Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Catching up on some baking

Well, at least posting about it! I bake so much, yet am super lazy to grab the card out of the camera, upload the pictures onto the computer, and make collages so the post isn't to bulky. So this is catch up time.

Last week, I "graduated" from my first Wilton cake decorating class. In true nerd fashion, I modeled with my "diploma." I am now moving on to course 2, where we will be learning how to make various flowers from royal icing. The nice thing about these flowers is that you can actually store them for a while so you can make them ahead of time and just throw them onto your cake when you're ready! I think we'll also be learning how to do a basketweave. Call me dumb, but I've always stared at it and been puzzled by how to do this. I'll finally know how! We're also learning how to work with color flow icing, which I might use for Jon's welcome home cake. I want to put the brigade insignia on the cake and this might be the way to do it. Otherwise I might have to order an edible image. By the way, I just got my yellow ribbon cake pan in the mail today! I just need to test out a cake in it to see how it goes.

So on with my somewhat recent baking projects. I'm going to start with a failure, just to get it out of the way. It's a puff pastry with fruit topping. Now, this is the first time I've worked with puff pastry so I was totally clueless as to what to do. After some researching on the Net I decided to go forward with it. You are supposed to score the pastry and I wanted it to puff up around the fruit. In the instructions it says to score a 1 1/2 inch thick border so, much against my common sense, I actually scored the border with knife slits all the way around and the middle by poking holes with a fork. What I should have done was just used the fork and scored everything but the part you wanted to rise (duh! The holes will flatten the pastry!) The result was a flat, soggy mess and had to be disposed of the next morning (it did taste good straight out of the oven though!)

Next up is my fig and plum cake. I've never before seen a fresh fig and when I saw them at the commissary, I was really excited, especially since I'm such a fan of Bath and Body Works brown sugar and fig body cream. If it smells good the fruit must tase good, right? Well, they are pretty tasty all on their own, but the ones I got were a little too mushy in texture for me so I decided to throw them into a cake. It went fairly quickly when I shared at work, but the effort to me was not really worth it, so I will not be making this one again.

The next project is my lime meltaways, courtesy of Ms. Stewart. These were an instantfavorite for me. They are pretty simple to make and the recipe yields a lot of cookies. I can see myself making these in the dead of winter when I'm longing for summer. The lime flavor is so refreshing and they really do seem to melt in your mouth! Yuuuummm!!!!

I'm seriously craving some chocolate just thinking about the next baking project. Ever since I've Trader Joe's reformulated their dark chocolate madeleines, I've been wanting to learn how to make them. I really don't like the new ones! I found the recipe online and went to town. On the first attempt, they turned out heavenly. A little powdered sugar goes a long way and the chocolate flavor is so intense, just the way I like it! I was seriously channeling Deb from Smitten Kitchen when I took these pictures!
OK...almost done. I did some baking last night after a week-long hiatus (that's a long time for me!) I was craving chocolate again last night and brought out the homemade Oreo recipe that I got off of Smitten Kitchen. I made this once already, sans Crisco. The thought of eating that crap made my stomach turn so I just stuck to good old fashioned butter for the cream center. Well, they were a little soft due to the lack of shortening, which is solid at room temp. So I decided that this time I would add the Crisco, of which I have plenty of now because that is one of the main ingredients in our class buttercream icing. I've been desensitized!
So there you have it! Sorry for the long post and that it was strictly on my new obsession. I'm hanging up my apron now and off to eat some homemade chicken soup!


loquita said...

Wow I am totally in awe of all this baking! I've made a few kinds of cookies, but other than that, just mixes for cakes and brownies. I don't like baking mostly because I am *so* slow at putting everything together, and it feels like the whole process takes forever, and then you still have to clean up!

In any case, very cool post, and you look lovely with your diploma. :)

Sara said...

You are a baking machine! I am going to bake something similar to the oreo cookies for marks halloween package,but with orange center and in halloween shapes

raecatherine said...

That fig and plum LOOKs delicious even if it didn't taste that way. I think I'm gonna try those lime meltaways this weekend. And perhaps the oreos sometime soon, too! Jon is going to have a little Pillsbury doughboy belly after staying home with you. =)

raecatherine said...

I made those lime melts and they are fantastic! thanks for including the link.

Jaime said...

Can I come stay at your house! Yum!!!