Maple View Farm

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A belated Happy National Ice Cream Day! Actually, July is Ice Cream Month, so I’m not late yet! Whew!

We’re in the middle of a heat wave here in North Carolina, also known as summer. But when my friend Lori invited me to an ice cream celebration at a dairy farm in Hillsborough, I couldn’t say no. Standing outside in the heat and humidity is much more bearable when there’s ice cream involved.

A dairy farm is not a bakery, so I suppose technically this shouldn’t count for my NC bakery tour, but it’s still dessert, so I’m counting it anyway. Although they do make waffle cones and bowls. Loophole?

Anyway, I don’t normally get more than a single scoop in a cup or sugar cone (NEVER a cake cone. Yuck.), but in the spirit of adventure and research, I splurged on a two scoop waffle bowl. Oh, and also because WAFFLE BOWL.

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Unfortunately, you can’t see the difference between the two flavors I got. I decided to switch it up from what I would normally get. Again – spirit and adventure. I spotted Honey Almond sitting right below my favorite Butter Pecan, and decided that sounded delicious. When I finally got up to the counter, I asked the girl taking my order which flavor would play well with the Honey Almond, since I couldn’t decide. She told me that most people go with one of the fruit flavors, so I chose peach.

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For the purposes of a photo, Lori’s choices were much better. She got chocolate and a flavor called Carolina Crunch, which is vanilla ice cream with different kinds of candy bars mixed in. The third member of our group, Julianna, stuck by her favorite flavors of cookie dough and coffee. Lori was slightly disappointed by the Carolina Crunch and wished she’d gone with another chocolate flavor, but the rest of us were thrilled!

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I loved their collection of ice cream scoopers! Totally retro, and the decor outside matched! We managed to snag three seats on old-fashioned wooden rocking chairs on the porch outside the store, and ate our ice cream while watching a southern summer thunderstorm. The large number of other people around killed the atmosphere a little, but the whole experience hearkened back to a simpler time.

I wondered if I’d actually be able to taste the honey in the honey almond flavor, but I wasn’t disappointed! It came through perfectly, and the almonds were a nice textural element. I was also happy with my second choice of peach. It was smooth and creamy, without having an overwhelmingly fruity flavor. It also didn’t have huge chunks of peach in it, which I loved.

In case you’re wondering, the girl behind the counter gave me the right advice on pairing a fruit flavor with the honey almond! Beyond that, I think that I made the right choice in peach because it complemented the honey without overwhelming it. I think blackberry (my second choice) might have been too much.

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Since we were at a dairy farm, there were options besides ice cream, and I couldn’t resist the quart of chocolate milk in a glass bottle. Husband has recently been creating his own chocolate milk out of the skim milk and chocolate syrup we keep in the fridge on a regular basis, so I gave him the task of comparing this to his usual creation.

His response was that the Maple View milk had a better consistency since the chocolate was mixed in well (better than what he could do with a spoon, obviously), but he would prefer if it were something other than whole milk. Can’t please everyone, I guess!

I’m excited to go back to Maple View Farm this summer! Next stop on the bakery tour – Winston-Salem. Where should I go?

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Duck Donuts

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It’s been too long since the last entry of the North Carolina dessert tour, so I thought National Donut Day was the perfect opportunity to jump back in!

Duck Donuts is technically a franchise, but the original location is on the Outer Banks (in Duck, NC), so this definitely counts as an NC bakery! Plus, it was recommended to me by Greg Cox. For those of you not in the Raleigh area, Greg Cox is the food critic for the local newspaper. When I say that he recommended this place to me, I mean that the man himself told me personally to go there, not that I read a review he wrote.

In case you’re wondering how the heck that happened, Greg does a Saturday morning radio show at the station I work for occasionally. So not only do I actually know the man, but he has eaten – and enjoyed – my food!

Anyway, the main appeal of Duck Donuts beyond the fact that it’s not Dunkin Donuts or Krispy Kreme (although it is alliterative) is that the donuts are made to order. You tell them exactly what kind of donuts you want, and they make them for you!

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Honey Almond Macaroons

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Happy Passover! Judaism is full of holidays and traditions, and for Passover, the tradition of avoiding leavened foods for 7 days (or 8, depending who you ask) is mitigated by the seders held on the first two nights.

A seder is a dinner in which the story of Passover is told, you drink four glasses of wine, you search for the afikomen and many other things. “Seder” is Hebrew for order, and the seder has this name simply because everything is done in a particular order.

During a seder, you read along in a book called a haggadah. The most famous haggadah was actually created by Maxwell House! But in 2010, after I came home from spending 5 months in Israel, my mom and I put together our own haggadah, which we’ve used ever since.

Before this year, the only years that I did not attend a seder hosted by my parents were the four that I spent in college. But since they moved back to New York, this year, I was on my own. I’m happy to say that my husband and I successfully hosted our own seder this year! It was attended by two other couples and a one-year-old, and we had a great time.

Traditionally, four questions are asked during the seder. Here’s a fifth question – what do you make for dessert when you can’t use flour?

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Baked Brownies

Well, whether you like it or not, dear readers (assuming I have some), this post continues my Baked obsession.

My main desserts are cookies and cupcakes. For the most part, that’s just because those are my favorite things. But also, I stink at cutting things into pieces. It’s possible that I have never cut a straight line in my life, and certainly not with a knife.

Despite this minor flaw, I sometimes venture into other forms of dessert. The other day, I decided that I needed to make the famous Baked brownie. It’s a favorite of both America’s Test Kitchen and Oprah, so I figured there was a good chance it would be a favorite around here too.

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Oopsy Daisy Cake


Remember my obsession with Baked? Well, it’s ongoing. I take every opportunity to make something from one of their books! This cake, unlike the Devil’s Food Cake, is a complete Baked recipe!

So for my husband’s birthday, I told him he could pick any cake he wanted… from a Baked book. My husband and I have been married for one year and together for four, and I had never before made him a birthday cake! Every year, different circumstances have prevented this from happening. This year, I was determined to make something amazing, and that meant a Baked cake.

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Devil’s Food Cake with Angel Frosting

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When I went on the dessert tour in NYC back in May, it was based out of Manhattan only. On that trip, the only Brooklyn dessert place we made it to was the Brooklyn Farmacy. Of course that was delicious, but I was also introduced to another Brooklyn bakery on that trip, although in writing only.

There are many reasons that Laura and I are friends, but of course one of which is that we both enjoy baking. While staying in her apartment, I was handed three dessert cookbooks and told to read them. Of course I obliged, and I immediately wanted those books for my very own. Fortunately, my wonderful in-laws gifted me all three for my birthday!

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Funfetti Cake

20140706-095651-35811331.jpgNothing says birthday like Funfetti cake, so when I spotted this recipe for homemade Funfetti, I knew I had to make it for my father-in-law’s birthday.

Actually, I first made it to take to my office. But I made it with different icing (chocolate) and forgot to take pictures. So I’m going to talk about this version!

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