I love my homeschooling groups. We have such a nice time baking together. In our homeschooling series I let the kids decide what we bake each week. I feel like it is a good way for them to think about what they want to put in their body and what they are inspired to do. Also it gets them thinking about recipes and possibilities and some of the time crazy recipes show up that even I had never tried making before. I encourage creativity and brain storming.
Some of our cakes.
Before we parted, the kids tasted each flavor of the cakes and we discussed the difference. This is important to me, because I want the kids to become aware of flavors and mouth feel.
And if you need proof.... yes your kids do the dishes here too! :)
I can't wait for next week. We will start making Fairy houses!
Today we made petit fours.
Petit fours are sweet little cakes, decorated with a poured icing and in this case marzipan flowers.
One of the cakes the kids made was chocolate and the other one vanilla.
We filled the cakes with raspberry jelly and butter cream, cut them into 1.5" squares and cooled them in the freezer for a while so that they became hard.
Here the kids are making little delicate flowers out of marzipan that we dyed with food coloring. The smaller the decorations the fancier the petit fours look.
Very carefully the cakes are drizzled with a poured icing and then decorated.
I think they turned out really nice! Bon appetite!
I had an amazing time at Cafe Schoenleben, with Martin Schoenleben, master pastry chef, from my home town Puchheim, Germany. Puchheim is just west of Munich and he owns the last real bakery in that town. All the other bakeries there are chains and bake previously frozen Pretzels and bread rolls.
Not so with Martin! He is the sweetest man and he loves to share his knowledge with people.
Check out his blog here: (it is in German, but it's worth a look)
Here we are in front of Cafe Schoenleben:
I contacted Herrn Schoenleben before I left the US to travel to my hometown and he was all for meeting with me. I dropped by briefly to schedule a time with him (and to buy some baked goods, of course) and we quickly came to the conclusion that I needed to learn how to properly make bavarian Pretzels, or Brezen as we call them.
After a quick trip to Berlin I met him at his bakery where he had the dough already prepared and an apron and hat for me at the ready.
He got to work and taught me how to properly "throw" a Pretzel.
First he cut and weighed the dough into four pieces. (it was a lot of dough)
Cafe Schoenleben makes 300-400 Pretzels a day!
Then he flattened each dough ball and pressed them in this machine that cuts the dough into even pieces.
Each of those smaller pieces now goes through another machine to roll into these "sausages"
And then we get to work by hand.
Each of the smaller "sausages" get rolled into longer strands, approximately 60cm or 23 inches.
then each strand is thrown, by a left hand motion to shape the Pretzels. I will show in my upcoming video on how to do that.
This is what they are suppose to look like!
After letting them sit for a few minutes, we dipped them into Pretzel solution, sprinkled them with salt and baked them.
The solution we dipped them in is part Lye and part water, so it is quite dangerous and requires you to wear and apron, gloves and safety glasses.
At home we would use baking soda and water, which also does the trick. :)
And here are what they looked like when they were fully baked!
Beautiful and delicious! Freshly baked Brezen!
They were so pretty I even made my kids pose with them!
Thank you Martin! For taking the time and teaching me your wonderful craft! I will cherish it forever!
Until next time!
We had fun making these cookies and it tested our geographic knowledge. I started shaping South America and the kids thought I was shaping Africa. Then I got all confused and need to look it up.
The dough was super simple and it really doesn't need any chilling but of course you can pop the dough in the fridge if you want to make the dough ahead.
Just let it come back to room temperature before rolling it out.
SUGAR COOKIE RECIPE
3 cups flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
2 sticks butter at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 Tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla or 1/2 tsp almond extract
1 pinch salt
green & blue food coloring
Here is a template of the globe in case you need a little guidance. In our class we just let the kids come up with their own world. But it would also be a great geography lesson.
Oh my, we had so much fun today at the Women's Expo!
Bake Austin hosted 6 workshops and talked to countless ladies. The place was packed and our workshops were so popular we had them full 1 hour before each one started.
