A place to bake crusty hearty rolls, and craft decadent treats. Today I had the privilege of working with WVU’s pastry chef, and I fully enjoyed my time in the bakery.
All sorts of treats were being whipped together, and I got to help with a few of them.
After mixing together a batch of Mexican Wedding Cookies, I was flipping through a recipe book, and “vanilla sugar” was mentioned. I had heard of vanilla sugar before, but I had never made it. In fact, I don’t think I had ever touched a real vanilla bean before. They’re a slightly pricier gourmet item, but something that I may add to my christmas list this year- simply because they smell amazing, and I’ll admit that sometimes I’m a foodie. So, to my great enjoyment, I got to make vanilla sugar, by slicing open a vanilla bean, scraping out the inside and rubbing sugar over it with my hands to infuse the scent and flavor.
Then I scraped a slab of white chocolate to make shavings for topping off some banana cream pies. I also learned a bit about the process of tempering- another process I’ve never done. I did not actually temper chocolate today, but discussed the process with the pastry chef, and then did a bit of research tonight. Tempering is simply heating and cooling the chocolate to specified temperatures to control the crystallization of the cocoa butter to avoid a mottled appearance on the surface of the chocolate and ensure that it will snap rather than crumble when broken.
And apparently I wasn’t “pastried out” when I left the kitchen today, because I came home to my own kitchen and mixed up one of my very favorite fall cakes. I love moist, dense, hearty cakes, and this one fits the bill. Plus, all the whole wheat flour and apples make it a pretty nutritious dessert!
adapted from Simply in Season Cookbook, Herald Press
5 cups apples (unpeeled and chopped)
1 1/3 cups sugar
Combine and let stand while mixing other ingredients.
1/2 cup oil
2 eggs (slightly beaten)
2 teaspoons vanilla
Combine in a separate bowl.
1.5 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon each ginger and cloves
1 teaspoon salt
Combine in a third bowl.
Stir flour mixture into apples alternately with egg mixture. Pour into a greased 9×13 inch baking pan. Bake in preheated oven at 350 degrees F, 50-60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 Tablespoons skim milk
1 1/2 teaspoons flour
While cake bakes, heat to boiling, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat.
3 Tablespoons powdered sugar
Mix in. Drizzle over hot cake.
And the final step to any recipe: savor and enjoy!
Nutrition Facts, analyzed by Spark Recipes:
232 calories, 7.8 g fat, 314 mg sodium, 41.1 g carb, 2.7 g fiber