I was particularly anxious and excited about Week 7. Week 7 is when we were set to learn about cookies, as well as the week where we had our first deliverable: the bake sale box delivery.
First, who doesn’t love cookies? Something that’s easily portable, small, and sharable? They are one of the main reasons why I wanted to learn more about pastry! Needless to say, I was pumped to learn more about cookies and to try out a bunch of different recipes. One of the biggest lessons from the cookie portion of the week was that the bake of your cookie (ie: what surface you bake it on, what temp you start the dough at and what temp you bake it at) is a huge part of how your cookie turns out. We took a simple chocolate chip recipe and baked it a bunch of different ways: double sheet pan, parchment, silpat, mounded, flattened, room temp, cold, etc. Each one came out differently. Chocolate chip cookies are super personal and everyone likes them different. This really demonstrated that to me.
In terms of which cookies I made, I tried my hand with the ones above which were double chocolate orange buckwheat and brown butter blondies, as well as the ones below (Linzer cookies and chickpea crackers). There were also some snickerdoodles and ginger jumbles in there too. It was really fun to try a bunch of new cookie recipes with different flavors and techniques in them. The Linzer cookies have cooked egg yolk, and the chickpea crackers use chickpea flour and cayenne. By the end of the few days, we made a massive amount of cookies and brownies, and had a lot to pick from for our Bake Sale Boxes.
Bake Sale Box
The Bake Sale box delivery is one of two deliverables in the Pastry program. We had to have 25 boxes, full of nine items, ready to ship by 10 am on Friday morning, and we started working on these boxes Wednesday morning when we planned the menu.
For the menu, we got to pull from the list of things that we had been working on through the past few weeks. Our goal was to have a good variety of items, making sure it wasn’t heavy on particular things (not too much chocolate, fruit, nuts, some savory). We landed on the following:
- Our Class Granola, which we had been working on developing for weeks
- Raspberry Rose Pop Tart
- Peanut Butter Buttons
- Coconut Macaroons
- Whole Grain Sables
- Double Chocolate Orange Buckwheat Cookies
- Ginger Jumbles
- Almond Cakes
- Chai Truffles
I went into the week super anxious about getting it all done, but I ended up really enjoying the entire process. Mainly because it ended up being a combination of project management and baking: there was a list of tasks, each task needed to be broken down into smaller tasks, prioritized, and crossed-off. It was a fun challenge knowing exactly what we needed to get done, and thinking through the correct order and tradeoffs in priority. This felt like a good example of what it might be like to be in an actual bakery.
This was also a fun lesson in scale. Previously, when we were testing out the granola recipe, we were making a batch that served one person. We then needed to make a batch large enough that would provide 25 decent sized bags for each box. For something like granola, it’s an easy conversion up. For other recipes, the ratios can get wonky and you have to be careful about it. You can see here how much granola we made for this.
By Friday morning, we were happily sealing up and putting together the boxes. Fortunately, there were no major mishaps – no dropped sheet pans, burned cookies, improperly tempered chocolate. It all came together and everything looked adorable in their packages. They went out the door to their lucky recipients and we got to spend the rest of the day decorating cookies, which holy crap – I never want to do again. For those that do intricate royal icing designs, my respect goes to you for the patience and talent you have in your craft.