How to Make All Natural Homemade Food Coloring

Now more than ever we want to know what goes into our food.  What better way to know than to make your food yourself. Food dye has gotten a bad rap, so if you don’t want to use it or want an all natural solution then this is for you.

Fruits, vegetables and spices have a strong pigment which is what makes them perfect for Homemade Food Coloring.

This dye isn’t as concentrated as regular dye so you might need to use more. It will work best for dying icing and frostings. For a cake, you will need to add more.

Want to learn more about making your own food coloring, check out our newest member website, Bigger Bolder Baking. Check out chef Gemma Stafford’s website here!

Posted in bakers, baking, baking education | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Your Guide to Bake and Take Month 2019

Giving a home-baked gift is a great way to show someone you care! Every March is Bake and Take Month, a time to celebrate your everyday relationships with some delicious baked goods. Bake and Take was created in 1971 by the Kansas Wheathearts to be an opportunity to revisit relationships with friends and family by baking and sharing treats.

Kansas Wheat and the Homebaking Association continue those efforts today with their Bake and Take Month partnership. While a month long celebration might not be the right fit for some, Bake and Take Day, celebrated annually on the fourth Saturday in March, is a great opportunity for families and service groups to get together in the kitchen and around the oven.

If you do bake it off, let HBA see your creations on social media! Check out Home Baking Association’s Facebook page, Instagram, and Twitter feeds here.

Sample Carrot Apple Muffin recipe from Click here to view the recipe!

Facebook Live Event!

Who doesn’t love a fresh baked good in their life? If you’re looking to spread a little spring-time cheer, meet your newest neighbor or impress your new in-laws, Bake and Take Month in March is the celebration for you! Bake up a storm with an expert, Sharon Davis from HBA, and try your hand at Whole Grain Rich Carrot Apple Muffins! 2:30 p.m. central time!Here’s a free download of a recipe that will be featured!

Baking for others is everything a parent, a teacher and a community could want. The soft pretzel was originally baked as a reward for learning and remains a sign of “blessing” or appreciation to this day. On-line lesson Bread with a Twist outlines many ways to teach and learn from baking as a service. See how to shape pretzels


Several resources to help Bake and Take include:

Perhaps you can share your love of baking by giving a copy of Baking with Friends to someone special. Check out the Home Baking Association resource here.

Above all, just DO IT! Enjoy Bake and Take Month!

Posted in bake for family fun, bake for family fun month, Baking Celebrations, Baking Events Calendar, baking recipes, bread recipe, cookie | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Educator Award Contest 2019

March 2019 – Calling all baking educators! Classroom educators, community organization and afterschool program leaders are encouraged to enter. Submit a baking activity or lesson by March 31 to be eligible to win the $1,000 award and a trip for two to Lake Placid, NY!

The Home Baking Association (HBA) recognizes an educator annually. The non-profit association seeks to reward educators who have implemented outstanding programs that teach children to bake and share baking in their communities.

Family and consumer sciences (FCS) educators and youth organization leaders for FCCLA (Family Career Community Leaders of America), 4-H, Boys and Girls Clubs, Camp Fire USA and other after-school or community programs are encouraged to share successful community baking programs. Youth who have developed baking programs that teach other youth to bake are also invited to enter.

The outstanding educator selected will receive $1,000 and a trip to the HBA Annual Meeting to present the winning project. All entrants will receive a complimentary teaching resource.

Visit for ideas, teaching resources and previous award winning lessons. Congratulations to the 2016 Educator Award Winner, Delaine Stendahl, family and consumer sciences teacher, Whitehall, WI. Stendahl won the award with her entry The Power of EggsThis resource is a perfect example of the outstanding lesson plans the Home Baking Association would like to help promote.

For Information on the 2019 Educator Award Program visit Entries must be received by March 31, 2019.

For more information, contact:

Charlene Patton HBA Executive Director: 785.478.3283, Email:


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Bake and Take Month

Sharon Davis of the Home Baking Association sat down with the folks at Kansas Farm Food Connection earlier this month for a discussion about Bake and Take Month.

What’s better than baking something delicious? Sharing it with others! That’s what Bake and Take Month is all about.

“There’s this wonderful aura around sharing baked goods with other people,” said Sharon Davis, program development director for the Home Baking Association. “It’s so heartwarming, especially in our high-tech world. We’ve become so isolated.”

