Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Christmas Cookies Galore!

Yesterday I started my annual Christmas cookie baking fest. I love to make many different types of cookies to have on hand for guests, give as gifts and bring to parties. This year I decided to make most of my cookies small so that guests and friends can try many different kinds. This is an important tip that I learned from my sister in law last year.

Pictured above in a very festive scene in my home are apricot pistachio pinwheels, peanut coconut cookies, cranberry pistachio cookies, chocolate sugar cookies with sprinkles and peppermint buttons. Some of these recipes are from magazines and newspapers and others are passed on through family members. I love my ever growing and changing collection of cookie recipes from many different sources.

Also, I made my first cookie containing organic coconut oil yesterday! I tried using half butter and half coconut oil in the chocolate sugar cookies and it turned out perfectly. I have been curious about using coconut oil and I have learned that it is a very healthy oil. It is high in fiber and very good for you. This recipe has been adapted from a magazine clipping from Martha Stewart. Here is the recipe:
Chocolate Sugar Cookies:
Makes 8 large cookies or about 20 small ones

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour (I use organic unbleached flour)
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa- Dutch processed
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup coconut oil (it is solid at room temperature)
1 large egg
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 350 F. In a medium bowl using a metal whisk mix together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt. Set bowl aside.
2. Mix butter and sugar together in an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment on medium high speed until fluffy and light colored. Mix in coconut oil. Add egg and vanilla and mix until creamy.
3. Turn the mixer to a low speed and slowly add the flour mixture and mix until just combined.
4. For big cookies use a 2 1/2 inch ice cream scoop to measure out dough balls. I like to cover the balls in sugar before placing them on a parchment lined baking sheets. *If you are making small cookies use a small spoon to measure out 1 inch balls and roll in sugar. Place them about 1/2 inch apart on lined baking sheets. Bake big cookies for about 18 to 20 minutes and baking small cookies about 14 minutes. The edges will be firm and the center of the cookie will be a bit softer. Let them cool on sheets for a few minutes before transferring to wire racks.

*You can also mix in some sprinkles to add some Christmas cheer to the cookies before rolling them in sugar.


The festival of cookie baking and candy making will continue today so stay tuned for more pictures and tales from the kitchen.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Cinnamon and Spice

Last week we spent the greater part of two days preparing for & baking many spiced treats for a local Christmas tree farm in Oregon City called Wheeler's Tree Farm located at 19566 S. Central Point Rd Oregon City, Oregon 97045. Go and visit them for a tree and a treat from us! They ordered many items from us to sell at their farm including many loaves of cinnamon bread pictured above. Also being sold at the farm are our famous cinnamon rolls and pies such as hazelnut and apple streusel. We enjoyed spending time together to create such delicious baked goods for this holiday season. Stay tuned for more as we get busier throughout the season. Pictured below are our packaged cinnamon rolls for the farm:

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Farmer's Tea Pastries at Green Grocer!

We are very excited to announce that you can now find packaged Farmer's Tea pastries at the Green Grocer Store in Oregon City! Since my last post we have been busy with creating these pastries and preparing for the holiday baking season.

For Thanksgiving we baked some pies and treats for some wonderful Oregon City customers and delivered them to the Green Grocer store for pickup. That Saturday, November 24 we delivered our first batch of pastries to the Green Grocer. We now have two gluten free items available including (pictured above) our lemon gluten & dairy free snack cakes and hazelnut coffee biscotti. Also, we are offering hazelnut-chocolate madeleines, ginger scones, coconut scones, chocolate hazelnut scones and our delicious and buttery chocolate dipped shortbread! Yum!

So, if you are in the Oregon City area drop by the Green Grocer and check out our pastry selection. Or, if you'd like to special order pastries, cakes or pies for the holidays we can have them available for pick up at the Green Grocer as well.

