Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Week 2: Finishing pies and yeast doughs

So, last week finished up pie week. The blueberry pie I thought I was making turned out to be a pecan pie...I was a little disappointed about the change, but I learned how to do the top weaving crust while half of the class was making them, and am planning on making a blueberry pie this weekend. For practice, of course. ;-)

Here is my lovely pecan pie! I could seriously make pie crust all day...there is something so therapeutic about rolling out pie dough and crimping it into the pan...nice and relaxing! My favorite is making the dough by hand, and mushing up all the butter into the flour...

We still haven't baked off any of our bread. I have no idea really how I did with the bread making. I may potentially have the opportunity to make some pizza dough this weekend, but that won't be that difficult. I'd like some more practice making loaves of bread though. It's really hard to practice in a cold apartment. 

The pizza dough I made in class, however, made some killer pizzas! The dough was perfect really. Just as good as the dough I pick up from Wegmans all the time! ;-)

I'm looking forward to practicing what I learn in class any opportunity I get. The kitchen is pretty crowded and continues to be chaotic. My hyper attitude is not conducive for all the waiting around and sharing I have to do- ha! I'm trying my best to stay patient- I'm still enjoying the opportunity to practice what I can and ask good questions. Only 2 and a half more weeks of the intro class, then we're on to the intermediate baking portion of the semester! I can say though that the more I'm in the kitchen, the more I can really see myself doing this day in and out.

Halfway through the baking week! Can't wait to do some solid sleeping this weekend! And baking, of course!

Peace out! Go eat something yummy!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Week two and all is good!

Week two of classes is almost through! We are on to breads, but are going to finish up pies tomorrow with a blueberry pie. It seems that as we go along and learn new things, we'll randomly whip up whatever we have laying around in between. I'm especially excited about the blueberry pie, because we are going to do a lattice top crust, and I like making things that both taste delicious and look pretty! Well, hopefully it will look pretty...

Last week we made both an apple pie and a vanilla cream pie. The apple pie was easier than I thought it was going to be. I've discovered that I really like making pie crust, but I'll need some practice with making both flaky and mealy pie doughs, and learning to crimp the crust in order to make it "pretty". It's all about the pretty.

The apple pies turned out all right. Nothing too exciting here, honestly. The pie we tasted was that of my classmate's. I may be on the search for a different recipe if ever I made it again, I felt like it was missing something. When we mixed the apples with the sugar and cinnamon and what have you, it seemed slightly dry to me. Perhaps it was the way I mixed it, but it tasted slightly dry when I ate it as well. Let's just say it didn't taste like my grandma's apple pie! ;-)

The vanilla cream pie, on the other hand, was awesome!!! When I was making the custard, I thought it would be too rich for my liking. 

But then this happened the next day. Whipped cream. And suddenly, everything changed. Super yummy! Again, I didn't get to taste the pie that I made- the bottom crust on this was a little hard to cut, but the added vanilla bean in the custard sure made up for that! 

Really looking forward to this blueberry pie tomorrow. We are on to bread dough, which has been slightly challenging, with the kitchen being chaotic and messy. I have yet to get a good proportion of ingredients and a good looking, elastic looking dough. It may all turn out fine though- we haven't baked off anything that we've made. 
Also on the agenda for tomorrow is some pizza! Myself and a classmate made pizza dough tonight in the super large mixer in class- it turned out perfectly! I'm looking forward to trying it out- finding a warm place for the dough to rise in this apartment of mine may be a challenge though. Looking forward to seeing how it tastes though!

This class is both wonderful but very bad at the same time...I kind of want to start practicing the things I'm making. If you are in the market for a pie or muffins, let me know....I could whip you up something delicious! Let's hold off on the bread dough though....that may take some time, ha!

Chef also makes large batches of things for us to taste along the way. Yesterday was focaccia bread, which lucky for me had onions on it so I wasn't tempted at all to try. Looked good though! Tonight she made a brioche and it was melt in my mouth deliciousness. Seriously dangerous to be baked for no reason. But perhaps could be tackled if I had someplace to bring it where it wouldn't be devoured by yours truly....it was like a party in my mouth! Woo!!

Some of my classmates whipped up some chocolate chip cookies tonight as well. I'm looking forward to this as a dessert for lunch tomorrow! =o) And hopefully this class will help me in my quest to bake off the perfect chocolate chip cookie!

Hopefully more wonderful things will happen tomorrow! Until then, think of something to request me to try out for you!

Peace out!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Cake Pop catch up.....Beer Mug 21st Birthday Pops!

Obviously, I have some baking school catching up to do! The first week and a half has went well- we started with pies and are currently on doughs. I've been taking pictures of things I've baked and will chit chat more about that in the week's end.

First, I have been putting off some much needed cake pop updating. A co-worker was in need of some beer mug cake pops for her brother's 21st birthday....this is what developed between the two of us in my tiny kitchen....

