Life in a Bakery

I'm surviving in a bakery! Cake ball Ninja! 🙂

In case you don’t know, working in a kitchen is like no other job: the atmosphere, the pace, the inappropriate jokes and banter, let’s just say it isn’t for the meek.   I believe it is these things that keep chefs going back every day; let’s face it, it isn’t the burns, the sweating on the hot line with no break or the long hours.  Nope, it’s got to be the creativity, the adrenalin, the comradery, and the fact that we eat great food every day that keeps us in the kitchen.

I’ve worked in many restaurants and catering kitchens, and adapted pretty quickly to each one, found where the china caps were, what cooler the herbs were in and found where the cambro of chocolate covered almonds were in the dry storeroom.  But it wasn’t until I went to Ohio that I ever got a chance to work in a bakery – the land of measuring cups and recipes – a bit of a foreign thing to a savory chef.  I’ve done a lot of baking at my home, but not the type of production that equivalates to parties of 1500 people.

Pre-meal at Sweets by Maggie!

That display case is making me hungry!

It turns out I managed to hold my own!  My friend Maggie has a great thing going at her shop, Sweets by Maggie; she has talented bakers, a great PR Rep and her invaluable family behind her and the counter!  Despite the stress and time constraints, the Sweets by Maggie crew manages to have a ton of fun and amazingly, remain thin!

Top Secret Cake Recipe in the works!

The shop is as cute as the cupcakes!

Maggie has an awesome story, a “feel good story” if you will.  After going thru some tough times in Florida, she returned home, to Lorain, Ohio.  At home Maggie had the support of her family to help out with her two young sons while she settled into a new life.  With a stroke of luck she found herself working at the CVI, the Culinary Vegetable Institute.  At the CVI, she made a ton of contacts, worked with talented chefs from across the country and had fresh, beautifully, grown on site produce to work with.

The Real Cake Ball Ninja! I tried to keep up....tried...

In the weeds!

Maggie also had time to revisit her passion for baking, a trade she learned before going to the Pennsylvania Culinary Institute and falling in love with the savory side of cooking.  Her rediscovered talent was not kept secret for long; Maggie soon had constant requests for her goods.  The home kitchen soon became a bakery, her dining room table became a cake decorating table and her car became a delivery truck.  With her at-home business booming, Maggie said farewell to the CVI and focused on her dream of opening her own shop.  After a year of planning and penny pinching, that dream came true.  Sweets by Maggie was open in October of 2010.  The store is adorable, her crew is loyal and talented, her family support is endless and most of all- her sweets are A-maZing!

The Help! It is truly a family thing...

The Master- Whoop whoop!

I have never been more proud of a friend, and I am so glad I was able to see her success first hand and test my baking chops at the same time!

Hard work is rewarded at Sweets by Maggie! Another round, Yes, please!

Sweet Corn and Berry Ice Cream, an Ohio treasure travels south!

Sweet Corn and Berry Ice Cream- So unusual yet delicious!

On my recent trip to Ohio, I was fortunate enough to discover a few things, Sweets by Maggie Salted Caramel Cake Balls, Rockmill Brewery and Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream.  And I was even more fortunate to take home with me, Jeni’s recipes in her beautiful, smart cookbook, along with her offer to consult directly.  Thanks Jeni, I’ll call you if I need you, and yes, as you signed in my book, I will have many pleasures.  🙂

Mise en Place

This recipe is from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream Cook Book.  I followed the instructions on my ice cream maker, make sure you do too!!

1 ear of sweet corn, husked
2 cups whole milk
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 ½ ounces (3 tablespoon) cream cheese, softened
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
1 ¼ cups heavy cream
2/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoon light corn syrup
Berry Sauce
1 cup raspberries
1 cup blackberries
½ cup sugar 

Local Berries


Combine the berries and sugar in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium high heat.  Continue boiling, stirring occasionally, until the temperature reaches 220 F (5-8 minutes).  Let cool slightly, then force thru a sieve to remove the seeds.  (Or leave them in there just to prove you made it.)  Refrigerate until cold before using.

Berries Cookin'


Prep Slice the kernels from the corn cob, the “milk” the cob by scraping it with the back of your knife to extract the liquid; reserve the kernels and liquid.

Mix about 2 tablespoons of the milk with the cornstarch in a small bowl to make smooth slurry.

Whisk the cream cheese and salt in a medium bowl until smooth

Fill a large bowl with ice and water

Soaking the Corn Flavor Up!

Cook Combine the remaining milk, the cream, sugar, corn and juices, and corn syrup in a 4 quart saucepan, bring to a rolling boil over medium high heat, and boil for 4 minutes.  Remove from the heat and for mixture thru a sieve into a bowl, leaving the corn “casing” behind.  Return the mixture to the saucepan and gradually whisk in the cornstarch slurry.  Bring back to a boil over medium high heat and cook, stirring with a heat proof spatula, until slightly thickened, about 1 minute.  Remove from the heat.

Thru the Sieve- Squeeze every bit of flavor out you can!

Lil' Tip...if no one is around to hold your ziplock

Ice Bath- Shake it around to get it to cool even faster!

Chill Gradually whisk the hot milk mixture into the cream cheese until smooth.  Pour the mixture into a 1-gallon Ziplock freezer bag and submerge into the ice bath.   Let stand, adding more ice as necessary, until cold, about 30 minutes.

Freeze Pour the ice cream base into the frozen canister and spin until thick and creamy.

You Scream, I Scream!

Pack the ice cream into a storage container, alternating it with layers of the berry sauce and ending with a spoonful of the sauce; do not mix.  Press a sheet of parchment directly against the surface, and seal with an airtight lid.  Freeze in the coldest part of your freezer until firm, at least 4 hours.

Makes a generous quart

Sweet Corn and Berry Ice Cream-Quintessential Summer Treat!

I hope you enjoy this Ohio treasure as much as I do!