Wednesday, February 20, 2013

End of the Day Zero Project I

Damn! I was only two shy of completing my first list!

47. Complete a coloring book - I guess I will NEVER complete a coloring book in my life. Oh well. I'm over it.

54. Go to the Aquarium of the Pacific* - We never got the whole family to go, and it's been cold here and there, so maybe later on when spring comes, we'll go.

But it's over, and now I can turn my full attention over to DZPII!

Monday, February 4, 2013

#74 DZPII: Take Cake Decorating Classes

#74 DZPII: Take Cake Decorating Classes
So for Christmas my Mom got us night classes at a nearby bakery for cake decorating classes - beginners classes! I was beyond excited because I've really wanted to go to the Micheals/Wilton classes, but the times were never good for my schedule.
But for four weeks, every Monday night, Mom and I would head over at 7pm and play with piping bags, star tips, buttercream icings, and of course... cake! It was a blast! So much fun - and my coworkers loved my creations I'd bring in the next day for them to eat!
Our (dummy) cakes the first class: learning about the different kinds of piping tips and how to ice the cake. The very beginning to cake decorating....
On the second class we had to bring two 8" round cakes in the pans, and icing for them, in whatever colors we wanted. Mom wanted to work on her buttercream roses, but it was unfortunatly too warm, so a couple of them drooped... I waited till the end to do my roses, but ran out of time: took so long on my scalloped border around the cake! So no roses on that cake!
The third was learning how to create a cupcake bouquet! These are fun and fast! Just takes 19 cupcakes to make a flower bouquet or a special scene for your celebration! I worked on a Cars themed bouquet (for Ryan's 2nd birthday coming up), and Mom worked on flowers!

The last class was on character cakes. I've had my Hello Kitty cake pan for several years, and never baked from it because I didn't know how to decorate her! And Mom was inspired by Ryan's 2nd birthday theme: Cars!

#64 DZPII: Make Homemade Pretzels

#64 DZPII: Make Homemade Pretzels
My first job out of high school was at the mall... so needless to say I love me some mall food. And good old Auntie Anne's is always there and a pretzel was waiting for me... with a side of cheese sauce! I've missed Anne's since I left the mall, but everytime I felt the need to "physically shop" (instead of my prowlings on the internet) I head to the mall... and the pretzels are still there.
But I've always thought I'd venture out of the comfort-zone of cupcakes and cookies, and bake something else... something bread-like... something like PRETZELS!
Recipe adapted from Daily Savings
-1 teaspoon sugar
-1 package (2 1/4 tsp.) active dry yeast
-1/2 teaspoon salt
-1 1/2 cups whole-wheat flour
-3/4 cup all-purpose flour
-1/4 cup baking soda
-1/4 cup coarse salt

1. Stir 1 cup warm water (105°F to 110°F), yeast, sugar and salt in an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook. Set aside until yeast has dissolved and mixture bubbles, about 5 minutes. Stir in both flours, set mixer speed to medium and knead with dough hook until dough is smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. (Or, mix with a wooden spoon and knead by hand.) Transfer dough to an oiled bowl, cover with a clean kitchen towel and set aside in a warm, draft-free spot until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

2. Preheat oven to 425°F. Oil 2 large baking sheets. Stir baking soda and 2 cups warm water in a bowl until dissolved.

3. Turn dough out onto a floured work surface; cut into 20 equal-size balls. Working with 1 at a time, roll and stretch each ball to form thin, 12- to 15-inch-long ropes. Twist each into a pretzel shape.

4. Use a slotted spoon to dip each pretzel into baking soda solution; place on a baking sheet. Reshape as needed. Sprinkle with coarse salt. Bake until browned, about 10 minutes. Remove sheets to a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes; transfer pretzels to rack to cool further.