Baker's Blog

Spring Renewal – Easter Gingerbread Houses and Other Yummy Goodies

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bud-5Spring is knocking on our door in the Santa Ynez Valley. The lilacs are blooming, the roses are budding, and gangly grape vines are bursting with budbreak in acre upon acre of vineyards. Following a week of much needed rain, our charred hills are finally turning a bright verdant green.

easter-gingerbread-house-the-solvang-bakery-easter-side-300-tallIn the spirit of following nature’s signals of renewal, we’ve decided to update our Spring Gingerbread House. The deep brown roof that’s so warm and comforting in the dead of winter, is not particularly bursting with the enthusiasm of spring. So we’ve swapped it out for a bright and cheery yellow roof made from sturdy short-dough. It’s seated in a bed of light green royal icing ‘grass’, then trimmed with your choice of pink, green, yellow, or blue royal icing.

Nature’s baby creatures welcome you at both the front and back door, and colorful edible flowers and bulbs are blooming in the garden.  The roofline is adorned with eggs, with side featuring the hand-iced names of family or friends. We’ll also hand-inscribe a greeting for you such as, “Happy Easter”, “Happy Spring”, or “Welcome Friends.”

Just as with our Gingerbread Houses for Christmas and Hanukkah, our Spring Gingerbread Houses make unique holiday gifts for Easter – order them online and we’ll ship them to your door or to family and friends across the country.

easter-basket-the-solvang-bakery-175We also have beautifully decorated egg-shaped Easter cookies, abundant Easter baskets, and our steadfast offerings of pastries (including hot cross buns) that are perfect for Easter brunches and breakfasts.

We hope your spring is filled with new exciting new adventures for you and your family, and trust that your Easter or Passover holidays are filled with the pleasure of family and friends.

(PS – apologies to our friends on the East Coast who are still enduring winter weather – sending you warm thoughts!)

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Sweet Love at The Solvang Bakery – Valentine’s Day and Gingerbread Houses

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Love is an emotion we know well at The Solvang Bakery.  Whether we’re putting the finishing touches on an elegant wedding cake for an anxious bride, or icing the words, “I Love You” onto short-dough cookies for a grandmother, we have the pleasure of observing the many flavors of love in our customers’ lives.

This last Christmas, our little shop played host to not one, but two engagements!  One of the couples, Jenn and Rob, have shared their story with us.  Here it is:

“December 8, 2012 will be a day I will never forget and made all the more special by all the lovely ladies at Solvang Bakery. My now fiance schemed with Melissa to create a proposal that was not only special but unique. We built a lovely gingerbread house at the bakery and when we were finished, Melissa thought there was just one thing needed to make the house perfect. She brought out a covered plate concealing a very special cookie with the words ” Will you marry me Jenn?” Of course once I uncovered the message I couldn’t believe what was happening and was completely overjoyed. I eventually said “YES!” after a lot of disbelieving “shut ups” and we are planning a our wedding for late 2013! Thank you so much Melissa and everyone for making this a day Rob and I will never forget!”

jenn and rob engagement - The Solvang Bakery

With Melissa and Billy coming up on 20 years of marriage, and Susan and Paul at 48 years, we are deeply honored that Rob chose our bakery as the locale for this momentous occasion.  Many thanks to Rob and Jenn for sharing their story!  Our other groom-to-be hid the engagement ring inside a gingerbread house…talk about a surprise!

Are you plotting something special this Valentine’s Day?  We’ve created a special Valentine’s Love Shack for 2013.  To achieve those pretty pink walls and roof, we used short-dough rather than gingerbread.  As always, you may personalize it with names on the roof…or perhaps a message…or a question…  We also created a Valentine’s Love Shack Kit.  Build and decorate one together – it serves as a tasty metaphor for things to come!  (Of course, your children and grandchildren will love them too)

valentines gingerbread house love shack solvang bakery

valentines gingerbread house kit love shackvalentines cookies solvang bakerythe-solvang-bakery-valentines iced cookies gift box

Giving Thanks – Gingerbread Gratitude Wreaths

 thanksgiving-gratitude-wreath-sunflowers-the-solvang-bakery-700-wide

Gratitude Wreaths from The Solvang Bakery

Gratitude Wreathes are the most favorite thing my Mom
and sister make at their bakery.  Or click here for the recipe to
make your own.

“In everything, give thanks.”  –St. Paul

NOTE: This is a guest post written by Susan’s daughter, and Melissa’s sister, Maili Halme.  It was originally posted to her blogThe Maili Files here.

 

I love that we have a holiday that revolves around giving thanks.  For all of the hardships and challenges of life, I’ve always found gratitude prayers to be the most transforming.  I may pray for peace or calm or healing or many other things.  But I’ve found that when I start saying prayers of gratitude for the things I’m thankful for that I’m filled with an overwhelming sense of healing and joy.

A gratitude wreath for the teachers at Providence Hall

During this month of giving thanks I try to write down three things I’m thankful for each day.  There are a number of ways to do this:   some people prefer to keep a gratitude journal while others make a family “gratitude jar” and each family members writes something they are grateful for each day and puts it in the jar.  Others just keep a running mental note each day of what they are thankful for.

And as always, I think of those who are in pain and how the holidays somehow magnify that pain.  I was listening to a man speak in Houston on Wednesday night.  In 1960 he was a young boy and his father was changing the tire on their family car.  The tire burst and his father died within the week.  53 years later this man could barely speak through the tears because the pain of such a great loss was still with him.  He told the story of how his widowed mother, with three young boys, told her sons “I know we’re all hurting right now, but there are others who are hurting more than we are.  So we’re going to give Christmas away.”  And that is what they did.  They went out and gave to people who had less then they did.  This man now gives hundreds of bikes away every year during the holidays.  He took unspeakable pain and turned it into giving.

 

iced-gratitude-wreath-the-solvang-bakery-500Last year Randall Day told the story about Helen Keller and her article from the January 1933 issue of The Atlantic Monthly.  It was titled Three Days to See.  “In the article she outlined what things she would like to see if she were granted just three days of sight:  friends, nature, art, and the movement and bustle of New York City were among her choices.  She concluded:  “I who am blind can give one hint to those who see:  use your eyes as if tomorrow you were stricken blind.’  Keller is also widely quoted as saying:  ‘Is there anything worse than being blind?  Yes, someone with sight and no vision.'”

 

Thanksgiving is a time of giving.  It is a time of feeding others, sharing our bounty and giving thanks.  It is a time of stopping to appreciate the simple beauty of nature that exists for us each day in abundant harvests, changing leaves, in the earth retreating to rest and renew itself.

