I’ve liked making baked goods since I was a kid. I got my start with Betty (Crocker), Duncan (Hines), and the Dough Boy. As a teenager I discovered that muffins, cookies, brownies, and other baked items were generally much better when they were made from scratch instead of out of a box. Over the years I added quite a few favorites to my repertoire, especially bar cookies and brownies (more on that later).
Like most working people, life seems to keep getting busier, and I have less time to experiment with recipes and create homemade goodies. However, I still love the aroma of tasty items baking in the oven, and the flavors and textures that come from the blending of pure, simple ingredients. Thanks to the quality and convenience of New England Cupboard mixes, I can still enjoy the baking experience within minutes.
If you’re a die-hard baker, you’re probably skeptical that anything out of a package can measure up to your own recipes. Let me say, I’ve tried nearly all of New England Cupboard’s varieties – biscuits, scones, breads, pancakes – and I’ve not been disappointed with the results. All have been good enough to fool friends and family into thinking that I made them the old-fashioned way. (Please keep this secret between us.)
Every ingredient in the mixes is 100% natural with no chemical additives or preservatives. As a Maine-based company, New England Cupboard proudly includes a can of native wild blueberries inside the package of each of their blueberry baking mixes such as their top-selling Blueberry Gingerbread Mix. But the secret ingredient that makes all New England Cupboard products bake up incredibly delicious is Bakewell Cream…
A staple in the pantries of Maine families for generations, Bakewell Cream is a unique leavening agent. (A leavening agent is any one of a number of substances used in doughs and batters that cause a foaming action which lightens and softens the finished product.) During wartime shortages in the 1940s, Byron Smith of Bangor, Maine created this key baking ingredient as a substitute for Cream of Tartar. Smith named his mixture “Bakewell” because he found that it did just that – bake well.
Getting back to my favorite items to make – bar cookies and brownies – I learned from the folks at New England Cupboard that the first brownie was also (inadvertently) created in Bangor, Maine. The story goes…
In the early 1900s, a housewife was baking a chocolate cake when it fell. Being a frugal Yankee, instead of throwing out the collapsed dessert she cut it into squares and unapologetically served it to her guests. Apparently it was well received, and brownies have been enjoyed by millions of people all over the world ever since. (New England Cupboard offers the Original Bangor Maine Brownie Mix, which is a popular item in my store.)
The folks at New England Cupboard haven’t forgotten our four-legged friends either. As dog lovers, they came up with healthy, easy-to-make, tail-waggin’ Jake’s Dog Treat Mixes. For added variety, you can add almost anything to each batch, such as small pieces of diced, cooked meat or shredded cheese – whatever your dog craves.
The next time you want to mix up a batch of something irresistible for the people or pets that are special to you, I recommend having a few packages from New England Cupboard ready and waiting on your pantry shelves.
Founder and Proprietor, New England Everyday Goods & Farm Market, Jaffrey, NH.
Just a stone’s throw down the road from The Old Farmer’s Almanac headquarters, Jim and his wife Susan operate a sprawling retail store that specializes in useful and unusual products with interesting stories behind them.