How I Bake

I am one of those freaks who enjoys both cooking and baking; I also enjoy both eating and sharing my results.  I made pumpkin whoopie pies last night, for a pumpkin carving party I attended tonight.   I mostly followed the recipe for the cookie/cake part, but could not find marscopone cheese for the filling.  Instead of stressing, I reminded myself that I have my own baking protocol anyway, so things like ingredients and recipes aren’t really relevant – except for the parts where I try to pretend that they are vital.  While I do sometimes completely wing things (more in cooking) and other times actually follow a recipe like it’s some sort of sacred ritual (again, more in cooking), I generally follow these steps:

1.) Make a plan, which involves finding a recipe (or two) at some point.  The birth of the plan could be from seeing a recipe on a website, a product in a store, or inspiration from a specific ingredient/concept.

2.) Take inventory of the ingredients needed for said recipe.  Potentially reevaluate the aforementioned recipe OR make a trip to the store…possibly stores.

3.) Get my business all set out and ready.  I don’t necessarily get all of my ingredients out at once (although sometimes I do) but I do like to know what’s going to happen before it needs to happen.  For example, if I am going to need softened butter at some point, I’ll put it out early.  I wait on nobutter; butter waits on ME.

4.) Begin the recipe, with fastidious attention to detail and directions.  Measure twice, pour once – etc, etc.

5.) Get bored with measuring.  Doubt the recipe.  Is 1t of cinnamon REALLY enough?  And why were ginger and allspice not invited to the party?  I’m not sure about Ina G, but I don’t snub MY spice cabinet. 

6.) Decide I definitely know better than any “recipe” and go all willy-nilly.  While going willy-nilly, refrain from writing any amendments down for future use.  To really prevent any reproduction and keep each creation “one of a kind,” I also often avoid measuring, instead using the highly scientific method of “dump and taste.”   “Dump and taste” is a bit like “guess and check” except with greater and earlier commitment.

7.) Bake it…or something.  Basically, get it to a state where contamination or food poisoning is unlikely.

8.) Eat and enjoy!

The moral of the story is that while I might not know better than recipes (insufficient data) I definitely know WELL ENOUGH.   And those pumpkin whoopie pies?  GONE.  Gone in a good way.


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