With all the personal work, school work, Clabber Girl work and volunteer work I’ve been running around like a chicken with its head cut off. I’ve been busy before but for some reason, I’m not handling it so well this time around. Read More…
Actually, I worked in two, simultaneously: one franchise and one local. Working at the local bakery was awful (you can read all about it here, if you like). I would only do it again, if: 1) I owned the bakery, or 2) see #1.
It wasn’t all for naught. I really learned a lot (forgive my faux rhyming skills).
Just a few lessons I learned while working at the franchise bakery
1) First impressions are a real thing. Don’t be that person who didn’t immediately wash her dishes the first time around. The stigma will stick and spread like wildfire. Further attempts to be a fastidious dishwasher will be unanimously ignored.
2) Always wear the long oven mitts. Burning you forearm on a super hot baking sheet may be a rite of passage, but that shit hurts…and bulbous scar tissue is about as sexy as an adult wearing a onesie.
3) Quality is key. I don’t care if your business is “circling the drain”, baking with imitation vanilla is not only gross, it’s deceitful. Plus, if you do, you will lose the respect of your employees which is just almost as important as the quality of your product.
Perhaps, my experience would’ve been pleasant if baking orange chocolate chip shortbread were part of my duties. This shortbread is simple, but heightened by the addition of orange zest.
To obtain the most flavor from the orange zest you must grind it with the sugar, until it’s moist and fragrant. The result is a light, crispy cookie with a smooth, citrus finish. It pairs nicely with your afternoon tea or have it alone, as a bedtime snack.
And if you break one or two, don’t worry about it. I promise they’ll still be just as good.
Recipe for Orange Chocolate Chip Shortbread
Recipe for Orange Chocolate Shortbread slightly adapted from Shop Girl which she adapted from Ina Garten.
Remember me? I know, I know…it’s been a minute. Please forgive my tardiness. I just woke up from a 4 hr nap. Naps are very necessary when you’re crazy busy. Crazy busy doing what, you ask? Making cookies, man…tons and tons of cookies.
Typically, during Christmastime, people are making cookies as gifts or for general snacking purposes. I get it…’tis the season. The thing is…I bake cookies for a living so during the holidays, when I’m baking thousands of cookies for corporate parties and the like, I’m not really into making cookies for myself.
That being said, I do love the holidays and the cookie celebration it brings. If I weren’t up to my eyeballs in dough, these are the treats I’d put on my Christmas table…
One of those…just my luck, stay in bed, bag of of Oreos, watch Die Hard days?
Of course, you have. You’re a human being! Well, as luck would have it, I experienced just such a Crapfest the other day.
I don’t wanna go into details but I was feeling a bit blue. Whenever I get like that my first reaction is to eat/drink my feelings. But if I have an ounce of will power, which is rare, I force myself to get out of the house, out of my head and into my car. So I hopped into P-POS. P-POS stands for Purple Piece of Shit. Hey, it’s a term of endearment, ok!
So…I was driving along, thinking about how I can make beer and cookies go together, when I slowly came to a red light and noticed some green paper on the ground.
Now, I know what you’re thinking: How slow was this chick going?
Answer: Slow enough to know that green paper was $20.
Needless to write, I pulled over, picked up the twenty, stuffed it in my jeans and took off like my ass was on fire. The rest of a day was a blur, but I remember feeling surprised and relieved. Yes, it was only twenty bucks but that’s a whole lot of Oreos…enough to eat through my feelings properly.
In the future, if Oreos aren’t an option, I hope I will have enough energy to make this Brown Butter Pumpkin Shortbread. I’ve worked on this recipe for a minute because cakey pumpkin cookies are just not my thang. It took a few tries but I finally removed most of the water content, as to produce a crispy shortbread. Here’s how I did it.
Brown Butter. Butter is roughly twenty percent water. When you brown it, the water cooks off.
This wasn’t fun. Over the years, Mondo and I have shot a lot of cookies for Mondo’s Morsels and frankly, when it comes to photographing cookies, the creativity tank is on “E.”
The Old Days
Years ago when I first started shooting food, film was my thing. It’s almost laughable now, but I would use a 24 exposure roll and dedicate 6 shots to each setup. Film and processing was expensive so this made complete sense. If I didn’t get the shot in 6 tries ….. tough luck.
With digital, I usually dedicate 10-20 shots per setup. For this shoot, I was at 100 shots and had gone from bad to average. The cookies in the cup just weren’t working. I finally got something usable, but it wasn’t great.
When we finally moved over to the green mat with the cookies on the grate, we got it in 6. Go figure.
The lighting is the same as the Decadent Pumpkin Butter shoot. Both were done on the same day so I didn’t bother rearranging the strobes.