For the first time in years, I decided to bake cookies for the holiday seasons of Christmas and New Year’s Day. Being the crafter I am, I intensely reviewed various recipes on websites, cookbooks and my Cookie A. 2011 Sock Club packets. To say I was obsessed with making different types of cookies would be an understatement. You would think I would want to make the regular standard chocolate chip, butter, or sugar cookie. Nope – I wanted something original and tweakable for personal touches. During those crazy two weeks, I realized that many of the baking techniques and habits I formed could be applied to other areas like crafting, social media, or technology.
- Here is what I learned:
- Read first and prepare – Reviewing the recipe’s ingredients and steps can save a lot of aggravation. I have learned to pull out the precise measured amount of what is listed and placing them on the counter in line of the instructions. It also helps to make sure everything in your kitchen is ready. I remember once when I had turned on the oven and forgot there was a loaf of bread on the top rack. At least my Melting Moments were not troublesome!
- The quality of the ingredients affect the final product – The old cliche of “Garbage in, garbage out” rings true. Baking is all about chemistry. If you are going to substitute one ingredient for another, you better be sure you understand the result and how to ensure the outcome is correct. I am quite happy on the chocolate I used for Kristine Vejar’s Devil’s Delight Cookies from the Cookie A. 2011 Sock Club and I have been asked to share the recipe multiple times.
- Know which tools to use and when – My BFF bought a standalone mixer for himself years ago, and I have use of it when needed. Unfortunately for 2 days I forgot to ask him to bring it down from its high pantry shelf. Instead, I beat the wet ingredients with a whisk by hand, then would add the dry ingredients accordingly. Doing so resulted in denser cookies that tasted great but were heavy on the stomach, and hurtful to my body. Ever answer how your day was with, “I sprained my wrist while baking Mathew Rice’s Gooey Butter Cookies” to anyone?
- Never take any step for granted – When the recipe tells you to cover the inside of a pan with butter, cover every little nook and crevice you can feel. For one particular batch of Gingerbread Bars with Hard Sauce Glaze I was going to ignore this step because I was using a silicone pan. At the last minute I used cooking spray and am glad I did. Those bars would have glued themselves to my pan!
- Don’t fear the recipe – Just because you never made a type of recipe before does not mean you have to stick with what you have done or not try something new. I have never made Snickerdoodles, but when I came across the “Not Your Ordinary Snickerdoodles” in the cookbook I bought during CampKIP 2011, I was intrigued because they used white pepper as an ingredient. By doing so I created my favorite cookie yet (with some extra spices for bite). Never be afraid to use up ingredients to make your recipe because you can always get more of those ingredients later. Same goes for questioning the recipe’s instructions. If you relax and let the steps flow, follow what is stated and do not fight it. I did that for the Peanut Butter Delights from Cookie A. When I finally tasted them, I thought I had died and had gone to heaven with those cookies!
So crazy as it may seem, I learned from baking all of those cookies that I could easily apply those same principles into my crafting, work, and even my daily chores. I think I need to make more cookies though. Writing this post has made me hungry! =:8