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Edible Antics

Touring Wisconsin Food

Category: Breads & Grains (page 1 of 2)

Dunn and Eau Claire County Edibles

This week’s Wisconsin county culinary tour visits Dunn and Eau Claire Counties.  Interesting not only are they next to each our alphabetically but they are also next door neighbors.

Dunn County


Map of Wisconsin highlighting Dunn County by David Benbennick

Dunn County is 852 square miles and is home to about 44,000 people.  County seat is Menomonie.  Some of the villages in Dunn County include:

  • Boyceville
  • Colfax
  • Downing
  • Elk Mound
  • Knapp
  • Ridgeland
  • Wheeler

The University of Wisconsin – Stout campus is located in Menomonie with many outstanding career focused majors.  The Chippewa River is an excellent recreational resource and flows through the south east corner of the county.  The Red Cedar River and state trail run north and south through much of the county.  The county is blessed with a number of state hunting and fishing grounds that attract visitors and fans.

Edible Antics recommendations located in Dunn County include:

  • The Grain Bin market and bakery near Boyceville stocks bulk supplys of grains and baking supplies and also has fresh baked goods to take home
  • Sailer’s Cut Rite meats in Menomonie for local meats
  • Jake’s Supper Club on Tainter Lake five miles north of Menomonie features three outdoor decks overlooking the lake, live music on weekends and 20 beers on tap.
  • Zanzibar restaurant and pub in historic downtown Menomonie
  • The Waterfront restaurant on Lake Menomonie offers outdoor seating in the summer with great views of the lake
  • Lucette Brewing company is a small batch craft brewer with interesting brews
  • Legacy Chocolates in Menomonie for expresso and hand dipped chocolate truffles

Eau Claire County


Map of Wisconsin highlighting Eau Claire County by David Benbennick

About 99,000 people live in the 637 square miles that is Eau Claire County.  The County seat is in Eau Claire.  Other cities in the county include Altoona and Augusta.  Villages include Fairchild and Fall Creek.  The Eau Claire River merges into the Chippewa River in the city of Eau Claire.  The city is home to the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire campus, the Chippewa Valley Museum and the Paul Bunyan Logging Camp.  .  The county straddles an area where the agricultural lands of southern Wisconsin transition into the forested north woods of Wisconsin.

Edible Antics recommendations in Eau Claire County include:

  • Randy’s Family Restaurant
  • Mona Lisa’s in historic downtown Eau Claire
  • Grizzly’s Grill wood fired oven treats
  • Eau Claire Firehouse in an updated firehouse with good beer selections
  • Bijou Bistro with an interesting menu
  • Silver Spring Foods provide condiments derived from horseradish roots.
  • Otter Creek Inn bed and breakfast in Eau Claire.  Here is their recipe for Easy Blonde Brownies from the Wisconsin Bed and Breakfast cookbook:

Easy Blonde Brownies (makes 12 servings)


  • 2/3 cup margarine
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups of flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 to 1.5 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and grease a 9X12 inch baking dish.  Melt the margarine in a saucepan over low heat.  Add the brown sugar and stir until melted.  Beat in the eggs, vanilla, flour, baking powder and salt.  Spread the batter into the prepared baking dish and top with chocolate chips.  Bake for 25 minutes.

Blonde Brownies are said to have been invented before traditional brownies.   January 22 is National Blonde Brownie Day.

Join us next week as we hunt down more edible antics in Florence and Fond du Lac Counties searching for stuff that is Made With Pride and Passion in Wisconsin.


Chippewa and Clark County Edibles

Edible Antics culinary tour of Wisconsin continues in Chippewa and Clark Counties.


Map of Wisconsin highlighting Chippewa County by David Benbennick

Chippewa County

About 62,000 people live in Chippewa County’s 1,010 square miles of territory.  The County seat is Chippewa Falls and the county includes the cities of Bloomer, Cornell and Cadott. .Chippewa Falls is home to the Leinie’s Lodge by the Jacob Leinenkugle Brewing company makers of “Leinie’s” family of beers.  The county is bisected by the beautiful Chippewa River.  It home to the Old Abe State Trail, Lake Wissota State Park, Burnet Island State Park and a portion of the Holcombe Flowage. artisan partner in Chippewa County is Roth Sugar Bush a producer of maple syrup.

