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Premiere Baking Class

by Courtney on October 6, 2011

By the time I got home last night at 9pm, pretty much the only thing I had left in me was to plop down on the couch and watch some Modern Family. It was a long day, but a fun one, too!

I had to scoot out of work a little earlier than I normally will on a Wednesday because I was invited to attend yesterday evening’s Price Chopper Premiere Baking Class at the Century House.

Does this room look a little familiar to you…?


If you’ve got a really good memory, then it just might…

because the baking class was actually in the same ballroom where Jay and I got married. Smile

Shortly after I arrived, I spotted Lauren and grabbed a seat with her; then I made my way over to the coffee table to grab myself some joe.


It was definitely necessary…then again, it’s not like the caffeine has any effect on my anyways. I suppose I just find it comforting to sip on a warm cup while I’m doing something.



The event featured two instructors for the evening, beginning with Chef Gail Sokol, who is a professor at Schenectady County Community College. Gail was great with the audience and did a really nice job of explaining each of the steps she was doing while going through the recipes.


Gail demonstrated two different recipes for the evening: Chocolate Cranberry Walnut Babka and Espresso Almond Biscotti. I loved Gail’s recipes because she finds ways to reduce calories and fat without losing flavor. As she put it, “When you’re baking, if you’re not gonna miss the fat, don’t use it!” <—So true!

A few take-aways from the evening:

  • To make biscotti more chewy, use oil in addition to eggs. Just using eggs makes for a very hard biscotti.
  • I need to get my hands on a French rolling pin, STAT (no handles on the sides!).
  • Allspice is actually from a berry – did anyone else know that?!? Crazy!
  • When baking biscotti the second time around, stand up the slices on their sides so you don’t have to flip them.

I realized last night that I don’t think I’d ever tried babka up until this point, and let me tell you…I have seriously been missing out. This bread is SO good!


I thoroughly enjoyed both of my samples and can’t wait to try making BOTH of these recipes at home.


I mean c’mon…anything dipped in chocolate is awesome, in my book. Winking smile


The second instructor for the evening was Elizabeth Barbone, who focused entirely on gluten free baking. She is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America. She is the author of two gluten-free cookbooks, one of which will be coming out next year. She also has an amazing purple KitchenAid mixer that I really wanted to snag from her.


Elizabeth talked a lot about the ingredients that are used in gluten free baking, some of which I had never really known much about. There were a few other women who were live-blogging at the event and did a really nice job outlining everything, so if you’d like more details, you can click here to check them out.

Elizabeth demonstrated three different, gluten free recipes for the evening: Rustic Apple Pie (Galette), Pumpkin Whoopie Pies, and Chocolate Bark.


I wasn’t really a fan of the rustic apple pie (Lauren and I both said it almost tasted kind of soapy??) but the pumpkin whoopie pies and the chocolate bark were both delicious.


Thank you so much to Price Chopper for inviting me to attend last night’s baking event! Smile



This morning’s meal came together in no time, and was super-duper tasty.


A simple yogurt bowl, complete with:

  • Vanilla Chobani Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup TJ’s Multigrain O’s
  • 1/4 cup cinnamon raisin granola
  • 1/2 diced pear
  • raisins

Oh yeah, and a side of Creeper. Winking smile



Today is my first official long day of work, so we’ll see how it goes! Smile

Question for the Morning:

Have you ever tried gluten free baking?

Which of the recipes above would you most want to try?

If you could choose, what would be your ideal work shift? (i.e., 9-5, 6-2, 10-8 etc)

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{ 34 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Khushboo October 6, 2011 at 9:16 am

Sounds like a great evening! What was the filling of the pumpkin whoopie pie! I am loving the hours of my ‘new’ jobs (I use ‘ ‘ because I stared in August): 10.30 – 6.30!…It doesn’t require me to wake up at a crazy hour to wake up yet it still leaves me with enough time to enjoy a leisurely breakfast! By the time I’m home and in my pjs (yes I change right away), it’s just past 7 and not too late to get started on dinz :)
Khushboo recently posted..The Apple of my “i”


2 Gina @ Running to the Kitchen October 6, 2011 at 9:21 am

As much as I hate mornings, I would pick 6-2 in a heartbeat to have the afternoons free! I love playing around with biscotti recipes, there are so many delicious variations :)
Gina @ Running to the Kitchen recently posted..Pumpkin walnut chocolate chip cake bars


3 Steph @ A Hungry Bookworm October 6, 2011 at 9:22 am

How fun! I’ve never tried to make biscotti before but those look so good. My ideal shift would be 6-2, I’m a major early bird so I would rather get work over with as quickly as possible!
Steph @ A Hungry Bookworm recently posted..Am I The Only One?


