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Posts Tagged ‘sugar cookie guitar’

I’m starting to think about my future in baking.  Will it always be just a hobby?  Or should I try to make something more out of it?  I’d like to try for the latter, but then I get discouraged when I see what other people make.  My decorated cookies/cakes start to look very amateur.  So would I really be able to make a profit by selling my goodies?

Right now, I’m just baking for the fun of it.  But I end up spending quite a bit of money on ingredients and either need to slow down or start charging.  I made a cake earlier this month for a friend.  Took it to karaoke and fed the bar.  A few weeks later, I made a cake for a coworkers mother.  He worked a couple days for me that I had needed off so I offered to make him a cake.  More time and money.

The next few birthdays/events, I’ll just whip up a batch of chocolate chip cookies instead.  They’re a bit cheaper but mostly they’re quicker.  Well, except the cookies I make for bands.

The Script is in town tonight.  Of course I have to bring them cookies.  So I made chocolate chip (with two different kinds of chocolate), snickerdoodles, and sugar cookie instruments.  Combined time to make/decorate = 14 hours.  I decided to make the sugar cookies into the band’s instruments that they use on stage.  Danny’s and Glen’s, piece of cake.  Mark’s and Ben’s . . . well, each cookie probably took about 15 minutes.  Multiply that by 10.  The reason they take so long, besides the fact that I hand painted them with food color, is because I frost them twice, first with a buttercream and then with an icing that hardens slightly and dries shiny.  I’ve found that if I don’t do the coat of icing, the buttercream melts and the cookies stick together and lose their decoration.  And I don’t skip the buttercream because it’s much tastier than the icing.  I’m happy with the way the cookies turned out.  I just hope they hold up in transport and also in the Arizona heat.

                  

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So I think most people who venture over to my blog know that the majority of baking I do is for bands.  I really should start writing that book already.  But until then, I’ll fill you in blog-style.

My friend Jessica and I flew over to LA yesterday to see the Script perform on Jimmy Kimmel Live followed by a mini-concert.  I figured my chances of getting cookies to them in this sort of setting was pretty good, so I made the high-end cookies.  That’s not to put my other cookies down.  But if I’m not sure I’ll even get cookies to a band, I’ll make ones that don’t require as much effort.  For example, baking cookies for John Mayer.  I still need to get some to him one of these days.

The high-end cookies would be decorated sugar cookies and fortune cookies since both of those are a bitch to make.  Neither is really all that difficult, but they’re time consuming.  I didn’t have time to do both kinds, so I made sugar cookie guitars (my signature cookie), sugar cookie naughty/nice conversation hearts (since Valentine’s Day is approaching), and white chocolate dipped chocolate chip cookies.

The total amount of time I spent on these cookies was about 10 hours.  Fortunately, Jessica helped for a couple hours and my friend Lindsey also put in a couple hours.  Had they not assisted, it would have taken me at least two hours longer.

The sugar cookie guitars are my favorite because they’re pretty detailed.  “Stringing” them is the most difficult and lengthy part since I hand draw them on with food color.  I must find an easier way to do that some time.

We got to the Jimmy Kimmel studio around 3pm yesterday and hung out in the back.  Having seen the Script a few times, I was able to drop off the box of goodies with a crew member.  Then I saw an important looking person and asked if he works for Kimmel.  I entrusted him with the small box of cookies for Jimmy.  Whether he got them or not, I don’t know.  I actually don’t even know if the Script saw their cookies.  We stuck around after the mini concert but didn’t get to say hi to them.

However, I did get to sing a duet with Danny.  Okay, it really was nothing, just him singing “together we cry” and me echoing “cry.”  But he did pick me out at least, so they knew we were there.  Hard to miss us, I was the tall girl, front row center.

Jessica and I were definitely bummed we didn’t get to say hi, but had a little adventure trying to.  Now we’re back in AZ and already planning the next trip to see them.  I daresay it will probably be LA and Las Vegas in May.  We wanted to go on the VH1 Best Cruise Ever since they, along with a bunch of other great bands, will be there, but it’s not in my budget this year.

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“Hey there Eclair, have you gained some weight?  You’re looking a bit doughy around the middle.”

That is exactly what I said to my cream puffs on Labor Day.  Okay, not really.  But I thought it . . . just now . . . not then . . . cause I’m not THAT quick-witted.  And I guess it wasn’t really THAT witty anyways.

I was self-assigned to dessert on Labor Day for our lil’ family BBQ, and rather than make the always classic chocolate brownies, I decided to make profiteroles which are pretty much cream puffs with a chocolate ganache, or I guess they’re pretty much eclairs.  I figured that would please the masses (because I have such a large family: mother, father, brother, grandmother, and grandfather) and it would be something I’ve never tried before.

The recipe was so simple it surprised me:  butter, flour, eggs, and water.  I added sugar too because, come on, this is dessert!  I got the recipe out of my British cookbook.  Don’t start . . . British food is fine.

When the profiteroles were mixed and baked, they had a nice golden brown doneness to them.  Perfect!  Or not.  When I whipped up the whipped cream and cut a puff to fill, I saw dough.  Now some people in my family (ahem, Mom) like undercooked baked goods, but a taste-test proved that these were unacceptable.  The shells were tossed in the garbage and the whipped cream was placed in the refrigerator for another day, another lesson.

Our guests had arrived and there was no dessert.  So much for learning a new skill; brownies to the rescue.  I quickly mixed up some brownie batter and got that baking while we ate lunch.

The brownies were delicious, but it’s old hat.  This blog is not intended for me to bake things I already know how to bake well.

Later that night, I brought out the sugar cookie cutouts I had baked a few days ago in order to decorate them and take to Scottish musician Paolo Nutini.  I had my assistant (friend) Lindsey help on the assembly line to get them done relatively fast.  I did a base coat on each cookie with buttercream frosting, because it just tastes better than icing, then spread icing on top which gave it a smooth, shiny finish, and also hardened a bit so that the cookies wouldn’t stick together if they got a bit warm.  They did have to make the trip to Tucson with me.  The worst thing that can happen to sugar cookies with buttercream frosting is to spend a lot of time on detail work and then find the cookies stuck together and smudged after packaging and transporting.

The cookies turned out nice, and they were successfully delivered — I found a man standing by Paolo’s tour bus who had a Scottish accent.  Next time, Paolo requests weed cookies.  He was just kidding!  I don’t want to get the kid in trouble.

Next order of business was to thaw out the failed chocolate cake from the previous lesson.  Yeah, I didn’t trash it.  I figured it needed a fair chance and not just a little taste from a silicon cupcake mold.  I cut a small piece off the end of the cake and added a dab of chocolate frosting to find that it was actually pretty good.

Buttermilk chocolate cake re-evaluation:  B+

Well this just worked out great.  I had one chocolate cake and one bowl of whipped cream.  I put two and two together, literally, and added some chocolate frosting on top to make a chocolate layer cake with a light whipped cream filling.  Half of it got eaten by my family and the other half went to work with me.  I just can’t keep up with the eating part of this baking project, so my coworkers get to help.

Overall, not a bad baking week.  The profiteroles were pathetic, but I know next time that I need to bake them longer.  Next lesson may be slightly delayed due to a possible mini trip to Los Angeles.  But I know that puff pastry is in the cards because I am taking part in the monthly baking challenges from the baking club The Daring Kitchen.  I have never made a french pastry like that before, should be interesting.  I better stock up on butter.

Profiteroles – F

Brownies – A+

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