Sharon harkened back to the 1970s, when the Kansas Wheathearts started Bake and Take Day. The Wheathearts, composed largely of farmers’ spouses, were an auxiliary of the Kansas Association of Wheat Growers that wanted to build up their communities. On Bake and Take Day, members would bake a dish to share with neighbors or those in need.

Today, all of March is Bake and Take Month. It’s a great time for families, 4-H-ers, scouts or any group to make something homemade and share it with others. Sharon says you can share your baking with neighbors or take your goodies to nursing homes, Veterans Affairs centers, childcare centers, church groups—you name it.

“Pick one locally and call ahead to tell them what you want to bring. Then, sit down and share it together,” Sharon said.

More than the gift of the baked good is the gift of your time. It takes time to bake something from scratch and it takes time to visit with people. That’s what’s most important.

“You don’t have to be a chef with a portfolio of knowledge. Just get a bowl out and prepare something delicious!” she said.

If you’d like some ideas to bake, visit their website for recipes. If you’re not an avid baker, Sharon suggests starting with something easy like banana or pumpkin bread (these quick breads don’t require working with yeast) or muffins.

While Pinterest is great for finding inspiration, Sharon recommends getting recipes from reliable test kitchens like those at Eat Wheat or King Arthur Flour where you know the recipes have been well tested.

As for Sharon, she’s still deciding what to make this year.

“I’m a bread baker, so I’m most likely going to bring a cinnamon swirl bread, no frosting. I also love whole grain quick bread or apple sauce oatmeal muffins,” she said.

For baking resources, how-to videos, tips and ideas visit the Baking Glossary or Education sections of the Home Baking Association’s website.

Follow #BakeAndTakeMonth on social. Better yet, upload photos of your own Bake and Take adventure and share them with the hashtag!

Photo used with permission from Deanna Cook, author of Baking Class

Posted in bake for family fun, baker, bakers, baking book, Baking Celebrations, baking class, baking education, baking lesson, baking recipes, baking tips, baking with children, baking with kids, bread recipe, children's cookbook, cookie, cookie recipes | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Make March a Whole Grain Spring Odyssey!

There are so many delicious whole grain baking options and so little time!  While you’re celebrating 2019 Nutrition Month, why not make it a whole grain food odyssey?

Our partner, Child and Adult Care Food Programs, sets the bar high for us all—See what they provide for Every Day Nutrition. Hey, if it’s good for our kids, it’s a no brainer for us adults to try to live up to!

Adding fruits, veggies, whole grains and reducing sodium are all benefits of “B-I-Y” –bake- it-yourself.

To begin your March Whole Grain Nutrition Month Odyssey, take time for the Whole Grain 101 tutorial!

Field to oven, wheat farmers offer many tried and true whole grain recipes.  My bread baking began with bread we needed every day.  This 100% Whole Wheat is made with hard whole white wheat, one of six classes grown in the U.S. It is ideal to produce a lighter color and sweeter flavor whole wheat product.

Recipe:  Kansas Wheat 100% Whole Wheat Bread

View step-by-step video of how to bake this bread here

Follow the CACFP guide and add-a-grain like cornmeal and a fruit!  Cornmeal Blueberry Buttermilk Pancakes from the Hodgson Mill test kitchens include maple syrup and simply melt in your mouth.

Hecker’s Ceresota Mill adds apple and cinnamon for a delicious Whole Wheat Apple Muffin with Streusel.  Yum.

This is just a start!  Come back for next week’s whole grain baking to “Bake and Take.”


Posted in baker, baking, baking lesson, baking recipes, Baking Resources, baking tips, baking with children, sharon davis | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Wednesday, March 27th is Whole Grain Sampling Day!

What if there were one day when, everywhere you went, there were opportunities to try delicious whole grain foods?

You’d stop into the cafeteria at your workplace, and you’d be offered a taste of quinoa salad. Your teenager would duck into a quick-serve restaurant, and they’d ask, “Would you like that on a whole grain wrap, instead of the usual bun?” In the park downtown, a food company would be passing out granola bars to joggers. At dinner, as you serve whole grain pasta to your family, your fourth-grader would report about the whole grain pizza in her school lunch.

Check out the Oldways Whole Grains Council video below, to get inspired about Whole Grain Sampling Day.

Check out some of these great whole grain recipes from the Home Baking Association:

Whole Wheat Sticky Bun Pumpkin Muffins

White Whole Wheat Carrot Cake

Whole Grain Blueberry Muffins

White Whole Wheat Muffins

How Can You Celebrate Whole Grain Sampling Day in Your School/Community?

