I’m tanking you guys, vacation is FOUR days away and I’m hanging by my unpainted fingernails. (add that to the to do list.) I usually try to not to tell my mom when I go into work.. or how long I stay there. It only takes one “Oh my sweet baby.” To put into perspective how tired you are. Definitely caved this week, and well Dr. Mom has confirmed this girl is tired. (Are you tired of hearing how tired I am?) Good news is, I’m still happy. Happy and loving every minute in the kitchen.
This weeks Sunday Sweet is the brain child of I need gourmet/fast/I don’t want to go to the grocery store. Which is a bonus if you can’t run to the store. Double bonus if you’re a “complete” eater like me. If I have something sweet I need to counter with salty. Delicate balance.
Brown butter isn’t something you can buy at the store. Don’t worry, it’s incredibly simple to make, and your house will smell like buttery, caramel magic. Not like the movie theater greasy butter, but the magic baking butter. I use unsalted for this very reason. If you haven’t made brown butter before this tutorial is the best one I’ve seen.
After you brown your butter, let it cool for 30-35 minutes. It won’t solidify in this time, but it’s necessary to let it cool so it doesn’t cook your eggs.
1c Unsalted Butter
2 1/3c AP Flour
2tsp Corn Starch
1tsp Baking Powder
1/4tsp Baking Soda
1/2 tsp Salt
1c Packed Brown Sugar
2 Large Eggs
*Preheat your oven to 350*
Start by browning your butter in a pot with tall sides. I turned it down to medium while I combined all my dry ingredients.
Add your brown sugar to the cooled butter. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix again. Another reason why I waited to add the vanilla until after it cooled a little bit is because Tahitian Vanilla is much more delicate than your typical Mexican or Madagascar. Tahitian Vanilla is more of a floral, fruity cherry-like vanilla. The brown butter in these cookies gives the cookies a more nutty flavor, so I wanted to lighten it up.
(you will be tempted to use this as a sugar scrub.. no judgment if you do..)
Add the butter, sugar, vanilla mixture to your dry ingredients.
Don’t panic if it’s all crumbly. That’s how it’s supposed to look. When you roll the cookies into balls it’ll stay together.
I think that growing up athletic and constantly learning how to deal with high pressure situations is one of the best things I could have ever learned. Competing in culinary competitions only helped, regardless of how scared or stressed I was at the time.
I’ve been in stand and deliver mode at work for some time now. Back in June I was asked to write the curriculum and teach a class on cupcakes for our customers at work. No pressure the owner’s of the company trust me to teach an hour long class to their customers without screwing up, while I’m trying to prove I’m an asset to their company. So I agreed ( how could you not?) and got to work. I made countless prep lists, handouts, recipes and timetables how my night was going to go. The original plan was to cap enrollment at 12-15, but so many people wanted to come to the class the night of I had 22, plus several people from corporate to watch 🙂 It turned out to be a really really fun night! I am so grateful for my education and for a job where I can apply it. I had a moment of realization standing there in my chef whites writing an impromptu recipe on the board explaining the stabilizing principles of sugar in a whipped cream frosting where I knew that I deserved every minute of this. I was given this opportunity because I had done the work, and there’s always more to learn, but in that moment these people wanted to pick my brain. Because I know the answers. It was incredibly gratifying. To top it all off, all of my “students” loved the class! One guy told my boss that he loved it so much he wanted to come to all of our classes. They also wrote on the company’s facebook page asking when the next class was. So I get to teach it again in September. I was really proud of myself. I’m currently working with a lovely lady from corporate to get all my notes and lists written down, so that my curriculum can go company-wide and be offered in 19 stores. Mission Accomplished.
The activities committee for church asked me to do desserts for our Oscar’s Night. The ward was split up into groups and made their own videos, the plan was to eat a wonderful dinner, screen the videos, and enjoy dessert.
I was dessert. I decided on cupcakes. Since the theme was Oscars I decided to make red velvet to mimic the red carpet. I also decided on a midnight chocolate cupcake with amaretto frosting to break it up a little bit. The red velvet cupcakes were garnished with fondant stars that we’re painted in an edible gold paint. The chocolate cupcakes were by far my favorite. I made chocolate bow ties and top hats to dress up them up. Each was hand painted in silver luster dust to really make them shine.
To give some height to the table I wanted to make 3D sugar cookie statues. I found this awesome tutorial on Bakerella and fell in love. This year I’ve decided to really improve my sugar cookie work and this was right up my alley. Unfortunately we didn’t have time to get the cookie cutter shipped to make them for the event. Then again I am me, and don’t take the word “No” very well. So I did some research. My best option was to build my own cookie cutter. Thank goodness my Momma was in town for the twins arrival. She doesn’t think my projects are crazy. Love that woman.
45 minutes later we were leaving Lowe’s with a 10ft long piece of aluminum siding, clamps, glue and some enthusiasm. An hour later and we had a rocking cookie cutter.
Not to shabby if I do say so myself.
Now for the drama. It wouldn’t be a successful event without drama now would it? I was spent this week. Between the twins arrival, my family in town. I really didn’t have a whole lot left to give to make this event happen. I really, really wanted to do this. I wanted to show all these people who knew I was a pastry chef what I was truly capable of. There really was no way I wasn’t going to make this happen. 300 cupcakes? I do that in my sleep. Pretty much did. On top of cooking around the clock there was a huge roommate blowout. Nothing that needs to be mentioned here, but it really just added to the stress of finishing the event. Somehow I finished with enough time to shower. My mom came over to help wash dishes and make sure I was put together before it was time to deliver and set up. Did I mention I love her? Let’s not kid ourselves. Wash the dishes certainly means stabilize the hurricane of emotion and exhaustion that was covered in buttercream. I’m so truly grateful she was here. By the time we finished setting up I had 45 minutes to change and get back to the event. It was critical that I looked good. There was going to be a lot of attention on me. Rather than going home, Mom whisked me away to buy a new dress and look good for the night. In 30 minutes she had an entire outfit picked out for me. I changed inbetween stoplights and painted my toes on the last one. Nothing a can of hairspray and 15minutes can’t fix right?
While I was trying on dresses my mom produced these shoes. Sassy to say the least, and oh so worth it. So grateful for a fun event and my fairy godmother.