Going in today, I thought I was about to be on full-time cookie duty, ready to learn about the other types of cookies the bakery makes on a daily basis. My thoughts were confirmed as I started a batch of oatmeal raisin and snicker doodle cookies…
…until N said, “Hey, clean everything off your workspace. Let’s do some fun stuff.” After that, I knew I was in for more than just cookie making today.
What followed was a crash course in piping frosting, something I had never done before. I’ll be the first one to admit, I was really no good at first, but I think I started to get the hang of it after doing dozens of mini cupcakes. There were four steps to this whole process, and it went a little like this:
Step 1: Arrange The Cupcakes
Each box of 12 mini cupcakes was going to contain four of each flavor cake. This step expedited the whole process.
Step 2: Frost The Cupcakes
The above is my handiwork. As you look towards the back in the picture, you can see how my piping transformed throughout. All the red velvet and vanilla mini cupcakes received a vanilla buttercream frosting while the chocolate got frosted with chocolate frosting.
Step 3: Smush The Cupcake (Into the sprinkles, that is)
Each column of cupcake was dipped into a different sprinkle, making 12 cupcakes with 11 different sprinkles per row.
Step 4: Package And Seal The Cupcakes
Now you see why the arranging step came in handy.
I finished the order just in the nick of time (the box was taken out of my hands and delivered to a customer right then and there!). Afterwards, it was off to finishing off the donut muffins, the confection that actually drew me to this bakeshop to apply for my internship. Well, not before a snack first ;).
See how the wrappers are falling off? That's a no-no for presentation, so they became duds. In the words of "L," my supervisor, "Sorry about the red velvet cupcakes I baked, I forgot to burn them."
Now, back to those donut muffins. Those yummy, yummy donut muffins. I first encountered them at my school. A friend of mine brought a batch to school one day and I was instantly hooked. You want to know why?
Imagine a donut. Got that? Alright. Make that the fluffiest cake donut you’ve ever had. Now imagine a muffin, but take out all that filler–no nuts, no blueberries, no bran, just a muffin of pure vanilla batter. Finally, imagine these two sweets had three even sweeter children–all 1/2 cake, all 1/2 muffin. Oh wait, I take that “finally” back. Finally, sprinkle some fairy dust on them. You get a little something like this:
They come in three varieties–vanilla, chocolate chip (is it a chip? More like a fleck), and mini–and yes, they do taste even better than they look. Believe me when I say that these were very hard to let slip out of the kitchen.
Next task was to check up on the fudge I made yesterday. No surprise, the fudge turned out pretty darn good; it’s like making fudge is in my blood or something.
Anyways, my final two tasks were making the salted caramel brownies (the other delicious reason I applied for this internship) and the pecan bars. The salted caramel brownies were very time-consuming yet fun–there were lots of prep and measurement, including parking and fully baking the brownies with and without the caramel (a lesson in offset spatula usage).
Not the best picture, but this is the only one I have that shows you the ooey-gooeyness of it all. A better photo is forthcoming.
The pecan bars were also a blast to make because pecans are some of my favorite nuts and, well, when you combine them with butter, sugar, and shortbread…I think you get my point. I never got to take a taste of the brownies and the pecan bars today, but my memory of the salted caramel brownie from a few months back is still very strong: an intense chocolate taste offset by the sweet, almost burnt caramel flavor, all complemented by a generous sprinkling of fleur de sel and packaged in a fudgey, gooey square. One of the best brownies I’ve ever had, hands down.
Yet again, not the best photo; yet again, better photo forthcoming.
As I closed the door to the oven where my pecan bars had just left, my day at the bakery also came to a close. I learned so much from my experience there today; there really is no other way to learn baking like this than being in the thick of it, and I thank my supervisor and all the other employees I’m working for the opportunity and for putting up with a rookie like me.
Throughout the day, N let me stockpile a few odds and ends, test samples, and day-old pastries for a taste test grab bag. Don’t you worry, readers, you’ll read much more about those tomorrow. For today, however, I’ll just leave you with a little preview:
P.S.: I told you I would have a better photo of the chocolate chip cookies, and here it is! I’m a man of my word, people.