Looking back on my list of culinary resolutions for 2010, it looks so small and timid compared to what I actually did in 2010. I wanted to do things like make marshmallows, buttercream frosting, and switch my blog to a custom template – and instead I quit my office job, went to work for a bakery, took a 20 week pastry course, worked at a restaurant, and took a job as a pastry chef at a catering company. Not bad. Not bad at all.
My culinary resolutions for 2011 are a little simpler:
- Practice cake decorating – so I’m comfortable using the cake turnstile and can properly ice a cake with smooth sides;
- Start a farmer’s market or holiday market stand;
- Make at least one more wedding cake;
- Develop a super-awesome vegan brownie recipe;
- Work in a retail establishment (I want to learn about the retail business);
- Practice tempering chocolate – so I can successfully dip truffles without the cocoa butter separating out a day later;
- Make my own wild yeast starter so I can make the breads from Tartine Bread (a supremely awesome Christmas present from my brother); and
- Set up my Quickbooks account so I can successfully track my expenses and profit from my baking endeavors (not exactly a culinary resolution, but it’s related).
Here’s the progress I made on my 2010 resolutions:
- Homemade marshmallows. Yup. Made them. Made so many of them for my cookie boxes I can’t even count.
- Try my hand at candy making. I’m going to say yes. I made that sugar brittle stuff for the sides of Alison’s wedding cake – and I learned how to test sugar syrup for the soft ball stage with my bare hand.
- Macarons (not to be confused with Macaroons). Yes, made them for Treet several times, made them in class, and made them at home.
- Actually make a classic french buttercream frosting (yes, the one with the sugar syrup) that doesn’t dissolve into a puddle. Oh my lord, I made so many Swiss buttercreams at Treet I can’t even count. And I made Italian and French buttercreams in class and at home.
- Try various laminated doughs: puff pastry, strudel, and croissants (my last attempt, while tasty, wasn’t quite perfect). Well, I didn’t make strudel dough, but we did a whole unit on laminated doughs in my pastry class.
- Génoise. Again, I’m saying yes – we did a unit on sponge cakes in my pastry class, although we made biscuit rather than génoise.
- Take a cake decorating class – so I can finally figure out how to make the sides of my frosted cakes perfectly smooth. Man, this class is like the best thing ever for New Year’s resolutions. We did a night on cake construction – and I assisted a cake decorating class at CulinAerie as well.
- Get used to making bread and cakes using a kitchen scale (one of my Christmas presents to myself). Man, I only started using a scale a year ago? Seriously? Using it is so ingrained now that I can’t remember what it was like to only make things with volume measurement.
- Make the cake on the cover of “Rose’s Heavenly Cakes” (another Christmas present). Okay, no, I didn’t do that.
- Either take a class or regularly practice piping, since my piping skills are woefully underdeveloped. Yes! Totally did a bunch of rosette piping at Treet.
- Buy cake strips (little strips of silicone to put around your cake pans that keep the heat from penetrating the side of the pan too quickly, resulting in flatter, more uniform cake layers). Again, bought and used.
- Practice decorating cakes/cupcakes with fondant. Okay, haven’t done this.
- Finally buy gel paste (a much more color-intensive way of tinting frosting than food coloring). Haven’t done this either – although they sell them at Target and I should really just bite the bullet and get them.
- Finally go to Baked and Wired. (Still have not been!) Have been! I think I’ve been two or three times – I can’t remember, to be honest.
What are your culinary resolutions for 2011? And what resolutions did you knock off your list for 2010?