A blog about everything even cooking

Posts tagged “baking

Summer to-do list: 2012

I have been on Summer break for two weeks and have had my to do list written out for about a month and a half. This summer will be different from all the others because I got an internship with a company called “Delicious Gourmet Cupcakes”, when the internship is over I will get hired on to help with orders and I am so excited to start this new adventure! Hopefully I will still have time to complete the items on the list 🙂

The list:

  • Make home-made pasta and sauce
  • read The Hobbit
  • Have a band of brothers marathon
  • make rainbow cupcakes
  • make a Lord of The Rings cupcake
  • make home-made cheese
  • bake a batch of pretzels
  • bake pumpkin ginger cupcakes

I have made home-made pasta sauce before but never pasta so that will be a lot of fun and hopefully tasty. My dad read The Hobbit to me when I was younger but I don’t remember it and since the movie is coming out in December, I thought it would be fun to read the book first and I also thought it would be fun to start a tradition of reading a JRR Tolkien book each Summer (last year I read Lord of The Rings). I love Band of brothers and have since I was a kid, I had a marathon a few months back but I have been wanting another one. I found a picture of really cool rainbow cupcakes online that I have been dying to make for months and ever since I started the cake decorating I have wanted to make a Lord of The Rings cake. Home made pretzels are like the best thing in the world, fresh from the oven with a little musterd….perfection! I used to make them all the time but then school took over so its time to make a batch. I have a recipe for pumpkin cookies that everyone (including myself…they are my favorite cookies) loves, I found a recipe for pumpkin ginger cupcakes that has 5 out of 5 stars and that is with over 2,000 reviews so I have a feeling these things are good..I need to try them! Heres the link if you want to try them with me! http://allrecipes.com/recipe/pumpkin-ginger-cupcakes/detail.aspx

 

The Lord of The Rings cake I want to make, the tree of Gondor is on the top and the script from the ring is around the sides

 

As I finish things on the list I will blog about the experience! I hope I get everything done, Im gonna be busy in the kitchen this summer, I cant wait 🙂 

the rainbow cupcakes I want to make, they look like such fun!

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the cake class

Ive been meaning to blog more..I really have! But oh well here I am back AGAIN 🙂

I really have fallen in love with my cake decorating class, im at the point where I wait every week for Tuesday to come and that is really making me feel so much more confident about giving my life and career to  baking. The first class we decorated cookies, and the second class cake. We have learned to make dots, stars and borders and I used what I learned to make a cake for my grandparents that are visiting. When I was finished with the cake I couldn’t believe that I had learned so much in only 2 classes. I cant wait to finish the other 2 courses and start making master pieces.

Im going to try to keep up with blogging and keep everyone updated with the class 🙂

Thank you for reading and I hope everyone has a beautiful sunday and rest of the week!


Keeping up with summer promises..

i was lucky enough to see the sky like this one night

At the beginning of Summer I was very optimistic that I would be able to keep up with my Summer to-do list. At the beginning it was quite easy, I do online school so I got out 2 weeks earlier than my friends. I had tons of free time on my hands and I used it. However, when public school was let out, I found myself falling behind. I was gone for days at a time at my best friends house forgetting about the bulbs I planted in the backyard, and the recipes I wanted to try and the lord of the rings..the HUGE book I wanted to complete this Summer. When I finally remembered the promises I made to myself at the beginning of Summer I snapped out of just going with the flow and started fighting the current to get things completed. So far, I am 130 pages into the second book of The Lord of the Rings, I have about 230 pages left.. then the last book “The Return of the King” and then I am done! I feel very confident in saying this will happen! In the recipes department, I am doing just okay, I wanted to make a pie that seemed difficult to do, try two new cookie recipes that I thought up and make a cake that I saw on T.V., so far I have only made one of the cookies…I know..dissapointing BUT I have also created a new pasta dish which I posted just the other day and I have also baked two different kinds of bread. I will get the baking done. I will.

the summer pasta creation

In the gardening department…some things are flourishing while others are browning and dying. Only two bulbs have made it. But im still pretty proud of myself, my first time with bulbs and I managed to keep two alive out of five….yes, if it was a test I would have failed but it’s not so I rocked it.

