Classic Puff Pastry

Happy 4th of July everyone!  Here are some beautiful fireworks over Chicago to get you through until tomorrow…

Today, I decided to do something I wanted to do for such a long time – make homemade puff pastry.  In class, I LOVED making croissants – seeing the multiple layers and the flakiness of the end product made all of the hard worth it – and made me amazed at my own abilities!  Puff pastry has even MORE layers in it than croissant dough, so I was eager to jump right in and try to impress myself again 🙂

This puff pastry was made to use for some turnovers that I’ll post about tomorrow – but I thought that this would be too much to post about in one day!  Continue reading

Olive Bread… a failure of massive proportions (kind of)

My dad keeps telling me that I need to share the bad with the good – so here we go (and hi Dad!!)

One of my favorite items that we made while in school was an Olive Bread that we made first quarter.  Let me start by saying that I don’t like olives.  At all.  I think they have a weird texture, a funny flavor, and are kind of, well icky.  But olive bread… wow.  When we made it, I think I ate half the loaf myself (and that was a BIG loaf).

I decided to try making this at home, because, hey, I’ve done this before – how hard can it be?  Ha ha, famous last words.  VERY hard.  Ruining-the-bread hard.  At least in my tiny lil kitchen in Chicago. Continue reading

Donuts!!

One of my favorite memories from childhood was getting to pick out a donut for breakfast once every other week or so – we’d be grocery shopping, and it was always a huge treat.  I would almost always pick the regular cake donut with chocolate frosting and sugar sprinkles out the wazoo – because as a kid you can NEVER have enough sugar – and every time it was amazing.  (Except for the time my cat ate through the wax paper bag and subsequently ate most of the donut… what a disappointing morning).

We made mini-donuts one time in my third quarter at Kendall – I made mine tossed in a combination of rosemary/salt/pepper/sugar/cayenne, and they were pretty good.  This time I decided to go for classic, with a supposedly yummy donut and plain sweet glaze.  I also decided to make a few with a cinnamon sugar coating, and then add a little chocolate to the mix as well.  Unfortunately, I only had bittersweet dark chocolate in my kitchen, which didn’t work out too well for an overall coating – but was perfect for a garnish to the glazed donuts! Continue reading

Turkey Chili… a little something different

I know my blog is mainly about sweet creations, but one of my all-time favorite recipes is my chili.    It came about in college one time when our school had literally been shut down because of an ice storm… so instead of staying safely at home, my sorority sisters and I decided to brave the icy streets and go get chili ingredients for a chili cook-off 🙂

When I made this, I thought I was basing it off of my mom’s recipe… and have since found out I was wrong, I make mine totally different (and way better in my opinion… hi Mom!) Continue reading

Finals – Cake Decorating & Chocolates

Well… it’s over. I have finished the Baking & Pastry certificate program as of Friday!  I still can’t quite wrap my head around the idea that I’m done… I have such mixed feelings!

On one hand, I’m looking forward to actually coming home from work and going to sleep, relaxing, etc, as opposed to standing on my feet for 4-5 hours and stressing myself out over how a rose looks or whether my chocolate is tempered.

On the other hand… I will miss my friends I’ve made so much, and I really wish I could keep taking classes just so someone will continue to push me out of my comfort zone and make me try baking/decorating new things!

My finals for this quarter consisted of making up a business plan, decorating a 3-tier wedding cake, and putting together a chocolate sculpture/showpiece.

Cake Decorating

I LOVED the way my final cake came out, even though I had some issues along the way.   Continue reading

Gum Paste Hydrangeas: A Beginner’s Guide

Well, it’s into week two of no baking as I’m prepping myself for finals and spending almost all of my free time cutting, forming, or coloring hydrangea blossoms.  Since I didn’t have a baking post for my blog, I thought I would share my newfound hydrangea knowledge!  You will need gum paste, a small rolling pin, a hydrangea cutter and veiner, a gum paste ball tool or bone tool, egg whites or gum paste glue, small paint brushes, a foam shaping set, and an empty egg carton.

Below are the steps I took to get these beautiful little guys.

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Purse “Cake”

No baking for me this week – it’s starting to get into finals, and unfortunately my priority needs to be on making my beautiful gum paste hydrangeas over baking for pleasure.

For the last two weeks in my advanced cake decorating class we have been working on making a purse “cake”.  It’s not a cake because they’re made entirely out of fondant (the final purse was around the size of my hand).  We had several choices for a cake to do, but I decided to look up something a little different to do.  This was my inspiration purse:

It wasn’t something I would able to replicate exactly (and I knew that going in), but I decided to try my hardest with this one!  Along with the purse, we had to create some accessories, so I decided to do the classic lipstick, then decided to make a little Blackberry and a set of sunglasses to go along with it.

Continue reading