This week we'll be busy baking cinnamon bread, cinnamon rolls, large pies and mini pies for a local Christmas tree farm in the Oregon City area. Thank you so much for your continued support! We love baking for you!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Roasted Applesauce Spice Cake with a Caramel Glaze

Lately I've been really working on using a lot of the wonderful ingredients that I have on hand in my pantry, fridge and freezer. To make this amazingly delicious cake I first roasted some of Oregon's bounty- apples- in the oven with butter, brown sugar and cinnamon. Then, I pureed those to create the applesauce used in this cake. I also used some apple pie filling I'd canned earlier in the fall season. Yum!

This cake is amazingly delicious and chock full of wonderful ingredients including some almonds that I had in the freezer as well as a lot of raisins and spices. I originally was going to put an additional vanilla glaze on top of the caramel glaze, but I found it wasn't necessary. It's so moist and good with the caramel that soaks into the cake that it doesn't need further embellishment. So, I encourage you all to raid your pantries and use the fall harvest to create something scrumptious to share with family, friends and co-workers. As you can see in the picture above the cake is full of big, juicy apple chunks! Enjoy!

Friday, November 9, 2007

Comforting Cookies

Today I decided to make some wonderful, comforting, old-fashioned cookies that I know & love. Winter is settling in and it's time to light candles and fire up the oven to make some delicious little treats!

I was thinking a lot about my Grandma Marian these days and how much she loved cookies. Her favorite cookies were Ranger Cookies because she loved coconut & the crunch of the wheat flakes in them. They are extremely delicious and I don't think I've made them since she passed away so many years ago. It brought back great memories to make them again. I remember that she used to subtly hint to me that she wanted me to make these cookies when she said "I bought some Wheaties." I knew that meant that she'd love for me to make her favorite cookies. But, she'd never directly tell me to make them. She was so sweet & so subtle in her ways.

Today I'll enjoy some of these cookies again & include the recipe in this post. Right now they are fresh out of the oven and just as good as I can remember. Many modern cookbooks do not include Ranger Cookies as I remember them because they don't add the Wheaties (or any wheat flake that you'd like to put in) which I think is essential to the cookie. And as a bonus it adds more whole grains!

Here is the recipe:

Ranger Cookies-
Makes about 48 small cookies or 36 larger cookies

Heat oven to 350 Degrees Fahrenheit

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup oats
1 cup Wheaties cereal (or any other wheat flakes such as Kashi)
1/2 cup flaked coconut

Mix the butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, egg and vanilla thoroughly. Stir in remaining ingredients. Roll into 1 inch balls and roll in plain granulated sugar or cinnamon sugar. Place cookie balls 2 inches apart onto an ungreased baking sheet. Bake 12 minutes. Cool on a cooling rack.

Enjoy this cozy recipe for a cold winter!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Goodbye! We'll miss you!

With the beautiful and delicious cake pictured above we said goodbye to our wonderful English as a Second Language secretary and great friend Apolonia yesterday. We will miss her very, very much in our department at Clackamas Community College. She is moving to Georgia..hence the lovely marzipan peaches on the cake.

Yesterday afternoon we celebrated with this cake that the ladies of Farmer's Tea made. We had a great time making this delicious cake! It's a fudge cake with custard filling iced with a rich chooclate buttercream and decorated with delicate marzipan peaches. Wow! It was so rich and good! It was a big hit at the goodbye party!

Here is a close up photo of the marzipan peaches as well:

Here's to celebrations and here's to Apolonia! May she enjoy many wonderful adventures in Georgia!! Thank you for all that you have done to help us!

Monday, October 29, 2007

A Sunny Sendoff!

We were so lucky to have such a gorgeous sunny day for our last farmer's market of the season. We enjoyed seeing so many of our regular customers and letting them know that we will be around to bake for them this winter. Our most loyal and favorite customer is pictured below in front of our booth with his paper bag that he has used since the beginning of the farmer's market season. He picked up his favorite pie- rhubarb custard-every week that he could and saved his pie boxes and tins as well! Great recycling job!

For our last day we decided to create some outstanding treats for our market crowd who to me seem more like guests at our outdoor tea party every Saturday! Pictured above is our vanilla cake filled with apricot preserves and cream cheese icing & iced with a rich chocolate buttercream. What a delight!

