Monday, January 7, 2013

Baking is Hard.


[Linking up with yeahwrite!]

You guys probably won’t believe this, but I actually used to be good at baking. I was a little baking savant as a kid.

Okay, that’s a slight exaggeration, but I was pretty good at it. At least average, if not a bit above.

But now?


I keep fucking up the baked goods I make for Boyfriend!! It’s very frustrating. Especially because I’m trying to maintain my standing as world’s best girlfriend.

For example, awhile ago I made brownies from a box.  Easy peasy, right? Well, I figured I’d mix in some applesauce to cut down the oil. And it got all fucked up.

See:
This is normal.

This is me.

Boyfriend, like a champion, ate a bunch of them anyways.  He’s good like that.



I have no proof that this happened. Just suspicions.
 Anyway, so I wanted to make lemon bars this weekend. I hadn’t made them in years, but they’re not that complicated.

First, I only had baking soda, not baking powder. After striking out at a local convenience store,  much googling, and asking twitter for help, I decided I would use the soda, just less of it. (Mistake UNO.)

For those of you who have made lemon bars, you know that first you bake the crust for 20 minutes or so, but you take it out when it’s still white and not fully cooked.

I followed the directions exactly, but I forgot that my oven is a bit intense.

By the time I pulled the crust out, it was already way too brown. (MISTAKE DOS)

So I added the top and kept cooking. However, when I took it out, it looked sad and not lemon bar like at all. See:

It's weird. If you look close, you can tell.

Anyway, I covered them in powdered sugar and cut them for when Boyfriend came over.
It's too flat and burny
He brought a box of brownies. (Side note: he originally said he was bringing brownies, and I assumed he already baked them and that they would be delicious and I hated the brownies for that.)  So I whipped those up, and of course, they turned out shitty, too.




Baking is HARD, you guys.


I WILL bake delicious things for Boyfriend if it’s the last thing I do, damnit! But seriously, does stuff like this happen to you guys? Or are you all perfect bakers? In which case, you know, I kind of maybe hate you a little.


53 comments:

  1. Go with cookies. Chocolate chip cookies. Wait, you need to rebuild you confidence. Go with square pretzels, put them on a baking sheet, put a Hershey's Kiss on top of each pretzel, heat in the oven set at 350 for a minute, then press an M and M (Blogger doesn't like ampersands so I had to spell out "and") into the Kiss. Boom, simple dessert. You can do it.
    Besides, baking is for 1930's stereotypes of women, so every time you "screw up" at baking, you're making a feminist statement.

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  2. I cook, and my wife bakes. That's the trade off. Only she understands that magical vortex that is the oven, because if I put anything in there, it comes out looking like a car accident victim.

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  3. I'm not good and was never good at baking. Or cooking. I think people who can cook perfectly are wizards and use some kind of magic to make other people feel bad about themselves. :p

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  4. Baking is easy. You just follow the directions. Exactly. Baking powder and baking soda, no matter how much they might sound alike are not. As you now know. Later on, as your experience and confidence grows (I have confidence in you!) let me assure you that the regular enriched white flour you are probably using now, is not the same as the whole wheat you will want to use when your consciousness is raised. Not the same at all.

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  5. I'm a pretty good baker, but there was the time that I put in a cup of oil instead of 1/3 and I've yet to live that down.

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  6. I can buy a mean cake, girl. I also rock at taking frozen pies out of the box and letting them thaw.

    Don't hate me because I'm beautiful.

    xo

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  7. I love to bake, I got quite good but have a new oven that likes to cook things beautifully on top and burn them underneath. We need new ovens. Or closer bakers.

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  8. Amen girl, amen! I can cook the shit out of anything not requiring flour - even after a bottle of wine. I cannot, however, bake to save my life. I just don't get how the oven magic works.

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  9. I love to bake and because I am older than F*** I am really good at it. Practice makes perfect. Basically you just have to be 40 years older than you currently are. One big hint for you....never try to be healthy. It's counterproductive to yummy. If it calls for butter...don't get skimpy and use margarine. Calls for cream...hell, yes!!!!

