Yeah…..Baking……just not my thing.
I’ve never been big into baking. I love to cook. I don’t like to bake. I think I figured this out sometime in my teen years. I have been cooking since I was about 10 or 12 years old. I enjoyed “experimenting” in the kitchen. One of my first “culinary inventions” was when I was heating up some Chef Boyardee Ravioli or Beef-a-roni for lunch. I instinctively knew that it “needed a little something.” I went through the spice cabinet, and found some Italian Seasoning…..sprinkled some in….stirred. Voila! And then, I added some Kraft Parmesan Cheese on top. What an improvement!
With cooking (vs. baking), there is so much more lee-way. You can add, deduct, switch ingredients, substitute, etc. Rarely do I “mess up” a recipe, because I have a good foundation of cooking skills and have a pretty good understanding of what-goes-with-what.
However, Baking is a whole different beast for me. From my early attempts at baking, I learned that recipes have to be followed to a T. Exact measurements had to be used. Skip an ingredient, or short-change one, and the outcome could be a complete flop. And I have learned that the hard way—-more than once. Flat cakes. Hockey puck scones. That is one of the reasons that I have a standing rule that if you are invited to my house for dinner, it is BYOD….Bring your own dessert.
I write all this as I just completed a major baking-blitz in my kitchen. Each Sunday, a member of our church volunteers to host “Coffee Hour.” The host brings in cake or cookies or crackers or bagels. It doesn’t have to be home-made; store-bought is fine. After going to our church for the last 3 years (not every Sunday, mind you), we figured it’s time to “Give Back” since our 3 boys LOVE the goodies brought to Coffee Hour.
Yes, I just said store-bought items are fine. But that’s just not me. I clearly have the time and energy to (gulp) B….A….K….E. (plus, I have all those apples…..). Between yesterday and today, I have baked 12 banana muffins, 18 apple muffins, 18 wild blueberry muffins, and 3 dozen chocolate chip cookies.
I’m happy to report that the banana and apple muffins came out great. The banana muffin recipe is a FOOL-PROOF recipe from my SIL. One time I screwed up one of the ingredients royally (sorry, I don’t remember my mistake), and the muffins came out fine. The apple muffin recipe is pretty simple and straight forward too. However, I’m not digging my blueberry muffin recipe. And I did an online search, and all the blueberry recipes I’ve come across are very similar. They are not bad, but they could be better.
How about the CCC? Well…….I need help on this. I swear that my CCC’s never come out the same way twice. I ***ALWAYS*** use the recipe on the back of the Toll House Chocolate Chips. Once, the batter was too thick. “Clearly this can’t be right?” I thought…wanting to add some liquid. Once it was too crumbly. Last time I made the cookies (about 3 weeks ago), they seemed lacking in taste to me. Was it because I used light brown sugar (vs. dark brown sugar…..is there a difference besides color?!?!) and I may have been short on the vanilla. This time, the batter was RUNNY. I added an extra 1/2 cup of flour….still runny. I don’t care…..I’m baking them anyway. Well, the cookie tastes awesome. They came out like thin pancakes…..there was barely any cookie-dough on the bottom…..just TONS of chocolate chips. But the color and flavor was right, so I kept on baking.
After the last 6 cookies came out of the oven, I looked at Hubby and told him that I have exceeded my baking quota for the year. I might make one more apple pie…..just to use up more apples…..but I’m done. Bring on Thanksgiving dinner…….