I know the holidays can become overwhelming, frantic and busy.  I challenge each of you to pause for a moment to find three things that you are grateful for.  I found my first thing in the stars and the moon this morning.  And now I find myself looking forward to the day instead of dreading my “to do” list because I know somewhere in this day are two more things to discover that I will be grateful for.  Blessings and JOY to all of you.  Maili

 

iced-gratitude-cookies-700

You can choose anything you want to be grateful for from a favorite
family trip to a beloved pet to something simple that you are grateful for.

Halloween Fun: Haunted Gingerbread Houses, GingerDead Men, and More!

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Halloween-Gingerbread-Houses-The-Solvang-Bakery-Icing-Bag-700

Throughout the Santa Ynez Valley there’s a strong sense of harvest during the month of October. Our local apple orchards host hundreds of school children who pile out of their yellow busses to snag a juicy gem straight from the tree. Exhausted vintners can be spied around town, marked by their crimson stained hands and tired eyes. A drive along Alamo Pintado Road is accented by  flaming orange pumpkins set against rich green corn stalks. If you venture into town, you’ll be greeted by creative scarecrows guarding local shops. Solvang and Los Olivos feature a Scarecrow building contests and proprietors fiercely compete for the blue ribbon. It’s a glorious time to visit.  The days are warm, and nights are crisp and cool.

halloween-blog-post-2013-pumpkins

Halloween is the Santa Ynez Valley is likely strikingly similar to when you were a child. Little ghouls, Luke Skywalkers, princesses, and firefighters stream through neighborhoods squeaking out, “Trick-or-treat!”  Most of our neighborhoods are still small and friendly. Parents are often invited in for a quick respite…a respite that might include a quaff of one of our lovely local wines. Invariably, someone hosts a family Halloween party…and thank goodness…we’re able to get a bowl of chili into a costumed tummy before the onslaught of sugary goodies start pouring in.

Halloween decorating is always fun…boundless thematic options allow creativity to run wild…

halloween-cats-175

halloween-ghosts-175halloween-pumpkins-175We love to assemble our Halloween Haunted Gingerbread Houses.  They’re colorful and kooky; adorned with pumpkins and bug-eyed bats, and ghosts, and crooked windows. Our greatest challenge is to stop. It’s too much fun to keep playing with them!

halloween-cookie-decorating-kit-the-solvang-bakery-500Another fun family activity is decorating cookies with the kids.  We’ve put together a Halloween Cookie Decorating Kit that’s perfect for shipping to faraway grandchildren, nieces and nephews, or for school or at-home Halloween parties.

We found a fabulous little cookie cutter for making GingerDEAD Men. It cuts out a conventional gingerbread man shape, but the back side is for imprinting a skeleton onto the dough. Whip up some royal icing, and voila, a GingerDead man is born (…not sure a dead man is born…). We are selling and shipping these devilish little guys, but we’re also selling the cookie cutter for your own Do-It-Yourself (DIY) fun.  Find GingerDead Cookie Cutters here.

gingerdead-men-cookie-cutter-the-solvang-bakery-300Of course you can always just use your own traditional gingerbread man cookie cutter at home and create your own anatomy. Susan shows you how to do both in our video How to Decorate Halloween GingerDead Men – click here.  You can find this cookie cutter and others on Amazon (click on the photo).

Oh, and here’s our recipe for gingerbread cookies in case you need one. Chef Maili (Melissa’s sister and Susan’s daughter, wrote this up…you can find the original post and lots of other great recipes and cooking tips here.) Remember, you’ll need to roll your dough a little extra thick if you’re using the GingerDead Cookie Cutter (it’s deep), and you’ll want to set the temperature a little lower so that you can cook them a little longer.

The Solvang Bakery Gingerbread Cookies Recipe

Use royal icing to decorate them. We have a simple video on how to make and use royal icing – click here.  You can buy powdered egg whites if you are concerned with using raw egg whites. Be aware that royal icing will harden when exposed to air so be sure to keep it in piping bags in plastic or in some kind of airtight container until you use it.

 
Unbleached Flour, 5 cups
Baking Soda, 1/2 teaspoon
Ground Ginger, 6 teaspoons
Ground Cinnamon, 4 teaspoons
Ground Cloves, 3/4 teaspoon, optional
Freshly Grated Nutmeg, 1 teaspoon, optional
Ground Allspice, 1 teaspoon
Salt, 1 1/2 teaspoons
Unsalted Butter, 2 sticks (1 cup)
Dark Brown Sugar, 1/2 cup firmly packed (light brown sugar can be substituted)
Granulated Sugar, 1/2 cup
Unsulfured Molasses, 1 cup
Egg, 1
1. Have butter softened and at room temperature. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. In a bowl combine the flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, allspice and salt. Set aside.
3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter until fluffy and pale yellow. (About five minutes at medium-high speed.) Add the dark brown and granulated sugar and beat for 1 minute. Reduce the speed to low and add the molasses, beating until well combined. Add the egg and beat until well combined.
4. Add the flour and spice mixture about 1 cup at a time. Beat in each addition before you add more. Scrape down sides of bowl with spatula if necessary.
5. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide dough into four sections and mold them into thick disks (flatted ball of dough.) Wrap each disk of dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour or up to 3 days.
6. Roll cookies out with a rolling pin to desired thickness. Dip cookie cutter in flour and cut out the cookies. Use a spatula to transfer cookies to the baking sheet lined with parchment. Bake in a 350 oven for 8-10 minutes. (Check your oven. You may want to bake for 12 minutes but they truly taste better when not overbaked.) Transfer to cooling racks. Decorate after cookies have cooled.

BOO!

The Kringle – A Short History of the Danish Bakery Symbol

DANBROWN_InfernoHave you read Dan Brown’s latest book, Inferno? Famed symbologist Professor Robert Langdon (Da Vinci Code) is at it again, only this time the intrigue is centered in Florence, Italy and the topic is Dante Alighieri’s The Divine Comedy.

What does this have to do with baking?  Not a lot.  Although it is difficult to imagine drinking in all of those fabulous aromas kringle-and-coffee-the-solvang-bakery-300wafting through the ancient portions of Florence without settling down for an espresso and perhaps a Florentine.

It’s the symbology and history that triggered our inspiration. If you’ve ever visited Solvang (or Denmark), you may have noticed a pretzel-shaped object hanging outside the doors of the many Danish bakeries that decorate our little town. It’s called a Kringle (pronounced kring-leh), and is the ancient symbol of the bakers’ guild in Denmark.

