29 May 2008

I'm Not a Baker

So, I've come to the conclusion that I'm not cut out to be a baker.

Most of the time I think I'm a pretty damn good cook. Indian food, French, Mexican, Italian...whatever I make turns out scrum-diddly-umptious. Except.

Aaaargh! When I try to bake, I *always* screw something up. Maybe it's because it's more precise, so I have to follow directions more carefully or something?

I have to admit, I've never been super-great at reading carefully and following directions. That's why I was a terrible test-taker when I was a kid. I remember when I was really little, and standardized test time came around in school, I'd have a massive freakout because I just couldn't figure out what to do, and meanwhile the other kids were finishing up their tests and getting to put their heads down on their desks or go play outside. But all of that could have been avoided if I'd just read the damn directions more carefully.

This leads me up to last night's latest baking disaster. I decided to make these oatmeal cookies that I saw on another blog (I think it was Smitten Kitchen). I had all the ingredients laid out in a perfect mise-en-place. Toss this into the bowl of the Kitchen-Aid mixer, add a little of that, roll the dough into balls, and bake...only to find that the cookies melted completely flat instead of staying nice and puffed up, crispy on the outside and hollow on the inside.

My husband gamely tried them and insisted they were good (bless his heart!) but upon reinspection of the recipe, I realized that instead of using 1 1/2 sticks of butter as the recipe said, I had used 2 sticks. I made basically Butter Cookies, bleargh. I took them to work today and my coworkers seemed to enjoy them, especially our web guy Matt who ate probably like 5 of them. At least they're not here, taunting me with my failure. And it's not as if I can just make them again the right way--it's too expensive to waste ingredients like that and my Marwari husband Would Not Approve.

So, I think from now on I'll either try to be even more careful in reading and following directions, or I'll stick to what I do best, which is recipes that are less precise and can survive mistakes like this. However, I do plan to make one more baking attempt this weekend, this time a retro-style cake which I will write about on Saturday.


Cagey said...

I do NOT bake. I gave up years ago. I hate that you mix everything up, stick it in the oven and that is IT. You cannot add a pinch of something here and there, you cannot stir it, you cannot do anything. If it fails, if fails. Bah.

When I have dinner parties and folks ask what to bring, I cheerfully ask for desserts - which folks LOVE to bring anyway. Then, I can concentrate on the meal itself.

D. Jain said...

Aaargh, I know!! That's why I love making other things that I can tweak as I go along. Once I realized what I had done to these, it was too late and they were ruined. Baking is too scientific for me. Maybe I should make my husband do it, since he has to do careful measuring in his job so he's better at that kind of thing!