Oatmeal Cookies

BY HELEN S. FLETCHER, ON
COPYRIGHT, HELEN S. FLETCHER, 2013. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
ALL PHOTOS BY T. MIKE FLETCHER, UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.

Oatmeal CookiesOatmeal cookies have always been my favorite.  It’s something about the spices and texture of this oatmeal cookie.  It’s particularly  difficult to describe.  It’s crispy on the outside with a center that is loaded with the add ins of your choice.  It almost has a lacey quality to it.  I wish I had a nickel for every time someone told me how much they loved this oatmeal cookie.  It is not your usual oatmeal cookie which probably explains the response.  This is a chocolate chip version that is not shy on spices.

I have not included how to pics with this as it is a really basic cookie and I don’t think anyone will have a problem with it.

One thing you will notice is the enormous amount of add ins.  You can use chocolate chips, dried fruit, nuts – whatever you want to make these yours.  I think the large amount of add ins gives this oatmeal cookie its lacy quality since there is just enough dough to hold the add ins together. Continue reading

Chocolate Cherry Bread

BY HELEN S. FLETCHER, ON
COPYRIGHT, HELEN S. FLETCHER, 2013. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
ALL PHOTOS BY T. MIKE FLETCHER, UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.

Chocolate Cherry BreadChocolate Cherry Bread combines two foods I love – chocolate and bread. So combining them seemed a natural. I can’t remember when I first tasted Chocolate Cherry Bread but it is among my favorite breads.  Besides how can cocoa, melted chocolate and chocolate chunks all in one bread be anything by super.

Cocoa is a natural and here I have combined it with melted chocolate and chocolate chunks for the greatet depth of chocolate flavor.

This Chocolate Cherry Bread freezes well and is great as a hostess gift. This bread, because of the chocolate in it, can be a slow riser and I often use my proofer to help it along. Try this once and I can assure you fear of bread baking will be in the past – at least I hope so. Continue reading

Lemonade Cake with Blueberry Sauce

BY HELEN S. FLETCHER, ON
COPYRIGHT, HELEN S. FLETCHER, 2013. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
ALL PHOTOS BY T. MIKE FLETCHER, UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.

Lemonade CakeI was once asked where creativity comes from. It can be found anywhere and everywhere. A pot of basil can inspire pesto but then what to do with it. Why turn it into a Goat Cheese Pesto Tart of course. A great dessert you taste can make you think of what you would do with it – how you would tweak it. Or, in this case when I was asked for the recipes six months out for a class, I just made up Lemonade Cake with Warm Blueberry Sauce. Doesn’t that sound inviting? The only problem there was no recipe.

I always mean to start early when I have designed something on paper but not tested it in the kitchen. I usually don’t. As the days counted down to the class, I tried every lemon mousse I could think of and made some up myself. In the end, I reverted to my go to recipe for the most lemony of all fillings – lemon curd. It was a simple matter of folding in beaten egg whites and whipped cream to give the Lemonade Cake a smooth, luxurious feel in your mouth. There is just enough gelatin in the curd to have the mousse set up perfectly. Continue reading

Goat Cheese Pesto Tart

BY HELEN S. FLETCHER, ON
COPYRIGHT, HELEN S. FLETCHER, 2013. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
ALL PHOTOS BY T. MIKE FLETCHER, UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.

Finished PhotAt the retail shop, the clientele loved this Goat Cheese Pesto Tart.  It is the perfect example of a savory tart and we did many of them.  This Goat Cheese Pesto Tart came from my love of peppers and basil – in this case,  pesto. While I appreciate goat cheese, I find it very astringent and usually cut it with cream cheese to mellow it out as I have done here.  I used this filling for small crostadas which we used as appetizers. We crossed slivers of red and yellow pepper on the top and they made a dazzling display on a tray when passed.  They can be made, as can the tart, ahead and frozen.

For the crostadas, I would freeze them without the peppers on top, adding them after they had been reheated.  I particularly like to use this filling for the crostadas as it didn’t lose it shape when heated.  We would pipe it on with a large star tip. Continue reading

Ten Ways to Become a Better Baker

BY HELEN S. FLETCHER, ON
COPYRIGHT, HELEN S. FLETCHER, 2013. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
ALL PHOTOS BY T. MIKE FLETCHER, UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.

Strawberry Rhubarb PieBecoming a better baker is a matter of patience and repetition,  but there are practices that will help speed the process.  Here I have listed some that I hope will help you – even if it is just one thing you may need to work on to become the baker you always wanted to be.

1.  Read the recipe from  start to finish.  Make sure you have all of the ingredients without substituting.

2. The first time you make a new recipe make it exactly as it is written.  It’s fine to change raisins to dried cherries or use dark brown sugar instead of light.  However, if it calls for buttermilk, don’t substitute regular milk.

3. If you want to change the recipe, change one thing at a time.  If you change more than one you will not know which one worked, or didn’t work. Continue reading