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Baking Tip: Butter, wtf?!

Have you ever had an issue with your baked goods and weren’t sure what went wrong? Whether they flattened out, burned on the bottom or whatever the issue was, one of the likely culprits is butter. Butter can be a real mess sometimes. Here are some tips when baking with butter (which is almost everything you bake, ya know):

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  1. Use unsalted butter instead of salted butter. Salted butter varies between every manufacturer with how much salt is actually in that butter. Unsalted butter helps you regulate the amount of salt that is going into your baked goods. Nobody wants an overly salted cookie!
  2. Butter temperature matters. A majority of the time when you’re baking you want to use room temperature butter. Butter at room temp makes it easy to combine all of the ingredients so that it doesn’t end up falling apart.
  3. Why butter instead of margarine? Especially with cookies, unsalted butter is going to provide a richer flavor than margarine. Margarine will make your cookies flatten out and burn quicker. So just forget margarine is a thing when it comes to baking cookies.
  4. Not sure when to add butter to cookies? Typically butter is added with the sugar in the beginning steps of cookie dough so that you can combine the sugar and butter to give it a consistent base.

What issues have you experienced with butter? Do you have any other tips to add when it comes to using butter in baking?

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Let’s Party!

After previously debating whether Kickstarter was a good or bad idea, I came to the conclusion that it’s probably a great idea. That being said, let’s party!! Check it out:

Party for a Kickstarter Video!

February 19th, Good Sugar Baking is throwing a party at Ratio Beerworks to create a video for the Kickstarter page. There will be live music by my good friends, The Dollhouse Thieves, samples of cookies, and beer from Ratio. I’m really excited to be able to include my friends in this video. I’ve been going to Ratio for awhile because of their delicious beer, dog friendliness and how awesome the entire staff is. The Dollhouse Thieves are a kickass band that I’ve enjoyed hiking with, sharing beers with and dancing to music with. My good friend who has a production company, Loxodonta Productions, is going to make the video spectacular! Oh, AND everyone that comes for the party, thanks in advance for all of the incredible support. We’re definitely going to be very full after cookies and beer!

For anybody that can’t make it whether it’s because you live in Minnesota (damnit, mom and dad!), some other state that won’t let you come to Colorado on the 19th, or you already have plans, please be on the look out for the launch of the Kickstarter! I really do need all the support I can get and every dollar goes a long way! Don’t worry, you’ll still be able to try the cookies out.

P.S. one of the first cookies you’ll get to try at the Kickstarter video event is already a favorite among the people 😉

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What’s Happening This Month?

Some of you might know that February is Black History Month. Did you know it’s also LGBT History Month, American Heart Month AND National-Bird Feeding Month? I promise I didn’t make that last one up, it really is National Bird-Feeding Month.

So what? You should go feed some birds. For real. Birds are pretty cool. Look at this bird that was in some sort of weird park thing in the Azores (I went there around this time last year, it’s an amazing place!!).

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Anyways, what’s Good Sugar Baking up to this chilly month of February? There is a lot going on!!

First off, Good Sugar is going to be preparing for Kickstarter. It’s going to be amazing. We’re going to make a really cool video for it that’s going to support some really good local friends, we’re going to give away cookies, drink beer and hang out! SO excited.

Other than that, we’re getting all of our licensing in line and we found a commissary that seems promising to bake all of the delicious cookies for you. We will continue to test out different cookies, so really any input would be amazing.

There’s so much to do but this is the time to do it! Thanks to everyone for your continued support and remember, any help you give Good Sugar is more than welcome. Seriously. Especially if it’s accounting, taxes or anything with numbers in general. I’m a creative person, not a math person 😉

Cheers to a fantastic February and great things to come! Be on the look out for more information on Facebook! Don’t forget to feed them birds!

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Baking with Bananas

Banana bread is delicious, right? I love it. My mom always bakes banana bread with chocolate chips in them and it’s always so amazing. Recently, I had some bananas that seriously needed to be used (I’m really picky when it comes to eating bananas – they have to be absolutely perfect so they basically are only good to eat by themselves for an hour out of their whole banana lives) and I thought I would make banana bread but THEN!!! I thought I should bake banana bread cookies. Which turned into banana cookies. Which then turned into banana cream pie cookies. Which lead to one of the greatest cookies that I’ve made so far. Introducing the Banana Cream Cookie.

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It’s incredible. Using bananas mashed up instead of eggs, this cookie is healthier for you and it tastes amazing. You can ask my friends, I made a lot of people try it. At first I was skeptical, the cookies don’t look done because bananas don’t provide the same color that eggs provide cookies. The center was very moist and immediately I thought they were undercooked, but it’s just the banana giving it that texture. Once the cookies cooled – and even for days after – the cookies are still soft and have this very strong banana flavor to them.