Edible Antics Chippewa County recommendations include:


Map of Wisconsin highlighting Clark County by David Benbennick


Clark County

Clark County covers 1,215 square miles with Neillsville as the County seat.  Population is about 35,000.  Other cities in the county are Thorp, Greenwood, Abbotsford and Colby. artisan partner in Clark County is Marieke Gouda cheese from Holland Family Cheese in Thorp, makers of award winning Gouda cheeses.

 Edible Antics Clark county recommendations include:

Wisconsin’s “edible” destinations

The State of Wisconsin has been settled over the centuries by Native Americans, Europeans, Asians, Africans and various mixes of these cultures.  They have all brought their own dining preferences and dishes to Wisconsin to enrich our “foodie” choices.  From apples to zucchini Wisconsin is blessed to host many dining taste treats along our highways and byways.  Over the next several months edible antics will chronical foodie destinations around Wisconsin and make specific recommendations for your enjoyment.  It will be done by county and point out unique road tours, stops for cheese shops, meat markets, Bakeries, other food destinations, restaurants, breweries, wine makers shops, and unique hotels or bed and breakfast stops.    So stay tuned for the edible antics Wisconsin foodie tour.  This week we start with Adams and Ashland counties.


Wisconsin’s Adams County

Adams County 

Located in central sands section of Wisconsin Adams County is home to about 20,000 people and is 645 square miles in size.  The county seat is in Friendship, Wisconsin.  Bisected by Wisconsin State Highway 13 the county includes cities of Adams, Rome and Big Flats.  It is also home to Roche-A-Cri State Park, established in 1948, protects a 300-foot-high rock outcropping and Native American petroglyphs and pictographs. The name “Roche-A-Cri” comes from French words meaning “crevice in the rock.” The park has 41 rustic campsites and five miles of hiking trails within a forest of large oaks and pines.

In Adams County Edible Antics recommends:

High Rock Cafe in Wisconsin Dells for your dining pleasure.


Wisconsin’s Ashland County

Ashland County

In far northern Wisconsin on the south shore of Lake Superior Ashland County is home to about 16,000 hardy souls and occupies 1,043 square miles.  Ashland is the county seat and other cities in the county include Butternut, Glidden, Clam Lake and Mellon.  The county includes the Copper Falls State Park and the Bad River Indian Reservation.  The Whistle Stop Blues and Brews Festival is held in October with other events scheduled throughout the year.

Edible Antics recommends:

The city of Ashland makes a great base for the “Apostles Country” 143 miles road tour that is one of 30 spectacular auto trips featured in Gary Knowles The Great Wisconsin Touring Book.

In Ashland the South Shore Brewery and Deep Water Grille  for fine hand crafted micro brews and good food.  Sixth Street Market for a broad selection of local meats and seafood. Ashland Baking Company for bread and croissants. The Hotel Chequamegon  offers historic accommodations with views over the Lake Superior harbor.

If we missed some of your favorite foodie stops in Adams or Ashland Counties let us know your recommendations.

Next week we explore Barron adn Bayfield counties.


6 Wisconsin Ethnic Bakeries

Wisconsin’s European settlers came from a number of countries that were homes to delicious baking traditions.  As a result Wisconsin is blessed with surviving ethnic bakeries that carry on this tradition.  As you travel around Wisconsin stop and visit some of these.  I think six of the best are:

  1. Swiss traditional breads, cookies and Holiday Stollen shine at the New Glarus
    New Glarus Angie

    New Glarus Bakery owner Angie with fresh bread

    Bakery in New Glarus Wisconsin. Busy favorite of locals and visitors alike,  Visit if you are nearby.

