Monthly Archives: May 2017

My Cookbook is Finally Here!

After more than a year and a half of hard work, my new book “Baking with Success”, is finally out and available. I am so proud of it, because the recipes are quite special to me. I have inserted personal anecdotes in the introductions of each chapter about specific recipes and  what they mean to me. Many recipes have links to my YouTube channel so that you can watch how the recipe should be made.

Writing a book is sort of like having a baby. You are creating something and nurturing it until is takes on a life of its own.

It involves lots of effort and a stick-to-it kind of passion that never sleeps. When I am working on a book I leave paper and pen by my bed so I can jot down a recipe idea that may come to me during the night.

There is not a huge amount of text in a cookbook, but there must be clear and concise methods and procedures that anyone can follow. This can be a challenge to say the least. One example was when I was trying to write out the directions for a lattice topped peach pie. After I wrote out the procedure and steps for the recipe I had my husband (a non-baker) try to follow them with strips of paper to resemble real strips of pie dough. Needless to say, my husband would now be able to make a lattice topped pie. He may not be willing, but he sure is able!

There were several versions of the book, and after writing the last iteration, I was finally happy. After re-working the text, re-writing the recipes, making oodles of tweaks and changes to those recipes and finally making each version over and over the book was complete.

At one point I had so many baked goods that I had to keep giving them to friends and family. I always know when I have had enough versions of my baked goods when my family says things like “molten chocolate cakes, again?!” Really?

If you are a baker or know someone that is, check out my book which will, also, have an e-version, with links to my YouTube videos, in just a few weeks as well.

Happy Baking!

Chef Gail

Getting Ready for Baking Camp

Every year around this time, I am hard at work planning my Summer Kids Baking Camp. I have been teaching these mini week long baking courses for kids in middle school to high school for over 16 years!

Although it is lots of work and takes oodles of patience I LOVE IT! I meet all sorts of kids from different geographical areas. Some of the kids are quiet and some not so much. However, once the quiet ones start feeling comfortable watch out…

I am excited about this summer’s first week. We begin the week with home made marshmallows. They are super simple to make and the kids love taking them home to make S’mores with their parents. I even put a home made S’mores recipe in my new cookbook, “Baking with Success” with graham cracker cookies that you make from scratch.

Some marshmallow recipes start out with a meringue using egg whites that have a boiling sugar syrup beaten into them with a bit of gelatin. And some recipes just use a lot of unflavored gelatin instead of the meringue with the boiling syrup beaten in as well. Both ways work well and taste great.

I know what you are thinking. Why don’t we just use store bought marshmallows?Well, buying them is no fun, and I find that kids love to explore how to make an item that seems so hard to do and yet is not. When they see the food science of how air can be beaten into egg whites, or gelatin, and then stabilized by using the gelatin itself, it becomes an edible science experiment. The kids are amazed that they actually made something that they never thought they could.

If you are looking for a fun and educational activity for your middle schooler or high schooler this summer, please look into my Professional Baking Course for Kids at Schenectady County Community College.

Remember to never take the simple things in life, like marshmallows for granted!

Happy Baking!

Chef Gail

 

Baking Out of Bags

I am getting down to the wire now, emptying out all of my cabinets and drawers for the BIG re-do of my kitchen. It really isn’t pretty with bags and boxes all through out the house.

Yet amidst all the turmoil, I am still finding a way to bake right up to the day of demolition. I must be crazy. Why do I do this to myself? I know why– because baking calms me down and is like a relaxing yoga-like exercise for me. Really? Really.

So today, I have decided to stockpile my freezer with homemade good-for-you muffins that my family and I can have in a pinch when there is nothing to cook or bake on during the re-do. Continuing to bake in these conditions causes other upsetting issues, I can tell you right now. Such thoughts run through my mind like: where exactly did I pack the baking powder or the salt? Where are the muffin pans?? I almost feel like a lab rat in some weird memory experiment. Hint to self: packing together what was originally in each cabinet really helps you remember where things are in each bag.

Baking must REALLY be RELAXING for me if I am willing to go through this, or like I stated before, I must really be cray cray.

I will leave you with this thought: baking out of bags is better than NOT baking at all!  At least for me. Six days until demolition.

Happy Baking!

Chef  Gail