I’m going to suggest the next time you have bananas laying around that need to be utilized to try baking cookies. Banana is a great alternative to eggs making it vegan-friendly, which is super important these days with all the vegans runnin’ around.

What kind of baking adjustments have you made before? If you had to use banana in a recipe what would you bake?!

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The Hardest Part About Baking

….Is not eating all of the cookies.

In all reality, that’s not the hardest part. Becoming efficient, not overmixing the dough, adding the ingredients at the right time and making sure they bake correctly are all difficult things when it comes to baking. Especially at high altitude. However, what is the hardest part?

Adding flour. Flour is the pickiest ingredient in cookies; if you add too much they have a flour, gross texture and rise funky, if you add too little they turn out flat and overly crunchy. If you’re at a higher altitude the amount changes with different baked goods, too.

So how do you overcome the flour challenge??

  1. Don’t overmix. When you overmix dough the gluten is activated which causes a very flat, chewy (in a bad way) and unpleasant cookie. If you enjoy those kinds of cookies, mix away! If you want a fluffy, delicate cookie you should start off hand mixing and mix just enough. Some clumps are okay. IMG_5134.jpg
  2. Too much flour? This causes dry and crumbly cookies. From my experience I’ve added a little more butter to get that perfect dough that isn’t crumbly and dry. You’ll know when you have too much flour and can adjust accordingly from there.
  3. Not enough flour? The easiest way to know when there isn’t enough flour is when your dough is sticky, you can’t form the dough into balls and it’s just difficult to work with. All you have to do is add more flour, but do so in really small amounts so you don’t add too much and you have to be extra careful not to overmix!

 

What issues do you have with baking and how do you overcome them?

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To Kickstart or not…

Hey, so there’s this crowdfunding thing called Kickstarter. You’ve heard of it, everyone has. I’ve been going back and forth on whether or not I want to use it because I have a hard time asking anyone for any sort of help. However, how is Good Sugar ever going to be successful if I don’t ask for any help? I have some pretty amazing and talented people in my life that are more than willing to help out. When it comes down to it, not only are they helping me but they’re using their own skills to promote themselves as well. Sounds simple enough, right? So now I need reasons for you good people to give me money. Let me tell you.

  1. You love cookies. Whether or not you’ll admit it, you do. I will even cater to you if you have special dietary restrictions.
  2. Your friends love cookies. Cookies are a great gift no matter the time of year.
  3. It’s not just about cookies, it’s about giving. Giving is one way to make yourself feel better and with Good Sugar you are guaranteed to be giving to a nonprofit!

  4. You love me. That’s right, you do. Supporting someone who is going after their passion and trying to make something out of it is amazing.

I think that’s about it. Well there’s actually a TON more reasons why Good Sugar needs you and if you want more reasons, feel free to reach out to me at goodsugarbaking@gmail.com. I always want input, I can’t stress that enough!

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GOOD sugar

How often do you think about your daily sugar intake? To be honest, I don’t think about mine very frequently; I don’t track anything that I should be tracking. I know that as I get older I should be tracking certain things like sugar, cholesterol, gluten, etc., but I just don’t. The next time you eat a cookie or order dessert at a restaurant, think of these benefits of sugar to make your belly feel a little bit better.

  1. Sugar comes from natural resources. Without using pesticides and other harmful products, the sugar that you eat is not harmful to the environment.
  2. Your skin benefits from sugar. Glycolic acid helps maintain the health of your skin by eliminating blemishes and restoring the balance in the skin’s oil.IMG_5369.JPG
  3. Feeling sleepy? Sugar provides your body with the lack of energy that you need to get through a rough day because of its high caloric count.
  4. If you’re feeling down in the dump, sugar is like a “high” in your brain. Although it’s a temporary feeling, sometimes that’s all you need for the rest of your day!

However, always remember the key to good health is moderation. The American Heart Association reports that most Americans consume an average of 22 grams of added sugar per day, much higher than the recommended 6 teaspoons for women and 9 teaspoons for men.

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What’s in a name?

Good Sugar Baking came about when I was trying to figure out how I could turn my career into something that I perceived as being more successful. To me, success means making me happy, doing what I want to do and continuously looking forward to doing it. I felt stuck at my job. You can ask my boyfriend, he’ll tell you how often I complained about not doing what I really wanted to be doing. I knew that in order for me to be happy and successful I wanted to go after a dream I’ve always had.

