There's been a lot of experimentation going on in our kitchen and the oven that I thought was too much for us has certainly been earning it's keep. Of course, now we wish we'd bought the bigger one, with another set of burners and a double oven. Someday.
Until then, I'll keep making messes in my kitchen and improving my skills.
Why I love baking so much, I'm not really sure, since I'm not particularly fond of measuring anything.
But there's something about heading into the kitchen first thing in the morning, making a cup of coffee and then mixing up something delicious.
A tasty baked good, whether it be a warm cookie, a muffin, coffee cake, whatever, has some kind of cozy, homey feeling to it. And being able to make that for myself and for others is a kind of fulfillment all on its own.
Lately, I've been repeating a few of my favorite recipes to perfect them and am planning on working up to hard things like macarons.
Obviously there's skill and technique involved, but there's also a simplicity to baking that results in something utterly delicious and it's some kind of nourishment for the soul.
It's also one of my favorite activities to share with girlfriends on the weekends, especially during the colder months. We're planning a holiday baking party/cookie swap and it's probably one of our best ideas yet.
That said, I've been meaning to bake all week and haven't quite gotten to it yet. But, today, I'm on a date with my oven.
Likely menu items? My current go-tos: Blueberry Buckle Coffeecake that I add cranberries to (photo at the top) and these delicious cookies from America's Test Kitchen that I'm working on perfecting, photo below. The coffeecake is a huge hit with city cops and firefighters and the cookies have been pretty popular too, though they haven't turned out particularly chewy each time I've make them. Pumpkin bread is also a definite, that's a popular one that even served as sustenance to cops while waiting on a bad guy to come out of hiding during a stakeout. So obviously, it's a winner.
Worst case scenario, I waste a bunch of flour and sugar, which isn't ideal, but far from disastrous. Though the pantry is crammed with baking ingredients now, except for when M polishes off a bag of chocolate chips I was saving for the next batch of cookies.
Just looking at these photos is making me hungry, so I think I'm going to hop back into the kitchen and get to baking.
And in case you're looking for a holiday baking movie, I recommend A Cookie Cutter Christmas from Hallmark. It's adorable and fun background entertainment while baking,