Baking Frustrations and Baking Wins

Last week, I posted a link on my Facebook page regarding tips on how to bake for beginners. I mentioned that I’ve wanted to learn how to bake because I feel that I am not a well-rounded cook. I can easily cook something with only a few ingredients and spices. However, whenever I try to bake anything that involves flour, it doesn’t turn out well. I think my lack of baking knowledge may be because I used to bake more when I lived in the United States. Last year, I didn’t bake at all.

When I lived in Longyou, I had a rice cooker, microwave and a hot plate. It wasn’t much but I learned how to make it work. At times, it was difficult and frustrating not having the equipment I needed to improve dishes, but I don’t regret that experience. Now, I kind of have a standard kitchen complete with convection and a gas stove with two burners. Yay!

Since I posted the article, I’ve been baking consistently. It’s been very challenging and a little tiring. Baking is so precise. A little too much baking powder can change the makeup of a cookie. Some things turned out well, even better than I expected, but other things were quite disappointing. My first baking fail were chocolate chip cookies. The taste of the cookie was good, but I used a too much baking powder. Instead of being cakey, they were crumbly. They literally broke apart in the bag. I was disappointed but I knew how to make the next batch better.

Following the crumbly cookies was a dented mini Bundt cake. I went to the baking store with my friend and I saw the cutest Bundt pan. It was small and perfect, so, of course I bought it! I brought it home and looked up a recipe for a Bundt cake. I adapted the measurements to the size of the Bundt and everything. When I began to pour the batter into the pan, I thought that there may not be enough butter and flour in the pan. I found out that there definitely wasn’t. The cake stuck to the sides and was misshaped. I wasn’t very upset about my dented Bundt, but I was a somewhat disappointed. Yet again the flavor of the cake was good but I wouldn’t call it a Bundt cake.

The last fail was a fail at first, but, in the end, I turned things around. I burnt Christmas cookies. I know it’s a little early to start baking cookies, but if I want to get more blog traffic, I need to develop recipes ahead of time. I made very buttery chocolate cookies. I came in with no expectations, but was pleasantly surprised by the dough. The dough was very soft and wasn’t too sweet. It had a perfectly balanced cocoa flavor, kind of like a cup of hot chocolate. After cutting the dough into Christmas trees, I placed them in the oven. About ten minutes later, I smell something burning. At first, I thought a few crumbs were at the bottom of the oven. I took them out at the fifteen minute mark, let them cool for two minutes and tasted one. It tasted so burnt. They were inedible. Later, after a breakdown over my blackened chocolate cookies, I realized that I not only had I baked them for too long, but I had made the cookie too thin. I ended up rolling the dough and putting it in the fridge for a few hours. I decided that I wouldn’t let these little cookies win, so, I sliced the roll and baked them for ten minutes. I topped them with a mixture of powdered sugar and cinnamon. The cookies came out perfect! They were soft and the cinnamon complemented the chocolate.

Despite some ups and downs, I still enjoyed baking. My fails made me want to learn more about baking. This week, I’m going to attempt to make a cake and a cranberry and orange loaf. I hope everything turns out well and that I remember to take pictures of my food.



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