Cake popping with company is like a gazillion times better than alone. It was also awesome because the pops were brought over to my house ready to be shaped and dipped. My favorite part! These were super fun to make- we used preztals for the mug handles, gave the mugs texture with toothpicks before the candy set, and made the beer extra foamy with white sprinkles. And it's always a lot more fun when someone is there with me making them, so I don't need to squeal with delight after every one I make, by myself...

Honestly, give me something to make, and there will be a way to create it. I love it. I can't get enough.

Lucky for me, there are lots of things in the queue! Including these I just found...for real? Could it get any cuter? And seriously, how am I just discovering this for the first time now?

Also, how hilarious are these? These will be in my possession. Soon. Fun will be had by all.

Except that I think mustaches are kind of creepy. Maybe in cake form they would be less so? Only a whole lot of sugar will find out!

Okay....let me know if you need some mustache cake pops. But who wouldn't need these? Otherwise, I'll be back soon with more updates!


Monday, January 16, 2012

School starts tomorrow!

My first day of classes is tomorrow! I am both very excited but nervous as well. Not nervous about the course work or anything, just about having long, busy days. But I really, really want to do this, and I am grateful to be at a point in my life where I have the time and energy to do something like this. I'm hoping I get a lot out of these classes and that it's not a total bust.

This first semester I am taking two lecture classes- a sanitation class and a hospitality math class. The first part of the semester, my kitchen class is an Introduction to Baking class. After a few weeks of that, then an Intermediate Baking class starts, and the end of the semester finishes with (surprise, surprise!) an Advanced Baking class. I still really have no idea what all of this will consist of! I am of course excited about the cakes, pastries and cookies portion of the class, but it will also consist of bread and roll baking, which I've been wanting to learn for awhile but just haven't found the time to try, practice and master.

My "uniform" consists of some awesome black and white checkered pants (they are like three sizes too big even though I purchased the smallest size, I feel like MC Hammer, but we can talk about that later), an apron, a chef hat (totally sweet!) and a coat with my name embroidered in it! Very official. Also, I am now the proud owner of a 29 tube decorating kit!!! Ahh! It came in this baking kit with a lot of other fun toys like knives, levelers, scissors, brushes, and a kitchen timer. Stuff like that. I'm so antsy- I want to use all of it RIGHT NOW!!

Nothing too exciting about this post, but I do plan on regularly blogging about what is going on in class (hopefully!). I also have some exciting cake pop news to catch up on! ;-) Hopefully my first day of classes will set me at ease, and I will just continue to be excited and less nervous, so I can stop stress eating! Either that, or I will become more nervous about the semester, start stress eating in overtime, and then start eating everything I bake too. Either way, it will be super! Ha!

Excited to report on the first day of classes and what the semester awaits!


Monday, January 9, 2012

Hello Pinterest....goodbye sleep!!!

Sleep is overrated, anyways.

So, a couple weeks ago I heard of pinterest. I got sucked in once I looked into it a little more. I requested an invite to join. Today, this is what I feel like: 

You may not get it if you're not on the site. You may not even get it if you're on the site. Anywho, if you want to be on the site, let me know and I will invite you. It is spectacular!

The reason I mention any of this is because I'm trying to upload all of my cake pop creations online, little by little, in multiple places. You can see them on the following links, and more will be added as time goes on:

Tonight, I'm having company to cake pop! It's the best time to pop, as far as I'm concerned. I'll be sure to tell you all about it in the near future! =)

Happy Viewing!!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Once you cake pop...the fun don't stop!!!

Hello muffins!!!

This blog is waaay overdue, and since I'm the last person constantly in their kitchen that surfs the internet and hasn't created a blog about it, I'm finally going to! You can read about muffins every day now! Aren't you excited?!?!

Not literal muffins, of course, since I don't yet own a muffin pan (can you believe it?). 

Anyways, I'm finally starting my Baking & Pastry Arts program at ECC this month, and I have been planning on journaling about what I learn in class, as well as journaling about delicious things being baked in my tiny kitchen with the zero amount of free time I will soon have. So, this is really twofold- to help me keep track of everything I learn, and to help you decide what you should request me to make for you, upon seeing all the totally awesome things I love to make all of the time! I also plan on posting things I have made in the past year or so.

This really spiraled out of control after I discovered cake pops a couple years ago. If we've chatted, you know what these little "pillows of heaven" (as someone recently referred to them as) are- if not, this will all be revealed to you in due time!

Warning: I may throw in random blurps about super yummy things I eat like salmon burgers (not because I love cooking, but rather because I love eating things that taste incredible) or the 8 mile run I took this weekend (which, let's face it, you probably don't want to hear about as I'm showing you foods that would take that amount of running to burn off the calories in them). I say this only because I've been told multiple times that I have a hard time staying on one topic at a time.  ;-)  But, mostly this will hopefully be about my baking adventures.

And hopefully you will catch on to my multiple meaning of muffins. Muffin love! <3 Any who, you will soon see what I mean!

Welcome and enjoy! @--,--