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  10. I learned the hard, hard, hard way that I needed to follow the instructions precisely. I stopped trying to use things that were 'close enough' and go get exactly what was called for. Because making rice krispie squares with old marshmallows just looks like you smeared snot on cereal...and it doesn't taste good. Also, if something needed to be mixed, I used a mixer rather than just hope a spoon would be good enough (I was lazy and cheap). Also, you could get a thermometer for your oven that you stick inside it to see what temperature it actually is. Baking is tricky because you really do have to do it exactly how it says or the chemistry doesn't work :(

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  11. I am a master chef and let me tell you, baking is easy. Even my 9 year old daughter can bake the perfect brownie. Hell, even my wife can bake and she can't cook for shit!

    Do you hate me now? Good. lol

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  12. I am an excellent baker. Oh wait, no . . . . what I MEANT to say is:

    I am an excellent drinker.

    Baking? Not so much.

    Priorities.

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  13. I used to have an oven that was spiteful. I would say 350, it would say 275. I would say 350, it would say 425. I would say 350, it would say BROIL. So, I went to the bakery across the street. Hey, maybe the bakeries across the street are up to something?!

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  14. I used to be an amazing baker when I was little; at least that's how I remember it :P I'm terrible at following directions these days so I keep messing stuff up. Especially pie crust, that's a hit or miss venture around here

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  15. LOL! Poor Gia! As many of your commenters have pointed out, following directions is key. I can bake, I just haven't wanted to in a very long time. Maybe one day I'll want to again but for now I think my local bakery is safe. :)

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  16. I heart your apron. Baking is way hard. Maybe you should try wine making.

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  17. I'm a perfect baker, but I didn't become such a paragon of excellence overnight. It required practice and reading the food section in The Washington Post.

    Love,
    Janie

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  18. The lemon bars didn't *look* bad, I'd totally try them.

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  19. Imagine someone with your current baking issues...but trying also to adapt recipes to be gluten free, so I don't poison myself. Yeeeeeah, it hasn't been going well.

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  20. Um, I can't help but notice the glass of wine in each scenario, maybe try it without the help of Sutter Home?

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  21. I think the mistake you are making is that Boyfriend isn't baking for you. I

    I always make a point of being the baked-for, not the bakee.
    Everything comes out lovely(ish)!

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  22. If only you'd tweeted about your baking-soda-not-powder problem, I could have helped. If you had cream of tartar that + baking soda = baking powder ******the more you know

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  23. The last time I tried to bake cookies at home there was some furious texting between boyfriend and me. I had last used my baking powder at his house to make biscuits and needed it home. I asked him if it was there and got back "I don't know, probably" See if he gets biscuits again.

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  24. Your overachieving oven made me laugh SO hard. I know I can't cook or bake, so I don't even try anymore. I've managed to fuck up things you'd think were impossible to not do properly - like cooking frozen pot roast in a slow cooker or grilled cheese. Does that make you feel better?

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  25. Ugh! Baking IS hard! I'm like you. I wanna substitute and I dont wanna count minutes. I just wanna throw some shit together and have it be DELICIOUS. Is that really too much to ask?

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  26. being the best girlfriend isn't really all it's cracked up to be ;)

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  27. Oh my GAWD the overachieving oven is killing me over here. Have you tried using an oven thermometer to see what the difference is between the temperature you set and the temperature the oven gets to? You could probably learn how to adjust the dial to get the temps you actually need. You gotta calibrate that SOB.

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  28. If it makes you feel better I just give my boyfriend uncooked cookie dough because I've managed to fuck up out-the-box cookies so many times... xx

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  29. I made a cake for my best friend's father's funeral. I put my heart into it, for a family I knew almost as much as my own. The cake was a success! The frosting....
    after two hours of softening on the counter, the butter and cream cheese looked, well, soft. UInto the blender they went. I added the powdered sugar. It came out runny, and lumpy, like frosting diarrhea. The cheese and butter were NOT soft and still hard but now chunky. I did a double broiler thing and warmed it over the stove, praying, Success! Then I frost the cake and add a chocolate drizzle and decided to get crafty. I use a chopstick to swirl the chocolate. Man. I am like the Cake Boss folks. I add toothpicks to the side for support so the saran wrap doesn't touch the cake. Guess what? It touched nothing BUT the cake so suddenly my frosting is all smeared and lifting up chunks of cake in places. Crap.

