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Friday, 19 May 2017 13:32

Special recipe edition: Love of baking turns into career as blogger

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Sprinkle chocolate chip cookies are a favorite on Jennifer Dexter’s blog, DeliciouslySprinkled.com. Sprinkle chocolate chip cookies are a favorite on Jennifer Dexter’s blog, DeliciouslySprinkled.com. Photo courtesy of DeliciouslySprinkled.com

FONTANA -- Chalk up Jennifer Dexter’s social media career to some happy holiday memories with cookie cutters, frosting and sprinkles.

Her earliest forays into baking as a little girl were making cut-out Christmas cookies with her mother. Gradually she added more treats to her repertoire, much to the appreciation of her family.

 "I loved baking in the kitchen with my mom when I was growing up," Dexter said in an email.

"I decided to become a food blogger because I always loved to bake and I wanted a place where I could share all my recipes with my friends and family. It turned into a business when other people were going on my website and loving my recipes just as much as my family did. That’s when I decided to turn my love for baking into a business."

(Download a pdf of the Local Harvest special recipe section HERE.)

Dexter, a self-described twentysomething, said she left a "corporate America" job in 2014 to start a food blog called Deliciously Sprinkled.

She’s now a full-time food blogger living in Fontana, although she’s planning a move to Fond du Lac soon.

(Read her blog at DeliciouslySprinkled.com)

Like most food bloggers, her revenue comes from compensations: cash advertising, sponsorship and paid insertions.

"I have many corporate sponsors that I work with," she said. "I try to work with brands that I know my readers and followers will love just as much as I do."

Some of those brands she’s partnered with include Wal-Mart, Nutella, Sweet ‘n Low, Triscuit, Karo, International Delight and All Natural Peanut Butter and Co.

Dexter said during an average day on the job, she develops one or two recipes in her kitchen, writes the steps down, posts on social media and answers recipe questions.

"The most typical questions I get from my readers are what the best baking tools are to use," she said. "I’m working on having a shop on my website with all my favorite baking tools so that my readers can easily buy the baking tools I use every day."

The recipes on her blog, deliciouslysprinkled.com, are mostly on the sweet side, from salted caramel chocolate chip cookies and banana monkey bread muffins to mango green smoothies and sweet cherry bread. A few savory recipes -- like cheddar cheese and bacon brat quesadillas or butternut squash and sausage French bread pizza -- can be found in the appetizers and snacks section on the site.

She frequently adds tips to make the food more presentable, like pouring strawberry lemonade into canning jar glasses and adding a colorful straw. 

Dexter said she’s just a home baker with no professional culinary experience, but believes that’s what makes her blog so relatable.

"I don’t expect my readers to have any experience, that’s why I keep all my recipes super simple because I’m not an experienced baker. So if a recipe is too hard for me, then I don’t share it with my readers," she said. "I’m also a visual learner, so that’s why I include step-by-step photos with all my recipes to make it as easy as possible.

"I have had a lot of recipe fails, but that’s the fun part about my job. I want to develop recipes for the everyday baker, so if the recipe fails I need to figure out why and make sure that when my readers make my recipes at home they come out perfect."

Before she posts recipes, Dexter tests them -- some more than others.

"I think I tested my chocolate chip cookie recipe about 20 times before I got it perfect," she said.

The most popular recipes, she’s found, are ones cooks can create quickly.

"My readers tend to love things that they don’t have to spend a lot of time on," she said.

While she uses recipes that feature corporate-sponsored ingredients, she also gets inspiration from restaurants, magazines, even old cookbooks.

Dexter, who does her own photos for the blog, said she’s a learn-as-you-go photographer. She also concedes she’s more of a baker than a writer and isn’t a stranger to writer’s block.

"The writing is the worst part of my job. I love to bake and develop the recipes, but when it comes to writing ... I struggle," she said. "That’s why I keep it short and sweet. Let’s be honest -- who has time to read a 10-page post about a chocolate chip cookie? I don’t."

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