Saturday, February 5, 2011

Keep on keeping on

As you can see, I've been busy.

Lately I've made English tea biscuits with currants and bran muffins with raisins and walnuts in my baking class. A standard recipe with standard ingredients. However, I did learn that before filling the muffin liners with the wet batter, we should allow the batter to sit for half an hour to thicken. I questioned that duration of time for the batter to sit, but the chef told us it's necessary for the ingredients to meld together and the bran to swell. It's also easier to scoop the batter with the ice cream scoop.  Yes, we used an ice cream scoop to fill the muffin tins. This allows for evenly baked muffins. One full scoop per tin. My muffins definitely were identical.

In my cake decorating class, I've also been making various decorations with royal icing such as shells, a variety of borders, and of course roses and rosettes. Making roses is quite the ambidextrous skill. Piping icing with one hand while turning the rose nail with the other hand can lead to hand cramps. But I think I'm getting the hang of it.

As much as I enjoy my tooth achingly sweet desserts, eating a sugar rose made with royal icing is actually sickeningly sweet. Too sweet for me even! It is made with plenty of icing sugar, meringue powder, cream of tartar and water. Food colouring and vanilla flavour can be added after.

There are 2 months left until these set of classes are over. I'm already thinking about what classes to take next....Healthy Desserts? The Art of Bread? Breakfast Cakes?

I've learned all kinds of great skills, tricks and techniques and I'm eager to learn more. I can't wait to sink my teeth into the chocolate eclairs we'll be making soon!