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INTRODUCTION When I started my blog SprinkleBakes in September 2009, I wasn’t prepared for the overwhelming response I’d receive from the food-blogging community. I’d always loved to bake, and I thought I had come up with some pretty good recipes and confections, but I couldn’t have known the blog would take me on a journey that would change my relationship with my own creativity. Or that it would lead to the creation of this book! I’d recently married Mr. Right after a whirlwind proposal and engagement, and we’d moved three hours outside of my native Knoxville, Tennessee. Now, three hours isn’t a lot, but it meant that I couldn’t commute to my beloved art gallery, which represents local artists of all stripes and is a place that inspires creativity and community. The atmosphere at the gallery had given my painting a real kickstart, and I had begun showing my own paintings there. Now that I had moved away, it was goodbye, gallery; hello, new life! Instead of canvas, I was busy painting the walls of my new home. In the months to come, my hands were busy, and I still painted pictures occasionally, but I was still feeling the creative tug. My artwork was no longer being seen, which was not as satisfying. To me, an artist creates work to be enjoyed, but my paintings were propped up against the wall in a spare bedroom. I began baking in earnest, and rediscovered the southern cuisine of my childhood. It was very much a creative release for me. As I experimented with flavors and

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x    INTRODUCTION

"Mr. Right!"

Biscuit colors in desserts, the things I’d learned studying art came back to me. This was the beginning of my journey to artful baking. I was being inspired by things I’d never considered. My creative impulses, which I feared had dried up, bubbled to the surface in exciting new ways. I found myself taking time to examine my surroundings. I was influenced by the seasons. The coziness of Christmas had my kitchen table filled with jars of port-wine jelly and gingerbread. Spring inspired tiny pink ruffled petit fours. I was further inspired by simple objects. A trip to the antiques store had me baking up vintage-inspired teapot cookies. Everywhere I looked I found inspiration. I had somehow managed to remove the creative blinders we sometimes wear while rushing around in our busy day-to-day lives. I began to focus on the beautiful things in life, and


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whatever inspiration I found I would take to the kitchen and re-create in my baking. A friend once said to me, “Beauty hides in plain sight,” and this rang truer than ever. The deeper I got into cakes, cookies, and other desserts, the more apparent the similarities of baking and painting became. As a painter, I was most comfortable working in the abstract images of Cubism. The images and colors in a Picasso painting or sculpture may seem jumbled, but they are actually quite orderly. A face, structure, or object is taken apart and reimagined from an abstract and sometimes unnatural-looking perspective. Baking and pastry are very much the same. From the structure and order of recipes, I found ways to create delicious desserts with a new perspective, pleasing every one of my senses. They looked and tasted great, and, more important, made me feel something. I love taking everyday objects or living things and reimagining them as beautiful, delicious desserts. It’s even more exciting for me to take classic desserts and turn them on their heads, re-creating them as something even more fascinating to look at and to eat. Who says red velvet cake needs to be red? And why not think of another way to present a Yule log at Christmastime than just a stump from the woods? My training as an artist gave me a new sandbox to play in as a dessert maker, and I haven’t looked back. In this book, novice bakers will find foolproof recipes with easy-to-follow instructions. Experienced bakers will learn how to use their skills to tap into their creative process, how to think like an artist: begin with the structure and rules of good baking as

your empty canvas, then let your imagination take you on a journey. My goal is to show you how to bake so that your dessert becomes the reward of your own creative endeavors and not the exact replica of a cake in a magazine or book. I will show you how a few simple lessons in drawing and painting, color theory, and sculpture can change the way you bake. Just remember: every dessert is just a draft. If it winds up looking differently from what you had hoped, chances are it will still taste pretty good, so you can eat the evidence and try again. This book is about taking confection to the next level and giving it your own unique stamp. And having fun and eating well along the way! In the words of Marshall McLuhan, “Art is whatever you can get away with.” So why not start getting away with it in the kitchen?