4 Lindsey October 6, 2011 at 9:24 am

I have never tried gluten free baking but would like too, since it is a conman intolerance these days!
That chocolate bark looks delicious. I have never had babka, or even heard of it but it looks good too!
I work 8-5 right now which is fine and used to work 6-2 during the summer while in University and didn’t mind it since it meant I had my summer afternoons mostly off!
Lindsey recently posted..Decades


5 Colleen @ Jimmy Choos on the Treadmill October 6, 2011 at 9:30 am

I’ve never tried babka, either! Definitely sounds delicious though!

It’s hard to think of an ideal working schedule. My current schedule changes almost on a daily basis, but I like that I have flexibility and that I have shorter and longer days. Since my siblings are still in school, I like to be home relatively early at night so that I can hang out with them.
Colleen @ Jimmy Choos on the Treadmill recently posted..Secret Phone Call Revealed


6 alyssa - fashion fitness foodie October 6, 2011 at 9:30 am

i work 10-6 and its perfect for me – even though i get up before 7 and walk a mile to work i like to have plenty of time in between to run errands!
alyssa – fashion fitness foodie recently posted..WIAW & Oatmeal Pumpkin Cookies


7 Tina @ Faith Fitness Fun October 6, 2011 at 9:37 am

Now THAT is my kind of class. ;)

I’m normally not big on biscotti, but the looks of that chocolate dipped version is certainly calling my name.
Tina @ Faith Fitness Fun recently posted..Stuffed With Emptiness: Pizza In The Car


8 Holly October 6, 2011 at 9:37 am

OMG, I WANT her purple kitchen aid! I have NEVER seen that color….wish I knew they had that color before I got mine…although I do love my pistachio color too :D
Biscotti is super easy to make- and SO SO SO good- my favorite recipe is from Liz–
Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Biscotti- & it is SOOOO good. Craig & I went through the whole batch in a few days…oops ;) Love it with coffee. & what a great tip to bake it standing up- thanks for sharing that!
Can’t wait to see what you come up with!! :D
Holly recently posted..Fives & Legs


9 Ashley @ My Food 'N' Fitness Diaries October 6, 2011 at 9:38 am

How fun! The bread dipped in chocolate and those pumpkin whoopie pies look SO good to me! I’ve never tried gluten-free baking before, mostly just because I haven’t needed to. It’d be interesting and fun to try it out sometime though.

My ideal work shift would be from 9-5 I think. I like doing my workouts in the morning, so that way I can get my workout in without having to wake up TOO early and still get home in time for dinner and to have a nice evening.
Ashley @ My Food ‘N’ Fitness Diaries recently posted..The Un-named Awesome Workout


10 Emmarie @ Bananas and Beer October 6, 2011 at 9:45 am

That event sounds like fun. I could always use some tips in the kitchen, that’s why I read so many blogs. It’s so helpful!
Emmarie @ Bananas and Beer recently posted..Another Beautiful Sunset


11 Coco October 6, 2011 at 9:54 am

I work as a counselor in a drug & alcohol clinic, and I work 2 shifts: either 10:30am to 7pm, or 7:30am to 4 pm. Both have their pros and cons–I can go grocery shopping or work out in the morning on my late days when it isn’t crowded. But on my “early” days, I get out at 4 so I still have some afternoon left, which was great in the summer!

Ideally, I’m right where I want to be–a mix of shifts!
Coco recently posted..Allow Me to Explain…


12 Hilliary@HappilyEverHealthy October 6, 2011 at 10:13 am

Sounds like such a fun evening! The pumpkin whoopie pie is high on my list to try1 I think if I had to pick a shift I would go for 6-2 I like having time to get everything done in the evenings. I guess the downside to that would be an early bedtime.
Hilliary@HappilyEverHealthy recently posted..In need of Inspiration


13 Andrea @ Andrea out loud! October 6, 2011 at 10:44 am

Wow that chocolate bark looks amazing!! And I think my ideal work shift would be like 7-3ish. It would be nice to get off a little earlier :)
Andrea @ Andrea out loud! recently posted..Secret Quirky Habits


14 Kim @ The Family Practice October 6, 2011 at 11:02 am

What a fun class! and samples too! Whoopie pies are makin a come back! I had never even heard of them until SBUX started carrying them this year, now I see em everywhere… was I just blind before?
Kim @ The Family Practice recently posted..Shall We Dance?


15 Shelly @ Cake is a Food Group October 6, 2011 at 11:11 am

That looks like a really fun event! I have never tried gluten free baking before, but I have a friend that is all about it since her husband can’t have gluten. She does an amazing job! I think all of those treats look amazing and would have tried every one of them!
I set my own hours at work currently. Sometimes I work 8-4, sometimes 9-5, and sometimes 7-3. It all depends on what I have going on. I like a little variety!
Shelly @ Cake is a Food Group recently posted..Where Did the Sun Go?


