Rachel Miller

  • Blogs

    October 21, 2014

    How to Roast Pumpkin Seeds

    Perhaps you have some distant memory of your mom roasting pumpkin seeds on pie tins for you. I do. As a kid I didn't appreciate the pumpkin seed. I just wanted to get to the pumpkin pie or pumpkin roll. Now as an adult, I want those toasty seeds. Mostly to artistically sprinkle on top of the pumpkin ... More >>

  • Blogs

    September 26, 2014

    How to Bake in Your Vacation Rental

    So you're going to rent a beach house with your significant other's family? Brave soul. I just made this trip, and made it home in one piece, albeit sandy. Since I'm a pastry chef, of course, I was asked to make goodies for everyone. A generic list of available kitchen equipment was on the website ... More >>

  • Blogs

    September 11, 2014

    Bakeware Maintenance Basics

    Bakeware can be a very expensive investment, and maintaining it should be a priority. However, sometimes it's hard to stand and dry every groove of your bundt pan, especially when that delicious cake is gleaming on your cake stand across the kitchen. (If you missed our post on how to turn out the pe ... More >>

  • Blogs

    August 25, 2014

    The Trick for Making the Best Bundt Cake Ever

    It's a tale that's as old as time. Baking enthusiast sees bundt pan on clearance rack. Purchases said bundt pan, then races home to create an epic bundt that will be ooh-ed and ahh-ed over at the dinner party. Baking enthusiast places bundt in oven, and revels in smugness at the beautiful cake to co ... More >>

  • Blogs

    August 11, 2014

    Make Your Own Nut Butters

    I don't know if you have strolled down the nut butter section at your grocery store lately, but the options for nut butters are exploding past just peanut butter or almond butter. Cashew butter, blended nut butters, and nut butters with a variety of added spices have arrived to shake up toast, sandw ... More >>

  • Blogs

    August 4, 2014

    How to Preserve Everything from Leeks to Raspberries

    When I was little, I remember my grandmother and great grandmother putting up fruits and vegetables for the winter. We had a root cellar in the basement, lined with wooden plywood shelves that held the jars of tomatoes, beans, jams and jellies, and a couple random bottle of sparkling grape juice, th ... More >>

  • Blogs

    July 31, 2014

    Flavored Simple Syrup: How to Make It, How to Use It

    Simple syrups are often found behind your favorite bar, used to flavor and add a bit of sweetness to your cocktails. Equal parts sugar and water (or liquid), they can be flavored with a multitude of things, but if you aren't mixing up cocktails every night, what else can you use them for?

  • Blogs

    July 24, 2014

    How to Make Your Own Almond Milk

    I grew to love almond milk in college, back when I discovered it on the shelf at the small market where I worked. I enjoy the taste of almond milk, and love adding it to smoothies, oatmeal or pastries. Lately there's been debate over just how healthy it is, but if you're lactose intolerant, the fact ... More >>

  • Blogs

    July 17, 2014

    How to Make Your Own Popsicles, a.k.a. Paletas

    Popsicles also known by their new trendier name, palettas, have become uber hip. A rainbow of paletas is popping up all over the place in funky flavors, making it easier to get your lick on. But as with most things, I want to make them myself.

  • Blogs

    July 4, 2014

    How to Assemble the Perfect Cheese Plate

    I fell in love with cheese at my first job out of culinary school. In many restaurants, the pastry department is responsible for cheese plates, and Bouchon was no different. The first time I placed Humboldt Fog in my mouth, my world expanded. A whole new world of flavors and textures lay before me, ... More >>

  • Blogs

    June 30, 2014

    How to Make Banana Stracciatella: Low Sugar Desserts That Won't Make You Want to Cheat

    Ice cream holds some magical power over me. It could be a winter wonderland outside and I will be ready to put down a pint of my favorite gelato. Stracciatella is similar to a "chip" ice cream, made by drizzling warm chocolate into frozen ice cream, to create irregular chips through out the mixtur ... More >>

  • Blogs

    June 24, 2014

    Banana Coconut Chia Seed Pudding: Low Sugar Desserts That Won't Make You Want to Cheat

    As a pastry chef, I create sweet treats, and sugar is my chosen artistic medium. More and more though I have people passing by my table at the farmers market, lamenting that they can only look because they can't have sugar on their current diet. What's a sweet treat peddler to do? I'll be honest, m ... More >>

  • Blogs

    June 18, 2014

    Healthy Chocolate Mousse: Low-Sugar Desserts That Won't Make You Want to Cheat

    Chocolate mousse is one of my favorite, easiest go-to dinner-party desserts. It can be made ahead and is easy to dress up. Little do most people know, it is one of the simplest desserts to make, but this dairy-free, gluten-free, sugar-free version is so fast, and has only two ingredients (well, thre ... More >>

