I have started Culinary School and I love it! I have already learned so much, and I am so excited about what I will learn in the future!
A lot of people from my church are really supportive of my passion for baking, and the ladies from the Women's Bible Study asked me to make dessert centerpieces for the bible study opening brunch! So for the past month and a half, my mom and I have been planning and shopping, and I have been perfecting the recipes for each dessert. The opening brunch was this past Tuesday, and it went great! There were (miraculously) no mess-ups or mishaps, and it went as smoothly as possible! I thought I would share some pictures with you all and see what you think! All the recipes are my own, except for the biscotti and apple dip. Everything else I created myself! If you would like any of the recipes, please comment and I'd be more than happy to share them with you.
Here I am working the night before. For three days I had been baking non-stop. Monday night I was up until 2am baking, then woke up at 6:30 to finish up! We had to be set up by 9am! My dog Buddy was a very helpful vacuum whenever I dropped anything.
Here is my favorite dessert. These are miniature chocolate cakes layered with espresso ganache and topped with buttercream frosting. I wanted them to look like little espressos with foam on top! I started by making chocolate cakes in 9 inch cake pans, and cutting out 2 small circles per cup. I filled the bottom of the cup with espresso ganache, put a cake circle, more ganache, another piece of cake, and finally piped the frosting on top.
The little espresso cake, up close. I sprinkled a bit of espresso powder on top.
Next are miniature no-bake cheesecakes. I didn't want them to be as dense as classic cheesecake, so I folded Cool-Whip into the cream cheese 'batter' to make them light and fluffy. I also added lemon zest, vanilla, and powdered sugar. The crust is a simple graham cracker crust, and there are three different toppings: Blueberry, raspberry, and strawberry. I made the sauces by pureeing the fruit, passing it through a fine sieve, and cooking the juice with sugar and cornstarch. A cheesecake close up!
These are one of my favorite creations, 'Dutch' Donuts. I used the same almond filling used to make the Dutch cookies 'Boterletters' or Dutch letters. I made a simple cake donut recipe and thickened it up with a bit of flour. Then I stuffed the dough with the almond filling and fried them, and sprinkled a bit of powdered sugar on top. I made a simple glazed of powdered sugar and milk to go on top.
Here is almond biscotti with a chocolate ganache and apple slices with a cream cheese and brown sugar dip.
There are two different kind of muffins here. Pumpkin and cranberry-apple. I also made a maple butter to go with them! Both are made with whole wheat flour and NO oil. I had to have SOMETHING healthy, right?! The maple butter was made by melting maple sugar and butter, then whipping it into room temperature butter.
Here's the last centerpiece. The top are my latest creations, Caramel Apple Tarts. I wanted to play off the Autumn theme and combine apple pie with caramel apples. The crust is a snickerdoodle cookie baked in a tart pan. The apple filling is basically an apple pie filling, only cooked over the stove, with lots of flour, brown sugar and apple cider. The bottom are mini pumpkin pies, my grandmas pie recipe just miniaturized!
Here they are after the centerpieces were moved to the desserts table. My wonderful mom made fruit spears, fruit cups, and mini cupcakes to look like sunflowers.
This is a 'Thank You' gift the ladies made me. It is now hanging in my kitchen! The text on the apron says 'Taste and See That The Lord is Good.' Which was the theme for the brunch.
I had SO much fun doing this. It was a LOT of work, but very worth it, and great experience. Next up: Engagement desserts and wedding cupcakes!