This past Saturday, early in the morning, we decked out tables with pink and coral tablecloths in front of Noe Valley Pets and nearby Omnivore Books. As San Francisco food bloggers arrived with their freshly baked goods, we assembled them into categories by price and hugged the participating bakers or in my case tackled them with iPhone instagram photo-taking.
A box of cherry chocolate macarons flanked a box of mini macarons on one table. On another gorgeous loaves of sprouted wheat sourdough and miso rye bread sat near a dark chocolate earl grey tart. Dispersed over the tables we positioned s’mores cookies near bubblegum marshmallows and gluten free chocolate chip cookies.
Peanut butter chocolate dream bars schemed with nearby peanut butter and jelly cheesecake bars. Chocolate raspberry sables were situated near strawberry tarts. From the cheery presence of a table well filled with sweet treats, passersby began meandering over to the San Francisco Food Bloggers Bake Sale before we opened.
Throughout the day, a steady stream of people popped by the table as bakers mingled, catching up with old friends and meeting new ones. This is truly one of the joys of participating in something like a bake sale.
From the desire to do good in our community comes community. This is priceless.
I have enjoyed working with Anita, Irvin and Shauna the past few years to organize the bake sale. In fact, I still remember befriending Irvin that first year as we both were the only bakers to bake gluten free. New friendships have been a bake sale perk. All of the amazing volunteer food blogger bakers make the bake sale one happy event. Aside from this, our reason to bake is bigger than us. At Taste of the Nation, there was a prevailing attempt to keep front of mind the reason for the fete and likewise, we had some good opportunities to talk with people at the bake sale who walked by, interested in baked goods as much as the cause at hand. It surprises me still to hear the statistic that 1 in 5 children in the Bay Area are at risk of hunger.
Being a part of the nationwide Great American Bake Sale and joining hundreds of home cooks baking across the United States for Share our Strength is something that reminds us that the issue is much larger than just something occurring in the Bay Area. The work being done to bring awareness and resources to the issue is far bigger too. I’m happy to report raising $1140 for Share our Strength was a sweet way to spend a Saturday in Noe Valley this April.
GREEN TEA GRANOLA
A healthy food blogger friend and I chatted recently and he lamented that bake sales never have healthy choices from which to choose. I apparently decided to take that as a challenge and whipped up a batch of granola with just enough oil and a hint of sweetener. I had a tendency of munching on a few tendrils of Gyokuro tea leaves at my desk with their walnut flavor and had been toying with baking them into granola for a while now. I’ve baked it into shortbread cookies for the Bake Sale for Japan last year. This is not a particularly sweet granola. Instead, you’ll find it to be slightly roasted in flavor from the amaranth, sesame and oats with a delightful nutty accent of the walnuts and green tea mingling with just a hint of maple syrup and agave. I give some suggestions of how to modify this recipe in a few end notes.
YIELDS: 7 pint sized mason jars (perfect for a bake sale fundraiser – cut out colorful labels listing the ingredients so shoppers with food allergies can be informed.)
4 cups rolled oats
2 cups chopped walnuts
1/4 cup sesame seeds
3 tablespoons amaranth
1 cup sultanas (golden raisins)
2 tablespoons Gyokuro green tea
6 tablespoons grapeseed oil
3 tablespoons agave
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon cardamom
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1. Preheat oven to 350. Place a sheet of parchment onto a four-sided baking sheet.
2. Place a pan over medium high heat and let the pan get hot. Test that the pan is hot enough by putting a drop of water in the pan. If it sizzles, then the pan is hot enough and you’re ready. Pour the amaranth in your hot pan 1 tablespoon at a time. The amaranth pops quickly, so take heed for they will burn quickly.
3. Pour the popped amaranth after it’s popped, into a bowl with oats, walnuts, sultanas and sesame seeds. Stir the mixture.
4. In a small sauce pan and over low heat combine the grapeseed oil, maple syrup, agave, cardamom, salt and Gyokuro tea leaves. Stir until heated through and combined. The green tea leaves will tinge the sweetened oil slightly.
5. Stir the green tea oil into the oat mixture until coated. Pour the green tea granola onto the baking sheet and spread it out evenly. Bake for 25 minutes in the oven and stir twice during the baking. Place the baking sheet of granola on a rack after it’s done to harden and cool.
MAKE IT GLUTEN FREE: Use certified gluten free oats in place of regular rolled oats. Also, if you’re going this route, make sure all equipment used is thoroughly washed down if it might have come in contact with gluten. Keep all wheat products and products with gluten segregated from your work surface and away from ingredients you’re using to make your granola.
LIKE IT SWEET: Add another tablespoon of maple syrup. That will still only give you a slight maple flavor. If you really want it sweeter, my suggestion would be to top some vanilla yogurt or other flavored yogurt which are typically pretty high in sweetener with an ounce of granola.