Sunday, June 27, 2010

Foodbuzz 24x24: A baking class to "baking virgins"

I have 2 friends that were virgins. Baking virgins, that is! Cookies, cakes, pastries, all new stuff to them… Poor things, they had no idea!… I’m talking of not knowing what a pinch (of salt) means. I’m talking about not knowing what creaming butter is or the difference between mixing and whisking. Really, they needed help! They needed a big sweet help!

I offered to give them a basic baking class, because I believe that a person that can bake cookies is a happier person! Cristina took the pictures and Sandra was the hands-on girl. Check out our fun afternoon while these girls lost their baking virginity!

Fisrt things first. Let’s talking about the recipes. At this point they still didn’t believe they were going to be able to bake those things!

The ingredients for the sugar cookies. Basic ingredients, basic cookies, basic happiness!

Sandra got right into action making the sugar cookies! I’m drying her sweat with a towel, she was not used to that kind of effort!

Nothing like putting your hands in the dough! Work it girl, work it! You can do it!

Sandra had those cookie cutters since last Christmas waiting to be used, in case you were wondering why we were doing snow flakes cookies in the Summer. I guess she’ll bake lots of cookies this Christmas now that she learned!

Sugar Cookies

• 125 gr butter
• 125 gr sugar
• 250 gr flour
• 1 egg
• ½ tsp baking powder
• 1 tsp vanilla

Mix the butter with the sugar, add the egg whisked with the vanilla. Mix the flour with the baking powder then add to the butter-sugar-egg mixture. Mix just until well incorporated. Take to the fridge for a couple of hours. Roll the dough, cut in the desired shapes and bake in a pre heated oven at 180ºC (350ºF) for about 8-10 minutes.

By special request of the girls we did “Areias”. These are very popular cookies here in Portugal and the name can be translated to “sand cookies”. They’re like a shortbread kind of cookie flavoured with lemon and covered with cinnamon sugar.

Why does everybody love raw dough? Yummy, it’s lemony!

Rolling little balls of dough. Come on, even a kid can do this!

Areias (“Sand” cookies)

• 100 gr sugar
• 200 gr butter
• 300 gr flour
• 1 lemon (zest)
• ¼ tsp salt
• Cinnamon sugar

Mix the softened butter (but not melted) with the sugar. Add the flour, lemon zest and salt. Mix with your hands or with the paddle attachment of a stand mixer, just until it all comes together. The dough should be soft but not sticky. Roll little balls and bake them in a 180ºC (350ºF) preheated oven. They should take about 10 minutes to bake. When they’re out of the oven and when they’re still hot (but not so hot you’re gonna burn yourself) dip them in a bowl of cinnamon sugar and shake the excess with your hands.

We also baked some oatmeal cookies. These were like an “everything cookie”, we added lots of add-ins. Cinnamon, coconut, all kinds of seeds, they had it all… I wanted to show the girls the kind of things they could add to drop cookies.

What’s that? An ice-cream scoop? We’re gonna have ice cream now? Isn’t it cute that baking virgins don’t know you can scoop cookie dough?

While the oatmeal cookies were in the oven we had to take a break to wash the dishes. That was Cristina’s job because she looks stylish doing the dishes, scarf and all…

You can not have a basic baking class without a basic chocolate cake. Everybody need to know how to make chocolate cake. They should teach that at school!

I think Sandra was having a blast mixing the cake!

Instead of cake we made muffins (they take less time to bake)! I won’t show you the pictures of what happened to that bit of batter that was left in the bowl, but you can guess it…

1 Bowl Chocolate Muffins

• 3 eggs
• 1 cup sugar
• 1 cup flour
• ½ cup butter
• ½ cup boiling water
• ½ cup chocolate powder*
• 1/4 tsp salt
• ½ tsp baking powder

* Chocolate powder is highly available in Portugal and used more than actual cocoa powder. It’s a mixture of cocoa powder, with sugar, vanilla and emulsifier. If you want to make it with cocoa powder, just use a bit less (1/3 cup) and you might wanna add a bit of vanilla too.

