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Thursday, August 30, 2007

Spritz Fun!

Finally, I have something to show you guys from school! I can't say this is amazingly special, but probably something I would never bake in my own home kitchen. For Foundations of Baking, we were given recipes to Neiman Marcus Chocolate Chip Cookies, soft raisin-oatmeal drop cookies, classic chocolate chip cookies, classic peanut butter crisscross cookies, spritz rings, and Magic cookie bars. I know, I know, cookies right? It seems a little dumbed down for a pastry & bakery program, but I have to remember not everyone in that class is in pastry & bakery & not everyone has baked before. Anywho, I definitely wanted to make something I wouldn't make at home so I went for the Sprintz Rings, cause I figured I should practice some of my piping skills, since they pretty much suck. lol.

I made some S shaped Spritz Rings, they kept breaking in the middle.
This is one of the ones that didn't break.

The circles were pretty easy to make.

This Fleur de (something french) shape was the hardest one to make.

It definitely doesn't resemble anything that the Chef showed me,

but rather looks like a uterus & the fallopian tubes.

This was a fun shape to make. I had to make sure I piped at a 45 degree angle otherwise the wider end would not turn out right

The end results

Unfortunately, these had so much butter in them that I just couldn't bring myself to sampling one. We were given time to sample everyones cookies, so I thought I'd bag one of each for Brandon. I was also assigned as the days kitchen duty checkout person, so I was busy assigning cleaning tasks to people, checking their work & checking them out of class. I left my cookies with my recipes on the bench. I saw this guy, looking & touching my cookies but I was so busy I didn't let myself think that someone would be so revaultingly greedy & selfish as to steal someones cookies that are obviously someones because they took the effort to bag them. Alas, he did steal it when I looked away. I was very very upset & disappointed, just really hit in the face that someone would steal a bag of cookies, when we were given a good 20 minutes to eat & grab all the cookies you want. How unfortunate, and something so unworthy of stealing. I can't look him in the face anymore in the other classes I have with him. It's not a big deal, it's just sad that someone would do that. A pity really.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Control my nerves

I'm sitting here waiting for the clock to strike 1:40pm, so I can drive 45 minutes to Faulkner State Culinary Institute and start my way through Pastry & Baking Arts. Phew....I'm so nervous...This is a huge step. I'm actually doing something I want to do & as awesome as that sounds, I'm SO increbily nervous. I didn't start getting a little nervous shaking until I put on my uniform, which is still so stiff, and not the most flattering uniform for a women, but the only thing I need to impress anyways is the Chef with my "skills." lol, which right now, probably sucks compared to every other student there. The picture quality sucks, probably cause I was can't really not shake the camera when taking a picture with one hand and add on the nerves - you get a sucky picture. Well, my class starts at 3pm and doesn't end till 10pm! Yikes. Wish me luck!!!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007


Sorry I have not posted, our Rottweiler puppy passed away on sunday from heat exhausation, so we are still recovering from that. I hope to do some baking this weekend, so hopefully post it also.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Ciabatta Recipe - by Rose Levy Beranbaum (The bread Bible)

I promised Cynthia from Tastes Like Home the Ciabatta recipe from The Bread Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum like a couple of months ago, so here it is. Sorry for the very very delayed post.

Dough Starter (Biga)
1/2 C + 1/2 tbs all purpose flour
1/16 ts instant yeast
1/4 C water, room temp
Combine all ingredients for biga and stir with wooden spoon for 3-5 minutes or till very smooth and comes away from the sides of the bowl. Will be slightly sticky to the touch. Cover the bowl with oiled plastic wrap and set aside until tripled and fille d with bubbles (6 hours at room temp or refridgerate for up to 3 days before baking {remove to room temp 1 hours prior to mixing dough}).
1 C all purpose flour
1/4 ts instant yeast
1/2 ts salt
1/2 C water
scant 1/2 C biga
In mixer bowl, whisk together flour and yeast. Then whisk in salt. Add water and biga. Using paddle attachment, mix on low speed for a few seconds, just till flour is moistened. Raise speed to medium-high and beat 3 minutes. Dough will be moist and soft, almost soupy. Gradually it will start to develop strands of gluten. Lower the speed to medium and continue to beat for 2 minutes. If dough hasn't pulled away from the bowl after 1st 3 minutes, scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat on medium-high for another 2 minutes. If it still doesn't pull away, beat in a little flour 1 ts at a time on low speed. The dough should cling to your fingers if touched.
Use oiled spatula, scrap dough in to a 1 quart container, lightly greased with cooking spray/oil. Push down dough and lightly spray the top. cover with plastic wrap and mark the side of the container weher triple the height of the dough would be. Allow dough to rise (1 1/4 - 2 hours)/
Sift flour onto a counter in a rectangle at least 10 in x 8 in. With oiled spatula, gently scrap dough onto the flour and sift more flour on top. Handle dough gently to avoid loosing the air bubbles. Using plams against the sides of the dough, push it together slightly. Using your fingertips, make large deep dimples in the dough about 1 in apart, elongating it. Push the sides together a second time. Carefully lift up the dough and invert it onto a floured baking sheet. It will be 10-11 in in lenth. Push in the sides so that the dough is about 4 1/2 in wide. It will be between 1/2 in - 1 in high. Sift flour over the top and cover loosely with plastic wrap. Allow to rise until 1 - 1/2 in high, 1 1/2 - 2 hours.
Preheat oven to 475 degrees F 1 hour before baking. Have an oven shelf on the lowest level and place a baking stone/baking sheet on it and a cast iron skillet or sheet pan on the floor of the oven before preheating.
Remove the plastic wrap and quickly but gently set the baking sheet on the hot baking stone/baking sheet. Toss 1/2 C ice cube into the pan beneath and immediately shut the door. Bake for 5 minutes. Lower temp to 450 degrees F and continue baking for 20 minutes or until the bread is deep golden brown. Halfway through baking, turn the pan around for even baking. Turn the oven off, prop the door open and allow the bread to sit for 5 minutes.
Remove the bread from the oven and transfer it to a wire rack to cool completely. Brush off the flour from the surface.

