Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for April, 2011

Finished!

With those three posts, I am finished with my Senior Project. I have over 16 hours worth of baking under my belt. Despite the fact that I’m done with my project, I would still like to continue blogging. They posts will become even more sporadic than they already are, but I think I will be more inspired since I’m not pressured to get hours done.

I am planning on making cupcakes for some shelters in-town. They will be Easter-themed. I want to take some of those Sour-Punch straws and put them on the top so they look like handles. And then I’ m going to take small candies such as jelly beans and chocolate eggs and arrange them on top of the cupcakes so that they look like little Easter baskets. I’m really excited to execute these!

I’ve learned how much goes into baking with this project. It’s really helped me appreciate the complexity of it as well as everything that it takes to complete and successful baked good.

I want to thank everyone who has supported me throughout this journey.

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

This was probably my favorite part of my entire project. Part of that stemmed from the fact that I knew that I was doing something good for my community. 

A lot of people aren’t familiar with the Hospice Movement, so I will explain it to you a little bit. The Hospice Movement has been evolving ever since the 11th century, but the first modern Hospice Home was created in the 1940’s by Dr. Dame Cicely Saunders. The entire premise of Hospice is to give palliative care to the terminally ill. So essentially, the people who work for Hospice are there to help alleviate and prevent some of the suffering from the patients by making them as comfortable as possible. Not only do Hospitals have Hospice wings, there are Hospice Homes, and there are also services that allow the terminally ill to pass away in their own homes. It sounds really morbid, but what they are doing is a really great thing.

I have personal experience with Hospice because it was a service that my family utilized during the passing of my Father. The workers are there not only for the patient, but for the family as well. Without Hospice, a lot of families would have an even harder time dealing with the loss of their loved one.

Earlier this year, I was talking to Mrs. Burr about my Senior Project. She suggested working at the Hospice Home, and I entertained the idea for quite a while. Eventually, I decided that it wasn’t the best route for me. I told her, however, that I would still love to do something with the Hospice Home.

When I came up with the idea for doing a baking blog, I told Mrs. Burr what I would like to bake something for the Hospice Home if at all possible. She contacted her friend, Janet Herman, who was a volunteer at the Woltz Hospice Home in Dobson, not to far from the school. 

Janet said that she would allow me to come into the home and bake in the kitchen there. Due to policies, I couldn’t bake things at my house to bring in.

I measured all of my ingredients out before I went in there. This helped me get things done a lot quicker, and I also didn’t have to bring entire bags of flour and sugar all the way to Dobson.

Another policy of the Hospice Home is that you have to wrap everything up after you bake them. So we took the cookies and individually wrapped them after we were done.

I went there on Wednesday of this week, and made 2 batches of sugar cookies and one batch of brownies for the family waiting room. As I was baking, families were drifting in and out, commenting on how good everything smelled. One thing that Janet mentioned to me was how it was comforting to the patients to smell the smell of homemade baked goods.

Janet was one of the greatest people that I’ve met. She was so funny, and she had no qualms with telling people her opinion. Most of the time, it takes me a while to get used to new people, but Janet seemed really familiar even though I knew that I had never met her.

I am extremely thankful for this experience, and I plan on going back to do some more things with the home. I mentioned to Janet that I would like for Student Council to make some Easter-treats or crafts for the Hospice Home. We are currently in the process of coming up with ideas, but I think that a lot of people can benefit from seeing the good that the Hospice Home does.

 

Time Spent ~ 3.5 hours.

Read Full Post »

The only scones that I have ever had are the scones from the Knight’s Grill. They are the best scones in the entire world. I think a more accurate name would be Cookie-Muffin Triangles. 

The outside is crunchy like a cookie and the inside is fluffy like a muffin. I’m contemplating living in the Knight’s Grill and eating nothing but scones and french fries. That sounds like the life for me.

So I went in to make this recipe with the preconceived notion that these scones were going to be exactly the same. Much to my dismay, they were not.

They weren’t bad by any means, but they weren’t what I was expecting either.

I did enjoy them. They were more dense than I was expecting, and I anticipate that they would make good dinner biscuits. My Mentor, Heather, has given me a recipe for Ham and Cheese scones. Seeing as I have access to veggie ham, I am really excited to make them.

I found a recipe for scones that uses Jiffy Muffin Mix. And then you add some other things into it to make the dough thicker. I think that may have been what I was looking for more so than these were.

I feel like I’m hitting a low spot right now. Spring Break makes me so incredibly lazy, and there is so much school work to be done. After next week is over, I feel like things will be all gravy.

Strawberry Scones

Makes 12

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour.
  • 2 tbsp. sugar.
  • 1 tbsp. baking powder.
  • 1/4 tsp. salt.
  • 1/2 (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into chunks.
  • 3/4 cup chopped fresh strawberries.
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten.
  • 1/2 cup of half-and half.
  • Extra Half-and-half.
  • Extra Sugar.