Bakery-Sign-the-solvang-bakery-750

oktoberfest_girls-044_0If the thought of pretzels causes you to scratch your head, not unlike Professor Langdon in his amnesia-infused haze, and wonder why visions of beer steins and buxom German frauleins come to mind rather than Danes, you’re not alone.  And even better, you’re not off-track.

Danish pastries were greatly influenced by none other than Germany’s cousins, the Austrians. The story goes that when the Confectioners, Bakers and Chocolate Makers Association of Denmark went on strike back in 1850, the Danes maintained a stiff Scandinavian lip and imported Viennese bakers to do the baking.  And with the Viennese, came Austria’s rich culinary history, which, in turn, was borrowed from previous cultures.

danish pastry 300Ancient Persians are thought to have been the first to create puff pastry.  The Turks took repetitive folding of the dough to new heights, which was eventually adopted by their mortal enemies, the Austrians, and later the French (think croissant). The striking Danish bakers eventually co-mingled with the Viennese bakers, borrowing the Austrian dough-making techniques, and adding sugar and jams to them … and Danish pastries were born. To this day, what Americans think of as ‘Danish pastries’ are called ‘wienerbrod’ in Denmark. Translation? ‘Viennese bread.’

Our Almond Kringles are created with Danish pastry dough layered with rich marzipan and custard filling. We wrap it into the traditional pretzel shape, sprinkle it with almond slivers, and coarse sugar, et voila: a yummy, flaky pastry perfect for family gatherings or celebrations.

Almond Kringle, The Solvang Bakery

Almond Kringle, The Solvang Bakery

But what about our pretzel symbol? It certainly appears it was borrowed from our Austrian mentors, but where did they come up with it? We think even Professor Langdon might find its provenance difficult to pin down. One of the favorite possibilities is that an Italian monk used doughy pretzels to reward well-behaved children for saying their prayers in the 6th century. The crossing portion of the pretzel represents the folded arms, while the three circles represent the Trinity.

Whatever its origin, we shall continue with the tradition of proudly displaying the Kringle above our door, and perhaps if you’re good (and maybe even if you’re naughty), you can one day sample our Almond Kringles!

 

References:

Arthur L. Meyer. Danish Cooking and Baking Traditions.  New York, NY: Hippocrene Books, Inc., 2011. Pg 164

Patricia Bunning Stevens. Rare Bits:  Unusual Origins of Popular Recipes. Athens, Ohio: Ohio University Press, 1998. Pg 188-189

The Chefs of Le Cordon Bleu.  Patisserie & Baking Foundations, Classic Recipes.  Le Cordon Bleu International, 2012.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Danish_pastry

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kringle

 

Origins of Seven Sisters Cake (Almond Butter Ring)

“Canst thou bind the sweet influences of Pleiades…?”

We’ve been baking our Almond Butter Ring pastry for over 30 years.  Three decades may seem like a long time, but the Danes have been making it for over three centuries!  The more traditional name for this gooey pastry is Seven Sisters Cake or Sosterkage.

Sandwiched between the North Sea and the Baltic Sea, Denmark ‘s geographic location meant that the Danish people couldn’t help but be seafarers.   Danish Vikings roamed the northern seas and beyond.   With no modern gadgets like GPS devices available, steering by the stars was the only means of navigation available.

 

Pleiades or Seven Sisters. Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

So what does this have to do with our delicious Almond Butter Rings?  An open star cluster known as the Pleiades or Seven Sisters, lies in the Taurus constellation, and is particularly prominent during winter in the northern hemisphere.  In fact, it the month of November, it shines from sunset to sunrise.  Because it is one of the closest star clusters to Earth, is can easily be viewed with the naked eye.

Legend has it that the Seven Sisters’ Cake takes its name from the Pleiades.   According to Greek Mythology, the seven sisters were the companions of Artemis, goddess of hunting and the moon.  The hunter Orion (a nearby constellation) pursued the sisters.  Eventually through the predictable antics of the Olympians, both the sisters and Orion were placed in the night sky.  We like to imagine the Seven Sisters guiding Danish sailors of yore safely home.

Our Seven Sisters are safely nestled in a ring of six rolls circling one center roll (one of the seven stars disappeared during biblical times…a fact supported both historically and astronomically).  Made from pastry dough and layered with almond paste and custard filling, we top it off with a vanilla icing.  We like to think that any sailor returning from the northern seas in the last three centuries would be delighted to sit down to a slice of our Almond Butter Ring and a hot cup of coffee.

Sources:

Earthsky.org: Pleiades Star Cluster: Famous Seven Sisters, April 2, 2012, Bruce McClure

Danish Cooking and Baking Traditions, Arthur L. Meyer, 2011 Hippocrene Books, Inc. NY, NY, Page 175.

Pleiade.org: The Pleiades in Mythology, http://www.pleiade.org/pleiades_02.html

Bible, King James Version: Job 38:31: “Canst thou bind the sweet influences of Pleiades…?”

 

Gratitude Wreaths – Giving Thanks

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Gratitude Wreaths from The Solvang Bakery

Gratitude Wreathes are the most favorite thing my Mom
and sister make at their bakery.  Or click here for the recipe to
make your own.

“In everything, give thanks.”  –St. Paul

NOTE: This is a guest post written by Susan’s daughter, and Melissa’s sister, Maili Halme Brocke.  It was originally posted to Chef Maili’s blog, The Maili Files here.

 

I love that we have a holiday that revolves around giving thanks.  For all of the hardships and challenges of life, I’ve always found gratitude prayers to be the most transforming.  I may pray for peace or calm or healing or many other things.  But I’ve found that when I start saying prayers of gratitude for the things I’m thankful for that I’m filled with an overwhelming sense of healing and joy.
thanksgiving-gratitude-wreath-sunflowers-vertical-the-solvang-bakery-500-wideDuring this month of giving thanks I try to write down three things I’m thankful for each day.  There are a number of ways to do this:   some people prefer to keep a gratitude journal while others make a family “gratitude jar” and each family members writes something they are grateful for each day and puts it in the jar.  Others just keep a running mental note each day of what they are thankful for.

 

This morning Julie Farrell put a post on Facebook at 6:00 a.m. saying that if anyone in the valley was awake at the moment that we should step outside to see the moon and the stars because they are phenomenal right now.  I put on my slippers and walked outside and caught that magnificent beauty.  If not for her post I would have been inside with the blinds drawn, unaware of what was just outside my window in plain view.  And that is the point of looking for joy and looking for gratitude:  it is often right there in plain view if you just stop and take the time to look for it.