I didn’t always want to be baking. I’ve been known to bake from time to time, but not once had I ever said, “my next job I will bake.” Nope, never said that. So why did I decide Good Sugar was the road to my next success story? It comes down to the idea of working for myself and helping others along the way. Sure, I could start a nonprofit. To start a nonprofit you have to have a board of directors and I wasn’t looking to have that kind of team behind me in the beginning. So, for profit it had to be.

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However, I still wanted to make sure that whatever I did benefited those around me. I had just baked some cookies and had people tell me just how delicious they were, so digging around some more in my brain for a great idea I thought, “why not sell cookies and give a percentage of the sales to a nonprofit?” Yeah, that sounded pretty neat. So I started baking. I baked batches that looked like a burnt hamburger patty but tasted amazing and I baked batches that looked super fluffy and perfect but tasted like flour. It’s always hit or miss, but I came up with some recipes that I personally love.

I needed a name. When it comes to naming a business, it’s probably one of the most important parts. If you have a poor name, where will that take you? I wanted something that included cookies and giving to others. I googled different words, put together a wide variety of mixed names and none of them worked. Then, I put together “good” and “sugar” and immediately loved it. Someone (thanks, Jake) told me they thought it sounded like a drug, so I added “baking” so that nobody would call me up and ask me how much an eighth of good sugar costs. Whatever, I still like it.

Good Sugar has become a baby to me over this time. I still love the name and I designed a logo that, although I lack design skills, I’m very proud of. I can’t wait until I have made a billion dollars and pay someone to make a logo that’s even better.

For now, everything that Good Sugar Baking produces, whether it’s this blog or website, social media, local events, cookies, anything, it’s all done by me. It’s a one-woman business and it’s going to kick ass. It already does in my mind.

Don’t forget to follow me on Facebook and on Instagram! It’s fun!

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It’s Nice to Give…Always!

After just surviving the holiday season, your pockets are a little lighter and your heart is a little fuller. Or at least I hope. The holiday season was rough for me, but only because I wanted to spend ALL of my money on gifts for the people in my life. I didn’t spend ALL of my money so I don’t know whether you consider that a successful holiday season or not. Depends on who you ask, I suppose, I’m sure if you asked my dad he would say it was a successful season seeing as I still have some money in my pocket.

I didn’t spend all of my money on anything that gave back, though. That’s what makes it not as successful as I had wanted. None of it went to a charity, fundraiser or anything. Maybe that pushed me even more to start Good Sugar with a percentage of every sale going to a nonprofit.

Just because the holiday season is over doesn’t mean we should stop giving. If I had a new years resolute it would be to be more aware of how important it is to give throughout the entire year. Whether it is giving a sandwich to the person with a sign saying, “anything helps,” buying your friend lunch when they’re in a tough place, or buying some Good Sugar cookies! It’s all giving – it’s meant to make you feel good and help others.

As Good Sugar grows, I would love to help out in more than just giving a percentage of sales to nonprofits. I have always loved the idea of going to a third-world country and volunteering in some way. It’s hard to do that when you don’t have the funds to do it. If you want to get involved in nonprofits in any way, this is a great website to find something you’re passionate about: Nonprofit Directory. Do your research, people! There are so many things out there! If you started volunteering, what would you do?

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Mmm…good sugar!

Did you know that there are good sugars and bad sugars? I thought ALL sugar was bad, so when I googled “good sugar” to see if it was already a person stealing my great idea for a business name, I was really surprised to learn that there is such a thing as “good” sugar.

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See, I’ll show you. It’s all right here: Good vs. Bad Sugar. If you don’t feel like reading all of that, basically all you need to know is that any kind of sugar that isn’t in the food to begin with is bad sugar. So the sugar that’s in fruits and veggies = good. The sugar that is in cookies = bad. To a point. Don’t eat cookies all day, every day, unless you’re perfecting your cookie recipes and opening a cookie bakery (guilty). Even then at least you’re still getting food in your belly.

Anyways. Thank you so very much for checking out Good Sugar Baking. I’m very dedicated to baking the best cookies for you and sharing that money with good causes, such as this month’s non-profit: Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado. I have seen so much support in Good Sugar already and it’s incredible. Without your support, none of this would be possible. And it’s only going to get better.

Please, please reach out to me with any questions, ideas, concerns, literally ANYTHING. I want your input. I want to hear that my Facebook page needs better photos or that I never replied to your Instagram message, that my pricing structure is the worst thing ever, or about how amazing/great/terrible/mediocre my cookies were. No small business can be successful without input. Email me at goodsugarbaking@gmail.com!