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Article posted: 11/12/2013 6:00 AM

From the Food Editor: Welcoming baking season with brownies

By Deborah Pankey

The crisp autumn air shaking leaves from the trees signals the beginning of a new season for me. Baking season ... that time of year when I happily turn my attention from gardening and ice cream treats and turn on my oven.

This month I'm also excited to have been invited to demonstrate one of my favorite treats at America's Baking and Sweets Show. Head to the show at the Renaissance Schaumburg Convention Center, 1551 N. Thoreau Drive, Friday, Nov. 15, and catch my demo on brownie bites from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m.

On Sunday, Baking Secrets columnist Annie Overboe will take the stage 12:45 to 1:45 p.m. -- warming up the crowd for "Ace of Cakes" star Duff Goldman. Before her demo, which will focus on gluten-free baking, Annie will be at the Daily Herald's booth ready to answer all your holiday baking questions.

Also at the show will be Chicago dessert diva Gale Gand and Brian Emmett, the Itasca dad who won CBS' "The American Baking Competition" earlier this year. Gand's demonstration is scheduled for 2 p.m. Saturday; Emmett will be onstage at 10:30 a.m. Saturday.

The show is the place for baking novices and enthusiasts to learn about the latest products and trends in the baking and sweets world. Besides the demonstrations and hands-on classes, there will be rows and rows of vendors representing every part of the industry from flours and sugars to rolling pins and ovens. The show will also crown winners in 10 dessert categories.

The show runs 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Adult tickets cost $16, seniors get in for $10, teachers/students pay $6 and children 12 and under are free.

Get organized: Just as you clean and organize your refrigerator before stocking it for Thanksgiving (you do that, don't you?), so too should you go through your baking supplies.

My jimmies, cookie cutters, decorating bags and other supplies littered my pantry until BakeStack came into my life.

This nifty, three-drawer, in-cabinet organizer comes from the same Arlington Heights father-daughter team of Mark and Lauren Greenwood who brought us the SpiceStack and CoffeeStack (for coffee/tea pods). The horizontal drawers flip down to reveal all my sprinkles, food colorings, fondant tools, icings and more. The kit comes with 18 removable dividers so you can customize the space to fit your needs.

It's on sale for $24.99 at Bed, Bath & Beyond stores or $29.99 at amazon.com.

Continuing education: If you've always wanted to take a cake decorating class, but have never been able to find one to fit your schedule, I've got some good news for you.

Woodridge-based Wilton Enterprises has partnered with Craftsy to bring aspiring cake enthusiasts a series of online cake decorating classes using the classic Wilton Method.

Craftsy and Wilton tapped pastry chef Beth Somers, season six winner of the Food Network's "Cupcake Wars, to lead the online classes. Topics include baking basics, buttercream skills (classic stars, shell borders, etc.), piped flowers and fondant.

The classes, available at craftsy.com, cost $19.99 to $29.99 and include more than two hours of anytime, anywhere video access, close-up instruction on how to create two projects, downloadable class materials (including recipes) and a Q&A opportunity with Beth in the virtual classroom.

Ÿ Contact Food Editor Deborah Pankey at dpankey@dailyherald.com. Be her friend at Facebook.com/DebPankey.DailyHerald or follow her on Pinterest, Instagram or Twitter @PankeysPlate.

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