Baking with Friends

Sharon Davis and Charlene Patton
Goops Unlimited, 2010

Looking for a fun activity to do with friends – either kids or adults – on a weekend afternoon? Look no farther than the aptly titled, “Baking with Friends,” by Sharon Davis and Charlene Patton. Davis, a licensed trained home economist and family and consumer sciences teacher, and Patton, executive director of the Home Baking Association, teamed up to produce this charming baking/learning/fun book.

“Baking with Friends” features 39 kid-friendly (and adult-delicious!) recipes, arranged by category: Cookies and Bars, Desserts, Quick Breads, Main Dishes, Yeast Breads and Rolls, and Miscellaneous. Bringing the recipes to life are whimsical illustrations by Coleen McIntyre. It’s simply a joy to wander through the pages where stacks of cookies balance on a turtle’s back, bees help mix granola, and flamingos flip over cheese quesadillas.

When asked to describe the book, Sharon and Charlene stress its combination of teaching and enjoyment. “It’s about wanting to engage young people and friends and baking,” said Sharon. “Food should be, and is something that is enjoyable. Our book peels back the layers, offering fun facts with every recipe as well as opportunities to return to time-honored traditions.”

“We tried to appeal to many different audiences,” added Charlene. “We want to inspire parents and give them confidence to take the time to cook with their children. The recipes are ones that you can grow with; there is something for everyone at every stage.”

While having a strong family focus, “Baking with Friends” works equally as well in a school or afterschool setting. Patton points out that each recipe is a “ready-made” lesson plan, with vocabulary words, fun facts, and activities to try.

Lori Levin, who teaches early literacy development and children’s literature at Kansas State University, agrees and gives “Baking with Friends” a strong thumbs up. “I’ve brought the book to my classes to share with my elementary education students and, from a teacher’s standpoint, it’s fabulous,” she declares. “Educators love to use cooking as part of their lessons and this book is perfect because it brings in the seasons, different cultures, and other learning opportunities. It offers multiple ways to tie-in to whatever you’re currently teaching.”

Resource pages include age-appropriate kitchen tasks, ten tips for baking success, a baking skills check list, a reading list which pairs every recipe with a book, even a baking certificate truly suitable for framing. There is also an audio CD for listening while you bake.

Asked to name their favorite recipes, Sharon opts for “Grandma’s Refrigerator Dough,” because it reminds her of her roots. Likewise, Charlene selects “Old Fashioned Apple Cake Dessert,” and “Apple Dumplings in Cinnamon Sauce,” both based on recipes handed down from her grandmothers.

“Baking with Friends” was awarded the Benjamin Franklin Award for interior design from the Independent Book Publishers Association, and Sharon and Charlene just won the Kansas Notable Authors Award. The book is available for purchase at

Here’s a “Baking with Friends” recipe to try, courtesy of Goops Unlimited:

Pilgrim Bread


  • ½ cup water (105 to 110°F)
  • 2 (1/4 ounce) packages or 4 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1/8 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • ½ cup cornmeal
  • ¼ cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 ½ teaspoons salt
  • ½ cup wholegrain rye flour
  • 3 cups whole wheat flour
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1 ½ to 2 cups bread flour


  1. Combine ½ cup water with yeast and 1/8 teaspoon sugar in a small bowl. Stir and set aside.
  2. Combine boiling water, cornmeal, brown sugar and salt in a large bowl. Let stand for 5 to 10 minutes, cooling to 95°F or cooler.
  3. Add yeast, rye flour and whole wheat flour mixture. Beat at medium speed for 3 minutes. Cover, let stand 15 to 20 minutes.
  4. Add vegetable oil, egg and 1 cup bread flour. Beat at medium speed for 3 to 5 minutes or until smooth. Stir in enough remaining bread flour until dough forms a ball and pulls away from sides of the bowl.
  5. Place dough on lightly floured surface; knead about 10 minutes until smooth and elastic.
  6. Place dough into large greased bowl; turn dough; greased-side is up. Cover; let rise until double about 40 minutes. Punch down dough gently and form into smooth topped ball of dough. Let rest 10 minutes.
  7. Divide dough in half; shape each half into round or rectangle loaves. Place round loaves on two greased pie plates or baking sheets, or into greased 8 ½ x 4 ½ -inch loaf pans.
  8. Cover and proof in warm (about 85 to 95°F) draft-free place until loaves are doubled in size and when lightly touched, the small indentation stays.
  9. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  10. Bake loaves 35 to 40 minutes or until golden brown. Remove bread from pan and cool about 30 minutes on wire cooling racks before slicing or wrapping.

Nutrition Facts (1 serving/29g)

Calories: 107, Protein: 3g, Carbohydrates: 19g, Dietary Fiber: 2g, Fat: 2g, Mono Fat: 1g, Poly Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 7mg, Calcium: 7mg, Potassium: 86mg, Sodium: 188 mg