Blueberry Cornmeal Muffins - Williams Sonoma

Monday, November 30, 2009

Blueberry Cornmeal Muffins - Williams Sonoma
Blueberry Cornmeal Muffins

Since we went over quick breads and muffins in my baking class (see post about New School of Cooking Pro Baking 1 class), I wanted to practice!

Blueberry Cornmeal Muffins - Williams Sonoma
Here are Williams Sonoma's Blueberry Cornmeal Muffins. I picked up the book Williams-Sonoma Essentials of Breakfast & Brunch and this recipe appealed to me. I love love love Everyday Food's Orange Cornmeal Cake, so I thought a fruity cornmeal-y muffin would be interesting.

Go over to the Williams Sonoma website and take a look at their muffin. Theirs came out crazy good looking. Mine look like, well, just the opposite of a supermodel muffin.

Blueberry Cornmeal Muffins - Williams Sonoma
To be honest, these didn't rock my world, but I don't blame the recipe (or my curse of the blueberry muffin). I need to make them again with FINE-GROUND corn meal and fresh blueberries. I used frozen wild blueberries and I think the large size blueberries might give it a different texture and flavor. Also, I used regular cornmeal instead of the fine-ground cornmeal called for in the recipe. As my governor (who might be in tax trouble) says, I'll be back [to make these muffins again].

Blueberry Cornmeal Muffins - Williams Sonoma

Blueberry-Cornmeal Muffins from Williams Sonoma website
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma, Essentials of Baking, by Cathy Burgett, Elinor Klivans & Lou Seibert Pappas (Oxmoor House, 2003)
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New School of Cooking - Pro Baking 1 - Class 1: Quick Breads (Apple Streusel Muffins and Currant Scones)

New School of Cooking - Pro Baking Class 1
Currant Scones

I'm taking the Pro Baking 1 series at the New School of Cooking in Culver City (Los Angeles) this fall/winter. Last Sunday was the first class. I'm such a nerd that I went to Staples to buy "new school supplies"...a bright green folder to house my recipes. Yes, I have a big "L" on my forehead and I'm not ashamed ;)

Here's a little wrap up of Class 1: Quick Breads: Muffins, Scones and Quick Breads

A few people in the class are thinking of a career change, while others are doing it for fun like me. Instructor Carol Cotner Thompson starts class with a lecture about today's topic; this week, we learned about them awesome chemical leavening agents The baking soda and The baking powder. She demonstrated making a carrot cake (that we sampled later with a cream cheese frosting), apple muffins and currant scones.

Then, it was action time! In Pro Baking, each student bakes their own item, from start to finish. Half the class started on the muffins and the other on the scones. With my new Chef's Coat on, as I went about getting my bowls and ingredients... for a small moment there, I felt like I was starting a Quick Fire on Top Chef! :)

New School of Cooking - Pro Baking Class 1
First up, Apple Streusel Muffins. (I didn't ask permission to print the recipes, so there aren't listed. If I get the OK, I'll try to post them). This recipe uses a grated apple, with skin on for extra flavor. As with all quick breads, Carol stressed DON'T OVERMIX. Seriously, don't overmix. And mixing SLOWLY? Well, that doesn't help...just mix it up quickly, but don't overmix it. The instructor mixed the batter in seconds.

New School of Cooking - Pro Baking Class 1
The smartest tip ever. Use really big muffin cups so the streusel topping has a place to go. Simple and yet brilliant.

New School of Cooking - Pro Baking Class 1
The muffins baked up nicely. I enjoyed them a lot. The streusel provided a nice crunch.

New School of Cooking - Pro Baking Class 1
The cross-section of the Apple Muffin. By the way, I took the "making" of photos in class, and took these at home. We bring cardboard boxes (so the often hot food will cool properly) and tote all our stuff home!

New School of Cooking - Pro Baking Class 1
Next up, Currant Scones.
This is the time when you hold up your flour/butter mixture and ask, "Are these pieces small enough?" These were traditional scones, not the ones served in coffee houses.