Last summer was a summer full of new adventures. I tried sushi for the first time, I learned how to dive (at the age of 16, its sad I know), I got over my fear of wearing sandals in public (another sad statement haha), I got over wearing cardigans and vests with every outfit and finally found a way to be comfortable enough with myself so that I would no longer have to cover up everyday.

huntington beach 🙂

I was hoping this Summer I would somehow continue to grow..and I did. I now go to the beach every Thursday with my family and have an amazing time, last year I wouldn’t have been caught dead at the beach. I recently got in to working out and this Summer I tried tennis, which was a lot of fun! I have become more open to ideas and more open to change. I have never liked Summer time, winter is my favorite time of year. But it seems that I grow the most in Summer, during Summer I have more time and more chances to be pushed to do new things, more time to really think about nothing important and realize that the things that I once thought were a huge deal are now nothing at all. If it weren’t for the last two Summers I would still be stuck as a shy, awkward,  weird and unproud of it teenager. Today I am well aware of the fact that I am nothing like other teenagers and what is considered “normal” and I am so proud of that fact. I’m glad im weird and geeky and have weird friends because we’re awesome 🙂 .

Me and my fellow bestest weirdo..i am sporting a fish hat and she is playing with a eta-5 interceptor


Cherry turnovers

Before the fourth of July, I had never once made a desert that had cherries. I must say that working with cherries is a lot of fun! they are a wonderful fruit to bake with, adding lots of flavor. This was also my first time working with filo dough and making turnovers so it was quite a bit of firsts for one day but oh it was so much fun! This recipe is a mix of three recipes that I used to create a simple recipe. These turnovers are so easy to make I could probably have 500 done in one day and im not over exaggerating! So here is the recipe, it is very simple, I do hope you try and love it!

Filling:

1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch

12 ounces frozen cherries, or fresh if you have them (make sure they are stemmed and pitted)

2/3 cup dried cherries

1/2 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

K, to start stir the cornstarch in with 1 1/2 tablespoons cold water in a bowl and set aside. combine all the other ingredients in a large saucepan, cook over medium heat, stirring a bit just till the cherry juices are released (about 5 minutes). Add the cornstarch mixture and bring to a boil stirring often. When mixture is thickened remove from heat and let cool to room temperature stirring occasionally.

Dough and topping:

One package of filo dough

one egg mixed with one teaspoon of water

raw sugar (optional topping but totally worth the purchase!)

This is when you get the filo dough (make sure it is defrosted check the package for instructions) lay the sheets out on parchment and gather up six pieces, lay the six pieces on another piece of parchment and cut in to 6,5 inch  pieces. Get some filling (about 2 tablespoons) and place it in the middle of one of the pieces, then get some melted butter and brush the edges of the filo dough. Press down on the edges to seal and then lay the finished turnover on a parchment lined baking sheet. Finish the rest. When done take the egg and the water mixture and brush the tops, then take the sugar and sprinkle on top. Bake at 400 for 10 minutes.

The turnovers are beautiful when they come out of the oven and they taste delicious!!! I could easily eat 6 so yeah these can be dangerous 😛

I hope you give this recipe a try!

Thank you for reading and I hope you have an amazing rest of the week and an amazing weekend!!!

 

 

 


The summer to-do list

Well summer is finally arriving and this means its time to create my summer to-do list..a list I make every summer. Last year the goal was to read nine books that I had purchased but never read, this of course was not completed (I read one). This summer I have put together a list that will be completed, because its possible it’s not work its fun. Spending the summer reading is fun but trying to read 9 books in two and a half months is just stress.

When I first started thinking of how I wanted to spend my summer, I got a bit nervous. I had no goals, nothing that I had wanted to do during the school year but had no time…but then I looked around my room and saw a copy of “Lord of The Rings”..LOVE the movies but I have never read the books so my list was finally getting started with LOTR :). Then I was on a roll, I remembered that months before I learned of a new cake..a victorian sandwich cake mmm added to the list along with making a pie but im not sure what kind yet. I thought my list was completed but after a visit to my Grandma’s house I found something new to add…planting flower bulbs and recording their growth over summer (if I manage to keep them alive..fingers crossed).

I started my summer to-do list last friday in the backyard with the company of my dogs of course! My mom bought me new soil for the bulbs and got out pots for me to use..I then got to work. It was so much fun to plant the bulbs and cover them up with soil (I felt like I was in the movie “The Secret Garden”). Hopefully I don’t mess up on my first summer to-do. I’ll post pictures IF the bulbs start growing flowers but in the meantime here are some pictures of last friday.

the bulbs...aren't they scary looking??

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

the soil..which my dog tootsie tried to eat..