■ Highlight Existing Whole Grain Menu Items! There’s no need to create new menu items – unless of course you want to. Since you’ve already got delicious whole grain dishes on your menu—feature those!

■ Sample Some New Whole Grain Items Whole Grain Sampling Day is a great time to let kids taste some new whole grain items you may be planning to introduce. Especially for elementary kids: provide whole grain stickers to everyone who tries your new whole grain item.

■ Create Educational Games Take a pointer from other schools, and get creative with nutrition games and races that get kids excited about whole grains. We’ve included examples on the following page. We can also supply you with stickers, posters, handouts and more! Brainstorm with us now.

■ Invite Parents to a Tasting Event Kids will get more whole grains at home if you make sure their parents know about the whole grain foods kids love. Plan a tasting event for them, at morning drop-off time, after school, or in the evening.

Learn more about Whole Grain Baking with this very informative resource from the Home Baking Association

Posted in bake for family fun, bake for family fun month, bakers, baking book, whole grains, whole grains month | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Week 4: Baking for Others

If you can’t bake for someone during this last week of Bake for Family Fun Month, you can “make a plan.” Like Sofia, maybe it will include both baking to teach others WHILE you bake for others.Photo: Sophia by white mixer, baking with a group

Sofia’s “baking for others” plan:

“My Girl Scout Gold Award project, The Knead for Baking, was the first way I began to share baking with others. The plan included working with the volunteer organization, the All Star Program at Ladera Ranch Middle School to schedule two types of baking classes: an after-school instruction-based class and an in-home class where kids learn and practice baking skills from The “Knead” for Baking guide. I worked with the Home Baking Association as a liaison to ensure my content was accurate and aligns with education standards.

After developing the curriculum and PDF, filming the instructional video, and creating a follow-up assessment and survey, I launched my website

The classes introduced children ages 8-18 to basic baking STEAM with techniques to build skills and confidence. This year, almost 300 middle school students experienced The “Knead” for Baking as an after-school instruction-based class and an additional 100 students baked with me in my own home.”

We all like to know if we’re making a difference. Sofia’s data from students in her classes tell us BEFORE the classes:

  • 23% reported they have never baked something from scratch
  • 38% say they are baking only a few times a year

AFTER the classes, 90% report they will try to bake something from scratch!

The project will continue to impact Ladera Ranch Middle School as The Knead for Baking will still be a requirement in order for the kids to donate baked goods.

“Our largest charitable cause has been the Marines at Camp Pendleton to whom we donate over 1000 cookies every year at the holidays. Once the community realized we are able to donate our cookies, we started receiving requests from Meals on Wheels, The American Cancer Society, local fire stations, our Marines at Camp Pendleton, The Ronald McDonald House, Welcome Inn Homeless Shelter, and many bake sales for various causes.

One of Sofia’s greatest rewards? “I love seeing my students’ photos on social media when they have baked a batch of cookies to donate or fund raise.” The HBA hopes Sofia’s bakers will add one more charitable cause—Bake Sale for No Kid Hungry. We know they would soon be Heroes or Rock Stars!

Like Sofia, and her students, let us know what you do to share your baking wealth! You might even enter the HBA educator award opportunity by March 31! We’d love to hear from you!

Posted in bake for family fun, bake for family fun month | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Bake for Family Fun Month: Week 3

Baking History and Traditions

Baking traditions might just start today- they don’t have to be generations old. After all, they have to start sometime, or they’d never make history! (Like the Chocolate Chip Cookie!)

Before you read Sofia’s traditions, tweak your imagination with Nancy Baggett’s The American Cookie Story–Cookie Chronicles, and view the history of several favorite cookies.

Next, enjoy Sofia’s story below of her favorite baking traditions that, we predict, will become the history of her friends and family. Sofia shares,

“As a family, we traditionally bake Biscotti, Coconut Macaroons, and Mexican Wedding Cake Cookies for the Christmas holiday.”

She continues, “On Valentine’s Day, or just to share with others, we bake Judith’s Shortbread and Chocolate Chip Cookies.” (See page 5 of the pdf below for Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe)

“These cookies remind me of the best times baking with my family, like on Saturday mornings when we would bake in our pajamas and listen to Latin pop music. In college, I hope to teach my friends how to bake in order to alleviate some of the stresses of studying, and bond together on a more meaningful level. I hope to share these recipes with my family and kids as I grow older so that my childhood traditions will continue into another generation.”

