Friday, July 27, 2012

Chocolate Strawberry Jam Filled Vanilla Cupcakes & Giveaway

Update:  We have a winner!



Congratulations to Michelle - Please comment back within the next 48 hours with your contact information so we can mail you your choice of Chocolate Jam and Cupcake Mix! (your comment with contact information will not appear below)

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------



Before beginning my internship at Stonewall Kitchen I was familiar with the products having used them growing up in the area.

Interested to see what the latest and greatest products were before beginning my internship, I went to the best source I could think of; social media.  Much to my surprise, the first thing I found was new Chocolate Jams in three different flavors – Strawberry, Raspberry, and Banana – absolutely taking over their Facebook page. As a lover of food, like most of the employees here, you can imagine my excitement. Even more than I love food, I love to bake, and also happen to be guilty of watching most of the cupcake shows currently on TV. So, unsurprisingly, I got the idea to bake cupcakes filled with one of these new, sure to be delicious, chocolate fruited jams. Hoping that it would demonstrate I had indeed done my research, I even made a point to bring up the jams and the cupcake idea during my interview.


I’ve never baked with any kind of gluten free mix before and do not have a gluten intolerance, but I decieded to go with the Gluten Free Vanilla Cupcake Mix. Here it goes… Hopefully they taste as good as I’m expecting! 


<><>
Halfway through making the batter! At this point, I had put in the butter and mixed it with some of the cupcake mix, then added the milk and egg before adding the rest of the mix to all be blended together.

Here’s the finished mix and the cupcake tins filling up 

I had a feeling this method wouldn’t work, but I couldn’t resist trying it… On a few of the cupcakes we filled the tray part way, put in some Chocolate Strawberry Jam, and then topped it off with a little more batter to try to bake the filling into the cupcake. 

Ready to go into the oven

And, fresh out of the oven! 

Cutting out the center, so far they look great to me. And licking the spoon after I finished filling them was a delicious decision. 

After letting the cupcakes cool for a while and filling them with jam, I was finally able to frost them. The mix that came with the cupcakes was sweet and sugary!

Now for the results of the experiment. The cupcake on the left is the one I tried to bake the jam filling into; apparently the consistencies didn't work well together because as you can see, the jam somehow made it to the bottom of the cupcake. The one on the right was the successful cored cupcake; we just scooped out the middle of the cupcake with a small knife and drizzled the jam into it.

Finally, here is a close up of the successfully cored cupcake. As you may have guessed it was a little messy to eat, but still sweet and tasty all the same!
If you love baking anywhere near as much as I do, which is a lot, I highly encourage you to try a project like this. So much so that we are going to offer a free Chocolate Jam (your choice on flavor) and one of our cupcake mixes to try! 

Giveaway!
What you will win
  • (1) Jar of our new Chocolate Jam - your choice from the following flavors:  Chocolate Banana, Chocolate Strawberry and Chocolate Raspberry
  • (1) Box of our cupcake mix - your choice from the following flavors:
    • Chocolate Cupcake with Chocolate Frosting
    • Chocolate Cupcake with Vanilla Bean Frosting
    • Chocolate Coconut Frosting
    • Gluten Free Vanilla Cupcake with Vanilla Frosting
    • Gluten Free Chocolate Cupcake with Chocolate Frosting
How to Enter

Mandatory:  Let us know what flavor combinations of cupcake and jam sounds best in our comments below! 

Additional Entries: 
  • Like us on Facebook
  • Share our giveaway with your friends via Facebook or Twitter
  • Follow us on Twitter:  @StonewalKitchen
  • Follow us on Pinterest
Remember, each extra entry must be left in a separate comment. A winning comment will be chosen at random. If an email, twitter handle or other way to be contacted is not included the winner will be announced and asked to comment back leaving their contact information (this will not be published). Winner has 48 hours to reply and claim their prize.