Beat the eggs with the sugar. Add the melted butter and mix well. Add the powders (flour, salt, chocolate and baking powder) and mix to incorporate. Finally add the boiling water mixing softly until you have a nice uniform batter that will be less thick than most cake batters because of the water. Scoop the batter into muffin cases and bake in a 180ºC (350ºF) preheated oven until a toothpick comes out clean. We had some cinnamon sugar left from the “Areias” and sprinkled that on top before baking them, it adds a nice crunch.

Last but not least we made scones! These are British style scones and are my absolute favourites! In fact from all the things we baked, scones were the girl’s favourite thing! The recipe came from an old book, I can’t even credit it. I’ve been using this recipe for ages…

My favourite Scones

• 250 gr flour
• 1 tbsp baking powder
• 30 gr sugar
• ¼ tsp salt
• 1,5 dl yogurt
• 1-2 tbsp milk
• 60 gr butter

Mix all the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, salt and sugar) with a whisk. Add the yogurt and softened butter. Mix with your hands (you should not over mix) until it’s all combined. If the dough is a bit dry add 1 or 2 tbsp of milk. If the the dough it to wet add a bit of flour. The dough should be dense but soft and not stick. Roll it high (2.5cm - 1 inch) and cut your scones with a round cookie cutter. Bake in a preheated oven (200ºC - 400ºF) until they’re just golden brown on top.

So here they are, all our baked goods and the two (very proud) not baking virgins anymore!

What a sweet afternoon! We sure had fun… and we sure ate a lot!


Kikiai said...

lol congratulations!!! Good work with the "no more baking virgins".

Cakebrain said...

it looks like everyone had fun! I have a few baking virgins in my life too, but they are not so interested in losing their virginity yet!

Not Quite Nigella said...

What a fun class Rita! It looks great! :D

Rhyleysgranny said...

That was so much fun to read. Looks like your pupils had a ball. Great results too.

morgana said...

¡¡¡ Qué divertido !!!

Jo, yo quiero ir a una clase tuya... Si es necesario hacerme pasar por "virgen", me hago pasar. ;-)

Un abrazo.

Ups, ¿por qué ya no puedo usar la opción de url para dejarme mi comentario? :-(((


Eliana said...

This looks like so much fun. Congrats on losing your baking virginity.

Avanika [YumsiliciousBakes] said...

Congratulations on taking the virgnity of two people at once :P :P
I've got a lot of such people in my life too, but none of them want to put out!

Maggie said...

What a fun event! I love my mini ice cream scoops for cookie making.

Chef Dennis said...

great job teaching your friends some baking skills!! Everyone should have some understanding of baking! Everything you made looked so good, I love those sand cookies!
Congrats on the foodbuzz honors!

Amanda said...

What a fun day!!!

Katrina said...

So nice of you to help your friends in their baking virginity! Awesome! I want to try those shortbread/cinnamon cookies. Please pass two of those and a scone. ;)

Ingrid said...

Instead of starting them out with a nice & easy 5K, you took them on a baking marathon! A yummy one!

The Short (dis)Order Cook said...

I'd say you're the perfect person to lose your baking virginity to. You made it look easy, fun, and tasty. I always say that there are plenty of simple baking recipes out there that are really easier than cooking. Baking is so pleasantly formulaic.

Adventures in Domestic Cooking said...

All of these goodies look fantastic!

Dana said...

It's so much fun to introduce so called 'baking virgins' to the world of baking. It looks like you were all quite busy!

Barbara said...

Wow. What a great job they did. Of course, they had a good teacher. :)

I really would like an answer to your question: why DO we all like dough so much? Sometimes I wonder if there will be any left over for the cookies!

Anna said...

How fun! I love teaching beginners. It's the best.

Thanks for posting the chocolate muffin recipe. I'll try it this week.

Laetitia said...

you're so right : every body should know how to cook such delicious cakes!!

Anonymous said...

What a great class :) Looks like you all had a great time and made some seriously delicious cookies.

Deborah Dowd said...

This is a skill that will serve them well for years to come, and what a fun way to learn! The results look delicious!

Emily said...

Great post! A baking class was such a good idea. Especially cookie baking. I can't think of anything I'd want to bake more...

Swathi said...

Congratulations for nicely taking baking class. Your friends are no more baking virgins.

Varshini Sudharsan said...

wow...thats exactly how the baking class supposed to loving it :)