Wednesday, March 28, 2012

What's coming UP for Bonni Bakes in April

This has been a fun time for me to experiment with yummy things I've been wanting to bake for a while but haven't had the time before. Truthfully, I really don't have the time now, but I believe that making time for personal pleasure is critical. How else can you re-energize yourself and give to others? Whoops, launching back into my clinical social worker mode, but it's still good honest advice.

I hope you're familiar with the treasure that we have here in Manatee County... the organic Geraldson Community Farm, operated as a CSA farm where you purchase a share of the season's crop and receive your ample allotment each week from Nov-May. They're conveniently located in NW Bradenton, just down the road from Robinson Preserve, which you need to experience for your mental health...nature trails, birds, marshes, sanity, silence & smiles.  Come & enjoy the new Sunday Farmer's Market @ Geraldson's.  I'm proud to be a big supporter and vendor there. Come visit this lovely farm each Sunday (except on Easter) from 11-3 where you'll find organic produce and a variety of local vendors. For info check out

This Sunday, April 1st, I'll be back there with a variety of baked goodies. I'll reprise last week's big hit,  BREAKFAST MUFFINS -- light corn muffins chock full of bacon, Cheddar and sauteed scallions, as well as BLUEBERRY LEMON MUFFINS -- delicate lemony muffins bursting with juicy blueberries. I've been playing with bread dough and will have some of my classic MINORCAN MULTI-GRAIN LOAVES -- made with organic 5 grain cereal & seeds plus something totally new, APPLE STRUDEL BREAD -- filled with raisins, cinnamon & nuts. In addition to those, there'll be the ever mouth watering MANGO PECAN RUGELACH -- filled with my Mango Daiquiri Jam, raisins & cinnamon, joined by a variety of my chunky cookies and delicious homemade jams & mango chutney. Come visit the Sunday Market or order by email at

Next week it's something COMPLETELY DIFFERENT...

If you've ever considered downsizing, and worried about how you could live in a little box, please visit my home the TreeHouse, during the Village of the Arts annual Garden Walk from 11-4 April 6 & 7, 2012.

A few years ago I designed and built a small (under 1000 sq ft) two story house that I call my TreeHouse. It was designed to wrap around an existing Haas avocado tree, and positioned so I could easily pick fruit from my second floor deck. I tried to utilize as many available energy saving & green products as I could. The challenge for me (a person who had NEVER DESIGNED ANYTHING BEFORE) was to create a home embracing both my ideal of personal comfort combined with my desire to leave a small footprint on the planet. Size 7 to be exact.

Experience the surprising spaciousness of this 965 sq ft home. See some of the unique details I incorporated in my design, like glass block in the bamboo floor; hand-painted Miro reproductions on the kitchen back-splash & shower wall; a tankless hot water heater; Victor Garcia's execution of the polished aluminum handrail; a unique sailboat inspired wall hanging system; extensive use of plexiglass; ductless "split" air conditioning system, and a lot more. 

Get ideas for your own projects and maybe your average electric bill will be around $50 too. You might like to read Wade Tatangelo's recent Bradenton Herald article feature on my house. You can find it at

My TreeHouse will be on tour Friday & Saturday from 11-4 during the Village of the Arts Garden Walk, April 6 & 7, 2012. I'll be around to answer questions and share information. Architectural plans will be available for sale in the near future.

For information or driving directions call (941) 746-6647 or email me at

Hugs from the TreeHouse,
                                                  Bonni & Twink (the less-than-wonder-dog)

Thursday, March 15, 2012

OMG, it's our last bake from the challenge

 Chocolate Babka cooling before cutting

Somehow the last three months have flown by and suddenly we're at the end of the "Inside The Jewish Bakery" challenge. For me it's been a wonderful opportunity to re-create and share delicious memories & tastes from my childhood. Even better, was experiencing it with others who had a similar reaction. And talking about the memories...

This challenge has given Anna & I another chance to play in flour together. Our final bake on Friday was the classic NYC favorite (especially if you watch "Seinfeld") CHOCOLATE BABKA...a fitting finale. I actually baked two more loaves on Saturday, one chocolate and the other almond-raisin-walnut. Some of you were the lucky recipients & taste testers of those. Here's the whole Babka back story.