  2. Norwegian specialties like rosettes, krumkake, sandbakkel and berlina kranser are featured at the Fosdal Home Bakery in Stoughton, Wisconsin.
  3. German favorites like Black Forest Tort, dense breads, desserts and chocolate truffles are the core of a broad selection at Clasen’s European Bakery in Middleton, Wisconsin.
  4. Danish pastries and cakes are the favorites at O&H Danish Bakery in Racine, Wisconsin. Kringle has long been a Danish favorite and is also now a Wisconsin favorite.

    pecan kringle O&H

    O&H Pecan Kringle

  5. Czech pastries can be found at Tom’s Pastry Shoppe in Kewaunee, Wisconsin. You can find kolache’s and buhuite here along with other old-world goodies.
  6. Swedish items are the stock in trade at
    Rowleys bay bakery

    Gnandma’s Swedish Bakery at Rowley’s Bay Resort

    Grandma’s Swedish Bakery located at the Rowley’s Bay Resort near Ellison Bay, Wisconsin. Open mid-May to mid-October their Swedish Limpa bread, cardamom coffee cake, Swedish Rye and their famous pecan rolls are all customer favorites.

If you can’t visit them some selections from the New Glarus Bakery and O&H Danish Bakery are available on bakery link

What are your favorite ethnic pastries?

Easter Dinner

The Christian holiday Easter is steeped not only in religious practices but in rich food traditions for Easter dinner.  From the Last Supper, which was the day that Jesus Christ and his apostles sat together for a final dinner, to today, Easter Sunday and the weeks leading up to it have been celebrated throughout the world with traditional meals and treats.

Food included in many Easter dinners are Easter Eggs, Easter Bread, Roasted Meats, Easter Candy and the legendary Easter Bunny. Below are some delicious Easter foods and treats for your traditional Easter dinner.

Easter Ham – Ham has been a longstanding Easter dinner main course tradition in many American households. Our Easter Ham is an, award-winning Applewood smoked ham. This smoked ham is accented by a hand-applied honey glaze that gives it a mild, sweet flavor.


Easter Pear Bread – Easter Pear Bread is a very traditional Swiss bread, made with many spices, dried pears and dried apples. This delicious pear bread will be a unique addition to your Easter dinner.


Easter Eggs –  The Easter Eggs Sugar Cookies are  hand decorated home-made egg shaped sugar cookies. When the Easter Egg hunt is over, enjoy a sugar cookie or two from the Easter Eggs Homemade Sugar Cookie gift tin.


Easter Bunny – As delectable as they are adorable, these Chocolate Easter Bunnies with a Bow are cute critters made of premium chocolate adorned with a ribbon of chocolate around their necks. A yummy Easter dinner dessert or treat.




Beer in Food and Other Unexpected Places

Beer Bread It’s no secret that in Wisconsin we like beer.  We like beer so much we put beer in food whenever possible- like beer brats and beer cheese soup.  We even like to come up with new ways to use beer- like in an unexpected recipe or even in soap! A beer gift makes a great Father’s Day  surprise, so here’s a list of my top 5 favorite Wisconsin beer related foods and gifts.

1. Beer Brats – A secret to delicious Wisconsin beer brats is a quick boil in some Wisconsin beer.  Save a step and send your brats straight to the grill with precooked red lager beer brats.  They are already boiled so all you have to do is seer them on the grill, pop them into a bun and top with your favorite brat toppings.  Perfect for a Father’s Day cookout.

2. Beer Cheese Soup– On my previous post I wondered if beer cheese soup was Wisconsin’s OFFICIAL soup, and according to my Twitter followers ( @Wisconsinmade ) it actually is! Who knew?

3. Beer Bread– Beer bread is a perfect accompaniment for soup and chili, but if you aren’t much of a  baker, don’t worry because there are plenty of tasty beer bread mixes out there.

4. Beer Soap- No, that’s not a typo, I do mean SOAP not SOUP.  Talk about an unexpected place to find beer!  This Wisconsin beer Soap Gift set is free of unnecessary chemicals and preservatives, but it does have beer from the Capital Brewery in Middleton, Wisconsin.

5. Drink Your Beer and Eat It Too Cookbook – When I first saw this beer cookbook I expected your standard beer recipes like beer brats and beer soup, and sure enough, this book has that! It also has some surprising uses for beer like in baked pork chops or desserts like gingerbread. A great gift for a Dad who likes to spend time in the kitchen.


