S'mores! Plus All About Campire Safety (1927)

I recently posted on the Old School Pastry blog the original recipe for "Some More" (S'mores) from the 1927 Girl Scout handbook Tramping and Trailing with the Girl Scouts. It also has a wealth of info on starting, maintaining, and extinguishing campfires. Enjoy. :)

Crumbs Cupcakes is No More: A Lesson on Trends

For those that saw the falling trend of gourmet cupcakes, the news of Crumbs Bakery closing down shouldn't come as a shock. Just looking back on articles from 2013 from the Business Insider and Forbes about the cupcake trend in general and what business insiders thought of it a year ago only shows how fragile food trends can be. Of course, hindsight is always 20/20, but some thought that the cupcake trend was here to stay forever.

I'm a believer that cupcakes in some form are here to stay, with their portability and bakers touting the cupcake's ability to be custom designed for clients. But it is never a good idea to build a business model on a trend. Why are other cupcake eateries still going strong? Location is one, not over expanding - or getting bigger than your market can handle - is another, but the main key is to keep adapting for your customers. Just because the 'cupcake trend' is out, doesn't mean the cupcake is out.

Read more about Crumbs Bake Shop closing and the financial implications from the Wall Street Journal:

Crumbs Bake Shop Closing Its Doors: Cupcake Chain Throws in the Towel, a Week After Nasdaq Suspension, Which Triggered Default by Sara Randazzo. 
Crumbs Bake Shop Inc. notified employees Monday that it would be closing all of its stores at the end of the business day, a spokeswoman for the New York-based cupcake maker said.
"Regrettably Crumbs has been forced to cease operations and is immediately attending to the dislocation of its devoted employees while it evaluates its limited remaining options," the company said in a statement to The Wall Street Journal. Those options could include a bankruptcy filing, the spokeswoman said. 

Loosing a big pastry chain like that, nationally, is always a bitter pill to swallow, no matter if insiders saw it coming or not.

Image of Crumbs Bake Shop cupcake courtesy Flickr user: snowpea&bokchoi through a Creative Commons License.

KitKat Candy Bars as Transit Passes in Japan

KitKat Decorated Train Covered in Cherry Blossoms
Image Courtesy Neslte

Using a KitKat candy bar as transit fare? Nestle came up with the idea after finding out that the bars were being traded in the spirit of encouragement. Beginning this month, riders in Northern Japan can begin using KitKat bars as tickets to ride the train in an effort to rejuvenate tourism in areas devastated by the tsunami and earthquakes from a few years ago.
KitKat Bars as Ticket Fare
Image Courtesy Nestle

From Nestle press release:
In 2011, after the tsunami destroyed large areas of the Sanriku region including the railway network, Nestlé discovered that the reconstruction team working on the railway had received KitKat products as a form of encouragement.
KitKat then started working with the Sanriku railway, donating 20 yen per bar to the rebuilding project. KitKat also decorated two trains and two train stations with paintings of cherry blossoms - symbols of hope in Japanese culture.
KitKat train tickets launch in Japan this month and will be valid on trains until May 2015.
 For more information on this and other KitKat news, visit Nestle Global.

Glear Glaze Recipe

I get requests for a stable clear glaze recipe for large production kitchens. Especially now with the fruit season, I'm sharing this one for everyone. This one is from a clipping I saved from Modern Baking magazine, the August 2007 edition. Because it is made from powdered sugar rather than granulated sugar, the result is an ultra-smooth, ready-to-use glaze. All purpose, too - add whatever extract you need for flavor, and food coloring for color.

Clear Glaze Recipe

17 lbs. 3 oz. (7.79 kg) confectioner's sugar
3 lbs. 7 oz. (1.56 L) water
1 lb. 1.25 oz. (490 g) corn syrup
.35 oz. (10 g) salt
5.25 oz. (150 g) gelatin

Hydrate and soften the gelatin in part of the water. Mix the remaining ingredients together to get a smooth paste. The paste should be hot at this point. Add the softened gelatin, and mix at low speed to avoid incorporated air.

Divide in batches if needed to flavor and color. Store in refrigerator.

Upcoming Auctions: Kitchen and Bakery Items

Here are two upcoming auctions from Auction 757 and Scott Freeman Auctioneers:

  • Newport News - May 21, 2014. Located at the Governor's Inn. Limited restaurant equipment, lots of household furnishings.

  • Norfolk - June 3, 2014. Located in Norfolk, VA. Restaurant equipment, convection ovens, steam table, prep stations, convection steamer.


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