Independent-Learning Project: Expanding my baking and cooking horizons!

Published January 25, 2015 by ashleymelvin34

For my independent-learning project, I really want to expand my cooking and baking skills. Why did this come to mind out of all the other millions things I could have done? When you are cooking/baking you must have the patience to follow a recipe and hope that the food turns out just right. It is also a learning experience every time you try to cook/bake something. It will never fail something will go wrong and you will have to salvage what you have and keep pushing on. I also want to do this because it requires some what of a dedication and love to cook/bake. Of course you can cook/bake even if you do not have either of those passions but when those passions are present you enjoy it more and it does not seem like it a hassle. These are also three things that I want when I am teaching a class. I want to the patience to deal with my students and not get to overwhelmed, never let them see you sweat right? It also takes some what of dedication and love for what you do. Again you can teach without these qualities but it would just dull and pointless! Teaching is also a learning experience, you literally will learn something everyday. Whether it be something that you know not to do again or something that worked really well.

When I started on this process of what I wanted to do I realized that cooking and baking are a passion of mine. But I feel like I have not given it the dedication and time it takes to perfect it. I also think that I skate by with the bare minimum and do not really expand my horizons. My family literally eats the same things every two weeks. This is when I realized we need variety, we need something to shake it up! Here lies this adventure that I am about to take with cooking and baking. I want to learn how to frost and decorate cakes. I want to learn how to make different recipes using things that I have never cooked with before. I also want to expand out of the normal food Americans eat on a daily basis. For Christmas and Thanksgiving this year I decided I wanted to make the desserts for dinner. I expanded outside of my horizon and made a cheesecake and not it was not a box one (although my husband loves though) it was homemade and from scratch! That was the beginning to creating a monster almost. I just recently made my sons second birthday cake with my mother in law and it was so much. So here is to a new journey and learning the three things that will eventually help me when I get to my own classroom. white chocolate cheesecake dog cake


I used pre-made caramel sauce

10 ounces graham crackers, crushed into crumbs
7 tablespoons unsalted butter

Cheesecake Filling
3 8-ounce packages of cream cheese, room temperature
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream
8 ounces good quality white chocolate, chopped
5 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch salt

boiling water
Pre-heat the oven to 375°F. Combine the graham cracker crumbs with the melted butter and press into the bottom and 1 1/2 inches up the side of a 10 inch spring form pan.
Bake for 10 minutes and then allow to cool completely on a wire rack.
Reduce the heat to 325°F and prepare the cheesecake batter.
Place the chopped white chocolate into a heat safe bowl and set aside. Bring the 1/2 cup of cream to a simmer over medium heat in a small sauce pan. Pour the hot cream over the white chocolate, jiggle the bowl to submerge it and allow to stand for one minute. Stir the chocolate gently until melted completely.
In your mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese until smooth and lump free. Add the sugar and mix, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
On medium speed, slowly add the white chocolate ganache. Once combined you can add the eggs, one at a time, beating on low speed until each egg is incorporated. Once you’ve added all the eggs, mix in the vanilla and salt and pour into your prepared pan.
Set the pan onto a couple large sheets of aluminum foil and smooth them up the sides of the pan to waterproof.
Set the cheesecake into a large roasting pan and then place in the oven. Pour the boiling water into the roasting pan, filling to about one inch (no higher than the lowest edge of aluminum foil). Allow to make at 325°F for one hour then reduce heat and bake at 300°F for an additional 60-90 minutes until the center is just set.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely on a wire rack. Once cool chill for at least 4 hours before serving.
To glaze, gently warm the 1 cup of the caramel sauce on the stove or in the microwave until slightly runny and then pour onto the cheesecake. Smooth the caramel over the cake and you’re ready to serve.



8 comments on “Independent-Learning Project: Expanding my baking and cooking horizons!

  • Cooking is a great idea! I’ve worked as a cook for about 8 years now at a restaurant, and still am very bad at cooking within the home. Unfortunately for those around me, they become guinea pigs with whatever I feel like throwing together. I think it’s awesome that you’re putting together a very practical skill set, one that you can use for the rest of your life.


  • I love to cook and bake as well–and I get SO bored with the same recipes, the same meals. Sometimes I can’t for the life of me remember anything good that I’ve ever made. I’m excited to learn from you as you learn new things and figure out how to organize your family’s meals.


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