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Cook's Corner

  • Bosnia native leads kitchen for seniors
    Fort Wayne resident Hajra Muratovic, along with her husband, Ismet; their son, Muradif; and daughter, Irma Sejdovic, left Bosnia 14 years ago looking for a better life.
  • Mom teaches lessons with baking company
    Last year, Caroline Landon decided her children needed to learn how to run a business and earn some extra money for the family along the way.
  • Mom teaches lessons with baking company
    Last year, Caroline Landon decided her children needed to learn how to run a business and earn some extra money for the family along the way. So, she opened up her home-based business, Landon House Bakery in Roanoke.
Diana Parker | The Journal Gazette
Cheri Donovan, left, and Crystal Amstutz own Alpine Rose Coffee Shoppe in Berne.

Berne friends’ partnership sweet

Cheri Donovan, 42, and Crystal Amstutz, 35, have been friends for about 13 years. During that time, the two took day trips and stopped at coffee shops. Eventually, their friendship led to a business partnership with the formation of the Alpine Rose Coffee Shoppe in Berne. The coffee shop celebrates its third anniversary in July.

Donovan points to Amstutz and says it was her idea to open a coffee shop.

Looking back at the events that led to the start of the business, Donovan takes a humorous tone.

“I think I blacked out,” she says, laughing. “At one point I’m looking at buildings, and the next thing I know, I’m taking a business class. It was that fast.”

Looking at Amstutz, she adds, “I think she drugged me, I really do.”

Because running a business was new to the former bank employees, they were more than glad when Becky Schmiesing of Minster, Ohio, offered to mentor them.

“She was great. She came over our opening day and helped us,” Amstutz says. The opening menu consisted of coffee, muffins and cookies – “thousands of cookies,” Amstutz says.

Amstutz says they post specials on Facebook and serve sandwiches and homemade soups, too.

“We try to keep it from scratch as much as possible. A large part is made here – 75 to 80 percent is made here,” she says.

Q. What vegetable do you eat most often?

Amstutz: I’m addicted to asparagus, and I don’t know why.

Donovan: I like broccoli, if it’s in beer cheese.

Amstutz: (looks at Donovan) Really? Potatoes.

Donovan: It’s not a vegetable. It’s a staple at our house. We eat a lot of potatoes.

Q. What’s one thing people wouldn’t find in your refrigerator?

Amstutz: You will never find Brussels sprouts. I do not like Brussels sprouts.

Donovan: I do not like hot and spicy. Hot sauce? No.

Q. What’s your favorite food?

Donovan: I’m addicted to sushi right now. I could eat it every day.

Amstutz: (laughs) I honestly don’t know. All I can think of is sushi.

Amish Bean Soup

2 cups navy beans, drained

2 1/2 quarts water

1 1/2 pounds ham bone or ham hock

1 clove garlic, minced

1 bay leaf

1 cup cubed potatoes

1 cup chopped celery

1 cup chopped onion

1 cup chopped carrots

Salt, to taste

Pepper, to taste

Boil beans in water for 2 minutes and remove from heat. Let stand for 1 hour. Then add ham and seasonings. Cook for 2 hours. Remove ham bones and cut off meat and return ham to pot. Add vegetables. Cook until done, about 30 minutes. Makes 8 to 10 servings.

Cappuccino Muffins

Espresso spread:

4 ounces cream cheese, cubed

1 tablespoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon instant coffee

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 cup miniature semi-sweet chocolate chips


2 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cup sugar

2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup milk

2 tablespoons instant coffee

1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted

1 egg, beaten

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3/4 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips

To make espresso spread: In a food processor or blender, combine the ingredients; cover and process until well blended. Cover and refrigerate until serving.

To make muffins: In a bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. In another bowl, stir milk and coffee granules until coffee is dissolved. Add butter, egg and vanilla; mix well. Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Fold in chocolate chips.

Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups two-thirds full. Bake at 375 degrees for 17 to 20 minutes or until muffins test done. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks. Serve with espresso spread. Makes 14 muffins.

Cranberry Breakfast Biscotti

2 large eggs

2 tablespoons instant coffee

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1 1/2 cup dried cranberries

Melted white or semisweet chocolate for drizzling on top of the biscotti, as needed (optional)

Heat the oven to 325 degrees. Lightly butter and flour a large baking sheet. Stir the eggs, instant coffee and vanilla in a small bowl until well blended; set aside. Mix the flour baking powder and salt in a medium bowl; set aside.

Beat the butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg mixture. Gradually add the flour mixture, beating well after each addition. Stir in the cranberries.

Divide the dough into 2 equal portions. On a lightly floured surface, shape the dough into 2 logs, each 14 inches long, 1 1/2 inches wide and 1 inch thick. Place the logs 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 25 minutes or until lightly browned. Set the baking sheet on a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes.

Remove the logs from the baking sheet and place on a cutting board. Using a serrated knife, cut each log diagonally into 3/4 -inch thick slices. Place the slices upright and 1/2 inch apart on the baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes or until slightly dry. Remove the biscotti from the baking sheet. Cool completely on the wire rack.

Drizzle with melted white or semisweet chocolate, if desired. Let stand on a wax paper lined tray until the chocolate is firm. Store in a tightly covered container. Makes about 3 dozen biscotti.

Cook’s Corner is a weekly feature. If you know of 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