kitchen Aid mixer and this recipe was too much for the mixer.  The motor strained and the flour in the bottom of the mixer bowl did not mix well.  I had to hand knead the dough, thus warming the butter.  After working through this minor mishap, the scones rose beautifully, and they tasted deliciously delicious.  

This scone recipe yields a scone that is ever so slightly ‘cakey.’  But, not in a bad way.  They are a cross between a flaky, buttery scone and a cake scone.  

These are far better than the similar product at Starbucks; but, everything is always better fresh home baked!

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom.  This wonderful, vanilla baked treat is in honor of you…love gale…

Wine -or not- lovers, cast your vote

Little brother stepped up to the plate.

VOTE for him after watching his YouTube 59 second video.  He has applied for a job, and the video is part of the application process.
Again, if you like the video, VOTE
This is for an opportunity that I’m interviewing for in regards to a 6 month gig in California’s Sonoma wine country.  There will be several candidates but only one will be selected to live in Sonoma (Healdsburg, CA) and work for the Murphy-Goode vineyard for 6 months, starting Aug 09.  I think this would be a very cool opportunity, if you’re into wine, so I need all the votes I can get.  Many thanks.  See link below.

Grandmother Pearl’s Cake Plate

Mama, born in 1931, frequently served cakes on this platter during the years we three kids were growing up on the farm.  The platter originally belonged to her mother, who was born in 1891.  Through the years, I was concerned that that antique platter would be broken.  However, Mama continued to bake and serve on the platter.  Now, at 51, I’m the keeper of the platter.  (Notice all the dates…the platter is really old!) It sits in a place of honor in my home….I really should bake a cake and serve it on the platter…


I made the marshmallow syrup as recommended by the “Marshmallows” cookbook author.  It crystalized as hard as a brick.  I couldn’t melt it out of the jars. So, I used Karo syrup.  The marshmallows are DELICIOUS.  I sent a few to my sick friend, hoping she will be back ‘in the pink’ in a short time.

These are a week old and they are still delicious.

relaxing rainy day

Today has been a lazy, rainy, Saturday…just made for rest and relaxation.  And that’s about all I’ve done.  I did attempt a scone recipe this morning.  I chose the recipe because these scones are made with sour cream, and because I didn’t have cream, which I use for most of my scones. Maybe it’s not the fault of the recipe…maybe it’s because I hurt my finger and could not mix the scones well…but, for whatever reason, this recipe now resides in the Trash can on my computer.  However, a camera can make almost any ‘mistake’ look good.