  • Blogs

    June 11, 2014

    How to Make Your Own Yogurt

    A few years back I took cheese making classes in Vermont. Back on the west coast afterwards, I visited with one of my friends from cheese class to make some cheese and that is when she introduced me to making your own yogurt, allowing me to take her new yogurt maker for a spin. I loved the idea of ... More >>

  • Blogs

    May 27, 2014

    The Cheater Semifreddo

    I'm busy, it's hot, and I need a dessert for the dinner thing this weekend. If you saw our post on 5 Summertime No-Bake Desserts, we gave you some options for desserts that don't require oven work. Don't get me wrong I love bringing the dessert to a dinner party. It gives me a chance to test some ... More >>

  • Blogs

    May 13, 2014

    5 Pretty Ways to Package Your Baked Goods

    I love excellent packaging on the products I buy. Even when I'm baking up a few nibbles for my family and friends, I want my goodies to look fabulous. You can find a wide variety of colored and patterned disposable baking cups and loaf pans, but here are a few that stand out to us, and where you can ... More >>

  • Blogs

    April 29, 2014

    How to Help Your Local Winery

    A couple of years ago, my future husband and I were gifted with a bottle of wine from a small Arizona winery. It was delicious, and we were very impressed. About a month ago, my husband contacted the winery to join its wine club and ask whether we could visit. We secured an invite to the winery's pl ... More >>

  • Blogs

    April 14, 2014

    5 Substitutes for Basic Baking Ingredients

    It's midnight on a Tuesday. You have promised to bake up your amazing chocolate cupcakes for the office tomorrow. After ripping apart your refrigerator for the fifth time, you realize that dozen eggs you thought you had is only two eggs. Now what? This happens to me more often than I'd like to admi ... More >>

  • Blogs

    April 9, 2014

    How to Make a South African Milk Tart

    My husband arrived home with some crumpled printed pages from a website. Bold orange highlighter illuminated some of the words. He handed them to me. Just a few pastry ideas for me from his South African friend at work, Elwin. After seeing my article on Lamingtons, Elwin wanted to pass along some i ... More >>

  • Blogs

    March 31, 2014

    5 Lowbrow Desserts That Deserve More Street Cred

    Lowbrow - n. One having uncultivated tastes. When I was a kid, let's say 8 years old, I would often spend the night at my grandma's house. She lived in a duplex and her house was locked with skeleton keys. There was a hug collection of costume jewelry and scarves for playtime, and she would let me ... More >>

  • Blogs

    March 25, 2014

    8 Steps to Making Perfect Buttercream: A Chow Bella Primer, Part Two

    Monday, Sugar Rush shared a primer explaining just what buttercream is -- and how many different kinds there are. Today: Make your own in eight steps.

  • Blogs

    March 17, 2014

    St. Patrick's Day, Pinterest Style

    My husband thinks Pinterest is dumb. I honestly don't think he even really knows what it is, considering Facebook and ESPN are the only apps on his phone. However I believe his dislike comes from wondering where I am at midnight, only to find me in my office, aggressively "pinning" dream kitchens an ... More >>

  • Blogs

    March 10, 2014

    5 Things Your Pastry Chef Really Doesn't Want You To Do

    Who doesn't have a list of "don'ts" at work? Today's the pastry chef's turn. We love making people happy with sweet concoctions and we work hard to make that happen. Here are some tips to remember when dining on sweets that will keep your pastry chef from turning into a sourpuss.

  • Blogs

    March 3, 2014

    5 Choices for State Pastry for Arizona. Cast Your Vote!

    Last summer, Wisconsin named the kringle as the state's official pastry -- not to be confused with their proposed state dessert, the cream puff. A kringle is a Scandinavian flaky pastry, similar to a danish pastry in texture, then filled with nuts, fruit filling or custard. Since Racine, Wisconsin i ... More >>

  • Blogs

    February 24, 2014

    How to Make a King Cake for Mardi Gras

    Before I knew Mardi Gras was associated with copious alcohol consumption or showing breasts for beads, it was all about the cake. Tucked away in the loft of a Lutheran church, my grade-school French class would indulge in yeasty cinnamon cake every snowy February. I would cross my fingers under my ... More >>

  • Blogs

    February 17, 2014

    A Pastry Chef Makes Her Own Birthday Cake

    It was my birthday last week. I love my birthday, but it never really turns out how I imagine. For my 12th birthday, I asked for Donnie Wahlberg, to no avail. For my 18th birthday, my girlfriends tried to plan a surprise party for me, which I ruined mid-car ride to the surprise, trying to get my mom ... More >>

