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Home-Baked Hygge


My half-Norwegian mother is smiling at the swirl of interest in “hygge” (pronounced hoo-guh).  She was a master at home made simple pleasures that are the roots to kinship and comfort.  We could all use a few hygge tools in our kit right now.  I think my mom would endorse these five hygge hints to ease the holiday hectic:

 #5:  Prep a hot beverage mix, then use it. Choose something with warm milk, less caffeine, chocolate and herbs for a little calm. I love hot cocoa mix:  Whirl in your food processor until powdery:  ½ cup granulated sugar, 1 tablespoon cornstarch, 3 oz. roughly chopped semi-or bittersweet chocolate, ½ cup baking cocoa (Dutched cocoa is a deeper flavor), ¼ teaspoon vanilla or almond extract, and a pinch of salt.   Store in an airtight jar and use 3 tablespoons mix per medium mug of heated milk or water.  Thank you @smittenkitchen!

Love your coffee too? Unwind with friends with a decaf version of C&H Sugar’s Toffee Coffee.


#4: Employ lavender’s magic. After holding your breath all day working the lists, breathe in one of HBA’s Writer’s Guild pro Nancy Baggett’s Lavender Place recipes Culinary lavender’s comforts range from sweet honey-spice snickerdoodles, to savory herbed popcorn for starters.

#3: Break down prep time…try making dough and freezing ready-to-bake. Just thinking, you might have time to get the dough made…but no time to bake! HBA member test kitchens lead the way on how to freeze cookie, yeast and scone dough to pop in the oven at any time.  Try this Freeze and Bake Scones example

 #2:  Drop, don’t roll.  For some of us, rolling out dough of ANY kind is challenging. Go with a drop or “scoopable” version —there are many sweet and savory options!  Butternut Softies are a great holiday fruit and nut drop cookie and Drop Biscuits are naturally comfort food.


 #1:  Often, eat simply.  Try a whole grain batter yeast bread served with a favorite veggie, lentil or bean soup and soak in the comfort of home.

Even these Top Five cannot guarantee coziness, simple pleasures and kinship when you focus on them alone. Include someone in one of these gifts, and hygge will come quickly to your heart and hearth!

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Bake for Family Fun Month: Week 3


As much as I enjoy Downton Abbey, history and tradition embodies why I bake. American families and communities most often did not come with a wait and culinary staff. “Doing for ourselves” included baking.

To quote Ruskin from a 1906 Cook Book compiled by Annie R. Gregory,

“ To be a good cook means the economy of your great-grandmothers and the science of modern chemists. It means much tasting and no wasting. It means English thoroughness, French art and Arabian hospitality. It means, in fine, that you are to see that everyone has something nice to eat.”


This week’s Bake for Family Fun month connections highlight baking history and building our own traditions.

  1. Make time to Book and Bake. “Book” time to read a book and recipe for a meal or snack. Blueberries for Sal is a classic.
  2. Include, or require, young children and teens in the kitchen. Create a “baking corner” to work where they lay out tools and ingredients to prepare staples like Biscuits or America’s Favorite Batter Bread
  1. Weekly home crafted pizza is an essential tradition to help teens build assets and manage food budgets.
  2. Place your orders for Whole Grain All Star Pizza
  3. Doughnuts and fritters have long been a weekly treat in many homes! Consider a DIY dozen—it can cost less than $3.00—baked or fried 
  4. Pancake “art” is a fabulous family tradition. You won’t see IHOP making “your name here” cakes.  or  squiggle the batter for critters or shapes for max creativity. Remember: pre-oil, then heat the griddle or skillet, flip the shape when bubbles appear on the batter surface and flip ‘em only once for maximum fluff factor.

This week our daughter baked banana bread from a home town Centennial cook book. Virginia Becker, a genuinely wonderful woman and creator of the recipe, is surely smiling down on her magic mix of only six ingredients.

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Filed under Baking Events & Holidays, Baking Resources, Educator Resources, Home Baking Association, Tips and Ideas, Uncategorized

Preparing for Bake for Family Fun Month!


Recently a New York Times feature introduced a new culinary term: cakeage—“the fee a restaurant may charge for serving your homemade cake to your party.” If you’re asking why, (or IF), people still bake at home, February is the perfect time to GET the benefits millions still enjoy with hand-made vs. ready-made! Yes, some gladly pay the “cakeage” fee!

We list some DIY baking benefits, but why not take a break from ready-to-eat? Take our February challenge for your home, class, or club: join the Bake for Family Fun crowd.

Make a goal to bake once a week to get started, bake for a valentine, get a taste of history, create traditions, and bake for others.

You NEVER do this? You’ll have a lot of help from our test kitchens and Baking Glossary and

Check your ingredient pantry along with the latest Home Baking Pins!

See baking how-to demonstrated, ask yeast baking questions, www.breadworld.com or learn from other’s FAQs

Take baking lessons with the pros at and Domino Foods https://www.dominosugar.com.

