Cutting (Delicious) Corners in Baking

It’s that time of year: everyone is breaking out the mixing bowls and measuring spoons. Holiday treats! Cookie swaps! Complete sugar overload, and I love every minute of it.

It wasn’t until yesterday, however, that I got into the swing of things myself. And it wasn’t until yesterday that I realized my kitchen is woefully inadequate for baking. Cooking? We’re golden. Baking? Not so much.

After I got home from the gym I went to the grocery store and stocked up on my supplies: brown sugar, flour, peanut butter, etc. I thought I was set, I really did. Spoiler alert: Everything turned out fine, it was just a bit dicey in the middle.

First up: peanut butter cookies. I grabbed a recipe from My Shiny Life. It was easy, I had half of the ingredients on hand already, and while it doesn’t scream “holiday”, my mom used to make similar peanut butter cookies when I was little so these guys have a special place in my heart. I got home, took out my ingredients and got ready to go.

Problem 1: I bought crunchy peanut butter because I thought I had creamy peanut butter at home. Wrong, I had crunchy already.
Solution 1: Double the crunchy with no creamy peanut butter. It worked, thankfully.

Double crunchy, pre-baked.

Double crunchy, pre-baked.

The recipe didn’t say how many cookies it made, and it didn’t make many, but they served my purpose fine. I’m giving a trio of cookies to each of my colleagues, and I had enough for that.

Problem 2: No cellophane. I forgot to buy cellophane! I had such nice wrapping planned too, sigh
Solution 2: Um, flip-and-close plastic bags and hoping no one notices. Verdict is not yet in on this one, as I’m giving them out tomorrow.

At least I added some ribbon curls.

At least I added some ribbon curls.

The next recipe on the agenda was zucchini bread, yanked with love from The Kitchn. I had just barely enough sugar left to make this one work.

Problem 3: My box grater is terrible, and my zucchini came out extremely liquidy and not shredded at all. Too moist to throw between paper towels and nary a piece of cheesecloth in sight (please, like I have cheesecloth). No fine mesh strainers either.
Solution 3: A collapsible strainer was as close as I could get. Luckily I had started the zucchini early so it had plenty of time to drain (it was a great workout for my arms, too).

MacGyver-ing this recipe.

MacGyver-ing this recipe.

Ok, zucchini is done. Eggs are in the bowl, sugar is measured. Oh, did I mention that I forgot to buy vanilla extract and didn’t realize it until after my grocery store closed and had to run to the corner store while my cookies were baking? Yup, that happened. I’m feeling sort of tired at this point and really just wanted to go to bed, but that’s what I get for starting this whole thing at nearly 9pm. The next step was to measure out the cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. With a teaspoon. Simple, right?

Problem 4: No teaspoon. The only measuring spoon we own, apparently, is a tablespoon. I know at some point we had a whole set, but my apartment is a revolving door of roommates and someone must have taken it with them.
Solution 4: I grabbed a small spoon from our silverware drawer and remembered that back in the day, I learned that the small ones were tsp and the large ones were tbsp. I know baking is supposed to be exact, so I crossed my fingers and hoped for the best. It seemed to work.

Finished product, phew!

Finished product, phew!

The recipe only made one loaf instead of two, but it came out just fine. I can’t wait to bring it to my office’s holiday potluck tomorrow. My office isn’t big on vegetables, but how could you go wrong with zucchini bread?

So, now I just have to hope that there is a box grater and a set of measuring spoons in my stocking, no big deal.

 

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2 thoughts on “Cutting (Delicious) Corners in Baking

    • It did, thankfully! I mostly *always* wing cooking, but this was the first time I attempted to do it with baking, you always hear horror stories about everything needing to have been exactly right.

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