Friday, January 25, 2013

Baking


I’ve often been called an overachiever.  I don’t disagree.  Now that life has calmed down somewhat, I find myself looking for new things to take on (an Ivy League MBA, for example).  Some things, however, remind me that despite my high “D” (DISC profile) and my type-A personality, I’m really a lazy bum.  Baking is one such activity.

Baking is culinary arts for the lazy. 

The girls and I bake cookies most weekends.  It’s one of those things that breaks up the day and keeps Saturdays fun.  Ivy and Iris are most excited about licking the beaters, so sometimes, I’m on my own.  I almost NEVER start and finish in one sitting.  First, I get out the butter to let it soften.  Now, I’m committed.  Once the butter is out, it can’t be put back in the wrapper without serious complications.  Even so, I can’t possibly mix the batter with cold, hard butter, so I find a nice Law & Order marathon and settle in for an episode or two.  Next, the sugar.  Easy enough and can be done in a standard commercial break.  I might even break the eggs into the bowl…and unless those are room temperature too, I might as well watch another episode or the butter will harden up again. 

Forty minutes and one verdict later, the vanilla, baking soda and salt are blended in and by the time the “glung glung” is signaling the start of the next episode, the flour and chocolate chips are mixed in as well. 

A couple of years ago, my dad sent me an article that discussed different things making cookies (specifically chocolate chip) turn out better:  dropping larger cookies, sprinkling coarse salt on them before baking—things like that.  My favorite “tip” was refrigerating the batter for up to 12 hours before dropping them.  That would easily take me to the end of the marathon (most of the time—TNT and USA can be a bit obnoxious with Law & Order). 

When I finally do get down to the business of dropping cookies, I get a full 9 minutes of crime drama in between cookie sheet swaps.  It’s silly, I know, but the same methodology can be easily used for cheesecakes, layer cakes and even bread.  For example, I make a chocolate explosion cheesecake that bakes in layers—six to be exact.  Each layer has to be fully cooled and sometimes frozen before the next layer can be baked.  It takes DAYS!  But I never find myself rushing through baking or taking shortcuts—I’m just well rested in between steps.

Whether you like my method or not, I’ve never had any complaints about my cookies, so I say, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!

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