Sunday, April 15, 2012

Rubber Ducky, You're the One!

So I'll give you the quick version of these super cute little ducky cupcakes. Recently my Utah cousins were up and I wanted to play in the kitchen (like always).

The cousin, the fiance, and I baked and decorated to our hearts desire. This decor idea belongs to What's New, Cupcake?

Start with a basic vanilla cupcake, lightly frosted with vanilla frosting. Cut a large marshmallow in half diagonally, and place on the cupcake. Stick on a donut hole for the head. Secure with extra frosting. Freeze ~10 minutes. Melt about 1.5 containers of vanilla frosting and tint rubber ducky yellow. Dip duck-cakes up to the wrapper, and make sure all the cake is covered. Let the extra frosting run off.

Roll out and shape Starburst for the beak (think oval folded in half) and using extra solid frosting to glue on mini M&M's or mini chocolate chips for eyes.

Perfect for Ducky loving birthday kids, or vegetarians I suppose :D

Cream Cheese Frosting. ooooOOOOH YEeeeaaahhhh

Not much to say before this recipe. Except that it's delicious.

Cream Cheese Frosting
What you see below is a half recipe. I've made this twice with the full recipe, and it's way more than you need for the previous cinnamon roll recipe. So I cut it in half... it -should- be enough. Sorry if it's not.

1 oz. Butter
3 oz. Cream Cheese, softened
6 oz. Powdered Sugar (sifted please?)
3-4 oz. Heavy Cream, depends on how thick or thin you want it
a drop or 3 of Vanilla Extract

Cream butter with a little bit of powdered sugar until smooth. Add cream cheese and gradually mix in remaining sugar. Again, mix until smooth. If you have lumps now, there is no way under the heavens that they will come out once you start adding the cream. Speaking of cream, slowly add it until you reach your desired consistency. Add some vanilla to taste. Refrigerate extras.

Spread on delicious, warm, gooey cinnamon rolls and Do. Not. devour them all in one day. Possible side effect of eating these: death by happiness.


That's Just the Way I (cinnamon) Roll!

Who doesn't love a nice sticky, cinnamony, warm, gooey pile of goodness smothered in cream cheese frosting? Ok, I'm sure there's a few out there. Move on. This post is for the lovers <3.

These are actually a classmates. I have managed to forget to take pictures. of. everything.

Soft Roll Dough
makes 12 cinnamon rolls

12.5 oz. Water
.25 oz. Instant Yeast
1# 5 oz. Bread Flour or AP (that's 21 oz.)
2 tsp Salt
2 oz. Sugar
1 oz. Non-Fat Milk Solids (I ran to Safeway and just got NF Dry milk. A powder works best, but if all you can find is flakes, it'll still work)
1 oz. Shortening
1 oz. Butter

Mix the same way as the rolls below. Need refreshing?

On table (be DARING!) dump dry ingredients & (form a well)(a hole) in the middle. Put the egg (cracked, out of shell, just to be specific) in the middle and some of the milk. Start mixing in circles with. Your. HAND! Wash them first. Please? Once it's not just straight liquid sitting on flour add more of the milk, and start mixing in the butter. When all the liquid, and butter (possible still little chunks here and there) is mixed in, push your dough to the side and Flour Your Counter. Also, the dough is sticky. (no way!). Yes. Way. If you wash your hands at this point, and get all the extra goop off of your fingers, kneading the dough will be so much easier.

Need the dough for 10 is minutes until it is nicely developed, smooth, and you can pull a window. WAIT! Baker's lingo! What the heck does a window have to do with kneading dough? Watch this video.

Also let it rise the same as the rolls.
90 degree oven with pan of water OR 175 degree oven, shut off, water and dough in oven, door open OR on counter. Until Doubled.

Press down and roll into rectangle/square about 12x12 - not smaller. It should be around 1 inch thick but a little thinner is fine.

Sprinkle filling (below) all the way to the edge, except one inch on one side

Cinnamon Roll Filling
you'll probably have a little extra

4.5 oz sugar
4.5 oz. Brown sugar
2.25 oz Butter, softened
1.5 T Cinnamon, ground

Mix all with fork (or in mixer with paddle attachment if you're a lazy bum) until combined with no visible butter chunks.

Sprinkle GENEROUSLY on dough.

Roll dough up, starting on the side OppositE the naked 1 inch stretch. Wet the filling free strip (water works) and press into roll, >pinching< to seal. 

Using dental floss (gotta use it for something, right?) cut roll into 12 pieces. I mark the dough in quarters so it's easier to space them the same. Place in 10 inch cake pan, or some other baking pan. Space .5 inches apart for pull apart rolls, or about 2-3 inches for individual rolls.

Let ~double again, about 30 minutes. Bake @350 for about 20 minutes. Like the rolls (actually all Breads) poke a hole in a bready part (not the molten sugar filling part) and a thermometer should read 190-200 degrees when finished. 

Top with frosting of your choice. Cream Cheese Frosting up NEXT!

Pass the rolls, please?