We also decided to try an East Coast favorite in a new fall flavor: Pumpkin Whoopie Pies (pictured below). They are so good! We made ours with two soft pumpkin cookies sandwiched with a cream cheese and ginger filling. They are so delicious!

We also enjoyed giving out samples of our salted caramel and hazelnut caramel truffles for the upcoming holiday season. They are absolutely divine! I love the extra flavor that the salt imparts into the chocolate and caramel in the candy. Many people purchased and enjoyed these truffles.

After the market we stopped by the Green Grocer in Oregon City to return the commercial coffee maker that Gwen let us borrow for the market. We were able to get one on Freecycle for next season, so we are all set! Thank you Gwen for letting us borrow your coffee maker this season! Her store is so cute and so full of delicious foods. The store front is pictured below. If you live in the Oregon City area and haven't stopped by, you should check out the Green Grocer. We will have some of our pastries there shortly.

To end, I would like to thank so many people for our successful farmer's market season, 2007! Thank you to all of our wonderful customers, many of whom became "regulars" at our booth! We will miss you! Also, thank you to my dad and brother for helping us set up our booth very early every Saturday. Thank you to my dear husband for his support in my baking adventures and for doing household projects every Saturday while I was at the market. And, last but not least thank you to my mom and sister in law for their wonderful work baking all of our goodies, coming up with great ideas and being so supportive of this business! I really appreciate all of you! Thank you so much!

Keep checking back for all of our latest endeavors and holiday happenings!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Singing in the Rain

As I drove through the torrential rain on Saturday to set up our booth for the Oregon City Farmer's Market I thought that anyone that came to the market that day would be extremely brave and really want some wonderful produce or pastries! We had so many delicious creations for the market that day. Pictured above is our vanilla, chocolate and raspberry torte frosted with chocolate buttercream and decorated with chopped hazelnuts. It was very popular and served by the slice.

At the beginning of the market we told a fellow market friend that "even if we stand here all day and laugh and talk, it'll be a great day." And, so it was! However, we did see a lot of our loyal customers and they were so appreciative that we were there. We were also so thankful and happy that they came on such a cold, wet & rainy day! They are true Oregonians and true market-goers as well. That is the mark of a person that is dedicated to supporting farmers and local businesses and we really appreciate that so much!

On Saturday at the market we gave out samples of some delicious handmade truffles in three different flavors of coconut, vanilla and Earl Grey tea. They were very well received and we had fun talking to people about our holiday offerings. The truffles are pictured below:

The market manager decided to end the market early and so we decided to all go out to eat and then go and visit our friend Gwen's new store The Green Grocer in Oregon City. We took a lot of samples of our pastries there and we talked to her about having our baked goods in her store. She is very dedicated to supporting all of the local farmers and businesses in her store and has many wonderful things to offer there. It's a great chance for businesses like ours to keep going in the off season from the farmer's market.

After the market is over this Saturday, October 27th if customers order cakes, pies, scones or other baked goods from us we will deliver them for pick up at the Green Grocer store located at 891 Molalla Avenue, Oregon City, OR 97045. Her phone number is 503-657-5977. So, feel free to order from us during the off season and for the upcoming holidays. Let us know when you'd like your order and we'll make sure it is delivered to the Green Grocer and you can pick it up there at your leisure.

A huge thank you to Gwen at her store and to all of our wonderful, loyal customers!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Celebrating Milestones

Today I had a great time creating the fortieth birthday cake pictured above for my husband's boss. His big birthday party is tomorrow and I hope that everyone in the office enjoys this wonderful chocolate fudge cake covered in buttercream made from organic butter. Yum! The fabulous colors on this cake were created using gel frosting colors from a great cake decorating store located near me called Deco Supply. I rely on this store for all of my cake decorating supplies because I know they will always have what I need and they are so helpful and friendly.