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

now I wait.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
I hope you all have an awesome week and amazing weekend 🙂 thanks for reading 🙂

Classic white cake – lemon

 

I usually don’t like making cakes, I feel like making the batter doesn’t take enough time and it requires no skill. There is one cake I will never get sick of making though and that  is this cake, Classic white, and that is because for this cake you don’t just mix everything together and add eggs..you also have to beat together egg whites “until stiff peaks form” and then carefully fold them in. This cake is beautiful and if you choose to add lemon flavoring..its perfect for spring! I got the recipe from my all american cookery book.

 

The recipe

 

 

 
 
 
 

 

 

Very easy just start by creaming the sugar and butter which is just mixing the two.

butter and sugar

 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 

Then combine the flour and baking powder, add to the butter and sugar mixture alternately with one cup of milk

 

..mix well after each addition. Add the salt and extracts, instead of lemon you could do almond, just vanilla, maple, coconut, or even walnut.

 

the extracts and salt

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

This is where it gets fun 🙂 beat the 6 egg whites until stiff peak forms (you can save the yolks and make a yellow cake! I’ll post the recipe for that cake next time) after gently folk in to the batter.

 

cake batter

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 

Divide the batter equally in to two cake pans that are buttered and floured (make sure you flour the pans, I didn’t think it necessary and a bit of the cake stuck to the bottom even though the pans were greased)

 

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes at 375, if the cake starts browning too quickly, cover the cakes with tin foil, then let them continue baking.

the finished cake

 

I finished the cake with lemon icing that was perfect with the cake..heres the recipe:

frosting:

3 tablespoons butter

3 cups sifted powder sugar

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 tablespoon water

dash of salt

Just combined the ingredients in a bowl with a whisk till combined.

I also topped the cake with strawberries because my best friend said it would look good..and she was right..not only looked good but tasted amazing!!

Hope you all have an amazing weekend and an awesome Easter Sunday!


Coconut cream pie…..CAKE!

If you like cake or maybe coconut or cream cheese try this cake!!!! It was honestly amazing! I made this cake when my friend was over this past weekend and it was awesome! Now if you do make this cake  make sure you serve it after it spends the night in the fridge, its amazing cold :).  I found this recipe in Bon Appetit magazine, this cake is from a resteraunt called “Hominy Grill” and they call it “Classic coconut cake” but I thought coconut cream pie cake was a more appropriate name since it describes the cake perfectly. Now this is a dense dense cake, all you need is one slice..you do not go back for seconds with this one..the cake is like a meal! It took me a while to realize this cake was like coconut creme pie though..but if after reading this you try the recipe and finish the cake and let it cool over night…and then the next day you take a bit you’ll realize what i mean right away.

k so for this recipe you will need:

for the cake:

  • nonstick vegetable spray
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2  cups sweetened flaked coconut
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup butter
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 4 eggs whites

for the frosting

  • 31/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1  8 ounce package of cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • extra coconut to cover the beautiful cake

Cake:

K, so to start preheat the oven to 350 and coat two 9 inch cake pans with nonstick spray..set aside. Mix the flour and coconut in a medium bowl set aside. Whisk buttermilk and baking soda in a small bowl(..k little insider help..don’t use a coffee cup or something that can barely hold a cup..the buttermilk mixture expands so use a big enough bowl so you don’t have to dirty up 3 dishes for this one step haha) set aside.

I took this after it started growing so before and

and after

Beat sugar, and butter in a large bowl until light and fluffy…2 minutes..add the egg yolks and beat to blend. Add the flour mixture in 3 additions alternately with buttermilk mixture in 2 additions..beating just to blend.

  Using clean dry beaters, beat egg whites and 1/4 teaspoon salt in another large bowl until peaks form. Add 1/3 of egg white mixture to batter and fold in just to blend. Fold in remaining egg white mixture in two additions.

before adding the egg whites

 

batter with the egg whites added

Divide the batter between the two cake pans and bake the cakes for about 35  minutes. When the cakes are done remove them from the pans and let them cool on racks.

Frosting:

Use an electric mixer and beat sugar, cream cheese, butter and vanilla in a large bowl until blended. When the cake has cooled start frosting and when the cake is completely covered with this deliciousness start topping with more coconut…I sprinkled coconut all over, even on the sides and it came out perfect 🙂 .

finished 🙂

yummy

I hope you decide to give this cake a try..its worth it.

Hope you all have an awesome Friday and amazing weekend!!! 🙂


A saturday in the kitchen : French Bread.

