It has been a busy week for me in the world of baking(and many other aspects too actually)! It started off with some volunteer work for a poetry and music event, Slam Jam, that was held by my classmates this past Tuesday, The event raised over $900 dollars that is all going towards Covenant House in Vancouver. Upon request for volunteer bakers, I took the opportunity to get some extra practice in and try out some of the skills I have been learning with my mentor. I spent a very long time on what was originally going to be shortbread, brownies, and cookies, but turned out as just shortbread. I ran out of time mainly because I was putting in so much effort towards making all my baked goods turn out just right.
I also ran into a couple of problems throughout my baking. I considered calling my mentor for assistance but I managed to problem solve and find a way to make them work. The main issue I encountered was that I put the dough in the fridge for too long. This caused it to harden up far too much to be rolled out and thus forcing me to wait until it was warm enough to do so.
Once I began rolling the dough out and working it, it became much easier to work with and warmed up significantly. I also ended up getting largely more cookies out of the dough than I had expected so it partially made up for what I did not have time to make. The cookies turned out great and I decided to go with a light purple frosting to test out my piping skills. I contacted Jamie, a Slam Jam committee member to confirm the theme colours. Then, I had some fun!
I present to you, my Slam Jam masterpieces!
I was very proud of my cookies, especially because I made a couple customized ones with Slam Jam and SJ on them special for the event. There are still a couple areas I could improve on slightly in my piping but overall I felt that they turned out very well!
Next on the menu, I went to visit my mentor! This time it was the patience for pastry as the main course. However, we also made some delicious chocolate and graham wafer squares(unlike the chocolate pudding cream puffs, some of these still remain, hidden in the fridge). As noted, my mentor showed me how to make cream puffs, which we filled with a simple chocolate pudding. However, she explained to me that as cream puffs don’t have sugar in them, and do have eggs, they can really be filled with any type of food. From dinner, to snacks, to lunch, breakfast, and especially dessert, these little guys can satisfy any mood of a dish. Actually, as I just went to check to take a picture of some of the graham squares, it looks like they’ve disappeared too! Hmm, I guess I have to move really fast to document everything in this project.
During my mentor session, I was able to record a short portion of our conversation. The part that I have transcribed below is from a discussion about the cookbook housing the recipe for our cream puffs. This portion of conversation is not, unfortunately, from while we are actually working on the dessert as at this point we are waiting for them while they bake. Nonetheless, I think this is a good random example of our conversations.
Laura: So if I want to make the custard filing, this is the ingredients you need: you need cornflour, which is cornstarch, and then custard powder, and sugar of course, milk, there’s a little bit of vanilla, and a carton of cream, it’s like half and half. Also, if I don’t understand something that it says on the recipe, I can go here on the back, and it says, I can look it up. If it says let’s say cornflour, it’s cornstarch. … Let’s say a self-rising flour, how you create that, … So if you have a recipe that calls for a self-rising flour, you put the amount that it tells you in for the flour, plus this.
Laura: And that is going to give you the self-rising flour.
Me: That’s handy.
Laura: Yeah. So I kind of like that too, the book for it. And it’s nice how, it helps, how the book explains it to you, how to do it.
This dialogue begins with Laura going over the recipe for the custard filling of the cream puffs that we made. Then she explains some features of the book, followed by how she likes the book because of those features.
In reference to de Bono’s “six hats” theory, this conversation, along with most of my mentorship conversations, includes mainly the “white hat” form of conversation and thinking. Most of the time, we are specifically working on skills or in this case, reviewing a recipe, and Laura is giving me direct factual information about how to do something or why something works.
Additionally, in this conversation, Laura continues by discussing her personal feelings about this cookbook or resource. This part of the discussion, or her thinking here, could fall under the “red hat” category as she talks about her feelings, however her opinion is justified and she is seeing and looking for the benefits of the cookbook. Therefore, this portion of the discussion would be categorized as the “yellow hat” form.
Finally, I finished my week off with baking some cookies, just last night. We were out of cookies in our house, which is never a good thing, and so I decided to make possibly my favourite type that I’ve learnt. They are made of cake mix which gives them a very sweet flavour as well as a uniquely gooey texture inside. Then, they are filled with white and dark chocolate chips, as well as small chopped up, Oreo bits.
Despite our lacking of cookies, we are going away on Monday, so I didn’t want all the cookies we aren’t going to eat to go to waste. So I decided to take enough in for everyone in my TALONS class to have one. As a spring break treat! Well they were a hit, everyone loved them. In fact, I have had multiple requests to post the recipe on our group Facebook page. The sad news is, they have also been popular at home.
Do not fear, I got a picture of what was left a little earlier this evening!
I know, it’s sad. Oh well, I’ll make more another time.
Here is a closer up image of the above discussed cookies so you can see the different parts:
I very much enjoyed all my baking this week and I am looking forward to doing some more soon!
Hope you enjoyed all the treats!
And have a great spring break!
Thanks for reading and by for now,