Early lessons from the kitchen

Baking is my act of self-care. There are so many distractions in life, but with baking, I can focus on one thing for a period of time and create something delightful. I’ll admit that it hasn’t been all perfectly shaped cookies, so I figured I would share a few of the lessons I’ve picked up so far.

Read the recipe, repeatedly.

Seriously. I consider this part of my learning process. Even experienced bakers read recipes. Maybe one day I will experiment, but for now, it’s recipes for me!

Before you start baking

Use this as an opportunity to take inventory of the ingredients and tools you have. Are you running low on flour? Are all the necessary measuring cups clean? It’s a nuisance to discover something is missing while in the middle of baking. Reading the recipe in advance gives me a chance to figure out if I need to make substitutions or start baking sooner rather than later if the recipe has multiple parts.

During the baking process

I find checking the recipe every so often helps me stay on track. Some recipes also include tips to guide you through certain steps. Those can come in handy if you’re new to a cooking technique, like separating egg whites or proofing yeast.

Failing is a part of the process.

Sometimes things don’t work out even with a lot of planning. I’m still getting used to this and learning to laugh at it. You may be able to turn it all around if your mind isn’t already clouded with defeat.

Wash dishes as you go.

Cleaning up after baking is my least favorite thing to do. As a result, I wash dishes as I work through a recipe. This allows me to reuse dishes while baking and in the end; my tiny sink isn’t crowded with dishes. Now with the cleanup process under control, I can spend more time blogging.

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Macaroons for Mother’s Day

This was the first Mother’s Day since childhood that I planned to present my mother with baked goods a way to celebrate her awesomeness. Of course, there were one-off attempts through the years — like the ill-fated eclairs — but that’s for another post. On this occasion, I decided to make one of my mother’s favorite treats, coconut macaroons.

I know. It’s a long way from a bowl of cereal and dry toast.

Before this weekend I had not baked with coconut before, so I followed a recipe developed by The Kitchn. It was a pretty smooth experience. Thanks to many hours of binge-watching the Great British Baking Show, I confidently separated the egg whites from the egg yolks and toasted the shredded coconut like a pro! I was surprised by the slimy texture when it came time to shape the mixture into macaroons. But I guess there are worse feelings.

macaroons

My macaroons turned out slightly larger than usual, but the sizes can vary depending on a person’s preference. Just remember to adjust the baking time accordingly!

Coconut Macaroons

Of course, there were casualties. Lesson learned: always watch your oven!

failed_macaroons