Fudge, The Intern (Part I): First Day at the Bakery

Well, readers, today was an awesome way to start off my internship at my local bakery. Within 10 minutes of entering the door, I was already measuring out and mixing ingredients for my first assignment: cookie making!

Working in a restaurant, I already know what a professional kitchen looks and feels like, but to actually be preparing food in one is just a blast. Also, baking in a professional kitchen is even that much better when what you’re making is a bunch of delectable sweet :).

Today, I made three types of cookies: Chocolate Chip, Sugar, and Reverse.

This is the only picture of the chocolate chip cookie I have right now...a better picture is on its way!

Chocolate chip cookies were my first foray into the professional baking world. With this recipe, I learned all about safety, mise en place, cookie scoops, convection ovens, all different types of ingredients…you name it, I probably learned it. Also, never drop a metal bowl full of cookie dough in a metal sink more than once in a minute; there’s no harm done to the dough, but you will be teased about it.

Great thing about making these chocolate chip cookies (and the other two recipes) is that I had to scoop and bake a test cookie to check the batter. Guess where those test cookies went?

Well, home with me, of course. Except for the chocolate chip cookie…that one was in my belly long before home. The chocolate chip cookie was irresistibly gooey and chocolatey with just the right crumb. I’m digging the recipe I used for it! It taught me a lot in my search for the best chocolate chip cookie recipe (note: I’m on my 8th batch right now, I believe).

Sugar cookies were my second batch. This time, I had gotten the hang of weighing, measuring, mixing, and baking in this kitchen, so these came out pretty well if I do say so myself ;). These cookies are bright, buttery, and light, all meshing into a near-perfect cookie.

Finally, the reverse cookie. The reverse cookie is exactly what you probably think it is: A chocolate cookie with white (and dark) chocolate chunks in the batter. It’s a riff off of the classic chocolate chip cookie of which I’m particularly fond of for its intense, dark chocolate, not-too-sweet flavor. This recipe did not disappoint; I could hardly contain myself from reaching into the oven and eating it because the aroma was so great!

Well, that’s my first day at the bakery. Tomorrow I’ll update you about my second day and about something in particular I’m looking forward to: finishing off the fudge I made today :).

A snack that one of the bakers (we'll call her "N") and I made: a mini vanilla cupcake stuffed with lemon curd and frosting. Delicious.

Fudge in the Restaurant Business (Orange Banana Bread)

After reading this blog, you probably understand that being a full-time student takes up a lot of my life—I typically spend, including rehearsal time and extracurricular activities, 45-55 hours a week at school. Even with all that, I manage to work on the weekends at the restaurant down the street from my school as a host and cashier.

Yeah, I know, it still doesn’t even make sense to me how that all goes down, but it does, so I just roll with it.

The walnuts are just spilled around for the photo–I’m not that messy when I bake, people.

I love working in the restaurant business as a teenager. I get to develop great people skills by meeting all kinds of customers, customers ranging from the super nice and absolutely polite to the quirky crack-ups to the…well, we’ve all seen those certain kinds of patrons at restaurants, so I’ll just leave up that up to your imagination.

All jokes aside, though, my restaurant is great. My waiter, cashier, and host co-workers and I are like a big family. We’ve got the motherly waiter who always bakes and takes care of the rest of the staff, the kooky uncle-cashier who you always want to hang out with, and the rest of the clan, all ending up with me: the little kid of the whole bunch :). I think that spirit that patrons see is what keeps them coming back for more. Well, other than the scrumptious food, that is.

One side zesty orange, the other sweet and wholesome banana.

One perk of working in a restaurant? The cooks sometimes give me the old bananas from the week to take home! They’re overwhelmingly brown and black on the outside and mushy on the inside, but I think they’re beautiful. Do you know why?

Well, I can make this out of them:

This bread has your name all over it, people.

Old bananas are the best bananas to use for baking bread, I’ve found. The peels are brown and unattractive, but the inside is mostly in tact, so by no means are the bananas inedible. Since the bananas have over-ripened, I can cut down on the sugar in the recipe I use them in while replacing the lost sugar with the natural sugars that are present in the ripe bananas, making what could have been packed with empty calories into a healthy snack or part of a healthy breakfast.

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