I'll be back later with my adventures in candy making!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Cakes and Community

On Saturday, October 13 we had a fabulous market day! We made an amazing cake that celebrates what's best about the Oregon Fall harvest! Pictured above is our hazelnut torte filled with quince preserves. It was a big hit at the market & will be added to our vast fall repertoire.

This Saturday we also gave out samples of our fabulous Christmas & Holiday cookies. The cookies included little Butter Spritz, Buttery Brown Sugar Cookies, Peppermint Buttons dipped in chocolate and Hazelnut Mexican Wedding Cakes. The delightful array of cookies is pictured below. This week I'll be busy in the kitchen making samples of our candy including truffles & fudge.

We only have 2 more weeks at the market this season & we will dearly miss it. I was telling friends this weekend that serving customers at our booth at the market was like being paid to have a party every week. It is so much fun meeting new people & celebrating with friends that we have made over the two years we have been at the Oregon City Farmer's Market.

My Mom and I were talking to one of our dear customers last Saturday morning about how much the farmer's market builds community. You get to know and network with people in your community you may have never met. We have made so many great friends through this market and through the winter we hope to keep in touch with them and through the years be lifetime friends.

Also, it is such a great way to support our local farmers and other local businesses. We enjoy buying produce, hazelnuts and other items that we in turn use to make our fabulous cinnamon rolls, pumpkin pies, scones and other delights this time of year as well as to enjoy in meals at home. You an see our vast selection of scones and cinnamon rolls in the photo below:

Pictured above left to right are our apricot nut scones made with spelt flour and oats, spelt coconut scones, chocolate hazelnut scones, ginger scones made with our own candied ginger, coconut scones & our famous huge cinnamon rolls.

This week...candy made from scratch & more holiday treats to come. Back to the kitchen I go!!

Monday, October 8, 2007

Let's Celebrate!!

We had a fabulous time this weekend at the market & also creating some wonderful celebration cakes! It's so great to have the opportunity to help someone celebrate a special occasion with a delicious & beautiful cake!

This week we created a lovely gluten & dairy free banana cake (pictured above) for a special wedding anniversary as well as a flourless chocolate cake with chocolate ganache. We also had so much fun making a large square banana cake with pastry cream & banana filling (pictured below) for a little boy's birthday party. We had a great time with the bright colors that our client requested! We love the combination! We certainly enjoy days where we can be creative with our pastry skills & this was one of those wonderful weeks!

We also had an incredibly busy Saturday at the Oregon City Farmer's Market! We made some new items this week including some hazelnut honey sticky buns (pictured below), a pumpkin cheesecake pie & a lovely spiced pumpkin pie! We also featured some hazelnut butter tarts! Yum! Just about all of our yummy pastries were gone by the end of the day! Wow!

I think that when the cold weather comes we all crave some delicious treats to keep us going! It was a bit blustery on Saturday & the cold of fall has set in so everyone was in the mood for a cup of our hot organic coffee or tea & a sweet treat to top it all off! We had the best time talking to customers & enjoying the day! We also enjoyed shopping at the market for our honey & potatoes that we need for next week's delicacies.

This week I'll be making some gluten free pumpkin pies as well as some mini Christmas Cookie Trays that we will display on Saturday. We'll give out some samples of our Christmas goodies for people to try so that they can experience our amazing holiday treats! These trays will be available for purchase during the holiday season. More to come.....enjoy the Fall!

Monday, October 1, 2007

Free At Last!! Gluten & Dairy Free Cakes!!

Last week I had a request to create three flavors of gluten free & dairy free cakes for an anniversary cake coming up in October. Tomorrow our client is coming over the try the cakes!

Today I successfully met the challenge of creating three delicious flavors of cakes that are both gluten free & dairy free. I am so pleased with the results & may even proclaim that these cakes have better texture & flavor than some traditional flour cakes I have made & tasted. Above is a photo of the carrot cakes I made with a pineapple & coconut icing & topped with light macaroon coconut & a coconut slice.

