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Sunday, September 26, 2010

Baking With Betty - Baking Stations mean Baked Goods!

On my last Baking with Betty post I left off at "Baking with Betty Orientation 101". (see pic below) . So let's take off from where we left off, shall we?

After "orientation" we were given brief instructions and then free reign on the Betty Crocker Kitchens. OK, not total free reign as there were Betty Crocker Bakers assigned to each station, but the bloggers outnumbered the bakers almost 8 to 1 LOL. The test bakers who helped us were fabulous in reality. They were able to answer all of our questions, asked for our opinions and showed us tips and tricks.





Once entering the kitchen I was astonished at the size of the kitchens (all of which were fully stocked). All kinds of food, baking accessories and cooking utensils. I am not sure who is in charge of the shopping but kudos to them - those kitchens were not lacking for ANYTHING. Later I discovered that not only were there the 3 dual kitchens observable from the overlook, but an additional 7 - 8 test kitchens on an adjoining wing!

Upon entering the kitchens, we were shown the 4 stations - Brownies, Breakfast, Cookies and Cake. We were broken into 4 groups and assigned to one of the stations to start off with. At the end of the day left with a book containing all of the recipes of our creations. I am sharing the recipes here with you!


For my group, our first station was Brownies. At the brownie station we were able to make Brownies on a Stick and Brownie and Berry Dessert Pizza.* an alternative gluten free recipe for this is posted on the Betty Crocker website. There were also Brownie Goody Bars (these are also gluten free) and Rocky Road Brownies available for sampling


The picture below is the actual batch of the Brownies on a Stick I decorated; above is a picture of me actually doing the decorating (I am the one in the middle).




There were fairly easy - use a square baking pan when baking brownies. Cook brownies and let cool. Slice into 15 rectangle slices using 3 rows of 5. Slightly freeze brownies to give a solid foundation to work with. (Do not totally freeze). Insert Popsicle sticks into brownies. Once complete, dip brownies into melted chocolate and then your choice of toppings.



Below are 2 pictures of me and the girls making the same brownies upon my return home! At the Betty Crocker Kitchens we used sprinkles primarily. At home we used sprinkles, nuts, and coconut for more variety.






Back to the Brownie Station....Also at the same station were the Brownie and Berry Dessert Pizza. - here is a picture ..... I helped slice the berries and one of the other ladies in the group pretty much did the rest. On the left is the ones the professionals created before we came and on the right is our replication - Gorgeous!











The next station was Breakfast - there 1/2 the group and I helped make a breakfast Caprese Pizza with Crispy Pancetta - bisquick, fresh tomatoes, fresh basil and fresh mozzarella were key ingredients - Here I am assembling! I loved using the fresh ingredients and it was so simple!
The other half of our group made Fresh Lemon Creme Crepes. I did not have time to make both and the pizza is also actually more of something I would actually do at home so no regrets here! 2 more recipes that were available for sampling were the Cherry Swirl Coffee Cake and Apple Oven Pancakes.

I wish I had more pictures..... I needed to sit down at this point so while I was checking my vm and email, we had a shift change. When I re-entered the kitchens, we had already moved on to cookies


At the Cookie station we were made a couple of nice batches of cookies Citrus-Kissed Fig Thumbprints. My major contributions at this station were the simple tasks of zesting a lemon and keeping track of the timers.

Although we had fun making the cookies, there were also different versions to sample. My favorite was a Cranberry Macadamia Bars - a winner from one of the prior baking contests. I am not sure of who the creator is but OMG, these were to die for!!!!! These will be making an appearance in my own kitchen!.

Many of the other ladies LOVED the Creme Brulee Cheesecake bars. (These were yummy also, but my favorite is still the Cranberry Macadamia Nut Bars) Other cookies that I did not get to try but looked delish were the Red Velvet Rich and Creamy Cookies, and the Citrus-Kissed Fig Thumbprints that I helped bake.








The final station was Cakes It was much, much simpler than it looked. You can see the Mini Pumpkin Cakes and Jack-o'-Lantern Cake shown in pictures below - perfect for October! There were also the CUTEST Ice Cream Cone Cakes, which I also plan to make with the girls. I helped with the Jack-o-Lantern Cake and could not believe how easy it was!

At the end of the day we had fun but left hungry - no time to eat!

Just kidding :) Quite the opposite. Most of us overindulged just a bit. The food was fabulous - between breakfast, lunch and baked goods, we had it all! The fine people at General Mills made sure that we were well fed!

On my next post I will fill you in on the details for all of the great products we were introduced to. I bake some things from scratch (pumpkin bread, pudding), but I also consistently use boxed mixes for others (cake) or if I want to save time (brownies and cookies). Some of the products we shown look wonderful! My favorite is a dessert mix that can be used as a base in numerous baked goods.

From unique to fun to elegant Betty Crocker has a recipe for you. These professionals working in the test kitchens dedicate their time to creating new and fun items for the home cook. Some of the recipes are the result of home cooks who just have a knack for baking. You do not need to go to the Betty Crocker Kitchens to learn to make these - ALL of these recipes can easily be made at home.



One thing I learned there is don't be afraid to try new things. Great recipes are the result of someone who is willing to try be creative by thinking outside the box and trying the "untried". If you are considering something different for your next gathering, something fun to do with the kids or a fun way to pass the time, and don't want to experiment on your own, visit BettyCrocker.com. There you will find a multitude of great ideas, tried and true, to give you a great baking experience at home!

General Mills covered the costs of my trip to the Betty Crocker Kitchens. I was not required to right a post. All opinions expressed are my own. For more information on this blog and on my posting practices, please refer to the disclosure policy at the bottom of the page.

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