I have this sweet tooth, which would totally explain the reason I keep having teeth pulled out of my skull, but I digress. I’ve been on this baking kick lately. Truth be told, I have always wanted to be one of those bakers who can make these fantastic cookies, pies, cakes and breads that look photo worthy and taste even better, but I never became that. If anything at all, I am a cook. Baking is scientific, never been my best subject. Cooking though, is a feeling — it’s intuitive. The precision behind baking has always made me nervous because I do not like measuring anything. I know when I have enough of something or not enough by the taste, the texture, etc. In fact I’m fairly positive that my kids will want to bring me back to life long after I’m dead, just to strangle me to death because they won’t understand what a pinch of this, smidge of that, dash of this and slip of that means, in all of my recipes.
I learned to make pies when I was a teenager, thanks to a then boyfriend’s mom teaching me, but that’s all I knew how to bake. Many moons later I tried my hand at making lemon squares and that was my new go to dessert for a while, mostly because I am obsessed with all things lemon. But the first time I got cocky enough to make cookies, I followed the recipe to a T and came out with these chocolate chip biscuit-like discs that tasted mainly of flour and could’ve knocked someone unconscious had I thrown one at them. I decided then to stick to cooking and leave the baking to the patisseries.
Well the baking bug bit me a while back and this time I couldn’t let some pathetic, brick-like cookies muddy my determination to make a kick ass dessert. In this small town of mine that I love dearly, there is nowhere for my family and I to go to get the type of foods and decadent desserts that we have grown so accustomed to while having lived in a big city. Forget decadent, I can’t even get a bagel here! It’s torturous sometimes, living in a small town. Months back I just wanted a rich, chocolatey cake that I have had no luck in finding anywhere in town. I wound up shaking off my nerves and trying out an interesting recipe that turned out to be the best devils food chocolate cake that I had ever tasted in my life! I made the cake and the equally killer chocolate fudge frosting, from scratch and was in total shock that I could make something that good on my own. If someone would’ve told me years ago that one day I would make a cake from scratch that would make me want to slap my mama, I would’ve slapped them instead. It did however give me the confidence needed to try my hand at giving it a go with the cookies that I had always failed miserably at making before.
I’ve now made chocolate soufflés, cinnamon rolls, pies, cakes but was still really shy to make a freakin cookie. Baking has become therapeutic for me. It’s not so much eating the sweets, it’s this kind of calm mindfullness I feel while I’m baking and even cooking, that makes it insanely addictive. Because baking has become such a cathartic experience, cookies became that one character flaw that I just couldn’t work my way through. Being not so crazy about giving up when something seems hard, I went on a recipe scavenger hunt. I found some delicious looking recipes and gave ’em a shot. With each test batch that came out right texturally, I decided I was ready to throw in my cooking know-how and experiment with flavors and such.
Yesterday I baked the best cookies I might have ever made. That may be a bit of an overstatement – I think the double chocolate chip cookies were amazeballs, but these were right up there!! I took a basic brown sugar cookie recipe and added orange zest, cinnamon, ground ginger, nutmeg and ground clove and dried cranberries. I also added almond extract to enhance the citrus flavor of the orange zest. What came out of tasted like spiced heaven. They were FANTASTIC!
So yeah, now I feel like I can claim the honorary title of baking badass… Well maybe that’s too far. Let’s just say SOMEONE doesn’t cry at the thought of making chocolate chip cookies anymore! That’s a huge step! If I could just learn the art of decorating I may have a potential business on my hands, but I lack the artistic flare needed and don’t really care to find it. At least everything tastes good, right?! I’m now out of flour, eggs, butter and sugar and the itch for a fix is killing me, guess I’ll have to take up needle-pointing now…