The second photo above is of my second gluten & dairy free creation: banana cake with a creamy banana pudding filling topped with vanilla buttercream & a sweetened banana chip! Wow! These are good! They are super moist & delicious!! I am so happy with the results of my experiments!I took the various gluten free & dairy free recipes I have and I was able to create a marriage of the two! I'd say they are a match made in heaven! The banana & carrot cakes are also egg-free for those who cannot or do not eat eggs.

The third cupcake photo is of my final gluten free & dairy free creation: a light lemon cake with raspberry jam filling & topped with a lemon buttercream. Some of the cakes are topped with crushed lemon candies & some are simply garnished with lemon rind slices. These are so amazingly good! They have a very light crumb & incredible lemon flavor! My next challenge will be to create these cakes using agave nectar as the sweetener.

Later this week (after I get my kitchen cleaned up) I'll be back to write about cooking fresh sugar pumpkins that we bought at the farmer's market on Saturday for the pies that we are going to make this Friday for the market! Fall is here! Happy days to you all!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Agave Sweetened Mini Chocolate Cupcakes

Last night I decided to start my experimenting using agave nectar as a sweetener in some baked treats. In these cakes I used light agave nectar however next time I use the nectar with chocolate I might try the dark agave nectar. I would like to see what effect this would have on the taste. These mini chocolate dairy free cupcakes pictured above are topped with chocolate ganache. I am very pleased with these! The cupcakes are very moist & have a great flavor. Agave nectar has a different sweetening effect than regular sugar but it is very delicious! I noticed also that the cupcakes have a nice smooth crumb to them & the tops of the cakes are very smooth. They could even be topped with a bit of powdered sugar for a different effect.

I am very excited about the possibilities of agave nectar & will continue experimenting with it. I think it might pair very well with lots of fruit flavors such as lemon, orange or some fall flavors such as pumpkin, apple or pear. Stay tuned for more experiments. Coming next week....more gluten free cakes!



Wednesday, September 26, 2007

New York City Chocolates & Bakeries

Now that I'm settled in back at home here in Oregon I'm ready to post about some delicious chocolate shops & bakeries that we visited while on vacation. Pictured above are some cool souvenirs that I bought in New York City. On the left is a "kangaroo cup" that I bought at the Max Brenner chocolate shop that we visited with my sister in law. You can put pieces of chocolate on the side that can melt into your cappuccino or hot chocolate drink! It's so neat & so much fun to drink out of!

On the right is a bag of superb baking chocolate from Jacques Torres also known as "Mr. Chocolate". It is 72% bittersweet & can be used for baking & hot chocolate. I can't wait to experiment with it & create a fabulous dessert! Also, I bought this little bar of milk chocolate which I can put into my kangaroo cup to enjoy with my coffee! Yum!

We also visited two bakeries in NYC. On our first day in the city we went to the famous Magnolia Bakery known for its cupcakes. We tried a vanilla cupcake, red velvet cupcake & a small round flourless chocolate cake. They were definitely very good, but I feel proud saying that we at Farmer's Tea can make cupcakes that are just as good & probably better!

Then, on another day we visited Babycakes Bakery. They are a very unique bakery because they make many gluten free & dairy free-vegan items as well as items with spelt flour. They sweeten most of their baked goods with agave nectar as well. I tried a chocolate cupcake, carrot cupcake, cinnamon bun with raisins, chocolate chip cookie & cornbread. It was a good sampling of their offerings. Their bakery was very cute & old fashioned. I really applaud them for making alternative baked goods! I thought that their chocolate chip cookie was very good. It was very moist & satisfying. The cinnamon bun was also excellent as it was very moist & sticky! Yum!! I thought that the cupcakes could use a little more flavor, but the frosting was really nice. Overall I think their baked goods are great & I congratulate them! It inspires me to try out more gluten free, dairy free & alternatively sweetened baked goods!

This week I'm going to try working more with agave nectar making some mini cupcakes for a party & next week I'm going to try out some more gluten free & dairy free cakes. I'll be back with more baking experiments shortly!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Super Saturday!