Special dough sprinkled with Belgium chocolate & cinnamon sugar

Yup, the filling was uniformly sprinkled by very experienced hands

Two different sized Babkas, twisted sisters in their loaf pans

Risen Chocolate Babka, topped with streusel & ready to bake

Ah, delicious Chocolate Babka with a river of chocolate running thru it

The other Babka, with almond paste, raisins & walnut filling

NO photos of this baked Babka because it was devoured too quickly

Now it's time for both of us to do something a little different. Anna is about to begin college full-time, in addition to working in St Pete. I've got to downsize my possessions & get my house in Whitfield Estates ready to go on the market. My dog Twinkie continues to do as little as possible, except for being funny & adorable.

 Thanks Pat for containing her exuberance!!

Many people have asked how they can order some of the wonderful things we've baked. I can do that by special order --  call me at 941-746-6647 or email 

Instead of our weekly tastings, I'll now be open during the Village of the Arts' monthly ArtWalk...the first Friday night from 6-9:30pm and the following Saturday from 11-4pm. There will be a variety of baked goods and collectibles available as I downsize my personal holdings.

Come visit the TreeHouse, it's down the driveway path alongside the former BONNI BAKES BAKERY/CAFE.  Walk thru the white wrought iron gate next to the green wooden fence, and follow the driveway.

My home, the TreeHouse, will be open to tour during the Village April 6th & 7th GARDEN WALK from 11-4. I'll also be at Geraldson Community Farm's Sunday Markets from 11-3, at the NW Bradenton farm. For info

For those of you who can't live without embracing (aka devouring) a bag of Chocolate Orgasm Cookies, Breadstix or those cookies I make with oodles of Belgium chocolate...they're available on Sundays at the farm & by special order. I've also canned some interesting jams, based on my incredible Keitt Mango Tree & local Strawberries. Check out my Strawberry Mango Cardamom, Mango Daiquiri, Mango Chutney and Strawberry Earl Grey jams

Here are some pictures of the delicious things we've baked recently:

Poppy Seed Bars


6-Braid Honey Whole Wheat Challah

Cheese Danish

Onion Rolls

Mandlebroyt mit almonds

NYC's signature Black & White Cookies

Ratner's Onion Pockets

Mango Pecan Rugelach

Cinnamon Raisin Buns

Brooklyn Bialys

A bevvy of beautiful delicious homemade jams & chutney

Hugs from my kitchen, 

in the Village of the Arts
932 12th Street West
Bradenton, FL  34205

(941) 746-6647

Thursday, March 8, 2012


This was the recipe that I was looking forward to, and it 
didn't disappoint...ultimately.

I've made bialys before. As a matter of fact, my recipe was published in Linda Stradley's book 
a few years ago. What was so different about this recipe was the amount of time 
needed for the dough to rise properly. Beginning to end it was five hours.

The dough mixed together easily, as long as you used a powerful  machine like a Kitchen Aid

The book warned that if the  rises weren't sufficient, the rolls would blow up like softballs...

like these. There is no indentation in the center and the roll interior was too "doughy"

With the remaining three batches we allowed the rolls to almost
 over-proof and exaggerated the center indentation, as seen above

As the outside edges of the rolls swelled during proofing, the centers remained flat and distinct

We made four batches of 6 bialys each and improved with each one. This is a 
picture of batch three. Notice how one bialy looks perfect. The technique was 
a little tricky but by our final batch (pictured at the top of this story) they all 
looked right and had the correct texture & taste of a true Brooklyn Bialy.

The taste testers enjoyed a bialy with a schmear (scallion cream cheese) & voted thumbs up.

Tomorrow we'll bake the final recipe of the "Inside The Jewish Bakery" challenge. It's a recipe that was the basis of an entire Seinfeld episode...the one & only  CHOCOLATE BABKA  

Tastings will be at the TreeHouse Friday March 9 from 2-4

Come through the white iron gate across the driveway at 932 12th Ave West in The Village of the Arts and walk back toward the two story house (the TreeHouse). The house entrance faces the garden beds.