 

And as always, I think of those who are in pain and how the holidays somehow magnify that pain.  I was listening to a man speak in Houston on Wednesday night.  In 1960 he was a young boy and his father was changing the tire on their family car.  The tire burst and his father died within the week.  53 years later this man could barely speak through the tears because the pain of such a great loss was still with him.  He told the story of how his widowed mother, with three young boys, told her sons “I know we’re all hurting right now, but there are others who are hurting more than we are.  So we’re going to give Christmas away.”  And that is what they did.  They went out and gave to people who had less then they did.  This man now gives hundreds of bikes away every year during the holidays.  He took unspeakable pain and turned it into giving.

 

iced-gratitude-wreath-the-solvang-bakery-500Last year Randall Day told the story about Helen Keller and her article from the January 1933 issue of The Atlantic Monthly.  It was titled Three Days to See.  “In the article she outlined what things she would like to see if she were granted just three days of sight:  friends, nature, art, and the movement and bustle of New York City were among her choices.  She concluded:  “I who am blind can give one hint to those who see:  use your eyes as if tomorrow you were stricken blind.’  Keller is also widely quoted as saying:  ‘Is there anything worse than being blind?  Yes, someone with sight and no vision.'”

 

Thanksgiving is a time of giving.  It is a time of feeding others, sharing our bounty and giving thanks.  It is a time of stopping to appreciate the simple beauty of nature that exists for us each day in abundant harvests, changing leaves, in the earth retreating to rest and renew itself.

I know the holidays can become overwhelming, frantic and busy.  I challenge each of you to pause for a moment to find three things that you are grateful for.  I found my first thing in the stars and the moon this morning.  And now I find myself looking forward to the day instead of dreading my “to do” list because I know somewhere in this day are two more things to discover that I will be grateful for.

Blessings and JOY to all of you.  Maili

 

iced-gratitude-cookies-700

You can choose anything you want to be grateful for from a favorite
family trip to a beloved pet to something simple that you are grateful for.

Anatomy of a Cake

Creating wedding cakes and specialty cakes is a complicated, multi-step process.

fancy-floral-wedding-cake-barbara-the-solvang-bakery-3

 

It requires a large helping of patience…

fancy-floral-wedding-cake-barbara-the-solvang-bakery-1

safari-cake-the-solvang-bakery-1

many cupfuls of creativity…

fancy-floral-wedding-cake-barbara-the-solvang-bakery-2safari-cake-the-solvang-bakery-2

and several tablespoons of experience come in handy too. Barbara Brugge, one of our expert cake designers pictured here, was trained at the prestigious California Culinary Academy in San Francisco.

 

fancy-floral-wedding-cake-barbara-the-solvang-bakery-4safari-cake-the-solvang-bakery-4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But all the hard work is worth the pleasure of that first full view of the finished product, and the smile of delight on our clients’ faces!

fancy-floral-wedding-cake-barbara-the-solvang-bakery-5-350 fancy-floral-wedding-cake-barbara-the-solvang-bakery-6-350

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

jungle-cake-three-tier-the-solvang-bakery-700

Current Trends in Wedding Cakes

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post-Wedding-Cake-Tasting-Tiered-Cakes-the-solvang-bakery

From blog post of wedding cake tasting on SweetPotatoBites.com

 

Okay we admit it. It really is fun to sit down with a freshly minted bride-to-be and share in her enthusiasm for her impending nuptials. The process usually starts with a phone call or an email, followed by the onsite cake tasting with the bride, her mother or a best friend, and perhaps the groom. Sometimes we even have the future mother-in-law, and a dad or two. After a couple of decades of marriage, these exuberant meetings serve as great reminders of the tremendous  joy to be found in finding one’s soulmate.

Wedding Cake and Dessert Table The Solvang Bakery

Wedding Cake and Dessert Table

Each wedding season, tastes and styles shift to adapt to current trends. In terms of flavors, we’re seeing a lot of lemon with fresh raspberry and lemon parfait filling with either cream cheese or buttercream icing. Also vying for number one is our white butter cake with fresh strawberry and Bavarian creme filling with either buttercream or fondant icing. For our chocolate lovers, the choice tends to be our Triple Chocolate Fudge…one layer of which is brownie.

Shelly Vinson Photography The Solvang Bakery Wedding Cakes

Shelly Vinson Photography

french-macaron-tower-the-solvang-bakery-300We’ve had more and more inquiries for gluten-free cakes, but usually not for the whole cake. The bride and groom will typically order a handful of gluten-free cupcakes, or a smaller additional gluten-free cake to accompany the main wedding cake.

Couples are increasingly enamored with individual cakes and dessert bars, dessert stations, and/or candy tables.  A colorful tower of elegant French macarons make a lovely addition to any dessert table. We all know that weddings are expensive, and the scattered dessert-stations strategy serves the dual purpose of providing colorful and thematic decoration, as well as the beloved dessert.

post-Shelley-Vinson-Photography-The-Solvang-Bakery-Wedding-Cakes-all-on-buffet

Shelly Vinson Photography

We see about 30% of our couples ordering Groom’s Cakes. They tend to be shaped to match the favorite sports or hobbies of the groom, ranging from college and professional sports teams to guitar shaped cakes to hunting themes.

Color palettes range from grays and yellows to all shades of turquoise or coral. White on white is popular, along with champagne and pale pinks mixed with whites.

Post-Love-is-Sweet-Wedding-Cake-The-Solvang-Bakery-1Fresh flowers of all types continue to be requested frequently. Peonies, garden/heirloom roses, succulents, wild flowers, and lavender round out the typical choices. Living in Santa Barbara wine country, we service ample weddings held at wineries or vineyards in lovely, rustic settings – the wedding cakes tend to reflect this simplicity.

Two newer trends are oddly older in nature. Wedding pies, consisting of mini-pies and/or 9″ pies marry (pun intended) nicely with barn/ranch rustic chic venues. The second trend is steeped in southern tradition. It’s a cake pull which is held at the bridesmaid luncheon. Each bridesmaid pulls a ribbon from the bottom of the cake, and gets a charm that has a special meaning for her future.

Post-wedding-cake-on-wine-barrel-initials-the-solvang-bakery-1wedding-reif-2-500The most important thing to remember when designing and ordering your wedding cake or dessert stations, is to make it reflect you and your groom. Ideally, they will simply be an extension of who you two are together…playful, elegant, expressive, fanciful, reserved, contemporary, or modern…it’s always perfect if your friends and family see you shining through.

