Monday, September 27, 2010

Vanilla Bean Marshmallows

These vanilla bean marshmallows are sweet, sticky, and pretty in pink. Making a batch of marshmallow meringue, Caroline, Melissa and I decided to stripe ours pink. The vanilla bean added great flavor to a basic marshmallow recipe. The gooey mixture was set in a pan and cooled to room temperature. I was surprised to see how quickly they set and were ready by the end of class. I'm really looking forward to hot cocoa this winter.

Vanilla Bean Marshmallow Squares

Friday, September 17, 2010

Apple + Cranberry = Fall Flavors

While we've been making souffle in class, we've also been making a lot of meringue. Meringue cookies, decorations and buttercream. Meegan and I made our Swiss Meringue buttercream with a touch of Rum. I went home and made a fantastic apple cake to go with it. Welcome Autumn!

Apple Cake with Swiss Meringue Buttercream

After making flourless chocolate souffles we also made flourless Cranberry Souffle. I LOVED THEM. Check out how high they rose in the oven. What a great combination of sweet and tart berries in a fluffy texture.

Flourless Cranberry Souffle

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Chocolate Chocolate Chocolate

Here's a showing of what's been baking:

I was hosting a bunch of the guys (Mike, Chris, Z, Pete) a few weekends ago and wanted to make a simple sampler to go with the apricot pate de fruits I had made. I purchased some truffle molds and was really excited to learn tempering. I had read about it in one of my books and decided to go for it. The result- chocolate peanut butter truffles and mint chocolate truffles. First my first time, I feel it was successful. And they were tasty.

Making chocolate flourless souffles in class. Yum. Below is a photo of how warm and fluffy they looked in the oven. Add a little confectioners sugar and Voila!

Friday, September 10, 2010

In New York...There's nothing you can't do...

I have said my goodbyes to Boston and moved to New York City! So here I am, having begun the Baking and Pastry Arts program at The Institute of Culinary Education in mid August. Almost two months in and I am loving every aspect.

My first class taught me this: I knew null about pastry or baking.

I am really excited being here. There is so much opportunity all around me. So far I've volunteered the StarChef's Annual International Chefs Congress where I was lucky enough to assist the Pastry Competition and some top pastry chefs. The Winebow Trade Event was my second endeavor and reinforced my wine knowledge. I represented Athenee Importers for the day and met some great professionals during the process.

Here's what we've been doing in class:

Strawberry Salad with Balsamic and Tarragon

Apricot Pate de Fruits

Poached Pears in Caramel Sauce

Monday, May 31, 2010

Mike's 22nd Birthday

What do you treat yourself to on your birthday? Well, you might remember the energy drink cake I made for Mike's birthday last year. Since then, he's another year older, acts a whole year younger, and has thankfully kicked the energy drinks to the side (for the most part.) Here's how 22 played out.

Mike's birthday started with a Prociutto, Egg and Mozzarella Cheese breakfast sandwich, with fruit salad.

For dessert that evening, Chocolate Guiness cupcakes with a Cream Cheese frosting was the choice. I decorated cupcakes to represent Mike's different interests and talents. Having just finished his Bachelor of Fine Arts, and landing a great internship opportunity, I thought it would be a nice way of celebrating his birthday and accomplishments. (I'm really proud of him.)

Clockwise from top: Ps Photoshop icon; Mike's favorite Adobe program, Lobster Claw; love of seasfood, MULLEN; advertising design, accomplishment and his place of work, Anchovy; an open mind and willingness to try (and love) anything, Skateboard; Mike's sunny day mode of transportation, an adventurous side, VANS; the shoe to skate in, Dinosaur; because Mike thinks they're awesome (and science is cool), Four-Leaf Clover; Mike possesses an endless bout of luck in life (and he brings luck too), Microphone; he's a vocalist and song writer, Shark; Mike's true love and interest in animals and aquatic life

Happy Birthday to the unique guy in my life.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Degree Project: tsp bakery

I'm officially done with undergrad! It's an exciting and sad feeling all the same, but mostly a huge sigh of relief. With the prototype of tsp bakery completed, it's ready to appear on (CAKE)therapy. I've been working on this project for the last 6 months and am really proud of how it has grown.

The project began from the simple question: How can the experience of baked goods be enhanced through the packaging?

From working with the 5 senses, to promoting knowledge, the project evolved into tsp bakery; a bakery based around the concept of educating consumers about ingredients, nutrition and alternative baking methods.

The packaging line for tsp bakery is neutral in color. Avoiding superficial colors, the packages were handmade using paper I had made from recycled bags and paper. The appearance of these boxes and sleeves lend themselves to a natural, raw origin. What you see is what you get. While the ingredients of each item vary in color, I used this as an opportunity to influence the versatile, interchangeable inner packaging.

Included with each product is an informational coaster. The coasters describe the ingredients used, nutritional benefits and ideas for incorporating them into daily meals. Each coaster represents a main ingredient and takes on those colors and accents. Consumers are able to collect all the different bits of knowledge, giving them a second life as drink coasters in their own homes.

It was important that the packaging be both simplistic and multipurpose for the various baked goods. Cake boxes become cupcake boxes with a simple insert. Cookies can be rolled in parchment sleeves. A single cupcake container can hold a dozen cookies. In an effort to minimize waste, and increase usability, the idea for round packaging came into play. Round packaging relates more to the natural, organic influences of the baked goods. There is also a delicate quality to a round package. The cake boxes become stackable storage boxes in the home.

Testing the concept on the public, I found it to be well received. It raised questions and ideas with many people with whom I interacted. People seemed to enjoy taking away a piece of knowledge. Consuming the baked good now included thinking twice about its relationship to the package and reading about what was eaten. Some people however, were still quick to snatch up a cupcake before looking at the packaging or even considering what they were consuming. It would be interesting to continue testing the concept of tsp bakery with different demographics in different regions.

As an expansion of the project, a web presence lies somewhere in the future, as well as a refined menu design and other bakery collateral.

Happy Baking

Friday, April 16, 2010

Vegan Chocolate Chip Oatmeal and College

Firstly, my apologies to anyone who was beginning to follow this blog. I have neglected it for a couple of months now. Even sadder, I haven't baked as much either. It's down to the end of my semester and my degree project show is next Thursday. In the time I've been away from (CAKE)therapy I have branded a fictitious bakery from mission statement to logo to packaging line. After a lot of hard work, I'm glad to see it coming together. I think this could really be something. It promotes healthier food choices by educating the consumer about what exactly they're eating. Treating yourself to sweets is something everyone should do now and again, but it's important to choose quality, nutritious sweets, void of artificial flavorings and ingredients. I've done a bit of experimental baking with vegan ingredients, but nothing glamourous. 2010 has been a lot of trial and error thus far.

Vegan Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies
A pile of yummy, yet sad chocolate chip oatmeal cookies. This was my first attempt at baking with Earth Balance margarine. Cookies have always been a challenge for me. It's been even more difficult using vegan ingredients. They taste great, they just don't quite look it yet.