As a rule I hate baking.
This wasn’t always the case. As a kid I regularly baked cakes and cookies… they were pretty good too. But one day hit a brick wall; I’d had enough.
I remember the day quite clearly. I was making my legendary oat and syrup cookies. I’d already melted the butter and the sugar and I was just stirring in my oats, when I decided that I’d had enough. I don’t really know why, but I do know that I didn’t bake again until many years later.
When I did pick baking up again – it was part of a redundancy avoidance plan that didn’t work – I found myself making lots of chocolate fudge and lemon drizzle cakes. They were pretty good, but once again I hit that brick wall and got bored.
There are many reasons for this. For a start I’m not even that bothered about cake and I’d much rather be cooking something savoury. And this isn’t just because I prefer to eat savoury foods, it’s because savoury foods are just so much more forgiving when it comes to cooking.
Ingredients and cooking methods are generally pretty flexible and a savoury dish can easily fit around the contents of your cupboards. And if you haven’t quite got enough of one or two of the required ingredients, it generally doesn’t matter. It’s easy to experiment too as it’s quite hard to push a curry or a casserole to the point of no return!
I just can’t imagine doing this with a cake. After all if I was to start messing about with the egg, flour and sugar ratios I’d have a disaster on my hands, yes? And I daren’t even dream of substituting any of those ingredients for anything else – hell I wouldn’t even deviate from using the specific sugar given in a cake recipe!
So, why have I bothered to bake again? Wouldn’t my time be better spent on, oh I don’t know, cleaning the bathroom? Maybe. But I have plans to move house and that means that I need to declutter to show off my flat as best as I can. And I’m assuming that most people looking for a city centre flat won’t be overly impressed with the sight of my packed to bursting cupboards so I’m on a mission to make use of the 15 different types of sugars we have accumulated over the years… along with the 10 different flours.
Also I had found a few packets of chocolate chips and some leftover porridge oats which lead me to the decision to make cookies rather than bake a cake. And, I don’t know about you, but I think cookies are a lot easier than cake.
I hit on this recipe through Google and confident that I could play around with the ingredients a little, I used granulated sugar instead of caster (although I did discover that I could turn my granulated into caster by blitzing it in the coffee grinder – but I couldn’t be bothered), a few less oats and a few more chocolate chips, skipped the raisins (they were a good 18 months past their best before date, and looked it) and used some (didn’t bother weighing) chopped pistachios instead of pecans coz that’s what I had.
The recipe was really easy and I produced a shed load of cookies (enough to keep the husband happy anyway). The substituted ingredients seemed to work fine and, although I think the raisins would have added a good chewy texture, I don’t think they suffered from the loss.
So… tell me… do you like baking? Do you experiment? Any tips? In the meantime, I might stick to cookies.