We always love hearing new ideas – please share in the comments below!

 

Easter Origins and Food Traditions

easter-bunny-200For our family, spring really is a time of renewal. It takes a couple of fortnights for us to recover from the crazy Christmas gingerbread season, when we work well into the wee morning hours for weeks on end. Easter Sunday is a time when the whole family gathers – usually at Susan’s house or her mother’s house (Melissa’s grandma) for a sumptuous brunch following church. Sadly, Grandma recently began celebrating Easter in heaven, so Easter is now always at Susan’s house.

easter-gingerbread-houses-the-solvang-bakery-vertical-300

Easter Gingerbread House

She sets a beautiful festive table with a special candy or personalized treat at each place setting – and an Easter Gingerbread House or two. After a rousing Easter egg hunt for the grandchildren, brunch is served. It’s usually egg-based; either quiches or made-to-order eggs whipped-up by sister Maili (Chef Maili). Together mother and daughter cook sausages and bacon for a savory feast. And yes, the table is laden with bakery items: almond butter rings, apple strudel, iced Easter cookies, and wonderful hot cross buns.

Easter, of course, is a celebration of spring and for Christians, the resurrection of Christ. Like so many Christian holidays, Easter incorporates many pagan rituals…the clever way in which Christians eased (and we use that term lightly) pagans into the fold. For Catholics, the season of Lent – the 40 days between Ash Wednesday and Easter, was a time of strict dietary restrictions except on Sundays. It seems the Puritans were pretty skeptical and associated Easter with popery…so they weren’t too eager to jump on board the Easter rituals ship.

Eostre (manygods.org)

Eostre (manygods.org)

But folk traditions (as opposed to religious traditions) abound. The word Easter derives from North Umbrian Old English ‘Eostre’ – a fertility goddess from German and Anglo-Saxon paganism who is the focal point for spring feasts in the month of April. Her symbol? A rabbit. We can thank the Pennsylvania Dutch for the Easter Bunny (the Easter Hare) who delivered colored eggs to good children and rabbit pellets to bad children…that would be an unwelcome surprise in the old Easter basket!

Easter Egg Cookies

Easter Egg Cookies

It seems there is not a single authentic Easter dinner like those we find at Christmas or Thanksgiving. Ham and lamb are popular – and eggs and the shape of baked goods tend to play important roles. Eggs symbolize birth, and yeast-enriched breads are often shaped with a feminine theme – as round buns (think round belly of a pregnant woman) or in loaves shaped into rings…with a hole in middle…these breads or sweet breads are often embedded with eggs. The Greeks have their tsoureki, the Corsicans their caccavelli, and the Venetians their focaccia pasquale. The ancient Romans took their symbolism to more blatant heights, and produced baked goods that probably wouldn’t go over well in a family bakery.

Hot Cross Buns

Hot Cross Buns

So on a more Puritanical note, we’ll underscore our love for hot cross buns – a favorite in Britain, and a favorite at The Solvang Bakery. For centuries, poor British children and the elderly would sell hot cross buns for the local bakeries on Good Friday. It was such a popular tradition that it generated the well known nursery rhyme,

Hot cross buns!
Hot cross buns!
One ha’ penny, two ha’ penny,
Hot cross buns!
If you have no daughters,
Give them to your sons
One ha’ penny,
Two ha’ penny,
Hot Cross Buns!

It was thought that even a crumb of bread baked on Good Friday would cure any ailment, so people would dry a bun and save it to ward off future maladies.

Our hot cross buns are made from a yeast-based sweet roll dough with added spices, currants, and candied citron pieces. The cross, signifying a crucifix, is made from vanilla icing.

What are your family’s traditions? We’d love to hear in the comments below.

Whatever they are, we hope it involves delicious food and the warmth of loved ones.

 Sources: 

The Oxford Companion to American Food and Drink, Edited by Andrew F. Smith

Sweet Invention, A History of Dessert, by Michael Krondl

Rare Bits, Unusual Origins of Popular Recipes, by Patricia Bunning Stevens

Traditional Danish Kransekage – Marzipan Cakes and Cookies

Away with the joint-stools, remove the court-cupboard, look to the plate. Good thou, save me a piece of marchpane, and, as thou loves me…

Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, Act 1, Scene 5

danish-wedding-cake-2-500Kransekage, or Kransekake (Norwegian) is a traditional dessert dish in Scandinavia. The Danes prepare it for special occasions such as weddings, New Year’s Eve, and birthdays.

The origin of Kransekage and/or marzipan for that matter, is challenging to hunt down. Most sources attribute the origin of marzipan (almond paste) to either the Persians or the Spaniards, but the Germans and the Italians also lay claim to its creation.

Even the etymology of the word marzipan is opaque. The pan portion likely refers to bread, but the marzi / march/ marza portion is a source of considerable debate. It’s attributed to such disparate origins as March (as in March bread), to Marcus (the patron saint of an Italian town), to Marcip (the last name of a German chef), to Marz (meaning border or boundary in Persia).

Whatever the case, we do know that the Danish people love kransekage, which translates to wreath cake or doughnut cake. Evidently, it was originally called overflødighedshorn (try saying that three times fast), which translates to horn of plenty or cornucopia. It was essentially like today’s kransekage wedding cakes, but it laid on its side, with chocolates and other yummy treats spilling out of it. Kransekage wedding cakes today are formed by stacking ring upon ring of this marzipan (or marchpane) based delicacy atop each other.

kransekage-cookies-horizontal-with-napkins-the-solvang-bakery-700-rec

kransekage-cookies-inside-vertical-the-solvang-bakery-400Kransekage is made from marzipan, which is created from ground almonds, sugar, and egg whites (so it’s gluten free). We form it into rings, which are then baked. The result is an outer crust that is hard to the touch, but soft to the bite. Inside is a delicious soft almondy paste. The final touch is decorating the baked marzipan with a royal icing drizzle. Because the rings are sturdy, they’re relatively easy to stack into a cake tower, which is often adorned with Danish (and sometimes American) flags.

jenga-with-kransekage-cookies-the-solvang-bakery-300People often ask us for kransekage pieces or cookies. We offer them by the half-dozen or dozen so that you can get your marzipan fix without the fanfare of a whole kransekage cake…or if you’re up for a game of edible Jenga! They’re also a great means for augmenting the traditional cake if your wedding party or New Year’s Party list has grown.