Sophia’s right! Baking is one FABULOUS de-stresser and bond-builder. Enjoy creating a new baking tradition—share the wealth!

Posted in bake for family fun, bake for family fun month, bakers, baking, baking tips | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sofia’s Favorite Baking for Your Valentine Recipe

Once Sofia’s family “got started baking,” they could not quit doing what is the favorite reason people bake: To bake something special with our own hands for someone we love.

Sofia’s shares that her favorite recipe to make during the Valentine’s Day season is “Judith’s Shortbread.” “This cookie’s simplicity and pure ingredients make it a perfect recipe to make with my family and to share with loved ones. Shortbread is the perfect “not-too-sweet tidbit,” to share.”

Judith’s Shortbread Cookies                                 Makes 3 dozen


1 lb. (4 sticks) unsalted room temperature butter

1 cup powdered sugar

½ cup corn starch

3 ½ cups all-purpose flour

Chocolate chunks or Four, (4.4 oz) milk chocolate bars

Parchment paper, cookie sheet

 Directions: Tie back hair, gather ingredients, wash counters and hands.

  1. Preheat oven to 300° F.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar for about 3 minutes until it is a fluffy consistency.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine the cornstarch and flour.
  4. Scoop the flour mixture into the mixing bowl and mix just until combined.
  5. Break up or cut the chocolate bars into chunks (quarter inch squares).
  6. Add chocolate to the mixing bowl and mix until fully incorporated.
  7. Use a 2 Tablespoon measuring spoon or a mini ice cream scoop and fill it with cookie dough. Scoop the dough onto the parchment-paper-lined baking pan spacing the cookie dough balls 1-inch apart.

  1. Take another piece of parchment paper and lay it over the balls of cookie dough. Use another cookie sheet and place it over the parchment covered cookie dough and squish it down evenly.

  1. Place cookies in the oven and bake for approximately 18 minutes, baking until the shortbread cookies are lightly browned. While cookies bake, wash counter, cleaning up raw flour, batter or egg; wash dishes and hands.
  2. Remove the cookies from the pan to wire cooling racks to cool.

When fully cooled, wash hands and package cookies to gift or store in a sealed food container.

If you love shortbread, you’ll love baking the Southern favorites, Pecan Sandies or Russian Tea Cookies.

Find many more wonderful Valentine baking ideas at and follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter! And for more information about Sofia Votava, go to

Posted in bake for family fun month, baking, baking recipes, cookie recipes | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How and Why One Busy California Family Got Started Baking

What’s better than seeing kids deeply engaged in learning skills that’ll enrich them for a lifetime? Baking is just such a skill. But with so many activity options in school and out, why bake?

Sofia Votava, an Orange Co. Girl Scout, shares how, and why, she and her family got started baking together. Stay tuned through out February to learn more about how their baking start up became a special baking outreach through Sofia’s Girl Scout Gold Award program, The Knead for Baking.

Truly, baking was truly remote from Sofia’s family’s daily scramble…

“Growing up as a competitive dancer meant I spent over 20 hours weekly at the dance studio. It also meant I never saw my mom make me dinner, let alone bake. My brother and I were accustomed to eating on the go, since the dinner hour fell right in the middle of my dance classes and my brother’s basketball practices.  “From scratch” was a foreign concept to me until I was in middle school.

After my mom got remarried to my step-dad Vic, our lives changed in more ways than one. One weekend, I had a to make a dessert for my 5th grade holiday party.  That’s when Vic’s secret came out! He had been a pastry chef as his first career. I’ll never forget the feeling of baking with him for the first time. This bonding moment inspired Vic to start baking again and our entire family joined in the fun.

Before we knew it, we were baking as a family every weekend. Vic first taught us the basics: measuring ingredients, multiplying recipes, and even cracking the eggs.

 HBA Glossary video: How to Measure Flour

Sofia’s video tutorial

As a family, we made it our mission to spend quality time together in the kitchen. My favorite memories with my family happen to be while we were baking together.

Sofia’s mom Christine relates “Baking as a family has brought us closer together. It is one of the only times during our hectic lifestyle that we can all focus and work as a team. We turn off our phones and tune into each other.”

Access Baking Food Safety 101 and many more “helps” to Get Started baking at the Home Baking Association.

Posted in bake for family fun, bake for family fun month, baking | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment