Sugar overload – oops!

Strawberry cookies

Sugar. Sugar. Sugar. Sugar.

That is running through my head right now at full speed. Know why? …… I just ate six cookies.

One thing I knew when I started Pig Dog Farm & Bakery was that I’d have to try any new recipe – and old ones just to make sure the quality is still there. What I don’t think I fully realized is that because there are a variety of ways to make a cookie – that I’d have to eat each variation to find the perfect one.

Today, I wanted to try out a strawberry cookie idea and also a St. Patrick’s Day idea. I started with my base sugar cookie recipe and divided it. The first 12 were for a snickerdoodle order for today – but I had the other 12 to play with.

So, I took half (six cookies) and added strawberry puree. The other half (another six cookies) I added green food coloring.

St. Patrick’s Day cookies

I am very happy with the strawberry cookie – though I think it could have a stronger strawberry flavor. The green cookies – were great because they were the normal recipe, just green.

Then, came the frosting dilemma. Do I use buttercream? Nah, too sweet… Cream cheese? Maybe… Plain? People don’t want a plain cookie… Lemon glaze? Ohhh… are we on to something?

Either way though…in order to know which is best…you have to taste them. Hence me eating six cookies already today.

I still have not decided which cookie combination is the best – so I’m going to make my husband be the guinea pig when he gets home.

Have an idea for the frosting? Let me know! Comment below.


Making cookies…in a jumbo muffin tin?

What?! You don’t have to bake cookies on a cookie sheet?

Nope. You don’t. Shocking, I know.

In my quest to create the best peanut butter cookie a home cook can make, I decided to try baking them in a jumbo muffin tin! (turns out other people have thought of this, too…)

Surprisingly…or not surprisingly…these make really delicious cookies that don’t spread out too much.

My peanut butter cookie recipe has no butter. Just peanut butter, sugars, an egg, vanilla, baking soda and a teensy bit of flour. So, in the science of it, these are very likely to spread.

The muffin tin keeps them from spreading and helps the baking soda rise even more. It is amazing.

If you’ve never used a jumbo muffin tin to bake…I highly recommend you try it. You will have to check, check and triple check your cookies as they bake so you don’t burn them – or make them over browned on the bottom. But, let me tell you… it works.

Chat with ya next time on the next new baking hack I discover!

(Also, thank you to my mother-in-law who got me the jumbo muffin tin. Love ya!)


Testing recipes to make the perfect bread or cookie

New peanut butter cookie recipe testing

Before I even think about offering a loaf of bread or a cookie, I want to make sure it is the best.

When I first started thinking about selling homemade sourdough bread, I was making a full rye loaf that was inconsistent and didn’t stay fresh. Not good.

So, I found a new recipe. I made it dozens of times – tweaking as I made it each time to make it my own – before I was comfortable with the finished product.

Then, I gave some away. I had people try it and give feedback. Only after that long process did I put it out in the universe that I could sell it. And even since then, I’ve worked on my recipe.

There’s nothing worse than looking forward to something only to find it wasn’t what you thought you were getting.

I also like to try new recipes – and tweak them to make them my own. I do a lot of research before I bake anything new – including recipe reviews, ingredients the recipe uses and what’s the baking process. If you read enough recipes, you can tell right away if something seems off or if it just won’t taste good. You also have to tweak a recipe based on how you mix ingredients and how your oven bakes.

Snickerdoodle cookies

Because of this, there is an abundance of baked goods at my house that aren’t for sale yet. I like to give a sample to someone with an order that day – and ask for feedback. I’ve approved some experiments – and paused others until I can do more research.

That’s how I decided to sell the snickerdoodle cookies. I made up a batch and people loved them. I first used a King Arthur recipe and have since tweaked it to suit my tastes and how I like to do my cookies. I’ve even taken requests from people and now do a full whole-wheat loaf and a sandwich loaf.

Today, I tested out a new peanut butter cookie. The ones I make are good – and I’ve sold some already, but I want a more peanut buttery cookie that comes together easy and stays soft. You’d be surprised how hard it is to pack strong peanut flavor into a cookie.

As Pig Dog Farms & Bakery grows, I want to hear from you! What cookie or loaf of bread would you like to see? If you’re willing to go along with an experiment and give feedback, I’d be happy to try anything new. Let me know!

To get any of my current offerings – CLICK HERE.


Wait, she does cakes, too?

Italian Cream Cake with cream cheese frosting and pecans

Fun News! I am now taking custom cake orders. I’ve always loved baking cakes and usually only got to do it for birthdays, but now, I’m ready to bake for you!

Baking has always been something I love and turn to when I’m stressed.