What about you; are you a marzipan fan?

yum-kransekage-cookies-and-cake-the-solvang-bakery-700

The Solvang Bakery meets The Solvang Century

bike-jerseys-500Well come on. You deserve a treat after riding 50 miles, 100 km (62 miles), or 100 miles, don’t you?!

We certainly think so.

Our little Santa Ynez Valley has become either home, training ground, or both to some serious cyclists. In addition to two-cyclistsbeing the periodic stage host to the Amgen Tour of California, we’ve had the likes of Lance Armstrong, Tejay Van Garderen, and Taylor Phinney grind up our hills and breeze down our slopes. Luxury cycling tour companies like Trek Travel conduct multiple excursions here every year, as does former Olympian Chris Carmichael with his training camps. And it’s a pretty serious past time for many valley residents as well.

So we are a proud sponsor of this year’s SCOR Solvang Century, Metric, and 1/2 Century. SCOR stands for Specialized Coronary Outpatient Rehabilitation. The organization donates to three children’s congenital heart disease summer camps designed to give children a medically supervised camping experience that they would not normally have access to due to the severity of their illness and multiple heart surgeries.

Some weekend highlights:

  • Friday, March 7

    • Coffee, sandwiches, and goodies will be available during check-in
    • Open ’til 10:00 pm at our 438 Alisal Road location.
    • Enjoy 10% off your in-store and online purchases – just show us your virtual goodie bag coupon code*
  • almond butter ring vertical piece with whole the solvang bakerySaturday, March 8

    • Cookies and snacks available at the SAG stops
    • Open ’til 8:00 pm at our 438 Alisal Road location. 
    • Enjoy 10% off your in-store and online purchases – just show us your virtual goodie bag coupon code*
  • Sunday, March 9

    • Come see us at our 438 Alisal Road location and take advantage of that 10% off (just show us your virtual goodie bag coupon code)!  Take some yummy pastries and cookies home for the rest of the family…or those nice folks who helped you train for the big day!

* – 10% off coupon not valid on gingerbread houses, specialty cakes, or wedding cakes.

GOOD LUCK!

Sweets for the Sweet? Careful!

valentines-fb-cover-the-solvang-bakery

Valentine’s Day is a treasured holiday at The Solvang Bakery – it makes us take pause and reflect on how fortunate we are to be in sustained relationships.  Susan and Paul have been married for 49 years and Melissa and Billy have been married for 20 years. We thought we’d poke around to better understand the history of this paramour’s holiday.

be-mine-cookies-the-solvang-bakery-300It seems the origins of Valentine’s Day are nearly as inconclusive as who shot Kennedy. There appears to have been several St. Valentines…at least one of them was allegedly beheaded on February 14 in the north of Rome. He may have been a priest who secretly presided over wedding ceremonies for soldiers so that they wouldn’t have to go to war…thereby inviting the wrath of Emperor Claudius. Or he may have been a priest who helped Christians escape prison in Pagan Rome. Falling in love with his jailor’s daughter, he signed a note to her, ‘From your Valentine.’

Valentine’s cards have been around for centuries. The first written valentine on record was written by Charles, Duke of Orleans, to his wife, whilst he was imprisoned in the Tower of London in 1415.

EstherHowlandModern American Valentine’s cards were the brainchild of Esther A. Howland, a Mount Holyoke College graduate, who in the late 1840’s whipped up a dozen sample cards made with imported lace and paper from England. Thinking she might get $200 worth of orders, she received an astounding $5,000.  Eventually, she grossed $100,000 year and is now known as the Mother of the American Valentine…and interestingly, Esther never married…she does look rather stern.

One thing we do know for sure is that long-term marriages take care and feeding. Did we say feeding?

They say that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, but we’re pretty sure that tasty morsels will make a child’s heart glow as well.

valentines-cookies-gift-box-open-sm-heart-solvang-bakery-300As we looked into the origins of Valentine’s Day and the giving of Valentine’s, we came across a number of phrases associated with love and lovers. Perhaps one of the most commonly misused phrases at this time of year is sweets for the sweet. It’s a quote from Shakespeare’s Hamlet – the Queen is placing funeral flowers (the sweets) on the grave of Hamlet’s now deceased lover, Ophelia (the sweet). The whole scene is rather disturbing for a number of reasons…and it certainly has nothing to do with a lover handing a delicious treat to his betrothed!

new-gingerbread-love-shack-gold-hearts-300So, in sharp contrast to Shakespeare, our Valentine’s Day offerings are truly edible sweets that someone whom you find sweet will swoon over. You’ll find our edible Valentine’s gifts on our Valentine’s Holiday page at a variety of price points.

We’ve updated our Valentine’s Gingerbread Love Shack to include options for gingerbread sweethearts or gumball/candy sweethearts. We also thought the Gingerbread Man could use a girlfriend…the bakery gets lonely at night…so we have a pair of sweethearts that will keep your own paramours and little sweeties content over the three-day weekend.

blog-post-valentines-gingerbread-man-and-woman-the-solvang-bakery-2-500

new-gingerbread-love-shack-2014-the-solvang-bakery-300Our Valentine’s Gingerbread Love Shack Kit will bring some lovable moments with your children…or between a boyfriend and girlfriend. It might even be fun to hide a ring in one of the candy containers…just sayin’.

However you decide to celebrate Valentine’s Day, and whatever its authentic origins, make sure you let those you love know you love them!

 

 

 

 

Sources:

http://www.history.com/topics/valentines-day

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_Valentine

http://www.enotes.com/shakespeare-quotes/sweets-sweet

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Esther_Howland

http://www.worcesterhistory.org/wo-valentines.html#

http://www.wbur.org/2012/02/14/origin-valentines

Custom Gingerbread House Installation Fun

gingerbread-village-4-the-solvang-bakery

We love when we are presented with the opportunity to unleash all of our creative energies on a custom gingerbread installation. For this project, we were directed to create a gingerbread village down the center of a dining room table.

The village’s gingerbread castle would rest on a table in the adjoining living room.

gingerbread-village-7-the-solvang-bakery-castle-landscape-tree

Susan and Armando collaborated to design something that would fit the period and have enough artistic variation to keep diners interested throughout their holiday dining. They were careful to keep the profile of the village low enough to not obstruct easy conversation across the table.

gingerbread-village-1-the-solvang-bakery-cottage-

gingerbread-village-8-the-solvang-bakery-armandogingerbread-village-5-the-solvang-bakery-susan-snowThis particular installation was located close enough that Susan and Armando were able to be physically present to put the finishing touches on the gingerbread cottages.

The other benefit of close proximity is that the various buildings need not be shipped…allowing for more delicate touches and gingerbread flourishes.

