Now I remember why I hate baking…

I’m re-watching Gilmore Girls season 1, enjoying winter break, and for some unbeknownst reason I decide it’d be a good idea to bake cookies. Yea, you heard me, bake cookies! I know what you’re thinking, “But Jac, you never bake.” That’s right, I never bake. I cook, oh yes I cook, and I’m damn good at it, but baking and I have not had the best relationship. I don’t think the word “precision” comes to mind when people think of me; and for good reason.

So why am I baking? I don’t know. Blame it on the cold weather, the holiday cheer, or the all-around make-merry, deck-the-hall, all-be-jolly mood, of the past few days, but all of the sudden I thought, “You know what would be really good tonight? Homemade Snickerdoodles.”

After discovering I had no Cream of Tartar (seriously, who comes up with this stuff anyway?!?), I forgo the Snickerdoodle idea and decide on Peanut Butter cookies. Excellent, I like peanut butter and I have peanut butter.

Well, despite my failures as a baker, my mom did teach me quite a bit about baking as a child and if there’s one thing I know it’s: get out all your ingredients before you start. So, there I am getting out all my ingredients, you know the flour waaaay up on the top of the pantry that hasn’t been used in months. Well, I get it down only to discover the bag has little weevils in it (yuck!). This should’ve been a cue to stop, but no! I have a second bag of flour (yea! I was shocked too!). The second bag is weevil free so we’re good to go.

I continue gathering ingredients only to discover my eggs had expired. In August. But I’m baking them though, heat kills germs right? Right?!?! Well to be sure I do some Googling and I find this nifty test to determine whether or not eggs are still good. You put them in a glass of water, if they sink they’re good if they float they’re bad. Well, my eggs, all six of them, didn’t so much as get their heads wet in the water. So again, this should’ve been a cue to stop baking, but no sir, I’m not a quitter. I’m going to have cookies tonight come hell or high water!

So, back to the computer I go to do some more Googling. I discover I can use applesauce or vegetable oil with water as an egg substitute. Excellent, i have oil, olive oil that is. Hey, olives are vegetables aren’t they? So still unsure in my decision I cast doubt aside and go with the olive oil. Phew, ingredients gathered.

Step 1, pour the sugar in the bowl. Yea, I screwed up step 1. How in the world can someone screw up step 1 you might ask? Well let me tell you. I apparently didn’t dry the bowl well enough and it was damp, thus my sugar made nice little clumpy sugar balls the moment I poured it in. Seriously, every sign was pointing towards “Don’t make cookies” but instead I dump out the damp sugar, rewash the bowl, re-dry the bowl extra thoroughly, and repeat step 1.

I manage to make it through the rest of the steps with relative ease. I pull out my 60 year old electric mixer (this required a step stool by the way), I turn it on all excited to make the dough aaaaand…nothing. The mixer does nothing. Not even a last ditch whirl for old time’s sake. It’s dead as dead can be. I try another outlet just to verify the death of the 60 year old green mixer, observe a moment of silence in its honor, and then, well ,and then all I can think is “Crap! How am I going to mix the cookies now?”

Sigh, are you exhausted yet? Yea, again, why did I not just quit. But no, I start mixing the dough by hand. Which, had I known I’d be mixing the dough by hand when I started I would’ve let the butter soften much more prior to putting in the bowl (mom why didn’t you tell me the mixer qualifies as an ingredient?!), but alas, hindsight is 20/20. So I mix, and I mix, and I mix, and I count my blessings I’m ambidextrous, and I mix some more. All right, add the dry ingredients and we’re good to go.

The cookies are in the oven, what can go wrong now? Well, a few minutes later a wonderful smell wafts into the study, mmmmm, garlic. Wait, garlic? Why do my cookies smell like garlic? I open the oven to discover there is garlic stuck to the bottom of my oven and oh-so-pleasantly roasting away. This would otherwise be a desired smell, were it not for the fact that I have peanut butter cookies in there! My entire apartment smells of garlic and there’s nothing I can do but let the cookies bake.

Ten minutes later I pull the cookies out and surprisingly they look ok. Thinking a glass of cold milk might compensate for the lack of quality of the cookies I suddenly remember I poured chunky milk into my coffee this morning. Yea, apparently my milk was expired too (shut up, it’s finals week!). No milk and garlicky cookies, yummmy.

As it turns out, they actually aren’t that bad. They’re a little thin (did I screw up the fork pressing thing too?), but amazingly they don’t taste like garlic (that or the smell is so overwhelming I don’t notice it anymore). I wouldn’t exactly give these cookies away to anyone, but all things considered they aren’t bad.
But from now on I stick to cooking, you know, things which don’t require measuring cups, electric mixers, dry bowls, ingredients which you can’t creatively substitute, or garlic-free ovens. Next time I get the itch to bake, somebody please stop me!

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