Thursday, July 5, 2012

Behind the Blog: A Sweet New Skill


Behind The Blog is a meme to help bloggers connect their life and interests to the content showcased on their blog. The co-hosts Faye Kathe and Melissa will provide a different topic, idea, or question every week that bloggers can relate to themselves and the books, films, or media they find interesting!

This week, because we want you to have a little freedom with this, we’re having a FREE CHOICE week. This means that you may write about whichever topic you want to! Want to talk about a topic you missed? Go ahead! Want to discuss a topic you’ve been waiting to appear? Get on it!. Be free with it.
Also, if this works well, we will have more free choice weeks in the future and would love your feedback, so please e-mail us any thoughts or questions you have

I had a hard time thinking of a topic for today's post. I don't want to ruin any possible future topics, so I sat here ruling out things that I wanted to save for future weeks for a long time. But, then I decided that even if I write about something that ends up becoming a topic later I can always just write about a different aspect of it.

The topic that I wanted to talk about today is baking. Specifically about my (semi) new passion for it. There aren't a whole lot of domestic/crafty things that I think of myself as being really good at, but somehow baking has become one of those.

I don't even remember what started me on baking, though the more that I think about it a big factor may have been reading the Friday Night Knitting Club series.

Sometime about two years ago, I started baking. Mainly just different types of muffins at first. Since then I've done a couple of cakes, cookies,  biscuits, cornbread (Dearran's favorite of the things I make)  and cheesecake.

I'm by no means a master, I'm just glad when whatever I make comes out tasting good. My favorite item to bake is still muffins, because they're relatively easy to make in general and also easy to experiment with. The most unusual combination I've done was probably strawberry peanut butter muffins. They came out okay but they were quite dense just because peanut butter is a bit heavy to work with.

I really enjoy the process of baking. Even though in baking you're really supposed to follow the recipes to the letter so you don't mess up the chemistry between the ingredients, I am almost always adding things, or making substitutions. 

I love trying new combinations and trying to make something with what I've got on hand.

It's actually a bit funny/ironic that I enjoy baking so much because I don't like cooking. They're practically the same activity, but ask me to cook and I'll not want to. Ask me to bake something and I'm all for it. Weird huh?

Not all of my baking attempts have been successful though. I'm not all that good at making cookies, because shaping them is really difficult for me. I think it's just that I haven't found the right recipe for them yet. My worst baking blunder actually involved cookies.

For some reason I decided that I wanted to use up a big heart shaped block of chocolate that I'd had sitting around for too long. I cut it all up and decided that I wanted to try to make some sort of double chocolate cookies with it. Well, silly me, I figured I could just melt the chocolate and use it in the recipe instead of cocoa powder. Well, no, you can't do that.

Needless to say, the cookies came out as flat, semi chocolate tasting, brittle cookies. But hey, you live and learn right?

What about you, do you like to bake? Cook? What's your favorite baked good?

Books that deal with baking:
  • The Friday Night Knitting Club series by Kate Jacobs: The main character's daughter starts out making treats for the club meetings and having the members be her taste testers.
  • The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender: This was a very unusual book. It has to do with food more than baking but one of the main events deals with a birthday cake.
I know that there are probably some really good films that deal with baking too, I just can't think of them right now. 

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Anonymous said...

Man, reading this has made me want to bake. To the point where my mouth is watering and I neeeed coookies. Or muffins. I so agree with you - muffins are the best for experimenting with. Strawberry peanut butter muffins, ay? Do you have a favourite that you've done?
I don't mind cooking or baking (that's funny that you like to bake but not to cook!), but I tend to stick to relatively simple things that I know. I'm not very adventurous. And when I cook/bake, it's more like "a dash of this, a handful of that" rather than "one teaspoon, one cup". My younger brother, the one who's two years younger than me, is a fantastic cook. And he does fancy stuff, beautifully presented. Complete opposite to me.

Kimberly Lewis said...

That's really neat, Melissa:) Talking about those muffins has really put me in the mood for one, lol. I use to love baking but it kind of became a chore and I'm not so crazy about it anymore. I took a Wilton cake decorating class with my mother-in-law & sister-in-law years ago and we had a blast. I think I'd much rather decorate stuff and make it pretty than actually bake it:)

Ashna Banga said...

Real sweet post! ;)
I don't like cooking either *hi-5*! But I haven't experimented with baking yet. I remember making cakes earlier, but now I just don't do it. I guess it'd be fun, if I finally get down to doing something. It was fun reading your experiences. I'd keep that chocolate thing in mind, if I ever have to bake chocolate cookies ;)

Melissa said...

@Alexandra: I don't really have a favorite kind of muffin that I've done, but the favorite item that I've baked is the peach cake that I made last summer. If I did cook, it would probably be more in the style of handful of this or that rather than to the letter or fancy meals, although I do appreciate when someone puts the effort into making a fancy meal. :)

@Kimberly: Thank you! Cake decorating sounds like a lot of fun!

@Ashna: Thanks! Be sure to post about your experiences if you do bake anything anytime soon. :)