I love rolls. I love eating them, tearing them apart and watching them steam, dipping them, nibbling on them, pretending I'm a ferocious beast and eating half at a time...(you know you've done it). Thankfully, I also love making them, because my fiance may possibly love them even more than I do.

Side note: I'M ENGAGED!!!!! He asked me (officially) February 5, 2012 and I said yes -OBVIOUSLY. It was after the Superbowl (sports for him) and while we were watching Tangled (we both love Disney). He sang along to the song "Now That I See You" then pulled the ring box out from behind a pillow.
I. Cried. My. Eyes. Out.
So when the man of your dreams, who is known for serenading at any given moment and making you cry like you just won the lottery AND found out you don't owe taxes on it, walks out of his kitchen holding, not one, but of his mom's rolls to go with his dinner, you file the -loves rolls- thought into the -how to keep winning him over- folder in your brain. File > SAVE.

It's a good thing one of the YuMmY recipes the school gave us was for rolls.  

Not gonna lie, I haven't taken a pic of my rolls, but this GOOGLE search image looks just like them.

Milk Bread
makes ~18 2oz. Rolls

18 oz. Bread flour (or AP all purpose)
9 oz. Milk
2 tsp Salt
.5 oz. Instant Yeast (pick me! pick me!) 
             OR 1.5 oz. Fresh Yeast OR .7 oz. Active Dry Yeast
1 Egg
1.8 oz. Sugar
2.7 oz. Butter cut in small chunks

If you use Fresh/Cake yeast or active dry, you must hydrate it first. Warm up some of the milk to body temp and add yeast till dissolved. Instant is my favorite. Just add it to your other dry ingredients, but not in direct contact with your salt. I like to put my yeast on the bottom of the pile and the salt on top. If the salt comes in direct contact immediately after you add the liquid if will Kill the yeast. If you have them spaced out, the salt and yeast mix with the flour and sugar first, and LIVE!

On table (be DARING!) dump dry ingredients & (form a well) (a hole) in the middle. Put the egg (cracked, out of shell, just to be specific) in the middle and some of the milk. Start mixing in circles with. Your. HAND! Wash them first. Please? Once it's not just straight liquid sitting on flour add more of the milk, and start mixing in the butter. When all the liquid, and butter (possible still little chunks here and there) is mixed in, push your dough to the side and Flour Your Counter. Also, the dough is sticky. (no way!). Yes. Way. If you wash your hands at this point, and get all the extra goop off of your fingers, kneading the dough will be so much easier.

Need the dough for 10 is minutes until it is nicely developed, smooth, and you can pull a window. WAIT! Baker's lingo! What the heck does a window have to do with kneading dough? Watch this video.

Once you've pulled your window, place your dough in a lightly greased bowl, or straight onto the pan you will used later (less dishes!). Cover it with a towel and rest until doubled. If you are one lucky dog and have an over with a proof setting and can be turned down to 90 degrees F, let it rise in the oven at 90 degrees with a small pan of water on the bottom rack to keep the air moist. I turned my oven on to 175 with the water pan, turned the oven off and let the dough rise in the oven with the door open. This takes about an hour to double, but check at half an hour, especially if you are doing the 175 degree way.

Once your heap of dough has doubled, push it down (or punch if you have anger management issues... Cut your dough into 2 oz. pieces (buy me!) and roll into rounds, keeping any seams on the bottom. Place on pan however you like. 

Pull apart rolls - Place on parchment papered pan ~.5 inche apart
Round rolls - Place on Parchment papered pan 2-3 inches apart

Let rise again, the same as before. 90 degrees with water, 175 turned off with door open and water, or counter. Until doubled. Brush rolls with 2 egg yolk/1/2 c. water wash. 

Bake at 350 for about 10 minutes. If you can't tell if they are done, a thermometer stuck in (the bottom of) a roll should read 190 to 200 degrees F.


If you want the fancy points on top, like in the picture, snip an X in the top with scissors AFTER you brush on the egg wash.

Pastry Creme

Creamy, smooth, silky... Pastry creme is good for quite a few things. Today we'll mix it up and fold in some whipped cream to fill our cream puffs.

Creme Patisserie
1 qt. Milk
8 oz. Sugar
2 Eggs
4 Egg Yolks
2.5 oz. Cornstarch
2 oz. Butter

Heat the milk and about half the sugar until it's ~steamy~. Combine the remaining sugar and cornstarch in a small cup to make sure there are no lumps. In separate bowl, whisk whole eggs and egg yolks and add the sugar/cornstarch mix about 1/3 at a time. Whisk for a few minutes (one teacher says just get it good and mixed, one says mix till it holds some air and when it drops off the whisk and keeps it's shape, like a ribbon, it's ready). Both work, why whisk your arm off?

When the milk is steaming, temper it into the egg mixture. If you don't know what that means,
no problem. 
Add about half of the milk into the egg, and whisk really well, until it's combined. Add the hot, milky, egg mixture back into the pot. Stir ccoonnssttaannttllyy on med-high heat for 1-3 minutes. The mixture gets very thick, very fast. Keep stirring. It will boil. Keep stirring. This cooks the eggs, and kicks out the starchy flavor.

