Monday, February 28, 2011

Day 83

We had our first Baking and Pastry exam today : make 6 peanut butter cookies and 6 biscuits. Extra Credit Challenge:  create the best apple muffin you can come up with and the winner [of the class] gets bonus points.  I do fancy a good challenge.  I used butter (versus shortening) and buttermilk (versus milk) for the biscuits and they tasted amazing but turned out a bit more rustic than Chef Mah would have liked.  Although personally, I prefer them to be rustic versus over-mixed and too smooth-looking. 

The key to the peanut butter cookies is to not over-cream your batter - when you've got the ingredients in your stand mixer you don't want to incorporate too much air or else the criss-cross marks won't hold when you bake them and you've got to have marks on your peanut butter cookies!

I made my apple cinnamon muffins with granny smith apples that I cooked down in butter and brown sugar before adding them into my batter. I also added gruyere cheese and rosemary to a few of them. I loved the Apple Gruyere Rosemary Muffin - it was super savory, the perfect dinner muffin, really. Who ever said that muffins had to be breakfast items....right?

I also made croissant dough that I will utilize tomorrow. Croissants are made of a leavened variant of puff pastry - the yeast dough is layered with butter and folded several times in a technique called laminating. 

Making croissant dough made me think of that scene in It's Complicated where Meryl Streep and Steve Martin sneak into her Bakery in the middle of the night and make copious amounts of Chocolate love love it. 

Oh ....and guess who won the extra bonus points for making the best muffins? 

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