I've got the Blues

Ever since I made that blueberry pie, I've been obsessing over blueberries! I'm like that though, once I have made something using an ingredient that I greatly fear, I seem to think I can tackle anything involving that item - which is obviously UNTRUE! Luckily for me, this turned out rather tasty, well to me at least since it was just sweet enough and the blueberies were so juicy and rounded it out with a crunch from the sliced almonds meddling inside and atop the muffin.

Mix together:
1 3/4 c All purpose flour
1/2 C sugar
1/2 ts salt
2 ts baking powder
Whish in another bowl:
1/4 C eggbeaters
2 tbs canola oil
2 mashed bananas
1/2 C vanilla soymilk
Mix the wet into the dry ingredients, then add 1/2 C sliced almonds. Gently fold till incorporated, bake for 25 minutes on 400 degrees F.

Let sit in the muffin pan for 1 minute, remove and cool on wire rack.

Then, the best part: EAT IT!!!!!!

The husband gets what the husband wants...

Brandon has been asking for chocolate chip cookies since the weekend and well, since I have to cook meals enough for the 5 days we are down in Pensacola at our hotel each week, it's hard to make what we don't need right away. Plus, hauling our bags, dinners and the dog back and forth is hassle enough, let along another thing of cookies and such. Don't get me wrong, I would have made them, but it's just an inconvience really in the end. So, I decided that since I am home waiting for Zoe to get spayed, I thought I'd take the chance to bake some chocolate chip cookies and some blueberry banana almond muffins. I rallied myself up this morning at 5:30am so I could be decently awake for the hour drive back to milton where Zoes vet is. Poor girl, so excited to go to the vet, yet she had no idea what she was in store for. One thing about Zoe is that she's so caught up in the moment, meeting and greeting people, flinging crabs around on the beach, and sniffing, that she has no time for separation anxiety. I wonder, is that a good thing? Last time she caught a crab, she didn't realise we were a mile down the beach hiding until 20 minutes later. Well, independent women she is.

Chocolate Chip Cookies
This is not my own recipe. I got it from: Baking911
Next time, I will add perhaps half the sugar. It was way to sweet for me but it is such a wonderful cookie. The outside is nice and crisp and the inside is just the right amount of chewiness.

Also, I used eggbeaters instead of regular eggs and cut out a tablespoon of the butter (using only 3 tbs). It didn't seem to make a difference. I would definitely make this again, like I said with less sugar.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

featherlight blueberry pie

I have to admit, there are certain ingredients in this baking world that I am terribly afraid of. One of the many is the amazing blueberry. There's so many things you can do with it as far as baking, yet one reason I am afraid of them I suppose is because they are so unpredictable, or shall I say I am not very knowledgable in their change of state and what they'll do in certain recipes. Will they sink to the bottom of the muffin? Will they break apart during baking and turn the baked good into a purple-blue mess not resembling what you had intended it to? And what do you do to prevent excess liquid when using frozen blueberries? I decided I could be scared no more. It was holding me back from enjoying their deliciousness, especially now that I have found a pie crust using OLIVE OIL. Yes, folks...perhaps I have been in a cave of sorts but this is truly amazing to me. A pie crust with GOOD fat. Here's the recipe for the Olive Oil Pie Crust by Joyce Stratman.
Blueberry pie filling
4 C frozen blueberries (or fresh, the only fresh ones I found were moldy)
zest of 1 lemon
juice os 1/2 lemon
1 tbs cinnamon (or less but I love cinnamon)
3/4 C sugar
1 tbs flour ( I think I'll use 2 tbs next time to thicken it more)
Once you have divided and rolled out the pie crust, put one of the crust into a greased baking dish and wrap the top of the other crust in saran wrap and refridgerate for 30 minutes.
Mix all the pie filling together, pour into pie crust, top with the top of the pie crust and seal seams together, slash on the top and put it back into the fridge for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile preheat the oven to 425 degrees F and when ready, put pie ontop of a baking sheet (incase juices flow over) and leave in there for 20 minutes. Turn down to 350 degrees F and allow to bake for another 40 minutes, or until top is golden brown. Allow to cool and....

ENJOY! (it's good for ya ;-) )

Healthy chewy oatmeal choc-o-chips cookies!

So last weekend, while sitting around with not much to do I had an itch to nibble on something chocolatey, yet I hated the thought of the butter and eggs that go into cookies. I felt a little experimental, so I decided to make my own concoction of healthy for you oatmeal choco-o-chips cookies. As I mentioned in the previous post, I was skeptical that it would in the slightest bit turn out edible.

Thankfully though, by pure luck, it turned out pretty tasty. I'm more of a chewy cookie person when it comes to anything with chocolate chips (otherwise I like my cookies hard). The amazing thing was that it was still soft and chewy 4 days later! It was much to my surprise and Brandon and I pretty much gobbled them up. If you feel up to some guiltless snacking, these are perfect!

Chewy oatmeal choc-o-chip cookies - By Valerie Adams
1 1/2 C quick cooking oats
1/2 C whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 C all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 ts cinnamon
1/2 C brown sugar
1/2 C sugar
Mix these ingredients together in a large bowl.
1 mashed banana
3 tbs olive oil
2 egg whites (slightly beaten)
Fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until just incorporated.
Add in 1/2 bag of chocolate chips (or more if you prefer. I did a mix of white and milk chocolate)
Drop by the tablespoon onto greased cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees F for 10 + minutes.