one of my early paintings

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INTRODUCTION   xI


QUEEN OF HEARTS COOKIES YIELD: Approximately 15 cookies

A dear friend asked me to make treats for her daughter’s Alice in Wonderland–themed birthday party. I immediately envisioned a cookie with the Queen of Hearts’ aristocratic face on it. Perhaps by making the queen’s head into cookies, I was exacting a little tableturning revenge on behalf of the queen’s court. It can take a while for the icing to dry, so plan ahead. QUEEN OF HEARTS COOKIES

K pound (2 sticks) butter, softened 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar 1 egg, lightly beaten, at room temperature 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling Pinch of salt

ICING

4 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted 3 tablespoons meringue powder K cup warm water, plus more for thinning the icing

Make the cookies: 1. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

2. In a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the butter and sugar together until just incorporated. Do not over-mix at this stage, or the cookies may spread while baking.

3. Add the beaten egg and vanilla extract. Mix again on low speed, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl intermittently as needed.

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118   LINE

K teaspoon clear extracts (lemon, orange, almond) Black gel food coloring Red gel food coloring Small white pearl dragées TEMPLATE (see page 263) EMBELLISHMENT

K cup ready-made white fondant, rolled to V-inch thick Black food writer Blue luster dust Corn syrup or piping gel Heart confetti quins

4. Add the flour and salt; mix on low speed until a firm dough is formed.

5. Turn the dough out onto a sheet of plastic wrap and form into a ball. The dough will not be sticky and should be easy to work with your hands. Wrap tightly and refrigerate for 1 hour. 6. Working on a well-floured surface, knead the dough slightly, squeezing it with your hands to flatten the ball into a disc.

7. With a floured rolling pin, roll the dough

evenly to a N-inch thickness. For perfectly even


SWEET COCONUT SUSHI WITH CHOCOLATE “SOY” SAUCE YIELD: 20 pieces “sushi”

I have long admired sushi chefs for their careful presentation and skillful execution. As a sushi enthusiast, I decided to integrate their food styling techniques into a dessert. The sweet coconut rice in this dessert can be hand-formed or pressed into a nigiri-sushi mold. Grab extra sushi platters, decorative grass, and chopsticks from your local Japanese restaurant or sushi counter for the most realistic presentation. The sauce is optional, but it pairs well with the sushi and makes a cute presentation. SUSHI

K cup sushi rice, medium grain, such as Nishiki One 14-ounce can coconut milk K cup sugar 20 very thin strips of dried papaya, fresh mango, or orange segments 5 oz. Modeling chocolate, rolled thin and cut into strips

"SOY" SAUCE

M cup unsweetened cocoa 1M cups sugar 1N cups water 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

EQUIPMENT

Nigiri-sushi mold (optional)

Make the sushi rice: 1. Combine the rice, 1 cup of the coconut milk, and N cup of the sugar in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil.

very little liquid remaining in the saucepan. Remove from the heat and allow the rice to cool completely.

2. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, covered,

1. When the rice cools, press spoonfuls into

for 20 minutes or until liquid is absorbed.

Form the sushi:

4. In another saucepan, boil the remaining

coconut milk with the remaining N cup sugar until thick and syrupy.

the nigiri-sushi mold cavities. If you aren’t using a sushi mold, place dollops of rice (about 2 level tablespoons) on parchment and form into rectangles with your fingers. If the rice sticks to your hands, fill a small bowl with water and wet your fingertips for easier shaping.

5. Pour the syrup over the cooled rice and

2. Chill the shaped rice in the refrigerator for

3. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly.

cook over medium heat until thick and sticky. When it has finished cooking, there should be

30 minutes, or until the rice can be unmolded without sticking.

