Saturday, November 14, 2009

Cooking School at the Canebrake!

Today was Baking Day at the Canebrake Resturant (You can access their info via Facebook). Several friends and I drove out there, paid our $20, and had the Time of our lives!! Pictured here is Pastry Chef Sarah. Just a pup, but she's been cooking ever since she could reach the countertop, and man, we learned a LOT. Even the "old salty" bakers learned some new tricks and techniques.

She's rolling out the chocolate pastry dough for the Reese's Cup Pie.

And trimming the dough in the cool pastry pan.

Next she mixes up the peanut butter filling.

Here are some pictures showing how to make checkerboard cookies. Remember to always keep the dough cold. Freeze it, in fact. Stick it together w/eggwash. Then cut across it to reveal the little squares. Butter makes a softer cookie. Crisco helps the cookie to keep its original shape. If you want the Best of Both Worlds (yeh, sing it, Hannah!), then use 1/2 butter, 1/2 Crisco.

Sarah rolls the dough out between two 1/2" dowel rods. This assures that the thickness of the rolled out dough is consistent.

Next she alternately stacks each layer, "gluing" them together with egg white wash. Now return it to the freezer until quite cold. Maybe overnight.

Now the cuts come. One half inch strips. Four of them. This is best done when the dough is partially thawed so the knife can cut thru with a little of resisitance.

Here's 2 strips.
Add 2 more to make the finished bar. Then re-chill. Slice and bake. The unused "ends" you can twist together and make "marble" cookies.

Regarding braided yeast breads. Begin braiding in the middle, then braid to the end. Go back and braid from the middle to the other end. Makes a more balanced rope. Now you can form it into different shapes, depending on the holiday or your mood. Hearts for Valentine's Day, Wreaths for Christmas. You can even wind it into a coil.

Cut out pastry leaves to embellish pie crusts. Or use other shapes from little bitty cookie cutters. I have hearts, circles, gingerbread boys, even dog bones.....

Good friends, good food, good recipes. We learned a LOT today! Even some French stuff I could not pronounce---but I can Bake it!!! Here's me with the Chef. Such a darling girl. I felt like I was living in HG TV for a few hours.