Genell Patterson says some of her earliest memories are stirring cookie batter with her mom, even when she was so small she couldn’t reach the counter.
“She used to pull up a chair for me so I could reach it and stir with her,”Patterson said. “I’ve just always loved baking. Any time there’s a work function or a family function, I’m usually the one making the dessert. I like creating recipes and coming up with new stuff. It’s just kind of a creative outlet for me.”
Patterson says she was never the type of person who liked to follow a recipe.
“I have a really bad habit of just throwing things in and it just works, but then I haven’t written down what I did, so I can never make it again. That probably came from my mom. She never used a cookbook or a measuring utensil. She just kind of poured everything in,”she said.
Patterson, who recently relocated to Ewing, Va. in Lee County from Tacoma, Wash., was treated to a trip to Parsippany, N.J. after one of her recipe creations was selected as a winner of the Duncan Hines 2013 Spring Bake Recipe Contest. The contest challenged participants to flex their creativity in the kitchen by using Duncan Hines Frosting Creations flavors to create unique desserts and sweet treats.
Patterson’s recipe for Dark Chocolate Mocha Gooey Bottom Bars earned her an exclusive invitation to Duncan Hines’ state-of-the-art test kitchen to bake with the company’s professional pastry chefs. As part of the winning weekend, Patterson and other bakers received a sneak peek of Duncan Hines’product development process. In addition, all winning recipes are featured on the Duncan Hines website.
Patterson’s creation was among the top 10 in the country. During her weekend in New Jersey,she also had the opportunity to learn a few tricks of the trade directly from Duncan Hines’Executive Chef Joe DiPaolo.
“It was an experience I will never forget,”Patterson said. “They treated us like royalty. They rolled out the red carpet and were so friendly. When we got there, they gave us a tour of the facilities and we got to see where they do all of their product development and testing. Wealso met with Beth Somers, who is with the Wilton Cake Decorating Company. She’s their top pastry chef. She came and gave us a class on cake decorating and how to make things look prett y. ”
“And one of Duncan Hines’food scientists gave us a class on what the science behind baking is. And the rest of the time, we spent with Chef Joe. He showed us how to do probably about 20 different things. He used the Duncan Hines products as a base, but then showed us how to use them very creatively. I came away with so many great things I can use on my own.”
Toview some of Patterson’s recipe creations, you can visit her blog at http://www.nelsnook.com/? .
Below is Patterson’s winning recipe from the Duncan Hines’ contest.
Dark Chocolate Mocha Gooey
Duncan Hines Classic Dark Chocolate Fudge Cake Mix 1 egg 1/2 cup of water 1/3 cup oil Duncan Hines Flavor Creations Mocha Flavor Mix Duncan Hines Flavor Creations Frosting Starter 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease the bottom and sides of a 13- by 9-inch pan thoroughly. In a bowl, mix together the cake mix, egg, water and oil. Mixture should be crumbly but well incorporated. When you press the dough together it should stick together. If it doesn't stick, add a little bit more oil and/or water.
Press2/3 of the crumbly cake mix into the bottom of the pan and set aside. Mix together the Frosting Starter and Mocha Flavor mix as directed. Spread the frosting over the cake base. Sprinkle dark chocolate chips evenly over frosting. Crumble the other 1/3 of cake mix on the top. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes. The edges of the cake will be crisp and the cake will have only a slight jiggle to it. Let bars cool completely before cutting to serve. The bottom of the bars will be sticky, and the best way to serve them is upside down.