Sunday, February 19, 2012

Dear Buddy,

I am so excited to start my new adventure by baking my way through your new book.  I am a fan of the Next Top Baker show and occasionally do watch the Cake Boss one.  But, sometimes I just can't watch it b/c you tend to be a little full of yourself... although, you kinda can be a little full of yourself because of all that you can do.  And, you're not as annoying as that other guy...what's his name, Duff something or other??  So, I enjoy your work and was glad to stumble on your book.

It must have been fate b/c I have been searching for the Perfect book to Bake my Way Through for a while now.  I was going to do the CIA Baking and Pastry book...but, I think that's a little too daunting for my first time cover to cover book.  Well, I was walking through the library (which is one of the places I work) and I saw someone with your book in their hands and they were actually putting it back on the shelf.   I snatched that book right up so that I could see what you were all about.  Wasn't really sure what I would find in there either...but I was kinda hoping for some tricks of the trade and stuff.

I've never really 'read' a cookbook and all the forwards and helpful information sections before.  But, for some reason, I read yours.  I like it and I like your book.

So, tomorrow I start baking away and through your book.  I'm going to start with the cookies as you suggest...even though I am not a beginner in the baking world.  I just want to have some kind of direction.  I may wander through the book, though... as I might need a cake or something before I get there.  I will also be comparing your stuff to the stuff I already bake and bake well.  I'm really looking forward to the whole 'decorating' stuff at the end!!  

Thank you for putting out this book.  I'm excited to get started!!

Sincerely Yours,

Mommaliscious Bakester

Friday, February 17, 2012

On my New Mission..

My new book will be here today!!  Totally looking forward to getting started on the new direction:)
Baking with the Cake Boss: 100 of Buddy's Best Recipes and Decorating Secrets

Sunday, February 12, 2012


OK... so I think that maybe I'm biting off more than I can chew here... I do love my CIA cookbook and I do use recipes out of the book.  And, I'd love to actually go to the school and take their classes... but, I really don't think this 'brilliant' plan of mine is going to actually continue at the pace I want.  If I continue on this venture, I think we will get through the book in about 5 years...

Sooooooooo.... I think I've found a different book to bake my way through.  It is shorter, the recipes are geared more towards making 1 cake or a couple dozen cookies as opposed to 6-8 cakes and 12 dozen cookies...

And, since there are not a lot of people reading this yet... I thought it might benefit all of us to change it up.

Now, I will still continue to go through the CIA book... at my snail's pace... and I will still continue to update you on those triumphs and failures... OK???

So, let me know your thoughts...if you have any...and/or concerns:)

What do you all think of this book:

Yeah, I know.. the Cake Boss book.  But, I have to say, I started to actually read it last week and I think this is what I need right now.  I don't ever read the cook books I have, you know??

Now, I will have to go buy the book...ha ha

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Pate a Choux... CIA Baking and Pastry

I wanted to attempt to make some cream puffs this week.  Well, in order to make Cream Puffs, you need to master the art of the Pate a Choux dough.  This dough is a pastry dough and can be made into Cream Puffs or Eclairs.  Not really sure what else you use this dough for, but it creates a  nice light, airy dough and is ideal for filling.

My first attempt made some pretty good results.  My second attempt...not so much.  My third attempt, better than the first.  The CIA Baking and Pastry book has all of the recipes and a lot of information.  But, as I learned from trying the Cream Puffs (Pate a Choux dough specifically), it really does not give a lot of guidance. I'm sure that if you were taking the class, the teachers would have some insight before while and after you are making the recipes.  But, because I'm not taking these classes, I am trying, making mistakes and/or perfecting them on my own.  Hopefully you can benefit from these mistakes and I will try and give you the 'tips' I learn from my research after I make the errors:)

This recipe is in weight measurement.

Pate a Choux
16 oz milk   (I used whole milk)
8 oz butter (2 sticks)
3/4 tsp sugar
3/4 tsp salt
8 oz. bread flour
1 pound eggs  (this equals roughly 9 large eggs)

1. Bring the milk, butter, sugar and salt to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly.  Remove from the heat, add the flour all at once, and stir vigorously to combine.  Return the pan to medium heat and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture pulls away from the sides of the pan, about 3 minutes.

2. Transfer the mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer and beat briefly on medium speed with a paddle attachment.  Add the eggs two at a time, beating until smooth after each addition.

3. The Pate a Choux is ready to be piped.

So, the first time I made this, it came out ok.  I forgot to egg wash it but it was ok.  I thought it was a little runny but the shapes held up.

The second time I tried it, the dough was so runny I didn't know what to do.  I looked it up on line and picked up a few pointers.
- Let the heated dough sit for a few minutes before mixing it in the stand mixer to start cooling down.
- Add the eggs 1 at a time to make sure you don't need them all... if you add too many eggs, the dough will be too runny and useless.
- If you get to the point where your dough is too runny and doesn't hold any shape when piped, you have gone too far and there is no correction.  You must DUMP it!!
- Even if the dough pulls away from the pan immediately after adding the flour and putting back on the heat, keep mixing over the heat to help the moisture cook out.

Some recipes tell you to stir vigorously while adding the eggs and not to use the stand mixer.  But, I found, on the 3rd go around, that the stand mixer works.  Also, keep that dough cooking over the heat for a few minutes... even if it is already pulling away from the sides of the pan.  A film should form on the pot as you're mixing.

Milk/butter/sugar/salt mixture melting away..

This was the first attempt.  Think it should have been a little stiffer... less eggs..

A little flat, but they came out ok... see below..

I will tell you all about the actual Cream Puff and Eclairs in a separate post!!