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SWEET COCONUT SUSHI   159


FRUIT MOUSSE YIELD: Approximately 4 cups

Light, creamy mousse makes a stunning dessert on its own, but it can also be used as a cake filling or as a frozen treat. Use fruit purees with vibrant flavors and colors, such as mango, blackberry, raspberry, or strawberry, but be sure to strain them first to remove any seeds. 2 tablespoons unflavored powdered gelatin N cup cold water

2N cups loosely packed fresh fruit O cup superfine sugar 1N cups heavy cream

1. In a small bowl, sprinkle the powdered

gelatin over the cold water. Let stand until the gelatin absorbs the water.

2. Microwave for 10 seconds at full power or

until the gelatin has melted into a clear liquid. Gelatin can also be melted in a saucepan on the stovetop over medium heat.

3. Place pieces of fruit into a blender or food processor and puree until smooth. If you are using fruit with seeds, such as kiwis or strawberries, strain the puree before proceeding. 4. Combine the fruit puree and sugar; mix

stand at room temperature until the mixture begins to thicken, about 20 minutes.

5. Whip the heavy cream until stiff peaks form. 6. Stir the fruit puree mixture gently to

loosen it. With a large rubber spatula, fold 2 to 3 tablespoons of whipped cream into the fruit puree mixture to relax it.

7. Fold in the remaining cream until blended and there are no longer streaks of fruit visible.

8. Transfer the mousse to serving dishes and chill until ready to serve.

well. Pour in the liquid gelatin mixture. Let

A

B

A. Fold a few tablespoons of fruit puree mixture (mango, in this case) into the whipped cream with a rubber spatula before adding the remaining coulis. B. When done, fruit mousse should be a consistent color with no white streaks remaining.

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58   BLANK CANVASES


on sale May 2012 How can you make cakes, cookies, and candy even MORE appealing? Award-winning blogger Heather Baird, a vibrant new voice in the culinary world, has the answer: cook like an artist! Combining her awesome skills as a baker, confectioner, and painter, she has created a gorgeous, innovative cookbook designed to unleash the creative side of every baker. Heather sees dessert making as one of the few truly creative outlets for the home cook. So, instead of arranging recipes by dessert type (cookies, tarts, cakes, etc.), she has organized them by line, color, and sculpture. As a result, SprinkleBakes is at once a breathtakingly comprehensive dessert cookbook and an artist’s instructional that explains brushstrokes, sculpture molds, color theory, and much more. With easy-to-follow instructions and beautiful step-by-step photographs, Heather shows how anyone can make her jaw-dropping creations, from Mehndi Hand Ginger Cookies to Snow Glass Apples to her seasonal masterpiece, a Duraflame®-inspired Yule Log. • National publicity • 20-city food radio satellite tour • Features and reviews in cooking and general-interest magazines • Newspaper coverage in lifestyle sections • Online coverage targeting food and baking-focused blogs and websites

• Promotions on author website, sprinklebakes.com • Social media campaign through author platforms on Facebook (facebook.com/SprinkleBakes) and Twitter (@SprinkleBakes) • Online advertising campaign • Local author events in TN

Heather Baird is an accomplished painter and photographer whose works are in public and private collections across the United States, but her passion is creating eye-popping, mouthwatering desserts. She is a devoted practitioner of international confectionery technique who explores the outer limits of patisserie. She writes about her adventures in the world of creative dessert making in her award-winning blog at sprinklebakes.com. Heather lives in Knoxville, TN, with her husband, Mark, and a mischievous pug named Biscuit. Reviewers are reminded that changes may be made in this uncorrected proof before books are printed. If any material from the book is to be quoted in a review, the quotation should be checked against the final bound book. Dates, prices, and manufacturing details are subject to change or cancellation without notice. For more information, contact Blanca Oliviery at boliviery@sterlingpublishing.com or 646-688-2548.

May 2012 Culinary/Desserts & Sweets Paperback 7 3/8"x 9 1/8" | 288 pages (all in color) 978-1-4027-8636-5 | $19.95 ($23.95 Can) epub: 978-1-4027-9166-6 | $9.99 ($11.99 Can)

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