Learning to pipe

LOOK WHAT I DID!!!IMG_3005.JPG

And you can do it too!

It’s another day, sun is out, birds are chirping.  So what’s a girl to do, but bake cupcakes.

I was invited to a party and wanted to offer something different then what I usually do.  Sure, there were other cupcakes there, but I’m proud to say they didn’t look as good as mine.  And I DON’T mean that in an evil, negative way.  Just an observation that presentation really is key.  This I always new, but to see it once again was a great reminder – hence wanting to learn how to pipe.  AND NO, all of mine were not superb, but the effort was well received and I appreciated that.

So I jump in the bakemobil and headed out to a few shops to gather some supplies.  After doing some research I learned the tips I wanted were 1M, 2A and 2D of which are pictured below.   I tossed them in the cart – ‘ting’, the tips bounced against the bar.

“That’s her!” a woman whispers in the aisle.

“Is she looking at cupcake supplies?” another voice quietly observes.

I figured I needed some bags, but came across a link mentioning using zip locks. “Now may not be the time to explore,” I mumbled to myself. Figured I needed to learn the correct methods before making stuff up.

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Celebrating Black History Month…with the pastry fork

On March 1, 1892 the special version of the pastry fork was patented by Ms. Anna M. Mangin.  Designed to cut together butter and flour to create pie crusts and cookies, the pastry fork was a tool to use without involving your hands to physically manipulate the ingredients.  The utensil could also be used to beat eggs and mash other food items.

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Looks like an open slotted spatula huh?  It was be made of iron, steel, wood or any other suitable material.  The pastry fork allowed the ingredients to mix and pass through freely and was also designed to thoroughly cut and pulverize the dry pastry.

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Luckily with the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, African-Americans could finally receive patents on their inventions.  So many never gained recognition for their achievements prior.  Some never wanted to be identified, believing their nationality or sex would hinder the rise and success of their inventions.

Well, I am proud of my ancestors and their inventions, patented or not, named or unnamed.  There are so many tools we use today because of them and I am forever baking-liciously thankful 🙂

Celebrating Black History Month…with the biscuit cutter

OMG anyone who knows me knows to never eat my biscuits.  <sigh>  YES, meaning they are that horrible. I just can’t get it.  I suck at it AND I TRY SO HARD (pathetic sad face).  Oh as I lay on the floor in a big X surrounded by a variety of flours, I think to myself…why me?  Well, a few biscuits turned cookies or whatever they may be is not going to stop me from figuring it out (confident smile, yet still secretly crying on the inside).

Circling through a few readings, I decided to write about one of my many loves…biscuits!

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Noticed I said cookies.  Now in some regions outside of the US and Canada, crisp biscuits are considered cookies.  So like I said, unfortunately I’m skilled at constructing a tray of ‘cookies’ LOL Now, there are many types of biscuits. There are angel biscuits (these contain yeast), drop biscuits, rolled biscuits, short cakes, cookies and scones…of which I don’t believe in.

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Celebrating Black History Month…with ice cream

kens.jpg(photo credit: Ken’s Ice Cream Parlor)

African-American Augustus Jackson, known as, “The Father of Ice cream” did not invent ice cream, but enhanced methods of manufacturing ice cream around 1832.

Born April 16, 1808, African-American Augustus Jackson started working as a servant in the White House at the age of 12.  He worked his way up the ranks to soon become one of the top chefs.   After moving back to Philadelphia, the former White House Chef became a  candy confectioner and started a prosperous catering business.  Along with making candy, Augustus also created multiple flavors of ice cream distributing them to other venders/parlors throughout the city, but unfortunately never patented any of his work.  However, Pittsburgh resident, Alfred Cralle did have his invention patented in 1897, which happened to be the ice cream mold.  What’s my connection of interest?  I too am a native of Pennsylvania  🙂

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SOOOO much SUGAR

I’m on sugar probation for a while, which totally sucks.  Personal reasons. Therefor, I have to sit and watch everyone enjoy their evening snacks and daily treats…jerks!  (rolling eyes)  What have I done to deserve this?  It’s unfair!  Look at it, just sitting there in that glass waiting to be mixed into some concoction.  “YOU THINK I CARE!” Ok, well I actually do. <LOL>

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I’ve been down this road before.  During that time I decided to research sugar and learned there are so many kinds besides the basic white and brown.   Who knew!  There are also a variety of salts and flours that exist for our enjoyment of baking.  We’ll get to those one day.

Well, lets discuss this stuff that makes life sweet and some language that surrounds it.  When instructed to Firmly Pack your sugar or dry ingredient, tightly press the ingredient into the measuring cup.  When told to Lightly Pack, press the sugar lightly into the measuring cup while avoiding air pockets.  To Even / Level the amount, discard what rises above the top of the measuring cup while using the back of a knife.

So what sugars are out there?  To name a few, lets start with White Sugar or Granulated Sugar (sucrose).  This is the one we all know and for most if not all have grown up on.  It’s what we usually use for any and everything.  It’s the basic go-to sugar for most recipes.  I use to use this for any and everything.  I didn’t know better and thank God I grew up.  This basic sugar lacks flavor, but does its job for many other things. Continue reading