I got into baking when I was about 8 years old.

It started by helping my mom make cookies. This is when I learned there is something about measuring and mixing together ingredients – and then eating a warm cookie out of the oven – that just makes me happy. I find it very relaxing.

When I was in my teens, I pretended I had my own baking show – whipping up cakes, cookies, waffles and kuchen. Kuchen is a German dessert that my grandma, great grandma and aunt taught me to make. It is a family favorite.

Now, more years that I like to admit later, I’ve decided to share these tasty goodies with you!

And boy, have I been busy. For the weeks of Jan. 18 and Jan 24, I have baked 27 loaves of bread and 11 dozen cookies. That is a heck of a lot, but I absolutely loved every minute of it – including waking up first at 4:15 a.m. to feed “Sally” my sourdough starter and then at 6:30 a.m. to get everything mixed up before my full-time job. I’m tired, yes, but happy.

If you’re interested in anything, please let me know! I have a new order page HERE.

I can also ship! I sent two dozen cookies to Bismarck, N.D. and a loaf of bread to Minot, N.D. and everything arrived in a timely manner and still tasting fresh. Just let me know – email at pigdogfarms@gmail.com.


Am I starting a baking business? Maybe…

White & rye sourdough bread with caraway seeds and honey.

Almost everyone dreams of someday being their own boss and becoming a successful entrepreneur.

A small, teeny part of that dream for me, might be coming true. Maybe.

Just yesterday, I put out a note into the Facebook universe to see if anyone in the Myrtle Beach area would like some to buy some homemade sourdough bread.

After years of trying recipes, tweaking them and starting over, I think I have finally found a base recipe that I’ve changed enough to call it my own. So, I thought, why not see if others would like some… Within a few minutes, I had orders!

Some from people I know and some from others I don’t. They’re all on my friends list, but when you’re in the news business, as I am, you “friend” people from all over the place.

Wait… Am I leaving my job, you ask? No, definitely not. I like my job. I do not plan on leaving. I also don’t want to get ahead of myself with excitement over a new idea.

The pieces to start the dough!

Instead, I am going to take things step by step. Steps that actually started years ago.

The first was nearly six years ago when I created my sourdough starter. Her name is Sally. Sally has been through good breads and bad breads. She’s a trooper.

The second was starting the Pig Dog Farms brand with this website and on social media. The third was testing and testing bread recipes, tweaking them and testing them again.

The fourth step, the one I am in now, is putting the word out to see who is interested. I am also working with a friend to get a logo and read up on what I am allowed to do in South Carolina when baking and selling things out of your home. Thankfully, the state has the Home-Based Food Production Law (Cottage Food Law) that allows what I’m doing.

Dough rising with a bit of oil to stop sticking

So what’s the fifth step? I’m not sure right now. I think I’ll stick at step four to see if I get any repeat customers.

If you’d like some homemade sourdough bread and live in the Myrtle Beach area, let me know! I make white with honey; white/rye with honey and (optional) caraway seeds; and white/rye/whole wheat with honey. I also make delicious cookies. Just send me an email – pigdogfarms@gmail.com.


Sourdough…sour what??!!

Remember back to March 2020 when a little thing called coronavirus shut everyone up in their homes…and then those people had to find things to do?

No knead Rye Sourdough bread

In that moment, everyone became a baker. Cookies, cakes, scones…and sourdough bread. People were baking so much that flour (especially good flour like from King Arthur Baking Company) became nearly impossible to find – just like toilet paper and cleaning supplies.

As people jumped into the sourdough bread scene, new bakers were posting questions about how to keep a sourdough starter, what kind of flour to use and how often do you have to bake.

I’ve had a sourdough started (her name is Sally) for about 5 years now. When she is not in use, she sleeps peacefully in the fridge. When it is time to bake, I slowly wake her up with some fresh flour and water – and away we go!

Over the years, I’ve tried many different sourdough bread recipes – for a boule (round loaf), a sandwich loaf, a long crusty french loaf and those varieties, but using whole wheat flour or rye flour.

When flour became super scarce, I turned to my favorite mill in Georgia to supply my flour.

Slow rise sourdough bread headed for the oven. Yummy!

Then, I started baking away. I personally love the no knead Rye bread recipe from Grow Forage Cook Ferment’s website. It is so easy to make and my husband loves the rye/caraway seed flavor.

Today, I’m trying a new recipe from Heart’s Content Farmhouse. It is a slow rise whole wheat sourdough bread recipe that she’s worked on for years. I am going to put it in the over in about an hour… so stay tuned!

What kind of bread are you baking? Do you use sourdough and have questions? Let me know in the comments below.