  • Blogs

    January 22, 2014

    Cake Pops Are the Worst: The 7 Layers of the Cake Hierarchy

    My husband stormed into the bedroom the other night in a rage. I know you are starting to think you clicked the wrong link and that this is Katie Johnson's awesome Jackalope Ranch column, Courting Disaster, in which she writes about sexual exploits. Nope, just a cake pop hater here in this Sugar Rus ... More >>

  • Blogs

    December 6, 2013

    5 Desserts to Take to Your Holiday Party

    Holiday tunes are blaring on the radio as I walk the aisles of every store. Parking lots become asphalt spaces of rage. Christmas tree lots have popped up everywhere. Lights twinkle strung in gaudy heaps on every outdoor yard item. The holidays have arrived, and with them the numerous holiday par ... More >>

  • Blogs

    November 27, 2013

    The Winners of the Chow Bella Pumpkin Showdown Are....

    From time to time here at Chow Bella, we challenge one another to a showdown. This fall's theme, naturally, was pumpkin. Damn you, pumpkin-infused Kahlua and pumpkin-flavored Pringles -- you're ruining it for the rest of the pumpkin goodness out there, like the dishes our colleagues prepared for us ... More >>

  • Blogs

    October 21, 2013

    Chow Bella's Pumpkin Showdown: Bourbon Pumpkin Tart with Marshmallow Creme

    From time to time, Chow Bella's contributors challenge one another to a showdown: Make the best dish you can, using one common ingredient. This time (naturally), it was pumpkin. For the next few weeks, we'll be sharing the results, and at the end, we'll let you know who won. Today, we begin with o ... More >>

  • Blogs

    October 7, 2013

    Camping Sweets: Zeppole with Honey and Brownies Baked in Oranges

    Lost in nature. Quiet surrounds. Campfire blazes and crackles. Tents flap in the breeze. Chairs dragged closer to the fire as the wind picks up. S'mores appear. Beer flows. Camping. To some, this is heaven. To me, it is hell. There are some aspects I can appreciate. The beauty of the red rocks ... More >>

  • Blogs

    September 26, 2013

    Pavlova: Rock a Killer Version of This Meringue-Based Dessert

    Normally, we don't see pavlova's popping up on the dessert menu at many restaurants. In fact, the only place you may have seen this beauty is on the glossy pages of a food magazine. Perhaps you've dismissed the pavlova for its simplicity or it could be that you have never tasted the fabulous texture ... More >>

  • Blogs

    September 20, 2013

    Tuck Shop vs. Comedor Guadalajara: Tostada Scrap

    Tostadas appear on many a Mexican or Tex-Mex menu, fried tortilla swathed with beans, chopped meat, cheese or sometimes with ceviche. The word "tostada" in Spanish means "toasted," harkening to the crisp tortilla that stands as the base. Tostadas dishes give new life to stale tortillas, where afte ... More >>

  • Blogs

    September 19, 2013

    The Skinny On Sugar & Sweeteners

    My grandmother, Gloria, should have lived to be 120. She didn't drink soda, refused processed food, exercised, watched her salt & sugar consumption, and controlled her portions. While my siblings and I would stuff our faces at family picnics with hunks of rich sugary cake, she would eat a small sliv ... More >>

  • Blogs

    September 5, 2013

    3 Iced Cookie Experiences at Metro Phoenix Bakeries

    After the chocolate chip cookie search, a request came in for where to get an iced cookie in the Phoenix area. Iced cookies may not always be on the shelf at your local bakery, as they are typically iced up to celebrate holidays or occasions. I found three iced cookies that are on the pastry rack th ... More >>

  • Blogs

    August 30, 2013

    Five Must-Have Pastry Tools

    Tarts tins. Ring molds. Loaf pans. Mini tart tins. Pastry bags. Pastry tips. All of varying sizes and shapes. Cake plates. Pie plates. Muffin tins. Madeleine tins. Bundt pans. Sheet pans. A multitude of small wares for manipulating fondant. Cannoli tubes. Chocolate molds. Silpats. Rolling pins. The ... More >>

  • Blogs

    August 29, 2013

    The Breadfruit vs. The Duce: Mojito Mambo

    Mojito - white rum, sugar, lime juice, sparkling water, and mint. Refreshing on a hot summer's day. Necessity when you are a prominent author sipping them in a Cuban bar called La Bodeguita del Medio. Cheers, Hemingway! Made famous by Ernest Hemingway, the birthplace of the mojito is suspected to b ... More >>