After a minute or so, remove from heat and place in a clean container. Now stir in the butter, and a drop or three of vanilla if you want. Cover with plastic wrap directly on the surface of the creme, and cool until use.

Cream Puff filling -
Once cooled, it will be thick. Whisk by hand or machine until loose. Fold in 14-16 oz whipped cream. Keep refrigerated until needed.

If you like, you can dip your eclairs or puff in ganache. I would recommend dark chocolate. 2 parts chocolate to 1 part heavy cream.

Cream Puffs, Eclairs, and Swans, Oh My!

This is one of my favorite things to make (which is good because we made it about a million times in class).

Pate a choux

ganache dipped cream puff and swan

*all my school recipes are by weight. Buy a small food scale. They rock and are much more accurate that cups and stuff. Think about brown sugar (no that it's in this recipe). Do you pack it? How packed is packed enough or too packed? 4 oz is 4 oz packed or not. Just buy a scale.

16 oz. Water (2 cups)
8 oz. Butter ( um.. one stick? check the label)
1 tsp Salt
12 oz Bread Flour or All-purpose (1 1/2 cups ish, but weight is better)
20 oz eggs (could be about... 10 eggs... ish)

Preheat oven to 375.

Bring water, butter, and salt to a rolling boil. Sift flour and dump into pot all at once. Stir like your life depends on it for 1 minute on the heat. This will form a dense paste and a skin will form on the bottom of your pot.

Put the dough in a mixer (5 quart) and paddle one speed 1 or 2 for a few minutes until it cools down a little. Slowly add the eggs one at a time, and scrape the sides often. You are looking for a smooth shiny paste. sometimes you need less or more eggs than called for. The Pate a choux is ready when you can pull the paddle out and the dough fall in a nice V shape off the paddle or a wooden spoon.

Scoop the Pate a choux into a piping bag and pipe immediately onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Using a large star tip, pipe large, individual shells (GOOGLE search the image if you don't know what it is), or rosettes (filled in circles). For swans you also pipe the heads using a round tip. For the head and neck it's just piped in almost a question mark shape, creating a small round for the head and pulling it out for the beak. :D just look at the picture and see if you can figure it out.

Once they are piped, brush and egg yolk/water wash on them. 2 yolks/half cup of water should do it. Bake immediately.

Bake at 375 until golden brown and dried through. I must admit, I can't remember how long it takes...Beaks bake very quickly, while shells and rosettes bake longer.

Cream Puffs - Simple poke the bottom with the tip in a pastry bag and fill. or cut in half, fill, and replace top.
Swans - cut shell if half, creating a top and a bottom. Fill the bottom half with Pastry cream. Cut the top in half creating a left and a right wing. Poke the "wings" into the pastry filling to hold. Place the head/neck in the filling in front of the wings.

I don't have pictures of eclairs, but simple pipe a log shape, bake, cut in half, fill, and replace top.

A Pastry Creme recipe will come out next and you can fill them up!

I swear I cook.

I cook. Don't worry, I'm better at cooking than I am at blogging. Let's see what I can get out to you while I'm home in bed sick today.

I am almost through with the Pattiserie and Baking Program at Le Cordon Bleu Seattle, and I must say Dad, you were right! (shock! lol). It's a great school, but in a nine month program everything is so fast. You know that whole tip-of-the-iceburg analogy? Spot. On. 9 months of too-much, too-fast, somewhat out of date baking education for $18,000, or your local community college for a 2 year degree.

Dear Dad, 
I really just wanted the brand name. Apparently brand name education doesn't automatically upload everything I'll ever need to know right into my brain. You were right, I was ...misled (I'm a woman, and therefore never -actually- wrong). Dwell on this moment. 

Don't get me wrong. Le Cordon Bleu is a great school. Most of my chef instructors have been great. They are very knowledgeable and will work you hard, but sometimes if feels like initiation into a gang or something. My first instructor made us do everything by hand. I mean we were standing at our stainless steel tables whisking egg whites and sugar by hand for our meringues and whipping up our own heavy cream. We spend probably a whole week on meringues. It was torture. Then my very next class our chef just laughed and said pull out the mixers! All teachers teach differently, that is true in any school.

Cooking is my passion, but after attending this school I wonder how passionate I really am. If I didn't have the military paying for 70% of it (thanks to my AwEsOmE step dad) I am +positive+ I wouldn't have signed my life away in student loans for this. Maybe for the local community college though. I'm just saying, before you decide on a school because it'll rock your resume, make sure it's really what you want. Make sure you are getting what you are paying both time and money for.

If you like to cook, then cook. You don't have to attend a high end culinary school to do that. Learning in your own kitchen is the most fun way to go (and no one knows when your cream puffs don't puff, or you over-whip your heavy cream). If you have the means, go to school for it. Just think about what you really want out of your education; the name, or the knowledge.

So out of all the recipes I've gotten in school, I have a few that were tasty. Here we go!