16 Colleen @ The Lunchbox Diaries October 6, 2011 at 11:49 am

Ideally, I’d work 6 – 2! I don’t mind getting up early, and I love having time in the afternoon/evening :)
Colleen @ The Lunchbox Diaries recently posted..It’s My Birthday!


17 Jess@atasteofconfidence October 6, 2011 at 11:52 am

I’ve never tried biscotti, but I think it’s because I think it’s too hard!
I like 8-4 or 7-3..more time in the afternoon is nice!
Jess@atasteofconfidence recently posted..Insane Motivation


18 Lindsay @ biking before bed October 6, 2011 at 12:24 pm

What a fun class. 5 courses of dessert:) I think the pumpkin whoopie pies look delicious. I would love to be able to work 6 to 2. I am such a morning person.


19 Cait @ Cait hates Cake October 6, 2011 at 12:30 pm

I work 8-4 and that’s pretty much perfect for me. I started working from home a few months ago, so I don’t have a commute anymore. I sleep until 7-7:15, which is pretty much my natural wake-up time. Then I workout right after work from 4-5ish, leaving me plenty of free time in the evenings.
Cait @ Cait hates Cake recently posted..Frozen Dinner and Frozen Yogurt


20 Rosa - Fitness, Food, Fulfilled October 6, 2011 at 12:37 pm

I was at Panera Bread yesterday and they had babka on display. I’d never even heard about it before, but it looked so good.

The bark totally sounds good. White chocolate chips on top? Yes, please.
Rosa – Fitness, Food, Fulfilled recently posted..Fall Means Comfort Food


21 chelsey @ clean eating chelsey October 6, 2011 at 1:04 pm

Gluten free baking? Yes. :)

I would ideally like to work from 8-12, but well.. that’s never going to happen. :)
chelsey @ clean eating chelsey recently posted..a tale of two sauces


22 Katie @ Plates and Paste October 6, 2011 at 1:14 pm

The pumpkin whoopies look awesome!

I pretty much work 8:30 – 4:30 now and am happy with it. I wouldn’t mind going in a bit earlier to get out earlier so then I have a few hours to do errands, workout, etc.
Katie @ Plates and Paste recently posted..Race for the Cure


23 Jenny October 6, 2011 at 1:33 pm

I just got the babycakes cookbook for my birthday and it is awesome! Babycakes is a GF/V bakery in New York that is super friggin cute. and the recipes kick butt.
Jenny recently posted..San Diaaaagooo


24 Mary @ Bites and Bliss October 6, 2011 at 2:11 pm

I’ve made biscotti a few times and it really isn’t easy to get that crisp! Even when just using eggs. They’re still crispy..but never that crunch like you get with the commercial kind.
Mary @ Bites and Bliss recently posted..12 Wheatless Weeks: Banana Nut Muffins


25 Carrie October 6, 2011 at 2:32 pm

I would choose 8-4 if I could choose anything. That would give me an extra hour every night, which would be awesome!


26 Erica October 6, 2011 at 3:24 pm

as much as i hate waking up early, i think i’d pick 6-2! i would love to be finished with work that early!
Erica recently’s been one month


27 Erica @ For the Sake of Cake October 6, 2011 at 4:27 pm

This looks like a fun event!

My ideal working hours would be 8-4!
Erica @ For the Sake of Cake recently posted..Throwback


28 Evan Thomas October 6, 2011 at 5:39 pm

I’m really impressed she got her whoopie pie to be so vertical and smooth. Whenever I try making gluten-free whoopie pies they either flatten or crack. I’d love to know how she does it.
Evan Thomas recently posted..Banana Breakfast Quinoa


29 Courtney October 6, 2011 at 9:48 pm

Yeah, they were awesome. We have the recipe, I just need to get in touch with her to see if I can get permission to share :)


30 Nicole October 6, 2011 at 7:30 pm

That cooking class looks like so much fun, I love things like that!!


31 Lizzie October 6, 2011 at 10:27 pm

OMG i loove whoppie pies! they sell vegan ones at this little bakery and they are to die for!
Lizzie recently posted..Q+A numero uno


32 Abby @ Abz 'n' Oats October 6, 2011 at 10:38 pm

Pumpkin whoopie pies would definitely be my choice to try! My ideal work schedule would be from 9 to 5.
Abby @ Abz ‘n’ Oats recently posted..catching up


33 Hope October 7, 2011 at 8:36 am

That looks like such a fun event! That biscotti looks amazing! :)

My ideal work schedule would be 6-2. I would much rather get everything over with in the beginning of the day and have the rest of the day to myself.
Hope recently posted..A Ruby Kind Of Thursday…


34 Mac October 7, 2011 at 5:02 pm

biscotti for sure! I’ve been meaning to make some since it’s getting to be hot coffee season for me again :). I’d love an 830-430 for sure!
Mac recently posted..Melt Away Inner Thighs With This Move


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