Over the past few weeks I have been baking some goodies for the family to enjoy. I have been particularly enjoying making chocolate treats using some recipes from Donna Hay. Baking has never been a strong point for me. You might be thinking ‘What’s the big deal?, You read a recipe and follow it. How hard can it be?’ You see, for me, I get a little impatient with the instructions. I might not wait the full length of time recommended to do any of the steps and the results usually speak for themselves. Not anything inedible, but not as good as the recipe promises.
I have decided that with these latest baking adventures I would follow the recipes to a ‘T’ and it is paying off. I am proud to say that I have nailed Triple Chocolate Brownies and Double Chocolate Cake recipe made as cupcakes and iced with Whipped Ganache.
This weekend I decided the recipe to play with was Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies. Imagine my frustration when my cookies didn’t work as they were supposed to. I followed the description to the letter and even set timers for the steps as listed. The problem occurred when I popped them into the oven for the required 12 to 15 minutes cooking time. The end result was supposed to be biscuits that are golden on the bottom and edges, and still a bit chewy in the middle. Mine, however, were quite dark on the top, and very, very light on the bottom. They still smelled amazing and tasted great, but they weren’t as they were supposed to be.
I immediately started the negative talk about my cooking skills. I was very quick to point out that I am rubbish at baking (not true) and nothing I make ever works out (also not true) and I shouldn’t bother even trying (really?). This internal conversation continued as I cooked the first four trays of biscuits, and it was then that I discovered the cause of my difficulty. I had accidentally set my oven to ‘grill’ rather than ‘bake’, which explained why it was only the top of my creations that were colouring. Insert giant face palm here, and wonder aloud if I should be left in charge of kitchen appliances.
Let me point out that while the outcome was not living up to my expectations the grilled cookies were still quite edible, in fact delicious, and only problematic if someone knew the aspirational goal I was aiming for. This situation leads me to wonder why it is I am so quick to criticise my efforts when I know I would encourage someone else who was in my situation.
Proverbs 16:24 says “Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.” And I have always thought about this verse in the context of words I share with others. I am beginning to wonder how much better it would be if I am able to extend the same measure of grace to myself that I would readily share with others.
So next week’s cooking adventure will include a second attempt at these biscuits with a more diligent eye on the oven setting, and we will see if baked cookies are better than grilled ones!