I'm now back from vacation in New York City & ready to catch up on all of our wonderful baking projects! I'd like to talk about our great market day on September 15th & what we are looking to do this week & next week. Above you can see a photo of our scrumptious gluten free hazelnut coffee biscotti which is very popular at the market! It is delicious & perfect with a hot cup of coffee or tea.

Below is a picture of our Tres Leches Babycakes which is a traditional Mexican sponge cake with a custard poured into the cake. It's topped with a meringue frosting & toasted coconut. It's heaven in a cake!

Next, I'd love to introduce you to some lovely vegan (dairy & egg free) cupcakes that we offered at our last market day. These are yummy pina colada & chocolate cakes! Delicious!! The pina colada cake is the next best thing to being on the beach with a tropical drink in hand. I'll leave you with the image below & be back soon to share with you the bakeries that I visited in New York City & what is yet to come in our baking world!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Holiday Goodies!

Today we also started talking about holiday goodies. Pictured above are some little fruitcakes that I covered in marzipan, fondant or royal icing & decorated with holiday motifs. We are all very talented at making cookies, cakes, pies, candies & other treats for the holiday season, so we have started to come up with some ideas for what to offer.

We are working on mini cookie tray offerings as well as many other treats for the holiday season. Providing mini cookies lets people sample a wide variety of treats as this special time of year. We'll be offering some of our favorites such as:

  • Lebkuchen- a spiced, honey cookie
  • Peppermint Buttons- a buttery, mint cookie
  • Hazelnut Coffee Biscotti- flavored with strong coffee
  • Mexican Wedding Cakes- with ground hazelnuts
  • Spritz- a buttery, rich cookie
We'll begin working on these cookie trays & other delectable items soon & provide some samples at the Oregon City Farmer's Market.

If you are interested in any of our regular menu items, cakes or would like to learn more about us you can visit our web site at:


Thanks for reading & we'll be back with more mouth watering baked good photos & experiments very soon!

Our New Fall Line Up

We had a wonderful lunch meeting today to discuss our new fall offerings & things we'd like to try baking using seasonal ingredients such as apples, pears, pumpkin, hazelnuts and even squash. We have such fun looking through piles of cookbooks, photos & clippings in order to create new goodies for our farmer's market booth.

When we return from vacation we will begin to post about our new creations. Here are some of our ideas for fall:

  • Hazelnut Honey Sticky Buns
  • Pumpkin or Squash Spice Cake
  • Apple Upside Down Cornmeal Cakes
  • Apple Cider Baby Cakes with Caramel Glaze
  • Autumn Cake- filled with apples, spices & nuts
  • Saffron Pear Cake
  • Acorn Squash and Honey Pie
  • Chocolate Nut Pie
  • Dairy Free Pumpkin Pie
  • Flourless Hazelnut Torte
  • Maple Nut Pear Upside Down Cake
We will be so excited to get started on using the bounty of the fall harvest here in Oregon! We look forward to coming back to the kitchen in late September & posting pictures of our latest desserts!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007


We'd like to announce to our loyal Oregon City Farmer's Market customers that we will not be at the market on Saturday, September, 22nd. My husband and I will be going to New York City on a much deserved vacation & my Mom and Sister in Law will be taking the day off as well. We'll look forward to seeing you all the following Saturday, September 29th. Thank you!

Flourless Chocolate Cake with Raspberry Preserves

Welcome to the first post on Farmer's Tea Baking! I'll regularly post our latest creations & baking experiments that we are working on here.

Last night I decided to try out a flourless chocolate cake (pictured above) as a glorious gluten free option at our farmer's market booth in Oregon City, OR. It is as dense as a brownie but has more of a fudge type texture and is extremely smooth & decadent! It was really fun to make & it tastes amazing! The cake has a pound of chocolate in it! Wow! And, I decided to top it with a yummy raspberry preserve that I made myself! I can't wait to share it with friends & family before making it again this Friday for the farmer's market.

We are working hard to create a variety of options for our gluten free & vegan customers at the market. I want them to have as many options in delicious organic pastries as possible. Very soon I will continue to work on creating some pastries using agave nectar for people who are diabetic or want a low sugar option.