We tried making as many people happy as possible and we had 81 people take our workshops in total today. We made succulent cupcakes and I think everyone had a great time, I know I did!
I tell you what, today taught me this: "Do not stand between a woman and her cupcake!"
In my house packing lunches has become a science project.
One of my kids is really driven to eat super healthy and the other probably couldn't care less.
Neither one of them are picky eaters, for example we never had to make separate meals for the boys when they were little, they happily ate everything we served them. But now that our lives have become busier, with half of their meals consumed in a hurry, like breakfast and lunch, what I choose to feed them has become more crucial.
One of my boys is in school until 7-8pm almost every day of the week and so I need to pack him a large lunch and tons of snacks.. (Yes, I still pack his lunch- it's my little thing I have not been able t let go of).
So, I always try to find good healthy granola bars that are packed with wholesome ingredients, no preservatives, high in protein and low in sugar.
The ones that I like tend to be really expensive and so I decided to try my hand in it and it is surprisingly easy and affordable.
For example I made a batch of Chocolate, Date, Coconut bars (those are like the Lara bars that I adore)
2 cups dates = $6
1 cup almonds = $1
1/2 cup coconut = $0.50
1/2 cup chocolate chips = $0.50
2 tbs flaxseeds = $0.10
= $8.10 for 12 bars = $.067 per bar (mine are a little smaller then Lara bars, but even if you made them larger, lets say you get 10 bars out of it, it still would be $0.80 per bar.)
Here are three recipes that we like in our family:
Making puff pastry is not a small feat and especially not for a group of young girls between the ages of 8-12. Today we tackled this dough and the kids had a blast making what most adults are too afraid to tackle.
They mixed flour, cold butter, salt and ice water together with a pastry knife and then turned it out onto the table. At first the dough was a bit crumbly, but it came together quite nicely. They started rolling and folding and making a beautiful laminated dough!
We then wrapped the puff pastry in plastic and placed it in the fridge to chill for 1 hour. Then we proceeded to learn about knife skills and sliced apple finely for our next task: Apple Roses!
After the dough was chilled and the apples were heated to the point that they were soft with rolled the dough out, placed the apples on it and rolled them up.
Here is a little video the kids shot of themselves making them:
Here is one sweet little unbaked rose! :)
Here the girls made a production line: rolling out dough, cutting it into strips, filling it with apple slices and rolling it up to shape them like roses.
The happy chatter was so lovely and the smell of apples and fresh puff pastry was pretty awesome!
And here is the finished product! I have to say I think they did great and they were super yummy!
It was a wonderful day at Bake Austin and I hope you come bake with us sometime!
The other day I asked the kids if they had fun in the class, well... I could have not asked for a better review!
Tiny (miniature) Baking camps for kids
Tiny Baking Camp was super fun.
We made tiny cookies, cupcakes, pies & bundt cakes and doughnuts and also built a bunch of different display cases for them. A busy week of measuring, calculating, baking and decorating, with amazing results.
See for yourself:
Baking tiny was interesting and also very satisfying, the baking time was so much shorter, which was appreciated now that it is getting hot here in Texas and eating the tiny bites was really fun.
Each day the kids split in two groups and each group made a batch of dough/batter.
We talked about oven safety, food safety and general food handling protocols.
We also spent time building little shelves and displays with popsicle sticks and hot glue.
The kids were enthusiastic and so engaged it was such a joy teaching them.
Here are a few more images from our week:
All in all a successful week! Congratulations to all the tiny chefs! Here is to tiny baking!
Bake Austin Cookie Extravaganza summer camp 2016
Can I just say OMG! This camp was sooooo much fun! The kids were all AMAZING! So sweet and so curious and we had a blast making one American cookie per day and also one from somewhere around the world.
On day one we made:
Here are just a few of our cookies:
Iced Sugar Cookies Round #2
My name is Pascal Simon, owner of Bake Austin and author of Bake Austin Kids baking book.