Dec 7, 2007

Wonderful World of Colorful Cookies Made in US !

This October, I noticed on The FCI Community site an offer for a training in a small cookies shop in Upper East Side, CBK Cookies. The owner, Cynthia, was looking for students to help her during Thanksgiving and Christmas to deal with the explosion of sales at the end of the year. I was looking for any experience to built and speed up my background in every possible field of culinary art. So twice or three times a week, I go to the shop for a couple of hours of production of cookies, from chocolate chips to walnut sugar balls, through almond crescents, pecan sandies, chocolate truffles, key lime flowers, sugar short breads, bittersweet chocolate pecan, raspberry linzer hearts, apricot sables, almond bar brittle or cat's tongue.
The work is repetitive but I was not surprised since the owner was very straightforward about this. What I was expecting from this experience was to develop speed (one of my points to improve in a kitchen...) and consistency when producing large amount of cookies, shapes and techniques... For sure, my back sometimes hurts by doing the same gestures, pull and tear, twist, roll, use of thumb for special cookies, etc... Righteousness must also be respected in following the expected grid on sheet pans.

The kitchen is very small with lots of moulds, cutters, icing tools, equipments, one Hobart which is a huge mixing machine for professional (see post about equipments in a pro kitchen), one sink and one oven. Basically, that's it ! The shop is not open to public and any client has to make an appointment. But it is apparently working well and many famous clients such as Tiffany, The Plaza and upscale restaurants shop here.

The first time I came, I was surprised by the ability of the owner to prepare dough and batter using her senses :
  • Sight, to judge that the dough is fluffy enough because of a light color
  • Ear, to judge that the dough has enough flour incorporated by the sound of it against the sides of the bowl
  • Touch, to judge that the dough is workable.

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