Sundae Lessons: Is this Egg Fresh?

food eggs

Source: Idiot’s Guide to Baking by Alexandra Zayn

Hey beautiful bakers!

Everyone knows there is an expiration date on the side of the carton, but what if the eggs aren’t in the cartoon? What if you can’t read the date? Or what if you just have no way of knowing how old they are? There is an easy way to tell if the egg is fresh.

It’s super easy to do. All you have to do it place your egg in a clear glass. The cup should be at least double the size of the egg. Fill the glass with water and then place your egg in it.

If the egg rests at the bottom of the cup, the egg is fresh.

If the egg hovers at the bottom and sort of bounces a little, that means the egg is about a week old.

If the egg floats near the top but the largest tip of the egg is near the top, the egg is close to 3 weeks old.

If the egg floats completely to the very top, the egg is very old. That’s because sulfur built up inside the egg and you need to throw it out immediately.

I hope that helps if you find some random eggs laying around in your refrigerator. I think we all need to clean out our refrigerators more than we do sometimes.

Happy Baking Everyone!

(Originally posted December 17th, 2017)

Where did you get that?

person holding white and brown card

Hello Disney Bakers!

“How did you find the recipe?”

I have always loved to bake. You can map my life growing up by what I was baking. During the teased bang stage (the bigger the better) I was into pies. During my love affair with JTT from the TV show Home Improvement, I couldn’t get enough of cakes (the relationship was a little one-sided but I feel like in his heart he knew I existed and knew we were soulmates). Finally all the way to my love of George Clooney and entry into Pastry school. I loved it all.

*shout out to JTT and our love…

So it always surprises me when people think it’s impossible to get their favorite recipes from their favorite restaurants. All you really have to do is ask. Honestly, just ask.

If you are too shy and are into Disney recipes, there are some amazing resources to help you create your favorite Disney Parks recipes at home.

… cough * cough… this one for example 😉

With that being said, there are some great places to get it and some not so great.

white ceramic mortar and pestle beside book

 Cookbooks

Disney has published numerous cookbooks of their favorite recipes. They are awesome because you know the recipe isn’t an “as close as it gets” type things. It’s the real deal. You just need to be aware of two things with them.

Disney likes to rename and republish the same cookbook sometimes. Always pay attention to what recipes are in the books. I have fallen for that numerous times. I’ll see a book on Amazon with a cover and name that I’ve never seen before and get super excited. Only to order it, and notice it’s the exact same as two other versions I already have.

If you are lucky enough to get your hands on one of the older ones you need to pay attention that the ingredients match the steps. The proofreader must have been sick a couple days but some things got forgotten about. For example in one the Blueberry Muffin recipe from The Farmers Market in Epcot mentions blueberries in the ingredient list but doesn’t have any mention of them in the instructions. I may be crazy but I think the blueberries are a pretty important part of The Blueberry Muffin.

There are independent cookbooks too. I would be very careful with these. I have not read all of them so I can only speak of the ones I have seen. My concern lands mainly with the e-book ones. Again I want to mention I’m not speaking about all of them. To say some need more research is an understatement. One has Disneyland recipes in a book titled Walt Disney World recipes. Another was missing huge steps, and ingredients. It was obvious someone didn’t try them out first. The intention was probably good but it doesn’t help you recreate the perfect School Bread from Norway.

cigar rolls

Online

Speaking of electronic sources, there are some fabulous ones and ones to stay clear of. The tip is the same as the book section. Make sure it’s from an official source like The Disney Parks Blog, or the poster actually made the recipe. If you read a recipe it’s super easy to tell if they made it or not. Go with the one who cares enough to make the food for their own family.

To best honest, since we are a new site we haven’t personally made all the recipes in our printable section yet. We are doing our best to get through them as soon as possible.

I will not be naming the bad recipe sites, that’s just not necessary, but I will 100% be naming the ones I think are fantastic. I’m not trying to win the Disney Blogger views competition.

I just want to eat some cake and talk about Disney with fellow Disney fans!

At the park

Many people don’t know that until recently you can ask for the recipes from the restaurants or guest relations. They have discontinued this officially now but they can still find some laying around the back. Sometimes they will have them and sometimes they won’t but it doesn’t hurt to ask.

I’d be going over things in more detail later on but for now, go out and enjoy those amazing Disney treats.

I think I need a Mickey Bar now. 🙂

Advice from the Pros: Pastry Chef Jenny McCoy

Source: http://www.thekitchn.com/be-a-baker-advice-from-professional-pastry-chef-jenny-mccoy-195383

white and yellow cupcake with fruit toppings

Happy Baking Days!

Ever since the moment I first told people I was going to culinary school people started sending me food related articles. No one had mentioned food to me before but I tell people I’m going to Pastry school and BAM a million Facebook messages show up with recipes people think I will like.