Giveaway ends on Monday, July 30, 2012 at 12:00PM EST

Winners have 48 hours to claim their prize. US residents only, please no employee entries.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

2012 Charity Pancake Breakfast at Stonewall Kitchen

We are excited to host our annual Charity Pancake Breakfast this Saturday, July 28th from 8am-11am at our York Company Store!  Each year you'll find our employees out on the patio flipping our Farmhouse Pancakes and serving them with fruit, whipped cream and of course the standard, maple syrup and butter.  This year all proceeds will benefit two great organizations; York Community Food Pantry who works to feed families in need here in our community and the Hilton-Winn Farm which is dedicated to youth enrichment through nature based education.

We hope to see you on Saturday!

A few photos from last year;
Plate-sized pancakes

Owner Jonathan King signing cookbooks
Everyone enjoying a great breakfast for a great cause

Friday, July 13, 2012

Dog Days of Summer Sale - Save 20% online!


Beat the heat and shop from home this weekend - you'll save 20% off your online purchase. Start shopping now!


*Exclusive online offer. To receive your discount, please provide promo code DOGDAYS at checkout. Offer valid Friday, 7/13/12 through Sunday, 7/15/11 until 11:59PM ET on in-stock merchandise. Offer cannot be combined with other discounts or promotions. Offer excludes shipping charges, sale items, Gift Cards, eCards, Specialty Food Club, Cooking School Classes, corporate or wholesale orders. Not valid on prior purchases. Offer valid for online purchases only.


Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Knife Tips, Collected at the Stonewall Kitchen Cooking School


As the summer marketing intern here at Stonewall Kitchen, I’m doing a lot of different things – from attending meetings, helping with research, and preparing for events, to attending some of the Cooking School classes to collect tips and useful kitchen information.  I was told these tips would be used for various aspects of the social media work done here.  I had no idea that would turn into me actually using some of them and later blogging about it.

According to Pat Bagg, guest chef instructor of the first Cooking School class I attended, knowing how to use a knife in the kitchen makes all the difference.  This was something I certainly did not know, and am only now starting to figure out.

A few weeks ago I happily agreed to help our Event Coordinator, Sarah, prep for the Taste of the Nation event in Portsmouth, NH.  My assumption was that I’d mostly be scooping things or just filling containers and getting food ready for transport.  Well, first I ended up cutting croissants into smaller pieces that would later be drizzled with Chocolate Raspberry Jam.  This was simple enough, but upon finishing, my new task was dicing a pepper.  I think previously the most complex thing I had done with a vegetable was peel it.  After that, I was given the task of cutting up some watermelon, another thing I had surprisingly never done before.  Luckily, I have slowly been accumulating a working knowledge of knives and how to use them, so I diced and cut away.  A grouping of tips I had learned became extremely helpful.  I’ll warn you now, we couldn’t show all of them in pictures, but I’ll do my best to describe the picture-less tips just as well for you!  

To start, I want to talk about your grip on the knife... No fickle finger!  This is pictured on the left, while the right picture would be a correct knife grip.  It’s potentially surprising, but keeping your finger wrapped around the handle with the rest of your hand, instead of trying to steady the knife with an outstretched finger, does actually give you much better control.


Next, when cutting peppers, cut on the fleshy side and not the shiny side.  The outside of the pepper, because of its shininess, is slippery.  I remembered this shortly after starting to cut on the shiny side and having slight difficulties.  This should also help with cutting even slices or even dicing because the blade won’t be skidding or slipping across the vegetable.


When you stop and think about it, you realize that everything in nature is round… And chasing something around a cutting board with your knife because it’s rolling all over the place is a great way to slice yourself, instead of the fruit.  Start by cutting your food in half and setting down on its flat side so it can no longer go anywhere.  If I had been continuing to cut this lime, you would have seen the lime sitting motionless and flat in the next picture.