A Grilled Cheese Sandwich for Big Kids

grilled-cheese-1 Let’s face it, kids from age 2 to 102 love a grilled cheese sandwich. I live right next door to one of the most popular restaurants in Madison and my favorite dish on the menu is the grilled cheese.  It seems silly to order a grilled cheese sandwich at a restaurant when it is easy to make one at home, but this is not your average grilled cheese.  In addition to the Wisconsin sharp cheddar, this sandwich has tomato, pesto and bacon.  I attempted to make a copycat (or should I say copydog?) and the results were as good, if not better, than the restaurant version! Try it for yourself.

Grilled Cheese Sandwich for Big Kids

Makes 2 Sandwiches

4 slices of applewood smoked bacon, recommended: Nueske Applewood Smoked Bacon

4 slices of sourdough bread

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons basil pesto (homemade is best but I used jarred to make it easy)

1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese, recommended: Carr Valley 1-Year Sharp Cheddar

4 slices of tomato

2-6 basil leaves (optional)


1. Heat skillet to medium-high heat and cook bacon, set aside.

2. Butter one side of each sourdough slice  and make sure your other ingredients are ready to go (cheese grated, tomatoes slice, bacon cooked) and within reach of the stove.

3. Heat another skillet (or use the first one after you drained the grease and cleaned it out) to medium high.

4. Put two slices of sourdough butter side down in the skillet.

5. Put a big tablespoon of pesto on top of each slice of bread and use the back of the spoon to spread it around.

6. Build your sandwiches: Arrange bacon on top of pesto (2 slices per sandwich), sprinkle 1/2 cup of the cheese on each sandwich, top with tomato slices and basil, then the other pieces of sourdough butter side up.

8. Cook until golden brown on each. Flipping can be kind of tricky, so be careful!

9.  Slice each sandwich in half and serve with your favorite tomato soup!

Food and Coffee: Return of the Coffee Snob

Kringle and Coffee Have you ever had a bite of chocolate cake, then a sip of coffee and noticed how the coffee tastes even better than usual?  Careful pairing will make you enjoy your coffee and food even more.  Not sure which coffees go with which foods? The coffee snob is here to help! Below are a few of the coffee varieties from the Coffee of the Month Club and some foods to try with your cup of joe.   

Columbian – The medium acidity, strong body and hints of caramel flavor make Columbia blend a perfect pair for zuchinni breads or carrot cake.

Coasta Rican – This full bodied coffee makes a great partner for lightly flavored baked goods, so try this with a fruity muffin instead of sugary Kringle.

Guatemalan– This richly flavored, heavy bodied brew can stand up to a chocolate Kringle or even a caramel apple.

Kona- An aromatic cup of Kona coffee goes well with oatmeal, but tastes even better along side oatmeal cookies or O&H Bakery’s famous Seven Sister’s Coffee Cake.

Visit my Coffee Tips post if you can’t get enough of my ex-barista coffee snobbery, and for more tasty coffee and food pairings, check out this helpful chart.


Croutons are a great way to use up leftover bread. When I have a partial loaf of italian bread about to go stale, or a random extra hamburger bun, or the heals of the bread that are sitting around uneaten, I just toss them in the freezer. These bread orphans, that would have otherwise ended up in the trash, can live in the freezer until I find another use for them. The uses for leftover bread are endless! Leftover bread is perfect for some quick homemade bread crumbs, stuffing, or my favorite- homemade croutons!

My only precaution- sometimes the bread in the freezer situation gets a bit out of hand.  Click “continue reading” to see the recipe and the crazy amount of bread that piled up in my freezer.

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Pizza Crust

Pizza lovers have many options for pizza crusts- precooked pizza crust, add water mixes, the pizza dough that comes in the tube… I sometimes even make my own pizza crust with my stand mixer, but the easiest and tastiest option is buying a crust from a pizza shop.  Most pizzerias will sell you a pizza crust for $2 or less, and some will even roll it out for you.  But don’t be afraid to roll it out yourself, it’s not that hard to do.  You don’t even have to throw it up in the air, just pull and pat the dough until it is the size you want.

Keep reading for a tasty pizza recipe: buffalo chicken pizza! It makes a perfect sports watching meal since it combines two game day favorites- buffalo chicken wings and pizza.

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