Don’t get me wrong; I know it means my family and friends want to support me. I think it’s awesome actually. The break from the political arguments on my Facebook timeline was pretty fantastic too.  Hey, what can I say, sometimes a girl just wants to look at pictures cookies and not debate the future of the free world. Ok, now I’m thinking of cookies.

I thought it would be interesting to look at some of the advice from chefs that have come before us. Those people who have the experience under their belts and the delicious recipes in their food-filled brains. Today let’s listen to Pastry Chef Jenny McCoy.

I found this expert interview on http://www.thekitchn.com and thought it was super helpful. If you have ever researched any cooking online you will have passed through this site. It’s a big one filled with super useful information. You should check them out.

The Kitchn asked Chef Jenny McCoy for some tips on becoming a better baker and I love the simple and straightforward advice she gave. If you are unfamiliar with her she is an awarding-winning pastry chef, baking instructor and the author of her book Jenny McCoy’s Desserts for Every Season.

Let’s check out her advice for us.

Firstly, I thought the interviewer took a really interesting angle on the questions. She asked about how to improve your skills and not just about the basics. That’s super helpful for people who have covered the basics in the past. So many sites just cover information for the very beginner or the absolute pro but it is very little in the middle. The interviewer started out asking how a baker who has master everyday baking can take their baking to the next level, and Chef McCoy’s answer was great.

She said once a baker understands the techniques behind making everyday baked goods like cakes, cookies etc., it’s important for them to understand the functions of each ingredient in a recipe.

cupcake topped with white frosting

I couldn’t agree more. Before starting culinary school I had no idea what eggs do in a recipe or that each ingredient has a specific role to play in the baking process. You hear it all the time, but baking is like chemistry. It’s why I love it so much. With cooking, you can add a little of this and a little of that and transform the dish for your own taste, but baking is different. Yes, there is room to make a recipe your own, but there is a much smaller margin of leeway. If a recipe says it needs 5g of salt, you can’t leave it out or add 5g of baking soda. It’s just not the same thing. Going deeper, she gives the example of gluten in the flour. The different levels of gluten in the flour can change the texture of your dough. That so important to know if you are going to up your baking game.

She also mentions it’s important because it will help you make adjustments if needed.  Chef McCoy mentions that it has saved her numerous times when she didn’t have the correct ingredients, tools or equipment.  When I first started baking I never really thought about how different equipment can change how a recipe turns out. I honestly thought there was no difference in making pie dough by hand or by machine. Is it just mixing right? Nope, it’s so much easier to overwork a dough in a mixing machine and you need to be able to feel the size of the fat (butter or shortening in this case) to affect how flaky your crust will be. It’s honestly the reason you can follow the same pie dough recipe and create different piecrusts every time. Hint: the fat should be the size of chestnuts for the best and flakiest pie crust. Now I want pie instead of that cookie from earlier.

Chef McCoy also went on to recommend some other pastry chefs she admires and I thought we could look into them for future expert posts.

photograph of chocolate cupcake with red strawberry toppings

The main takeaway here is to learn about your ingredients. Don’t just add something because the recipe says to add it. Learn what its job is in the recipe, that way if you ever find yourself without it, you can make adjustments. For example, don’t have buttermilk? Add a cap full of vinegar to regular milk and let it sit for 5 or 6 minutes. Bam it will do the job you are looking for. That little tip has helped me so many times. I can never seem to remember to buy buttermilk.

Do you want more information about Chef McCoy? Check out her at her website www.jennymccoy.com. I am nowhere near an expert; I’m just a baker trying to bring some Disney goodness home with me.

She closes the interview off by giving one of the best baking advice anyone can give. Essentially just bake. Bake and then bake and then bake some more. You will learn from the wins and learn from the not so wins. It will all make you a better baker. Then when you have perfected a recipe, bake some more.

Happy Baking Disney Peeps

101 Dalmatians Puppy Birthday cake!!

Author: Nelson
Source: Disney Cakes and Sweets Magazine Issue 1: Titled Patch’s Dalmatian Paw Print Cake
*DISCLAIMER: I did not feed this cake to my dog. It was consumed by humans, no dogs! Also, no puppies were harmed by Cruella De Vil in the making of this cake and blog post. Thank you!*
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Hello, again readers!! I am back!! I know its been about a month and a half since my last post but the month of March was busy for me. With working a full-time job and teaching classes on the side. March was the last month I could teach classes through Wilton and I had the most responses than I have had since I started teaching again last September. So between you and I this will be my “post for March” okay lol.

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Will O’ the Wisp Cookies

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Source: Disney Family 

 

Hello Bluetiful bakers… see what I did that?

So I was looking for something fun and quick to make. Something I already had the ingredients for and would be easy to make.