This Sunday March 11th I'll be at 

The Farmer's Market at GERALDSON'S  COMMUNITY FARM     1401 99th St NW, Bradenton    (941) 981-01111

FROM 11 - 3PM

Some of the things I'll be selling are:


BREADSTIX:  Roast Garlic/Blue Cheese // Rosemary Parmigiano,

 MUFFINS:  Banana Chocolate Chip // Cranberry Orange 


JAM:   Mango Daiquiri // Strawberry Balsamic & Black Pepper // Mango Strawberry Cardamom

plus some surprises 

I look forward to seeing you soon!

Hugs from my kitchen,

932 12th ST West
Bradenton, FL  34205
(941) 746-6647

Thursday, March 1, 2012


The dough came together easily in the KitchenAid

The key here is to mix & develop the gluten sufficiently so it will "window pane". That means that when you gently stretch a small piece of dough it spreads without breaking until you can sorta see through it.

After enough mixing, the dough has to rise until doubled in size. At this point we decided to divide the batch of dough into equal halves, which allowed us to turn them into totally different recipes.

One half was destined to become the famous roll found on every table at Ratner's restaurant back in the day. A delicious filling of rehydrated onions, poppy seed, salt and oil was spread over 2/3rds of the dough.

After folding and spreading with more filling, which produced multiple layers, they were individually cut

I can't express how delicious the house smelled, surrounded by warm bread with virtually sauteed onions

Oh yes, there was still the other half of the dough to be transformed into Cinnamon Raisin Rolls. The raisins were soft after a soak in hot water, then joined by Vietnamese cinnamon & sugar.

Once rolled and sealed, the log was cut into 2 " pieces, then placed cut side up on a silicone baking sheet

If I had given it some thought, I would have glazed the tops with an egg wash & sanding sugar.
Instead, I just allowed them be au natural with a simple sprinkle of plain old cinnamon sugar.

The experiment worked...we got two totally different results from the same basic dough.
I celebrated with a crunchy salad. When I was at Geraldson Farm's first Farmer's Market last Sunday I came home with an abundance of fresh organic veggies. The yellow beets were fabulous and I plan on serving them with goat cheese & caramelized onions on a bed of greens. 

They'll be hosting a Farmer's Mkts each Sunday from 11-3 at the farm in NW Bradenton. I won't be 
there this week but plan on being back the following week. It's nurturing to support good 
food, good people and good ideas on a local basis.

This Friday (tomorrow) Anna & I will finally be baking BIALYS as part of the "Inside The Jewish Bakery" challenge. I'm all set to see if this recipe is better than the one I developed years ago. I've made the classic Zabar's Scallion Cream Cheese to shmear on them...what could be bad? 
Tastings are at the TreeHouse Friday March 2 from 2-4.

I've been in a cream cheese based mood, so I made these incredible rugelach filled with my homemade Mango Meyer Lemon & Lime Jam, golden raisins and Florida pecans. I won't be doing this again anytime soon because this fragile dough doesn't like to be handled in hot weather. But the taste is fabulous. If you want any of this limited batch, let me know. It's $4 for 5 oz of Heaven that melts in your mouth.

This is a very busy musical weekend in the Village of the Arts.

Fri March 2 at 5:30pm the soaring public sculpture "Chrysalis Launcher" will be dedicated by the community at the corner of 9th St/12th Ave. Then follow the drummers to 12th St/11th Ave for a celebratory musical concert with food & drink. Many Village galleries will have live music Friday night. Check out for more details.

SATURDAY March 3 put on your dancing shoes and spend the day with us as we DANCE THROUGH THE VILLAGE from 11-4. Lots of dancers will demonstrate, teach and ask you to join in this celebration of dance, music & movement. Everything from rock & roll, to belly dance, traditional Lao, ballroom, Broadway musical, Tai Chi, Celtic, Latin, Zumba, a CONGA LINE. Bring an acoustic instument, your tooties, family, friends and playmates. I'm co-chairing this event, so I'm prejudiced, but know you'll have a great time. 


Hugs from my kitchen,
932 12th ST West
Bradenton, FL  34205
(941) 746-6647