Sunday, December 17, 2006
What I've Learned about Baking
Sorry folks, it's been a whirlwind couple weeks and the last week in particular had me feeling overwhelmed & uninspired.
I've been doing a lot of baking. In particular, I've been working on perfecting a recipe I found and adapted for chocolate-hazelnut-cranberry biscotti.
Sadly, I just spent an hour working on a batch of dough, and it simply wasn't happening. I was in a bit of a hurry as I embarked upon this baking session and after a good long time wrestling with the dough whilst getting increasingly aggravated, it finally occured to me that hmmmm... I think I forgot to add the sugar to the mix.
I practically cried, because there was just no way to salvage the dough at this point and frankly, nothing left to do but throw the big sticky (and very expensive) mess into the trash and pour myself a glass of wine and write in my damn blog.
But let's back up. I've made several batches of these lately and when I don't f*ck it up, they turn out wonderful and are receiving rave reviews. I'm pretty sure that my friend Judith has become my devotee based on these biscotti.
Last week however, when I was making a giant double batch so I'd have plenty to give out as holiday treats, I made the mistake of having a little too much fun w/ some friends who'd randomly stopped by. I mean, it's never a mistake to have too much fun w/ friends, but it is a mistake to try to bake while doing so IF YOU DON'T HAVE A F*CKING KITCHEN TIMER! I mean geez, I have practically every kitchen gadget known to man, but no kitchen timer? Something you can buy for a couple bucks at your local drugstore?
So, that batch got burnt, and a burnt biscotti is simply not a happy biscotti.
Hence, these are the lessons I've learned about baking this week:
#1. PAY ATTENTION!!! It may seem obvious, but my frantic mind needs to be reminded. That means, follow the directions and check them off as you go, and don't be plotting world domination or thinking about how dirty the floor is or anything else. Pay attention to what you're doing.
#2. USE A TIMER!!! Baking is so much less forgiving than say, making a pot of stew. There's a lot less room for improv. When it's time to come out of the oven, it's time. Sometimes it's time even sooner than you think, which brings us back to point #1 and paying attention. Ok? Ok.
Alright, I've got a potluck to go to so I'm going to drag my sad little self back into the kitchen and I'm going to do my damndest to make a beautiful delicious frittata. Wish me luck. I think I'm going to need it today.