 

gingerbread-village-2-the-solvang-bakery-susan-straightening gingerbread-village-9-the-solvang-bakery-clock-tower

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

gingerbread-village-10-the-solvang-bakery-church

 

The ADVENTures of J. J. Gingerbread: December 19 – Merope and August

The black wolf lay dead.  Its fangs and tongue hung from its frightening mouth.

Queen Moswen began speaking to Joey.

“She says that with the alpha male destroyed, you’ll have time to rebuild your city.  It will take a while for the pack to fight it out and decide who will be their new leader,” said Joey to the trio.

The disks rolled gleefully back and forth in the snow.  Johannes did a face plant and was awkwardly helped to his feet by his brothers.  Everyone chuckled.  Snow stuck to his raspberry jam.  He looked like a miniature Santa Claus.

“We must return to the ship before they miss us,” said Princess Honning.

“And before the night watchman starts his rounds,” said Agent BAK.  “But before we go, where did that arrow come from?  I never saw a hunter.  I never saw anybody for that matter.”

“It was I.”  The voice belonged to the youngest star, Merope.  “My sisters may tease me about my love for Orion, the great hunter in the sky, but when I need him, he is there for me.”

The sisters buzzed and spoke over each other.

“Merope is correct,” said Maia.  “Orion’s heavenly arrows aim true.  We owe our lives to him…and to our youngest sister.”

They all thanked Merope and then climbed back into the lifeboat.  As before, the going was arduous.  As the largest of the crew, Joey and Princess Honning handled the heavy oars made for humans.  Agent BAK perched at the bow.  He unraveled himself so he could point the direction to aim the boat.  When they needed to slow due to ice blocks, he contorted into the shape of a cautionary triangle.

candy-cane-gingerbread-story-solvang-bakery-fx“What’s that on the ice?” said Queen Moswen.

“Where?” said the princess.

“There,” said the queen, nodding to the left.

A pink colored object lay on a snow covered ice block as it bobbed in the water.  They veered left and headed toward it.

“What are you doing?” asked Agent BAK.  “We have no time for detours.  The night watchman will rise in less than an hour.”

“We just want to make sure it’s not alive,” said Princess Honning.

“It looks like a candy cane,” said Joey.

“Not a candy cane that I’ve ever seen,” huffed Queen Moswen.

“Well I don’t exactly look like a Gingerbreadian any more either,” said Princess Honning, “but that doesn’t mean I’m not one.”

Queen Moswen ignored her.  As they drew up next to the mini iceberg, it was still difficult to determine what the object was.  Joey nudged it gently with his oar.  It sounded like glass as Joey tapped it.

“It’s just some trash that washed up on the ice after the storm,” said Agent BAK.  “Come on, let’s get going.”

“Oooohh,” the thing groaned.

Joey crawled out of the boat onto the iceberg.  “Hello there,” said Joey bending low.  “Are you alright?”

“Do I look alright?” said the thing.  Its gruff voice was in sharp contrast to its pastel pink color.  “Tap me with that thing again and you’ll wonder what hit you.”  The thing writhed on the iced.  “Although right now I’m wondering what hit me.”

“August?” said Joey.  “Augie is that you?”

“How do you know my name?” the thing said.

“How do I know your name?” said Joey.  “You’ve been our door-cane since before I was born!”

“Joseph?  Is that you Joseph?” The thing shook its head.  “It can’t be…what happened Joseph…your eye…your head.”

Joey bent his head low.  A dark molasses tear dropped onto the white snow.

“I guess we’ve both seen better days, huh pal?” said August.

“Yes,” said Joey quietly.  “Your, your color Augie.  What happened to you?”

“There was a pretty big fire in Gingerbread Village Joey.  It started just after you disappeared.  I pulled your sister from the house.  The heat from the fire melted me down…all my crisp red stripes bled into my white…I’m just pink now.  Who ever heard of a pink candy cane Joey?”

“Who ever heard of a one-eyed J.J. Gingerbread?  We’ll be okay Augie.  I’m sure you’re as brittle and minty as you ever were,” said Joey.

“Ahem,” said Agent BAK.  “Pardon me gentlemen.  I hate to interrupt the family reunion, but we must return to the ship at once.”  Though the day had been cold and cloudy, a low winter sun was visible on the horizon.  The day was nearly done.

orions-bow-post-259x300Fun Facts:

  • Orion is a constellation.  He is known as the hunter in the sky.  His bow is aimed at the bull, Taurus.
  • Candy canes were originally all white, with no stripes at all.  The hard candies were bent to allow them to be hung on Christmas trees as ornaments.  An Ohio man named August Imgard is recorded as having decorated his Christmas tree with candy canes in 1847.  No one is quite sure how or when they first earned their stripes, but striped candy canes appeared in Christmas cards in the early 20th century.

candy-canes

by J.P. Farrell

 

 


The ADVENTures of J.J. Gingerbread XXIV: December 17 – Lifeboat to the Wolves

Since most of them knew where to hide already, the group decided to hunker down in Joey’s room for their planning session.  They found a spot in the closet for Princess Honning in the event someone should walk in.  Agent BAK insisted on standing guard.

“But it may be dangerous for you,” said the princess.

“Don’t worry, I can handle it,” he replied.  “I can stretch as thin as a string and that way I’ll be able to see out both ends of the corridor.  Only my almond eyes won’t stretch, but nobody will notice a little food on the ground.”

The group set to work.  They decided that they had to get Queen Moswen to Egypt as soon as possible.  The ship was headed to the Black Sea, and if they could just find a fast ship there, she could get back to Egypt in time.

Since they were still near Linz, it made sense to figure out a way to get the Linzer Trio off the ship and escort them past the wolves.  They just weren’t sure how.  The Seven Sisters, Princess Honning, and Joey were a bit more challenging.  No one knew how to get the star cluster back into space, and Joey and the princess lived in the opposite direction to which the ship was traveling.

wolf_howling_black“First things first,” said Joey.  “Let’s get the trio off the ship while we’re barely moving.  There’s still way too much ice in the water to go fast.”

“Yes, but how?” said Princess Honning.

“The lifeboat seemed very sturdy,

Night watchman sleeps, we can hurry,

To the shore and back,

But wolves might attack,

It’s a plan not without worry.”

“The trio is right,” Queen Moswen said to Joey.  “There’s no alternative.  We must take the lifeboat and do it quickly.”

“I agree with Queen Moswen,” said the princess.  Both the queen and Joey jerked their heads up.

“You can hear her?” asked Joey.

