Sunday, December 4, 2011

Behind the Scenes Baking

One of my most wonderful friends, Nichole, is starting her own event planning business. You should really check out her blog,, and follow it! To get started and show off her skills, she's doing an inspiration shoot, and she's enlisted my baking skills to help her with a few items. Now, I won't tell you what these items are being used for (you'll have to read her blog for that!), but I will show you what I made and how I made them!

First up, I made three dozen donuts. Yup. Three dozen. It's a lot of donuts, but it actually was super simple to do. Since I wasn't worried about taste for these, I just went with the simplest recipe I could find, which happened to be the one that came with my donut pan. I only had to make the batch three times, but since I only have a six cavity pan, I was taking it in and out of the oven 6 times. Phew! It's a lot of baking but it's worth it.
 You want to use cake flour to get that nice cakey texture in the donuts. I combined 2 cups cake flour, 3/4 cup sugar, 2 tsp baking powder, and 1 tsp salt. I whisked the dry ingredients together in my stand mixer bowl.

I then added two slightly beaten eggs.
As well as 3/4 cup buttermilk and 2 tablespoons melted butter.
You just have to mix the ingredients together for about 30 seconds until they're combined.
Then you fill the donut cavities about 2/3 full.
You bake the donuts at 425 for about 8 minutes, when the top of the donuts spring back when you touch them. And then you have donuts!

Lots and lots of donuts!

Now my second project for Nichole was heart shaped marshmallows. I had seen a tutorial on Martha Stewart where she provides instructions on how to make marshmallows and then cut shapes out. This actually ended up being a little more complicated than it was made out to be, so using a little internet research halfway through, I think I got a final product that should work.

You start by pour 1/6 cup of cold water into the mixer bowl, and pour a packet of unflavored gelatin onto the water. You'll let that sit for five minutes.
Then in a saucepan over medium-high heat, you'll want to bring to a boil 3/4 cup sugar, 1/3 cup light corn syrup, 1/16 tsp salt, and 1/6 cup water.
 You'll want to let this boil for about five minutes.
Then, with the whisk attachment on your mixer, start mixing the gelatin/water mixture on low speed, and slowly pour in syrup (very slowly so you don't splatter).
And then, once all the syrup is poured in, gradually turn it up to a high speed, and let it beat for about 12 minutes. You'll then see the mixture transform, double in size and turn white like marshmallows!
The hardest part, because it was sooooooooooo sticky, was getting it onto the cookie sheet. I should have sprayed my parchment paper a little more (and maybe should have used wax paper instead), and it might have been a little easier, but I was able to get a good enough glob on to be able to make the marshmallows later on.
I let this sit for about 6 hours to harden up, but you can wait anywhere between 3 hours and overnight if you want. Now, this is where I got into a little predicament. I couldn't figure out how to cut out the marshmallows! It was so sticky and was not cooperating with me still. So after some internet research, I discovered a technique that others have used in the past. I poured a whole lot of confectioner's sugar on the counter, laid down the marshmallow on top of it, and then slooooowly peeled off the parchment paper, using confectioner's sugar to cover the underside as I pulled it off. And then after dipping my little cookie cutter in a thin layer of vegetable oil, I was able to cut out a little heart! I then covered them completely in confectioner's sugar to seal in the stickiness.

I'm hoping these will work for their purpose, but I guess we'll have to see!

If you haven't already, start following Nichole's blog, and I'll let you know what happens with the final product of what these items were used for!

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