Okay, last tip with pictures... Everyone is always afraid of cutting themselves, especially when getting into the idea of sharpening knives.  First and foremost, you should always be cautious when using knives however there are some ways you can make it more difficult to accidentally cut yourself.  The best way to do this is to cut using the claw method; your fingers will thank you later.  This is always a good position for your guide-hand, because you have no exposed fingertip to cut!  Here, I was cutting the rind off of this grapefruit (I had already cut the bottom so it would sit flat), by following the curve of the fruit with the knife.  As you can see in the first picture, when I started the blade was pretty close to my guide-hand fingers.  With such a sharp knife, the claw method may have saved my fingers, and at the very least made it a much more comfortable cut.


I love the way these pictures came out for me to share with you, but I do have a few more important tips that you'll have to rely simply on my description to understand.
  • To cut efficiently, the tip of the knife should never leave the cutting board.  Whenever I got into a 'cutting groove,' especially when I was dicing peppers, it was because I had managed to do this.  This works best with some of the knives that have blades on the more curved side, and then it becomes kind of a rocking motion.  
  • And last but not least: when scooping things off the cutting board with the knife, use the dull side instead of the sharp one.  This seems logical, but it’s also safer and easier to do so; not to mention, less scary for a knife handling novice like me.  I will admit, since first hearing this tip I have seen chefs do it both ways, but scooping food off the board works just as well with the dull side of the knife, so I see no reason not to do it that way! 

I hope these tips are as helpful to you as they were to me!  And if you've been cruising through a kitchen your entire life you may use these skills on a daily basis, but a review of the basics never hurt anyone, right?

Monday, July 9, 2012

Chocolate Shortcakes with Fresh Berries and Whipped Cream

With berry season in full swing here in Maine, our Cooking School Chef Instructor, Scott Jones, created this berry shortcake using a chocolate shortcake instead of the traditional biscuit.  It was a fantastic end to a meal that included a Roasted Strawberry and Goat Cheese Bruschetta, Toasted Couscous with Grilled Summer Vegetables and a Sweet & Savory BBQ Chicken using our new Chipotle Ketchup.  Be sure to test this recipe out while the berries are still sweet and plentiful!

Chocolate Shortcakes with Fresh Berries and Whipped Cream

Serves 6

Ingredients:
For the berries:
  • 2 pints fresh blackberries, rinsed and drained
  • 1 pint blueberries
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons Amaretto
For the Shortcakes:
  • 3 Tablespoons Cocoa Powder
  • 2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 6 Tablespoons white sugar
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, chilled, cut into 2" pieces
  • 2/3 cup chilled buttermilk
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 Tablespoons Demerara Sugar to sprinkle
For the Whipped Cream:
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 Tablespoons powdered sugar
  • Powdered sugar for dusting as garnish (optional)
Directions:
  1. In a large bowl combine the fruit, sugar and Amaretto.  Marinate at room temperature for 1 hour.
  2. Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit with oven rack in center
  3. Whisk cocoa powder, flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda in a bowl.  Add cold butter and mix until the mixture resembles coarse damp sand (mixing with hands works best).
  4. Whisk buttermilk and egg until blended - add to flour mixer and mix until combined
  5. Gather dough and turn onto floured board.  Knead 5 turns, cut into six 3" squares.
  6. Transfer to heavy ungreased baking sheet, spaced apart.  Cover and chill
  7. Sprinkle Demerara Sugar on top
  8. Bake until puffy, about 18 minutes, and cool
  9. In a medium bowl, whip the cream to soft peaks.  Add the sugar and whip until stiff peaks form.  Keep cold until ready to use.
  10. Split shortcakes horizontally in half.  Top each bottom half with a heaping tablespoon of berries and cream, place top half on top and top with remaining berries and cream. Garnish with powdered sugar and serve.
If you are visiting the Southern Maine area this summer, be sure to check out our Cooking School class schedule!  We have a great mix of classes coming up this summer, everything from Lobster Favorites to West African Cuisine.