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Cook's Corner

  • Grandparents build business around pie
    Sue Couch, 68, and her husband, Roger, 73, opened Grandma Sue's Pies and More Inc. in 2010, in downtown Roanoke on North Main Street. The business offers frozen homemade pies that cooks can take home and bake themselves.
  • Grandparents build business around pie
    Sue Couch, 68, and her husband, Roger, 73, opened Grandma Sue’s Pies and More Inc. in 2010, in downtown Roanoke on North Main Street. The business offers frozen homemade pies that cooks can take home and bake themselves.
  • Competitor enjoys creating recipes
    Kent Castleman will make recipes from family cookbooks and those found online but what he and his wife really like to do is create new dishes.
Diana Parker | The Journal Gazette
Candi and Ken Surber own the Maple Leaf Inn Bed and Breakfast in Waterloo.

Couple’s culinary talents sustain inn

For years, Candi Surber, 64, used to travel down Center Street in Waterloo She loved to look at the big brick house on the corner at Maple Street.

One winter’s day, the snow was falling – as Surber describes – “like stardust.” She noticed the house was up for sale, and a thought came to mind. She wanted to turn the home into a bed-and-breakfast.

That was almost 10 years ago. Suber says running the bed-and-breakfast is the third career for her and her husband, Ken, 68.

“Our first was in education. We were both teachers. He was industrial arts and I was home ec. He was a vocational director. I was a middle school counselor for 15 years and lived to talk about it. I loved those kids.

“When we left education, we worked at Camp Lakewood. It’s a United Methodist camp. Ken managed construction projects there. I directed food service and managed the kitchen,” she says.

Nowadays, Surber has cookies, snacks and drinks waiting for guests as they check in to the Maple Leaf Inn Bed and Breakfast.

“In the morning, we do a full cooked-to-order breakfast,” she says. “Ken is the scrambled eggs king. I do an oatmeal waffle. (Guests) pick what time they want to eat.”

In addition to providing package deals which include picnics, golfing and crafting retreats, the Surbers offer private dining for couples and groups and various teas.

Chai Latte Breakfast Muffins

Cream Cheese Center:

4 ounces cream cheese, softened

1/4 teaspoon vanilla

2 tablespoons granulated sugar


2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed

2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom (may be omitted)

1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup buttermilk

1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup white chocolate chips

Confectioner’s sugar, to garnish

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease 12 muffin cups or line with cupcake papers. With an electric mixer, beat cream cheese filling ingredients together until smooth; set aside.

Mix together all dry ingredients in a medium mixing bowl. In another mixing bowl, mix together buttermilk, melted butter, egg and vanilla. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir until blended; add white chocolate chips. Spoon batter into 12 muffin tins.

Using the back of a spoon, make an indentation in the top of each muffin; place a heaping teaspoon of cream cheese mixture into the indentation. Bake for 18 to 25 minutes, until edges of muffins begin to turn golden brown. Test with toothpick in side of muffin away from filling. Dust with confectioner’s sugar before serving. Makes 1 dozen.

Stuffed Croissants

6 large croissants

3 large eggs

1 1/2 cups milk

12 slices Canadian bacon

6 slices Monterey Jack cheese

3 1/2 Granny Smith apples, sliced

Spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray. Whisk together the eggs and milk. Slice croissants in half; dip the bottom half in the egg/milk mixture and place on the cookie sheet. Layer Canadian bacon, cheese and apple slices on top of the croissant. Dip the top halves of the croissants in the egg/milk mixture and place on top; secure with toothpicks.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Garnish with powdered sugar and serve with warm syrup. Makes 6 servings. (Note: Surber says she tents the croissants with aluminum foil for the first 20 minutes of baking.)

Death by Chocolate

1 (18-ounce) box chocolate cake mix

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1 1/3 cups water

2 eggs

1 (12-ounce) jar Smucker’s Chocolate Fudge Ice Cream Topping (not hot fudge)

12 ounces chocolate chips

8 ounces non-dairy whipped topping

Prepare a 9-by-13-inch baking pan according to cake’s package instructions. Combine the cake mix, vegetable oil, water and eggs; beat till smooth. Pour into prepared pan and sprinkle with the chocolate chips. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes; remove from the oven and let sit 10 minutes.

Punch holes in the cake with the handle of a wooden spoon; spread fudge topping evenly over the top of the cake. Cool completely; frost with whipped topping and garnish with nuts or shaved chocolate if desired. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Makes 12 to 15 servings.

Breakfast Fruit Cobbler

2 cups of your favorite fresh, canned or frozen fruit

2 tablespoons white sugar

1 teaspoon cornstarch

2 teaspoons water or juice from the canned fruit

1/2 teaspoon lemon juice

1/2 cup quick cooking oats

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon or 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon and 1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg

1/4 cup cold butter

Place fruit in an 8- or 9-inch pie pan prepared with cooking spray. Mix together white sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice, and water or juice from canned fruit. Pour over fruit in pan. Mix together quick cooking oats, flour, brown sugar and cinnamon; cut in the butter until mixture is crumbly. Sprinkle over fruit in pan.

Bake at 375 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes or until it is bubbly. Serve hot, garnished with whipped cream. Makes 4 servings.

Cook’s Corner is a weekly feature. If you know someone to be profiled, write to Cook’s Corner, The Journal Gazette, P.O. Box 88, Fort Wayne, IN 46801-0088; fax 461-8648; or email