Saturday was quite lovely, the sun was shining out and for the first time in quite a while, it was real California weather. I had no plans, and while thinking about what I was to spend my day doing I realized I hadn’t made bread in at least a month and a half…this was far too long for a baker! I got out the “American Cooking” cook book and decided to make French bread. French bread is so much fun to make, so simple! Six ingredients and that is it.

Here is the recipe I used :

   

The recipe is pretty simple, you start by dissolving the yeast in warm water (around 105-115) no warmer no cooler! You don’t want to kill the yeast but you need it to activate. Then you add the sugar and (I personally always wait to add the salt till I start adding the last of the flour) just because salt can kill yeast and I’m paranoid…I have found that with this recipe 4 cups of flour works much better than 4 1/2 cups. With this recipe you don’t knead the dough before letting it rise or put the dough in a clean greased bowl to rise, you leave the dough in the original bowl. Before I leave my dough to rise in the microwave (that’s just where I’ve always let mine rise) I always let the microwave run for two minutes and then put the dough in, this helps the dough rise faster and in most cases cuts the rising time in half! 

before

after 🙂

 

 

After the dough has risen get a large cutting board or clean surface and lightly flour it, then cut the dough in half and take on half and start rolling it out to a rectangle at the shape of 10 inches by 14.

Then start rolling the dough from the broadest side and pinch the dough together, then start shaping the dough in to an 18 inch long loaf  and place on a prepared pan that is greased and lightly covered with corn meal. Repeat with the next piece of dough. Take a knife and slash the bread four times.

 Then cover the dough with a towel and let rise in a warm spot till doubled in size. After the dough has risen again and is finally ready to be baked pre heat the oven to 425 and lightly brush the loaves with ice water. When the oven is ready bake for 10 minutes. Lower the heat to 325, brush with ice water again and let finish baking for 40 minutes. When the bread is done it will be golden, and when tapped on the bottom it will sound hallow. Make sure that the bread is spread out far enough away from each other so that the heat can circulate other wise the bread will bake on top but not on the sides or very middle. When the bread is finished let cool for about 10 minutes and then dig in! This bread is awesome, I made three small loaves and gave two away to my neighbors.

I hope you all have an awesome Monday and amazing week!! 🙂

beautiful


An adventure in making Challah (bread)

Yesterday I had the entire day free so I decided I would try making a new bread…simple enough right? noooo! Challah bread was a challenge! Not making the dough but braiding the dough. I have made pretzels a million times and bread with twisted tops but never something like this.

Now I’m pretty sure I didn’t get the braiding quite right but I’m okay with that, it was my first time and learning how to braid the bread was sorta frustrating (I had a little breakdown haha) so I’m just glad it came out looking that good.  When the bread was finally done I grabbed a giant slice, this was the best bread I had ever made!! Everyone needs to make this bread at least once because it is gorgeous! So here is the recipe  🙂

I got the recipe from my Grandma’s cookbook “Essentials of Baking”

for this recipe you will need:

  • 2 packages of active dry yeast (5 teaspoons)
  • 1 cup warm water (around 110-115)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs and 1 for the glaze
  • 5 cups of flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • poppy seeds if you want

Start by dissolving the yeast in warm water and let stand for about 5 minutes. Use a wooden spoon to stir in the sugar, 3 eggs, 4 1/2 cups of flour, salt, and the butter  until the dough comes together. Turn the dough on to a lightly floured surface and knead, working in the remaining flour as necessary to keep the dough from being too sticky, until the dough is smooth and elastic (you can pull the dough without it breaking off and everything’s worked in) around 7 minutes. Do not add to much flour. The dough should stay soft and will become less sticky with kneading.

Form the dough into a ball and place in a lightly oiled bowl. Cover the bowl with a damp kitchen towel and let the dough rise in a warm spot for 2 hours until its doubled in size (I always let my dough rise in the microwave).

at the beginning

2 hours later

 Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, punch down the dough and roll out on to a clean work surface (don’t flour the surface, you’ll want to but it’s not needed trust me 🙂 )

To make the 4 strand braid’s, cut the dough into 4 equal pieces with a sharp knife

 and using your palms start in the center and working outward, elongate 1 piece by rolling it gently against the work surface with even pressure until you have formed a rope as long as the prepared pan. Repeat with the remaining pieces. And this is where it gets difficult..

