Tuesday, February 24, 2009

[Thinking of a clever title about bread]

Not that my blog title's are all that clever....

One of the great joys of this semester is coming home on Tuesday night with fresh baked bread*. For some reason it seems like such a great accomplishment to me to create a rye loaf or semolina boule. There really is an art to bread, and though it may not be my favorite thing to make, it is certainly a wonderful knowledge to have. My instructor[J. Mac]**, who teaches both my classes, is from Scotland and it's so much fun to listen to her Scottish accent all day. And she also provides us with a lot of instruction. Seriously, I just did a six braided Challah loaf today...but that will be for another post.

Grissini Bread Sticks (with parmesan & garlic)

Soft Rolls

Rye Loaves

Are you totally impressed?!

I am waaaay too lazy to make bread at home (there are 12 steps & fermentation takes so long) so it will really be sad once this semester comes to an end.

*It always goes so well with my Corner Bakery salad, which has become a Tuesday night staple after spending the entire day eating sweets and bread. And it seriously puts the CB ciabatta roll to shame

**J. Mac is just a nickname, but it has a nice ring to it. And she loves it!

Monday, February 23, 2009

I'm Back!....

...And hopefully with more frequent updates. I have been back in school for over a month and it has been full of fun desserts, delicious breads, and lots of learning. Unfortunately, I do not have as much free time this semester as I did last semester. I seriously have about twenty blog entries that I want to do, but just can't seem to dedicate the time necessary to upload pictures, type out recipes, etc. The saddest part of all: I haven't even been able to keep up with my favorite blogs.

Anyhow, onto the fun stuff. This semester I am taking two lab [baking] classes (as opposed to lecture classes): Advanced Pastry Shop and Breads & Rolls. Advanced Pastry is a great deal of fun. We've made some wonderful desserts: Creme Brulee, Chocolate Mousse, Bread Pudding & Ice Cream are just a few. The best part is the plate presentation. We make a lot of different fruit coulis, dessert sauces and cookies to create our plate presentations for our desserts. Here are some of the early desserts:

Creme Brulee

Bavarian Cream [back] & Chocolate Mousse [front]

The First Plate Presentation [Bavarian Cream]

Fruit Bavarian

Lemme just admit that I have a wicked sweet tooth. And I have a special place in my heart for chocolate. The day we did all of these desserts I made the rookie mistake of not eating before school. (Seriously, going to school hungry is by far the WORST thing a girl can do). Anyway, by the end of the day I had the worst stomach ache from all the sugar, but it was worth it because all of the above items were delish.

I am really going to try and catch up. I will be back soon with some words and pictures about bread.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Dessert Party Recipes: Nut Cookies and Jam Tarts

Miracle of all miracles! A new post! I apologize for not posting at all recently, but I have been tres, tres busy. School started a couple weeks ago and between school and work I have had very little free time. And since school is back in session I really need to get this blog updated so I can share all my fun from the bakeshop. But for right now I am going to share some more Dessert Party recipes. The dessert party that was over a month ago. I feel like such a slacker.

Nut Cookie

Jam Tarts

I made both nut cookies and jam tarts during fundamentals last semester and they were both recipes I really wanted to try again at home. And I think they are perfect holiday cookies. I also got some graduated fluted round cookie cutters from Santa Claus that I was dying to use. Since both of these recipes are from school the ingredients are weighed, not measured.


7 oz. Butter
2 1/2 oz. Powdered sugar
1 oz. Brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon Sea salt
1 teaspoon Vanilla extract
8 oz. Bread flour
6 oz. Ground nuts*


Preheat oven until 350 degrees
Cream butter and sugars
Mix in flour, salt vanilla and ground nuts
Mold cookies into desired shapes
Bake until golden brown
Dust cooled cookies with confectioners' sugar

*You can use whatever kind of nuts you prefer. I used pecans.
-- -- -- -- -- --

The Jam Tarts are a short dough cookie with a jam filled center. We used a Stawberry Sambuca Jam my mom got at a craft fair and Smuckers Red Raspberry Jam.


8 oz. Butter
4 oz. Sugar
3/4 teaspoon Sea Salt
1 Egg
3/4 teaspoon Vanilla extract
12 oz. Pastry flour*


Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Cream butter and sugar
Add egg
Mix in flour, salt and vanilla
After mixing the dough it's best to refrigerate the dough so the dough is cold when you are ready to roll it out
Roll out dough to 1/8-in. thick and cut out dough with large, round cutters. Using a 1/2-in. cutter, cut out the centers of half the rounds
Bake until cookies are golden brown around the edges. It's best to put the tops and bottoms on separate cookie sheets to ensure even baking
Once baked, cool completely
Sandwich the tops and bottoms together with a small dab of jam, so the jam shows through the hole on top
Dust the tops with confectioners' sugar (don't worry if the sugar covers the jam in the center hole. The water in the jam will absorb the sugar)

*You can substitute all-purpose flour for pastry flour