Strap on your fit-bit (you’ll earn your treats) and apron! Read the recipe twice, measure onceJ Heat the oven, measure, mix and bake. Set the table to eat together (it’s amazing), tweet or post your magic (@HomeBaking), and set the phones aside. This you’ll love.




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What are your plans for Easter and Passover?

INST_FruitPizzaLaying meal plans for Passover and Easter? Consider eight “old and new” test-kitchen picks offered by Clabber Girl’s Baker Blog www.clabbergirl.com. Challah Dough Bialy Rolls or savory Parsley Biscuits will be a perfect meal fit. I may skip the chocolates and simply serve the Fresh Fruit Pizza as a welcome to Spring tulips and daffodils.

You may also want to bake a beautiful braid for brunch or a meal! Visit www.breadworld.com and www.redstaryeast.com for fabulous recipes and instructions.

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Win $1000 and A Trip for Two to Charleston, SC

Open Call for Home Baking Association Educator Award Competition

 Calling all baking educators!  The Home Baking Association (HBA) annually recognizes an educator for a baking activity or lesson with a $1,000 award.  The association seeks to reward educators who have implemented outstanding programs that teach children to bake and share baking in their communities.

Classroom educators and community youth organization program leaders are eligible.  Family and consumer sciences (FCS) educators and youth organization leaders for 4-H, Boys and Girls Clubs, Camp Fire USA and other after-school or community programs are encouraged to share successful community baking programs. Youth who have developed baking programs that teach other youth to bake are also invited to enter.

The outstanding educator selected will receive $1,000 and a trip to the HBA Annual Meeting in South Carolina to present the winning project.  In addition to the top prize additional awards may be given for special categories. All entrants will receive a complimentary teaching resource from the Home Baking Association.

Previous Winner Spotlight: Kaye Hendricks entered Mystery Muffins and won the award in 2012. Hendricks is a kindergarten teacher in Manhattan, KS. Other awards named in 2012 included Best Community Reach, Clover Kitchen for Kids, by Amy Peterson, MS, RD, Nebraska and Most Creative, Creative Pizza, by Carla Schaer, FCS Educator, Illinois.Winning entries from previous winners can be found at HomeBaking.org.

Cookie Capers, middle and high school winning lessons from Marla Prusa, Nebraska and Bakeworks, a preschool enrichment winning activity from Julie Ratchford, VA are available to download.  For these winning projects, additional baking activities, lessons, recipes and application for the 2015 contest visit HomeBaking.org. Entries may be mailed or sent electronically through the web-site.  Entry deadline is March 31, 2015.


More information is available at HomeBaking.org.

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An Irish Blog—St. Patrick’s Day 2015


On St. Patrick’s Day everyone has a drop of Irish blood. Everyone can definitely enjoy baking a fresh loaf of Irish bread for breakfast, noon, tea or supper.

White or Brown Soda bread are Ireland’s traditional bread. Ireland used hearths much longer than many countries. No ovens meant soda breads were baked on a griddle or in a bastable, a cast iron oven pot with a lid set in smoldering peat.

Ingredients are simple: wholemeal and/or enriched flour, baking soda for leavening, buttermilk and salt. Oats or even potato were used in the breads when stretching precious wheat flour. King Arthur Flour offers an Irish wholemeal flour for brown soda bread and a great Brown Soda Bread recipe very worth baking! The loaf is shaped round and about 2 inches thick. A deep cross is cut nearly clear through, dividing the bread into fourths or farls.

ISt-Patricks-Day-Unlimited-Vacation-Club-Featured-Imagef you’re baking soda bread with a child—or even if not—you’ll want to read the story of the Irish giant credited with building the Giant’s Causeway between Ireland and Scotland, Fin M’Coul. The Giant of Knockmany Hill by Tomie de Paola

Taking tea is as important as a pint! Serve a sweeter indulgent soda bread with butter plus currants or sultanas. (Raisins are often substituted in the U.S.) Land O’ Lakes provides such a tried and true recipe.

When yeast is used for leavening instead of soda, the loaf is Barm Brack. In Gaelic it’s known as báirín breac, or “speckled loaf” due to the way the dough is dotted with currants or raisins. Similar to it is a favorite Walnut Bread. Here’s a version I bake.

Other Irish home baking favorites include Bread and Butter Pudding. (The Irish would never waste day-old bread of any kind.) Clabber Girl is amazing at bread pudding innovations. If not white bread, why not Cinnamon Apple Bread Pudding?

Banana Bread’s also popular. Guess everyone has over-ripe bananas to use! You’ll like Shawnee Mill’s Banana Bread. The Irish do enjoy walnuts and betting they’d love the chocolate chip option!

Sláinte! (Health!)

Sharon Davis

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Gift Ideas from the Home Baking Association

sharon_kitchenAre you lucky enough to personally know a budding young baker? Today Jula K. wrote “Last year I gave my 12-year old niece Baking with Friends. She loves baking. What is a good follow-up baking gift?”

If you give a baker Baking with Friends, www.hombaking.org then they’ll want to:

Enjoy baking for all and may the benefits be returned in a baker’s dozen ways!


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