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together flour, 2 tablespoons of sugar, baking powder, and salt.
  3. Using a pastry blender (or two knives), cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
  4. Gently toss in strawberries.
  5. Make a well in the middle of mixture; set aside.
  6. In a medium bowl, stir together eggs and half-and-half.
  7. Add egg mixture to flour mixture all at once and stir well until moistened.
  8. Turn the dough out onto a generously floured surface.
  9. Knead dough by folding and gently pressing it 5-7 times, turning dough after each fold.
  10. Transfer to a lightly floured parchment-lined baking sheet.
  11. Pat or lightly roll dough into a 3/4 inch thick circle, cut wedges, and pull slightly apart.
  12. Brush each wedge with additional half-and-half and sprinkle with sugar.
  13. Bake for about 16 minutes or until golden.
  14. Serve warm, and refrigerate any leftovers; reheat for 15 seconds in microwave.

Time Spent: 30 minutes prepping, 16 minutes cooking, 5 minutes cooling, 20 minutes blogging ~ 1 hour and 10 minutes.

Read Full Post »

The long awaited day has come. The day when I have to face my fear and dive right in. The day when I have to get over my fear and just do it. Okay, this is becoming too dramatic even for my tastes.

I haven’t stated this, but I’m deathly afraid of shortening. There is just something about that white goop that just really scares me. I don’t know why, but it just does.

In order to make this buttercream that I’ve been hearing all about, I knew that I had to use shortening. As soon as I saw shortening on the list of ingredients required, a little piece of me died. Another little piece had decided right then and there that I was not going to make buttercream.

Despite all of the little voices in my head telling me not to do it, I knew that I needed to grow up and just do it.

The biggest part of this recipe, for me, was making the buttercream. I’ve made yellow cupcakes before and tasted even more. But I’ve never made nor tasted buttercream.

Maybe it was the way I made it, or maybe it was just the icing, but it sure didn’t live up to my expectations. In my head, I was anticipating something better than just plain chocolate.

It was chocolatey, but it tasted like almost pure confectioner’s sugar. Everyone else had a positive reaction to the icing, but my Mom and I were just not satisfied with the results. Maybe I will try just plain buttercream instead of chocolate. Maybe? I don’t know at this point.

The cupcakes, however, we’re delicious. They were rich and fluffy. I can always count on Martha Stewart to help me through anything. And I don’t care what anyone says, Martha is and always will be my hero.

I still get into arguments on Queen Martha’s behalf to this very day. Some people just do not know when to let things go. If you ever want to ruffle my feathers, don’t ask me about my political affiliation or tell me that that music I listen to  is terrible, tell me that Martha is a bad person.

I will always defend Queen Martha. Always and forever. Maybe I should consider getting that as a tattoo someday?

Oh, I forgot to mention that I filled the cupcakes with more chocolate buttercream.

It was really bad because I tried to use a round-tip for the icing, but it ended up looking like poop. Needless to say, my Mom and I ate those two cupcakes. Not that we were complaining or anything.

When I was finally done icing the cupcakes, I was up to my eyeballs in buttercream. It was all over my arms, the counter, and pans, and anything else in my general vicinity. It looked like World War III was fought in my kitchen using buttercream.

Yellow Cupcakes

Makes 12

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour.
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons all-purpose baking powder.
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt.
  • 1/2 cup  milk.
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract.
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter at room temperature.
  • 3/4 cup sugar.
  • 2 large eggs.

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a standard cupcake pan (12 cups) with paper liners.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
  3. In a liquid measuring cup, mix milk and vanilla; set aside.
  4. In a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy (3-4 minutes).
  5. Add eggs into butter-sugar mixture one at a time and beat well after each addition.
  6. With the mixer on low speed, add half of the dry ingredients (Step 2), followed by the milk-vanilla mixture (step 3), and then the remaining dry ingredients. Mix well, but do not overmix.
  7. Divide the batter evenly among prepared muffin cups.
  8. Bake cupcakes until a toothpick can be inserted into the center of the cupcake and come out clean (20-25 minutes).
  9. Cool the cupcakes in the tin (5-10 minutes), remove and cool completely on a rack before frosting.

Chocolate Buttercream Icing

Makes 3 cups

  • 1/2 cup solid vegetable shortening.
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened.
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder.
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract.
  • 4 cups sifted confectioner’s sugar.
  • 3-4 tablespoons milk.

Directions:

  1. In large bowl, cream shortening and butter with electric mixer.
  2. Add cocoa and vanilla. The gradually add sugar, one cup at a time, beating well after each addition on medium speed.
  3. Scrape sides and bottom of bowel often. When all sugar has been mixed in, icing will appear dry.
  4. Add milk and beat at medium speed until light and fluffy.
  5. Keep bowl covered with a damp cloth until ready to use. For best results, keep icing in bowl in refrigerator when not in use.
  6. Refrigerated in an airtight container, this icing can be stored for 2 weeks. Rewhip before using.

Time Spent: 30 minutes prepping cupcakes, 25 minutes cooking, 35 minutes cooling, 30 minutes prepping icing, 30 minutes making icing, 20 minutes icing/filling cupcakes, 20 minutes for blogging ~ 3 hours spent.

 

Read Full Post »