The instructor, Carol, has been teaching and cooking for many years. She said that our scones at home should be way better than a bakery! Because we are making small batches by hand with the best ingredients, our scones should be better. I have a lot work to do to get there...but it sounds good to me! ;)

New School of Cooking - Pro Baking Class 1
Fresh from the oven at school!

New School of Cooking - Pro Baking Class 1
The instructor wants us to practice making that week's topic so I made some blueberry muffins and will post them later. I hope to make some scones and practice what I learned!

Next up: New School of Cooking, Pro Baking 1 Class: Custards, Bread Pudding and Ice Cream (Class 2)
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New School of Cooking - Pro Baking 1 Class (aka Baking Therapy)

Sunday, November 29, 2009

New School of Cooking

I'm going back to school!

No, not for another career change (my last one was from non-profit accounting to librarian). I'm going back to school for fun!

I'm taking the Pro Baking 1 series at the New School of Cooking in Culver City (near the Helms Bakery and walking distance (read: dangerous) to Surfas.

The class, taught by Carol Cotner Thompson is 10 weeks long and you can read about it here. I know Linda of Tender Crumb and Mary Jo of Bash! have taken the series; they also took Pro Baking 2. Both said great things about the series and instructor.

The class is $1400 - a lot for a public servant librarian! This class is my birthday gift to myself (next week! next week!!), a new TV I was going to purchase and a mini-break I'm postponing.

However, in efforts to rationalize things, I tried to break it down by the HOUR. 10 classes, $1400 = $140 per class. Each class is 4 hours...therefore, it is only $35 an hour. Way, way less than therapy, massages or a trip to Target (can you imagine how much you could blow at Target in 4 hours?! ;) And, we each got a cool Chef's Coat!

I took the class because this isn't like watching the Food Network. Each person makes their own recipe, from start to finish and the class is limited to 12 people. I'm a hands-on learner so I need to hold up my butter and ask, "Are these small pea size?"

Here's our agenda for the 10 week course. I'll let you know how my baking therapy works out! Keep watching as I blog through 10 weeks of class!
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National Bundt Cake Day - Round Up!

National Bundt Day was November 15th and sooo many bloggers celebrated this special day! You may have heard...I Like Big Bundts.

Thanks everyone for spreading Bundt love on National Bundt Cake Day!!! It is a thrill to read that my crazy little project inspired you to make a Bundt. I hope everyone continues to make Bundts year-round!

Be sure to click through to these wonderful posts. Some people have fond memories of the Bundt and many others just made one because they thought I was insane. :)

I asked people to send me an email or comment that they made a Bundt. I sincerely apologize if I missed you, and I apologize for the delay in getting this post up!

- mary the food librarian

Here is a round up, in no particular order, of Bundts made for National Bundt Day that the bloggers told me about...

Natalie of Oven Love baked a lovely Cinnamon Walnut Bundt

Wendy of Pink Stripes made a Deep Chocolate Sour Cream Pound Cake on her way to Fiji. Yes, you can all be jealous.

Liang of De Baking Psychopath made an awesome, from scratch, Nutella Overload Bundt

Nancy of The Dogs Eat the Crumbs made Blackberry Jam Bundt Cake in the cutest of all airplane pans!

Megan of My Baking Adventures made a Chocolate Whiskey Bundt. Boozing it on National Bundt Day!

My blogger friend Damaris of Within the Corners of my Kitchen created her own lovely Sweet Potato Yogurt Bundt Cake

Jessica of Singleton in the Kitchen made a trio of bundts! Yes, three Bundts! This is the Autumn Spice Bundt Cake.

Dorothy of Fuzzykoala's Caketastic Adventures made the Lady Bird Johnson's Famous Lemon Cake. Nothing like getting Presidential on National Bundt Day.

Mary Ann of Meet Me in the Kitchen made a great Buttermilk Bundt (with Butternut Squash) and Spiced Vanilla Icing. Yes, Butternut squash!

Ronnie of Raccoon and Lobster's boyfriend thought my crazy idea should be replicated for his eating enjoyment and they compromised to 7 days of Bundts. All are delicious. You must checked them is my favorite, the Meyer Lemon Bundt in a killer Bundt pan!

