Just bought myself a little present. Something I've wanted for a long time. I've thought about it often, considered it and then walked away without it so many times. Almost asked Santa to bring it to me for Christmas over and again. Such an unnecessary indulgence that I couldn't quite talk myself into it until now. I'm talking of course about Pastry tips!!
This particular set was in the random "stuff" section of Publix and was less than five bucks so I finally gave in and threw it in the grocery cart beside the celery, cottage cheese and yogurt. Once the decision was finally made to go ahead and buy it, I couldn't wait to get home to try it out.
I've watched those shows on Food.tv, the cupcake competitions, have you seen them? Those people at amazing! And while I have no interest in the stress of any competition I always admired how they decorated. I love watching those shows. Such creativity! And all of them, every man, woman or child, uses a pastry bag and tips. And they make it look so easy. Just a little wrist finesse and the proper equipment. Or so it would appear.
Oh I knew that I would need to practice. Probably a lot. Those people on those shows are professional bakers. And I'm soooo not. But I've already got half of this down. I make a decent cupcake. I just wanted to step up the decorations. Not that there is anything wrong with the way I've been decorating all of these years. The traditional frosting schmear is a time-honored method. But it would just be fun to have another weapon in my cupcake decorating arsenal.
So once I got home I eagerly read the back of the package and basically all it said was: wash before using and practice on waxed paper. I assumed the first part and thought the second was a darned good idea. But I was disappointed that there weren't more instructions, like which tip do you use for what effect or how do you put these pieces together? I puzzled those questions out while making the chocolate cupcakes.
Now these cupcakes are the real deal. Not out of a box. I use a recipe given to me long ago by my old friend Sandy who was one of the best cooks I've ever known. Her training is not professional but it is professional grade. Anything that comes out of her kitchen is going to be rock-star level.
Once the cupcakes were on the cooling rack I started my usual frosting recipe which came from my sister. In retrospect, I probably should have researched that part a little bit. While it is an especially yummy buttercream frosting, it's a bit thick for piping. I also dawned on me, too late, that I could probably have gone on-line to look up how to use my new toys. But, I digress.
Probably because I am incapable of baking without making a mess, I managed to get frosting everywhere, including in my hair. But I got more in the pastry bag! I worked it down to the bottom of the bag, manipulated it a little to work out the air pockets (just common sense) screwed on my randomly selected pastry tip and did NOT practice on waxed paper.
So the first six cupcakes look sort of like a weird modern art display. Dismayed but not discouraged, I reloaded the bag and tried again. The second six cupcakes looked better, more as I'd intended but with a little shakiness in the lines. It takes more coordination than I actually have to get those lines right and, as I say, the frosting was a bit too thick. But ultimately I kind of got the "hang" of it, as they say. I'll let you decide. Not too bad for a first effort, I think.
And you know what? As I suspected all along, regardless of how they may look, they tasted just fine.
Yup, this is me. Some people said, "Sam, you should write a Blog". "Well, there's a thought", I thought to myself. And so here it is.