Line up the 4 strands in front of you horizontally, Cross the strand farthest from you across the other 3 strands so that it is now nearest you. Then cross the strand that is now next to it across the other 2 strands away from you. Position the outside strands so that they are away from the center ones and position the center 2 strands perfectly horizontal. Bring the strand nearest you down between the 2 horizontal strands. Bring the strand farthest from you up and across the opposite side. Again, bring the strand farthest from you down between the 2 straight strands. Bring the strand nearest you up and across to the opposite side. Starting from the strand nearest you, repeat the braiding until you reach the ends of the ropes. Pinch them together and at the bottom and tuck the strands under at the ends.

Place the braided loaf on the prepared pan and cover and let rise again for about an hour until it doubles in size, and is spongy to touch.

Preheat the oven to 350 and brush the bread with the beaten egg and sprinkle with the seeds,

ready for the oven

bake the braid until it is nicely brown and sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom. After 30-35 minutes take out let cool on a wire rack..wait about 15 minutes before cutting in so your bread doesnt dry up.

Before I tucked the strands under the loaf I cut off some excess and used it to make some knots that came out beautifully after 25 minutes in a 350 oven.

If your bread does start to brown and get dark too early just cover it loosely with aluminum foil and continue baking…I had to do  this with mine.

🙂 I hope you all continue to have an awesome week!!


French Loaves with a twist top

Yesterday I went  shopping with my friend, as I was getting ready I grabbed my boots and threw one of them on the bed while I put the other on and a giant spider crawled out of my boot and onto my bed!!!! As I started to scream it ran under my sheets and I couldn’t find it so I called my dad and asked him to bring home one of those bug bomb things. When I arrived home I decided I would spend the day making bread since I was much to terrified to go in my room. Before I started I ran in my room grabbed my thermometer, my american cooking cookbook and my camera..I then (with the help of my dad) covered my computer and radio and printer with towels and set off the bug fogger. With that whole spider scare behind me I headed out to my kitchen and started making bread..now I havent made bread in a few months so I was terribly excited. I looked through my cookery book and chose French Loaves with a twist top, bread that is amazing toasted with honey.

So I started making the bread and of course I put on some music (you must have music on when you bake and cook). Now when you cook the music has to be (of course this is just my opinion) Big Band music…but when you bake…thats when you turn on some rock music..any type..Yesterday I turned to an awesome band called “Flogging Molly”. It is SO much fun to bake when Flogging Molly is on..I really cant explain why..just go and bake with Flogging Molly on and you’ll get it. Anyways I get the butter melted and the milk warmed and then combined and I pour it over the yeast and then mix till its dissolved. I then go out to the freezer in the garage and get my giant bag of flour and add in the 2 cups..then mix…then 2 cups..then mix..then again 2 cups, when it’s all combined I add in the salt last..just because im paranoid the salt will still kill the yeast so I always add it last. I the set the dough on a cutting board..wash the bowl, spray it with cooking spray..place the dough in the bowl and put a towel over the top and let rise for an hour (I always let mine rise in the microwave). No Reservations…here I come (:

After waiting close to an hour I check on my dough again…

Its ready!! I wash my hands, lightly flour my cutting board and turn the dough out on to it. I knead the dough until it’s absolutely perfect..meaning its smooth and there are no lumps and its soft and perfect. Then I cut off the 1 cup of dough (for the twist top) and then cut the dough in to equal halves. I then take one piece of dough and form in to an oblong loaf and then set it on the pan I already greased..I then do the same with the other half of the dough. Then this is the part that was most difficult for me the first time I made this bread…the twist top..(this gets easier after you’ve made pretzels a few times) anyways you take the extra dough and divide it in half..then you take one half and roll it out as long as you can get it..I then like to pick it up and stretch it out (softly) with my hands until it is double the size of the oblong loaves. Now you get to twist it YAY! haha, I put my pointer finger in the middle, then sharply twist it..then just keep twisting it till your done and place it one the bread

Now you set the bread aside and let it rise until doubled in size (about 30 to 50 minutes)..after waiting you beat one egg and brush the bread with it..then you slide the bread in the oven at 350 degrees and bake (the book says 20 but mine takes 30) for 20-30 minutes and then you get this.

Allow the bread to cool for at least 20 minutes (if you cut it too soon the bread will dry out) and then enjoy! This bread is beautiful!! it’s a pretty sweet bread so it doesn’t go well with soups but its amazing with breakfast or as a snack.

Oh and back to the spider..later when it was safe to go  back in my room and I was pulling the sheets off my bed to wash em I found the spider..dead..under my covers so its all good haha (:

Have an amazing weekend!!!

Oh and Daisy..my lovely dog, of course joined me in the kitchen while I made this bread :).