Tuesday, September 08, 2009

The Baking Project

Labor Day has passed and we are moving all too swiftly into mid-September. I even wore a jacket to work this morning! The onset of Fall not only means cool breezes, this year. It means the end to my summer-long Baking Project.

What baking project, you may ask. Yes, I am asking myself that as well. Because I really don't think my weak attempts at baking can qualify as any sort of project. But, I feel that I must wrap up the "project" by looking back, and therefore trying to make myself feel better about the situation. Though I had many disasters, I do feel that I made at least a little progress in most areas.

To get going, I took a class. I learned that you must stick to the recipe or else you will fail. A lightbulb went off in my head: Stop substituting when baking, Calvine! Eureka!

Well, maybe not "eureka." First, I tried to make pie. I tried really hard, and though it was, well, kind of delicious, it was also pretty messy and not exactly the beautiful pie I had envisioned. So last weekend, to set things straight, I pushed aside my fears and tried again.

I used the same pie crust recipe as last time, but for some reason, it worked ten times better this time. It was easy to work with and roll out, and light and fluffy once baked. What? Could I be subconsciously learning? Who knows, but for some reason it turned out much better. Wright helped me come up with a good filling recipe, based on the fruits we'd picked up at the farmer's market - peaches, blueberries, and strawberries - and voila! Peachberry Pie, an original, successful recipe from yours truly.

Speaking of success, my most favorite baking experiment of the summer has to be the Chocolate Yogurt Snack Cakes. I stuck to the recipe and was careful in everything I did. Patience, patience. That is the key. At least in my kitchen.

I was reminded of that lesson again this evening. A little bit hungry after a smorgasbord dinner, I decided to throw together some oatmeal cookies. I used a really simple recipe, substituting only walnuts for raisins, thinking this could be a great foundation for future bake-offs. Though the dough was tasty, the cookies were, well, dry. Boring. Blah. I should have thought about how the raisins provide sweetness, and therefore I could have added some extra brown sugar or something, but, well, then I'd be straying from the recipe, and oh who knows. I'm thinking in circles now. Who knows how to save my oatmeal cookies! Who knows if I'll ever feel confident baking! The only thing to do is just keep trying. So I will.

Even if it means I am stuck eating slightly un-delicious, but still totally delicious, baked goods like these cookies for the rest of my life.

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