This past Saturday Lana and I took a baking class. It was held at Sur La Table and the menu consisted of, in their words, "flaky potato dinner rolls, classic lemon bars, parmesan-herb popovers, double-vanilla pound cake with rum-ginger glaze, feta, roasted red pepper and thyme muffins, and pumpkin spice cake with maple-cream cheese frosting." What we actually did differed slightly. We ended up putting a chocolate ganache on the pound cake rather than the ginger glaze (but we did put rum into the cake) and with the savory muffins we used basil rather than thyme.
So the first thing we made were potato rolls. They were really good and I really liked taking the squares of dough, pinching in the corners, and rounding the opposite side to make them into pretty roll shapes. I didn't like when someone asked how to serve them and when another lady asked what you do if you don't have buttermilk. That's when Lana and I looked at each other and said "You go to the store and get some."
We made lemon bars but I seriously think that our instructor was trying to reinvent the wheel with these. And predictably, it turned out terribly. I used to make lemon bars with the girls I nannied when we wanted to bake and there were no ingredients in the house. You pretty much need flour, sugar, and lemons. Okay, there are a few other things but not many. I've made lemon bars a thousand times and they're super simple. Somehow ours turned into a ridiculous mess. Lana and I each took a bite and while not terrible definitely not pretty.
The parmesan herb popovers were delicious in my opinion. They took a little longer to cook so we had to wait about five minutes after class to eat them. By then I had forgotten to take pictures and my mind was solely on acquiring more snacks. My stomach is growling just thinking about them.
Our pumpkin cake was my all time most favorite thing in the entire world. I pretty much want to eat it every single day of my life. Everything about it was perfect, it was simple to make, and it was incredible. We topped it with walnuts which added this wonderful sort of roasted taste to it.
Our roasted red pepper and feta muffins were another of my favorites although I think I would have done them with a cheese more apt to melt. Feta just sort of stays dry. I also would have added some ground black pepper to give the dough a little more flavor. I think next time I try these I'm going to make them with rosemary and brie.
So, we made this vanilla pound cake with chocolate ganache and it was pretty much the worst thing I've ever tasted. It was only my inclination to be a somewhat together young woman that kept me from spitting it out when I tasted it. If I had to explain it, it was like taking a bite of baking soda. Gross. But it was pretty.
As much as I have loved cooking classes at Sur La Table I wasn't so into the baking one. I learned a couple things I suppose but overall I feel like baking is about following directions, and that's not so hard to do. I did enjoy eating all the treats though! Except for that one.