Hello! Welcome to my brand new and first ever blog! I hope to share my adventures in baking as well as my frequent bakery visits here.
Baking has always been an important part of my life. I learned everything I know from my mom, mostly how to get creative with ingredients in the kitchen. Overly ripe bananas, over grown zucchini, sour milk, my mom can find a baking solution for anything. But there is one considerable difference between our baking techniques: measuring. I guess it makes sense when she’s been baking for over fifty years, it becomes redundant to look at a recipe. The other night I was helping her make pumpkin cream cheese bread and she never looked at the recipe even though it was next to her mixing bowl. She saw me measuring out the ingredients for the cream cheese bit and said, “How cute, you measure.”
Despite my mom’s method of baking, I find that it is really difficult not to measure in baking. Cooking leaves room for creativity like a dash of salt or a sprinkle of cayenne. Then, you taste and see what it might need. But creativity can lead to some major disasters in baking. Once, I hand copied a recipe for almond crescents off of the computer completely wrong! I think I had a cup and a half of butter to half a cup of flour. My mom, being the great woman she is, knew the recipe couldn’t be right but made it with me anyway. We tried rolling out the slimy, melty, buttery dough into crescent shapes only for them to flatten into a huge square once they were baked and sitting on the pan out of the oven. My mom checked the real recipe on the computer and found that I had reversed the numbers. She helped me to add more flour and get the right dough consistency, yielding more than double the amount of cookies we needed.
There is a definite chemistry to baking that I have begun to understand lately, like not enough flour and your cookies won’t rise or over-mixing. Oh and salt in chocolate chip cookies! Salty cookies is one of my greatest fears and I can never get on board with adding this ingredient! I know salt is supposed to bring out certain flavors but I find it terrifying. If you are using salted butter, beware! Adding salt to the recipe will indeed make your cookies too salty. That being said, it is also important to trust your instincts despite what the instructions in a recipe might say. I usually fall short with this but it is something I am working on.
The theme of my blog is what I imagine to be a common struggle. You want to be fit and healthy. You exercise a fair amount and yet no change, mostly because SWEETS. Cookies. Brownies. Cake. Doughnuts. Croissants. These delightful decadent temptress treats get in your way. I attend Pure Barre 5 times a week and have for about 8 months. I try to run a few times a week. Yet, I have not lost any weight! I was recently thinking about this during the cool down part of pure barre. I sat with my legs stretched reaching my nose towards my right knee, and thought, “Mary, you have been at this for a while. You should be stretching much further if it wasn’t for this belly.” And I thought why do I have this belly?? Then I remembered, pastries. Cinnamon buns mostly.
Here I embrace my doughiness and search San Francisco for the best sweets and treats as well as whipping up a few of my own!