    I served it anyways and rushed to the front of the food line to "coincidentally" remove the ugliest slice before anyone saw my mishap.

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  30. My favorite part was when drawn Gia popped back in and wall all like, "So you would think." Haha. Good luck with future baking adventures. I am positive you will achieve greatness.

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  31. Your baking probably has suffered because we all have so much going on now. I'm so scattered and try to multitask while baking. Not good. When you were young -- in the days before sensory overload -- all you had to do was concentrate on getting the recipe right.

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  32. The important thing is that you have your glass of wine to get you through ;)

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  33. This reminded me of an incident from college when my girlfriend baked cookies for me.

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  34. ha, awesome! I'm sorry, but I LOVE people like you. Baking does come easy for me - but there are other ways I fall completely flat on my face. Go with your strengths!

    Great post - I found you on Yeah Write!

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  35. i think your lemon bars looked yummy. as for the brownies don't even try to do them healthy, and just keep adding chocolate chips, they'll cover any mistake.
    maybe if your glass of wine was bigger, you'd be a more relaxed baker.

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  36. This was hilarious. . .I don't think I've baked anything in my life that actually required me to mix ingredients. In other words, if popping a chicken breast or a tray of fries in the oven qualifies me as a baker, then call me Chet, but otherwise I'll stick to the microwave. . . or the burrito counter. . .:)

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  37. Sorry, I am indeed a perfect baker. Not a dry brownie or overcooked cookie has ever crossed my kitchen. It's not easy being bakery perfect, but what can I do? Hide my gift? Granted, I bake from scratch exactly once a decade and use the pre-mixed brownie pouch from Trader Joe's, but ... ;-) Funny post as always!

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  38. I'm actually better at backing than cooking. I'm sorry your lemon bars turned out really "burny."

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  39. Yeah ... backing, because that's a thing. How about baking? Argh.

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  40. I detest baking. Love cooking, hate baking. Hate it.

    I made a cheesecake for Christmas, followed the directions to a T. The damn thing mushroomed to three times the size of my pan and spilled all over the bottom of my oven, then burned. Yummt smell that was for a holiday dinner...

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  41. Good lord, baking, cooking, toasting, frying, roasting...It's all impossible. I quit.

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  42. Fellow bad bakers unite. If you ever want to feel better about yourself, go look at some my past disasters...

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  43. I'm going to suggest that purchasing more things from the baking aisle of the grocery store and fewer things from the grape juice section of the store might help this problem.

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  44. I would be all over that bakery across the street. Pick something up. Put it on a pan and in the oven and pull it out just when Boyfriend wakes in. Voila! Fresh baked goods!

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  45. I'd still eat it! No worries.

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  46. I like to think I'm a pretty good baker, but stuff like this happens to me too. Just the same, it all sounds delicious and I would like some, thank you.

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  47. I steer clear of baking because it's too nit picky for my temprament. You've got to, like, sift ingredients and weigh them and do all these specific, precise things that remind me of high school chemistry or else stuff comes out wrong. I prefer to prepare un-fuck-able foods.

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  48. I hate that feeling that nothing is working! My oven gets a bit too intense as well - I've scorched a lot of things, all the while maintaining "I CAN cook!"

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  49. All I ever bake are cookies, and then only with supervision from my husband, for math purposes -- he always wants to halve the recipe and I never was good at fractions. The one time I baked oatmeal chocolate chip cookies on my own they turned out like crescent-shaped biscotti.

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  50. Ha, that's the first time I've heard of someone saying they were going to bring brownies and then showing up with a box! So funny!

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  51. So, one question. Were you drunk baking? No judgement! Me, I can cook/bake while drinking, a bit better I think. Some people, not so much. Find what works best for you and get a oven thermometer. And a glass of wine.

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