Thursday, December 15, 2011

Mommy's Mis-Adventures in the Kitchen-#2 - Baking 101

Last winter I took a baking class, really my first ever cooking class! I was very pregnant at the time so I think my domestic hormones were kicking in & I must have been channeling June Cleaver or something. I have to say I enjoyed it very much and learned quite a bit. The biggest take-away was that I have a lot to learn so this will probably not be my last class. But it's okay because it's something I want to do as opposed to something I have to do. I absolutely loved our chef teacher. She was kind and patient and funny! Or maybe she just thought my skills or lack there of, were pretty hilarious. Hmm.

Anyhow the girls have reaped some benefits of my baking experience and we made some Xmas cookies last year. Not to embarrass myself I only shared with my immediate family, the peanuts and J. Once I could please their taste buds I'd be ready to offer my goodies to the rest of the world.

How did I stumble upon this class?? I pass by Chef Central often on my way to the baby store. I have never ventured inside well because it does say "CHEF" and I'm not a chef by any definition. So I have no business in there. Except one day I was in search for a platter for Thanksgiving for my other adventure (my latte cheesecake) so I thought I might check it out. When I walked in I was amazed by all of the amazing chef STUFF they had! I must have looked like one of the Willy Wonka kids in the Chocolate Factory. I might as well have walked on to one of the sets of the Food Network! They had everything from exotic spices and ingredients to the latest tools and gadgets and lovely displays to show off delectable creations of skilled chefs. None of this really relates to me but nevertheless I walked around aisle after aisle wishing I knew how to use all of these magnificent little contraptions. By the time I reached the back of the store I found a cooking classroom and a wonderful person in one of those cool chef jackets, the object of my envy. They had a calendar display of all the great classes they offered and the level of each one. Level 1 would be novice. That would be me! I was excited that they offered some hope for poor hapless wanna-be-bakers like myself! It was a chance to learn how to make something not from a box or refrigerated tube.

These people really knew what they were doing with this class. They managed to teach someone like me how to create something like this!


J was totally impressed when I came home with these goodies!! I think he was under the delusion that I could pull this off on a regular basis on my own, neither of which was true.


These were the girls favorite, glass sugar cookies made with candy centers. Not too difficult and quite yummy!



These were my favorite, white chocolate cranberry cookies & chocolate macaroons. These were easy and required no artistic ability!


Rugelach cookies, these were a royal pain! I don't think I could repeat this at home, as it had way too many steps but they were tasty.


THESE were my pride and joy! They were what you would call my pièce de ré·sis·tance!!

These were great and I put in a lot of time in the decor and was so happy with the result that I didn't want anyone to eat them :) Eventually J convinced me that I should let the girls eat them, so I did.

This year I pulled out the recipes and decided the peanuts and I should practice our cookies for Santa's big arrival. They're older and I thought it would be fun to decorate some sugar cookies. Not sure what we'll try next but this is how this adventure turned out.

First lesson of Xmas cookies is that delicious cookies require work! Cati took it well...Val umm not so sure.

They suggested that we just bake them & eat them. But I persisted, and next it was some more work to make them look pretty. And just so you know that's home-made royal icing. I'm pretty impressed with myself.

VOILA!! Done!

I will not tell you which ones I did and which ones the girls did, for fear that I might receive some ego-bruising commentary lol! And finally it was time for us to enjoy the fruits (or cookies) of our labor!

I have no idea if the girls were looking to make something that they could be proud of but by the looks of it I think they were just looking for a reason to convince me to give them yet another sugary treat. I had a totally different agenda, to prove to myself that I could bake something edible and easy on the eyes! HA!

I also want to start some holiday traditions with the girls that they could look back on fondly. And I'm hoping that maybe just maybe they won't remember that mom was not the best baker but they could look back and remember that we had fun doing it.


Susan said...

Jenn, you are sooo funny. Don't worry, the Peanuts will only remember how much fun they had and the cookies smell in the kitchen. This happens to be what Eric remembers also (not to mention the eating part). I actually thought about not baking this year and the look on their faces was priceless so you know of course that this weekend we will be baking up a storm (God forbid I don't bring desserts to Lupe's house). The next thing you should try with the girls are cupcakes (they are even easier). Anyway, if you need any help with the baking or tips, let me know. See you at Xmas. Susan

A(mina)'s mommy said...

I had no idea you had this blog! (found you through sadaf) The cookies look beautiful -- can't wait to see what else you cook up, or not. :)

Anonymous said...

those cookies look pretty good. i must admit i have a ton of baking stuff ready for when i have little monsters =)