“Yes,” said the princess.  “I’ve always had strong Gingerbreadian hearing, but it seems to be even better since the accident.  That’s not important now.  The night watchman sleeps during the day.  Now is our chance to get on and off the boat unnoticed.   I snuck around yesterday during the daytime.  Hardly anyone comes outside.  The humans can’t take the cold.”

“But what about the wolves?” asked Joey.

“They’re nocturnal,” said Queen Moswen.  “They typically sleep in their dens during the day.”

“That settles it, let’s go,” said Joey.

owl-for-gbread-storyFun Facts:

  • Nocturnal means that the creature usually sleeps during the day and is awake at night.  An owl is a good example of a nocturnal creature.

 

 


 

Gingerbread Origins, from Gingerbread Men to Gingerbread Houses to Gingerbread Recipes

gingerbread-house-kits-and-men-solvang-bakery

Ah, gingerbread.  The smell of it baking, the taste of a gingerbread man, or the sight of a gingerbread house, conjures the holidays.  Memories float forward, bumping out our to-do lists, allowing sweet visions of childhood to pervade our minds.  It’s not just a number on a calendar that tells us the holidays are upon us.  It’s the aromas, tastes, and visual feasts that make them real.

gingerbread-house,-gingerbread-cookie-jar,-solvang-bakeryAt The Solvang Bakery, the tantalizing redolence of baking almond butter rings elicits a hint of the holidays, but it’s the distinct scent of gingerbread that makes it definitive.  Gingerbread has been embedded in our culture for centuries.

Gingerbread gets its name from the rather unattractive root ‘ginger’, and its color from molasses.  The ginger root has long been associated with myriad health benefits and holistic medicine.  It ‘s thought to aid in digestion (soothing stomach aches), be an anti-inflammatory aid, help with menstrual cramps and morning sickness, fend off disease, and even relieve some of the nausea associated with motion sickness.  Some folks use it to relieve heartburn as well.

Gingerbread’s deep, rich color comes from molasses.  Made with a variety of spices, it can contain brown sugar, molasses, granulated sugar, honey, and/or light or dark corn syrup.  At The Solvang Bakery, we use two recipes, one for our gingerbread cookies, and a heartier recipe that’s ideal for building our sturdy gingerbread houses.  Maili, an executive chef, and sister and daughter of bakery owners Melissa and Susan, published the recipe for gingerbread cookies on her blog…just click here to view it.

So where did gingerbread originate?  There seems to be almost as many theories as there are gingerbread men.  We can be pretty confident that some form of it originated in the Middle East as that part of the world brought spices to the western world, but there are references that go as far back as the ancient Greeks and Egyptians.

Queen Elizabeth I (reigned 1558 – 1603) is credited with the invention of the gingerbread man.  She would delight visiting dignitaries with gingerbread men made in their own likenesses.  Contemporary to Queen Elizabeth I was none other than William Shakespeare who wrote in Love’s Labor’s Lost, “An I had but one penny in the world, thou shouldst have it to buy gingerbread.”

Gingerbread houses gained popularity after the Brothers Grimm published Hansel and Gretel in 1812.  The wicked witch’s house was made of gingerbread and was adorned with candy… a tantalizing treat to the hungry brother and sister.

Gingerbread is woven into the fiber of American history as well.  George Washington’s mother, Mary Ball Washington, developed a recipe for Gingerbread Cake in 1784.  That recipe was reprinted in the blog Syrup and Biscuits, which you can find by clicking here.  Gingerbread was Abraham Lincoln’s ‘biggest treat’ and he invoked a gingerbread anecdote in his Lincoln – Douglas debates.

gingerbread-men-and-women-tree-solvang-bakeryWith only a brief period of decreased popularity (‘witches’ used gingerbread men as voodoo dolls in the early 17th century), gingerbread has been a delicious part of our western culture for centuries.  At The Solvang Bakery, we’re proud to keep these traditions alive and evolving…from our ovens to your table.

Have any great gingerbread memories to share?  Please do!

 

Sources:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-18365/The-gingerbread-man-ages.html

http://easteuropeanfood.about.com/od/crossculturaldesserts/a/gingerhistory.htm

http://www.arthritistoday.org/nutrition-and-weight-loss/healthy-eating/good-food/ginger-benefits.php

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gingerbread

http://www.healthdiaries.com/eatthis/10-health-benefits-of-ginger.html

http://blogs.smithsonianmag.com/food/2008/12/a-brief-history-of-gingerbread/

 

 

Find Fido a Home: Gingerbread Dog Houses from The Solvang Bakery

, Tagged in

gingerbread-dog-house-the-solvang-bakery-2-620

We’ve extended our Christmas/Hanukkah gingerbread line to include the family dog this 2013 holiday season. Why? Because they asked for them! AND, for each Gingerbread Dog House sold in 2013, we are donating $5 to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty for Animals, the ASPCA®.

ike-gingerbread-dog-house-6-1000We’ve accumulated some amusing stories over the years about dogs taking a particular interest in our holiday gingerbread houses. Perhaps the most entertaining anecdote was the massive Rhodesian ridgeback that ate not one, but two, of our Large Gingerbread Houses in one Christmas season. We thought maybe it was time to let the dogs have their day with their own gingerbread dog houses.

The Gingerbread Dog House is modeled after the dimensions of a typical all-American dog house. A gingerbread dog bone sports the name of the family pet (or family surname) above the door, and a gingerbread dog sits guard on the porch. Owners select from a black, tan, yellow, white, or black-and-white dog to match their pet’s fur.  They can also elect to have us make a custom dog for an additional fee. Dog names or family names may also be hand-iced on the roof. Incorporating only dog-friendly ingredients, all features are edible. As with all of our gingerbread houses, everything is crafted by hand. The base model starts at $99.

We’ve been incredibly fortunate to have a loyal and growing following for our holiday gingerbread houses, and we’re so grateful for people like Kelly Ripa and journalist Frances Schultz for being vocal fans of our products. We’ve been shipping our gingerbread creations to Grammy winners, Oscar winners, Emmy winners, authors, members of the Forbes 400 and Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential people since 1995. We think of our own dogs as family members, and we know many of our clients do too, so we asked why should they be left out during the holidays?  And by supporting the ASPCA®, we are helping homeless dogs find homes of their own too…

postcard, DOG, just labs gingerbread dog house the solvang bakery HRRead the full Gingerbread Dog House press release here.

Read the full Gingerbread Dog House Supports the ASPCA® press release here.

Go ahead…put a little swag in that wag!