I headed over to the Disney Family website and found these super cute little blue wisp cookies. The picture looked adorable and I love meringue.

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French Bread and Rolls

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Location: Ariel’s – Disney’s Beach Club Resort – Walt Disney World

Source: Cooking with Mickey – Gourmet Cookbook Volume II” by the Disney Chefs.

Hi Beautiful Bakers!

The Ariel character meet and greet in Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom is one of the best. Located in Fantasyland, she has her own permanent home. When you walk in you really feel like you are part of her world.

A lot of people don’t know that Disney’s Beach Club Resort used to have a restaurant called “Ariel’s”. It was located just past Martha’s Vineyard’s current location. While it’s currently a cool event space, it used to be a top-of-the-line seafood restaurant.

Even though I love the idea of a restaurant named after one of my favorite characters, I do think it’s messed up that it was a seafood restaurant. Of course, Disney does have fish swimming around you while you eat in Epcot, so I guess it’s not an issue to them when it comes to meals. Maybe a gift shop of knick-knacks might have been a better idea. It would be neat.

Also, I thought it was interesting that Ariel and her friends didn’t meet guests. How could that have not been a character meal? It would have been the perfect place for one.

If you were lucky enough to eat there then you would have tried their delicious French bread and rolls. I found the recipe in the official Disney Cookbook” Cooking with Mickey Gourmet Cookbook Volume II”. You’ll see me use that recipe a lot on here because it’s a great one.

This bread is so easy to make and, as far as bread goes, doesn’t take a ton of time to make. Fresh bread is awesome to make at home but sometimes it seems to take so long to prepare because some doughs have to rest multiple time. This one is great for sandwiches, for dinner or with any meal really. Or a huge stick of butter and the entire loaf. Maybe that’s just me.

This recipe will make four loaves but you can use it to make baguettes or petit pan rolls as well. That’s why it’s so fantastic and good for any meal.

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups water, warm

  • 1-ounce active dry yeast

  • 8 1/2 cups flour

  • 1-ounce salt

  • 1 1/2 ounces honey

Five simple ingredients that most people would already have in their cupboard. The only thing people might not have is the dry active yeast. The good thing is once you buy a package or bottle, it will last you a long time. A little goes a long time. It’s well worth investing in a good jar.

Instructions:

  1. Using an electric mixer with a dough hook, add the water and yeast. You want to allow the yeast to soften. Once softened, stir in the honey.

  2. In a large bowl, sift together the flour and salt. Once it’s sifted, add to yeast mixture mix on low speed for one minute, then turn the mixer up to medium. Mix for two minutes.

  3. Remove the bowl when the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. That probably only took one minute. Cover the bowl with a cloth. The dough will double in size. It takes at least one hour but I like to leave it even longer.

  4. On a clean floured surface, knead the dough lightly. Form your dough into the shape you want. I made 4 loaf pans. So I greased and floured the pans, split the dough evenly between the four, and used my fingers to form the loaves.

  5. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees, and once preheated, turn the oven off.

  6. Using a serrated knife, score the top of the loaves about 1/8 inch deep. Place in the oven and allow to double in size. You will be amazed how much it will grow.

  7. Remove from the oven, and preheat it to 400F degrees.

  8. Bake until golden brown. It should only take about 20 to 25 minutes.

This will easily become your go-to home bread.

Happy Baking Friends!

originally posted December 27th, 2017.

Causes of Cookie Malfunctions (part one)

two cookies on black ceramic plate

Source: Idiot’s Guide to Baking by Alexandra Zahn

Hello happy bakers!

Today we start our little series about how to figure out why your cookies didn’t turn out the way the picture showed.

Sometimes you think you followed the recipe perfectly and they still don’t turn out. Let’s look at the first three things that can happen to the cookies you tried to make last night.

1. Hard Cookies

Sometimes all you want is some ooey gooey chocolate chip cookies. You buy all the ingredients, read the recipe carefully and what you end up with is tough and hard as a rock.

There are six things that could have happened in this case.

  • You added to much flour

  • To much or to little sugar or butter

  • Oven temperature was to low

  • Cookies baked too long

  • Cookies scooped different sizes

  • To dark pan

2. Uneven Baking

It’s so important to scoop each cookie the exact the same way. If one scoop is bigger than another, they will require different cooking times. There is no way cookies that are different thicknesses or size, on the same baking sheet, can bake evenly.

3. Cookies dark on the bottom

You get this from super dark cookie sheets. Most recipes are designed to be baked on a light grey sheet. Different color sheets conduct heat differently. That’s why it’s important to only use a dark baking sheet if that’s what the recipe calls for. Use a heavy-gauge-sheet instead. Preferably one with a dull finish insists The Idiot’s Guide to Baking author Alexandra Zahn.

Happy Baking Friends!