LilSis of Big Sis Little Sis baked up an Eggnog Spice Bundt! Delicious drink, delicious Bundt.

Ex-pat Californian girl in Connecticut Jess of Cook Book Habit made Cathy's Marbled Spice Cake

Kim of Montcarte made the Pumpkin Apple Bundt... she's from Canada so that makes this an international round up!!

Jamie of My Baking Addiction Peanut Butter and Chocolate Bundt. So pretty!

Mr. P of Delicious Delicious Delicious made a Honey Nut Bundt. Another spectacular international Bundt!

Lisa of Spatulas at Dawn made a Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bundt from Cake Keeper Cakes for another international Bundt!

Em, the Repressed Pastry Chef made an Orange Cardamom Bundt Cake. Click for the pretty pictures!

Jennie of spontaneous truth baked the Pumpkin Spice Bundt Cake in celebration of National Bundt Day!!

Elkit in Wonderland says "The Food Librarian made me do it" and made a Cream Cheese Pound cake with Lime Glaze.

Librarians and staff made the Persimmon Bundt Cake as a group project! Now that's a staff meeting I can get behind! Looks great Dennis, Irma, G, Sybil, and Nancy of Book Patrol!!

Karen of Shortbread made a fantastic Hazelnut Espresso Coffeecake. Don't you just want a slice?!

Monica of Look the Bowl Good has some Lovely Lady Bundts and made the Cinnamon Chocolate Bundt Cake

Margot of Effort to Deliciousness made this "Bundtilicious" Cook’s Illustrated Lemon Bundt Cake

Beth of 990 Square made this perfect seasonal Cranberry All Spice Bundt

Mrs. G of The Givens Chronicles made this pretty, pretty Brown Sugar Rum Bundt Cake

Alexis of My Life As I See It created this Chocolate Coffee Bundt cake with Peppermint Mocha icing. Oh, favorite!!!

Erin of The Sweet Life made this Double Pumpkin Bundt with her leftover Pumpkin Pie Dip!! How creative!

Fellow librarian Wok Through the Fire made this Chocolate Cinnamon with Mocha Icing Bundt topped with chocolate chips! Awesome!

Stephanie of Confessions of a City Eater made this cute as can be Lemon Bundt Cake

Caroline of Bake with Us made this delicious Pumpkin Apple Bundt. One of my favorite recipes!

Blogger and Mad Men friend Mary of Popsicles and Sandy Feet made this Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bundt from her favorite cookbook ever, Baked.

Sandhya of Sandhya's Kitchen baked this Low Fat Chocolate Marble Cake from Alice Medrich's Chocolate and The Art of Low Fat Desserts

Lindsey of Yummy Things made this Marbled Pumpkin Chocolate Bundt Cake with her own fresh roasted pumpkin. Yum!

Ruhama, a fellow librarian, of Librariane made this absolutely delicious looking The Best Lemon Bundt Cake!

Mrsblocko of Tomatoes for Apples used up her Halloween candy by making this Vanilla Bundt Cake with Halloween Candy Bits

April of Short + Rose made two Bundts! Such an overachiever! :) hee hee. Here is the Cardamon Vanilla Bundt.

Beth of Exploring with Beth created a Quadruple Ginger Pear Bundt...that then turns into a lovely Bread Pudding! Both look delicious!

Karna who lives north of San Francisco used her grandma's Bundt pan to make the Pumpkin Chocolate Chip bundt with her family. Karna doesn't have a blog, but baked along with me celebrating the Bundt! Awesome!

Maryanna of Taste & See made a Tiramisu Bundt Cake. Tiramisu in a Bundt...too cool!

Barbara, a fellow baking librarian made a Coconut Bundt. Barbara doesn't have a blog, but sure makes a mean Bundt!

And finally, Katrina of Baking and Boys! celebrated her BIRTHDAY as well as National Bundt Day with a Banana Chocolate Chip Cinnamon Bundt!

Again, thanks everyone for baking along with me during the I Like Big Bundts challenge as well as on National Bundt Day...only a little over 300 more days until the next one! :)

I can't wait to try some of your recipes! - mary the food librarian
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