  • Blogs

    August 22, 2013

    4 Chocolate Chip Cookie Experiences at Metro Phoenix Bakeries

    The chocolate chip cookie is no fad. This beloved American treat is a go-to sweet treat, and cookies in the pastry case always sell. Chocolate chip cookies come in so many different shapes, sizes, thickness, sweetness levels, shades of browning, and textures. They are their own chemistry experimen ... More >>

  • Blogs

    August 16, 2013

    Gyro Battles: Niro's Gyros vs. George's Famous Gyros

    Gyros may not be the most beautiful, photogenic food, but nothing sends more happiness to our hearts and grumbles to our bellies than a moist, slightly crisp pile of meat on a warm pita that has been slathered with tzatziki. Both gyro places featured today boasted stints in Chicago, before landing ... More >>

  • Blogs

    August 2, 2013

    Breakfast Sandwich Battle: Matt's Big Breakfast vs. Liberty Market

    The breakfast sandwich. Made popular by the fast food industry, perfected and customized in small breakfast joints around the corner from home, this is a morning choice we want on our plate. A meal designed to be eaten on the go, it is that epic melding of eggs, breakfast meat, and bread. For the da ... More >>

  • Blogs

    July 31, 2013

    Baking with Hayden Flour Mills' Products: Kicking Off a Series on Local Pastry

    Lately, I have been filling out my farmers market forms, to get my pastry business a booth in some of the fall markets. Page after page of questions, rules, and regulations are mulled over with a glass of wine, but there is one that leaves me a little befuddled, pondering how to best answer. The s ... More >>

  • Blogs

    July 24, 2013

    DIY Ice Cream with Pastry Chef Rachel Miller

    As the monsoon storms roll in to smother the dry heat, Phoenix inhabitants have begun to hibernate in the chill of their air-conditioned homes. Transporting frosty treats is near impossible, as they melt into puddles before we can puzzle-piece them into our already packed freezers. I'm a custard ... More >>

  • Blogs

    July 8, 2013

    Cronut™ Battle: Herb Box vs. Karl's Quality Bakery

    After Chow Bella fried up some of the ever popular Cronuts™ a few weeks back, we have had our ears to the ground, waiting to see who would attempt this trendy treat locally. The Cronut™ craze has slowly trickled outside of New York City, from Dominique Ansel Bakery, into neighborhood bakeries ... More >>

  • Blogs

    June 26, 2013

    Ice Cream Sandwich Battle: Sweet Republic vs. Churn

    What sweet does a pastry chef crave in her non-sweet surround off-hours? Ice cream! Better yet, ice cream sandwiches. Housemade ice cream on freshly baked cookies is the ultimate summertime treat. There are a few ice cream mavens churning up the cold, creamy goods in the Valley, this battle between ... More >>

  • Blogs

    June 19, 2013

    How to Make Peach Jam

    Peach season in metro Phoenix has come to a close, the leafy green trees now bare of their hued orange baubles. To be honest, the crowds, lines, and number of things to do at Schnepf was a little overwhelming. While visions of peach jam, pie, and ice cream danced around my brain, children loaded ont ... More >>

  • Blogs

    June 14, 2013

    Cronuts: Chow Bella Shows You How to Fry Up the Latest Pastry Fad

    Is it a fad or here to stay? In the month since they debuted in a New York City bakery, cronuts have established their own black-market. The LA Times issued an open letter to their local pastry chefs to help relieve the city of "cronut fever envy." See also: - 10 Favorite Bakeries in Metro Phoenix

  • Blogs

    May 22, 2013

    5 Desserts That Pastry Chef Rachel Miller Is Totally Over

    I love sweets. Obviously. As a pastry chef, I fully understand giving the people what they want. But I also believe in challenging the diner to try something new, expanding their taste buds and minds. See also: - Sugar Rush: Confessions of a Wild West Pastry Chef, and the Launch of a New Column ... More >>

  • Blogs

    May 8, 2013

    Sugar Rush: Confessions of a Wild West Pastry Chef, and the Launch of a New Column

    You might know her from her incredible s'mores at Caramelpalooza, or from her blog, Croissant in the City. In any case, you're about to learn a lot more about this pastry chef. Chow Bella is excited to welcome Rachel Miller to our fold. I am a pastry chef. When people hear what I do, they freak ... More >>

  • Blogs

    March 18, 2013

    Pistol Whipped Pastry's Rachel Miller: Caramelpalooza Candymakers 2013

    As the chefs competing in Smeeks and Chow Bella's fourth annual Caramelpalooza -- coming 7 p.m. Friday, April 5, at UNION -- get out the candy thermometers, we've got our pens ready to introduce you to the faces behind the caramel. For Rachel Miller, there's nothing more delicious than yesteryear. ... More >>

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