Wednesday, November 21, 2012

In Life & Baking - One Hot Mess

I fancy myself a baker.  Not in the brave, "little of this, little of that" variety.  Rather I am the kind who carefully follows a recipe, down to the smallest detail, and finds success inside my pre-heated oven. 

My self-proclaimed, family approved speciality is chocolate chip cookies.

But baking, really good baking, is more than just simply having the right ingredients. 

It is merging the ingredients together at the right time, the right temperature, in the correct order. The speed and intensity with which the ingredients are merged also plays a role. Sort of like life. 

The phrase, "the devil is in the details" comes to mind.
I learned this first hand when making chocolate chip cookies, my personal favorite.  It is imperative that you first properly cream the butter and sugar.  The results look something like this. Light, fluffy, finger-licking good. 

Next you add the eggs and so forth.

Now you ask yourself, how much of a difference can the "order of ingredients" really make? 

Finding myself on the business end of a egg and butter "soup" - - having not properly creamed the butter first BEFORE adding the eggs, I am here to tell you the difference is HUGE.  (side note...I tried to find a picture to show you what the result of this error looked like...but Google had nothing for's that bad)

And there is little way to right the wrong. But I have tried. 

Heating the soupy mess, adding other ingredients, mixing and mixing, stopping to swear, mixing, Googling, and mixing some more.  All this in an effort to salvage something of the assets I put in, two-sticks of butter and my last two eggs.

In the end, I had to scrap the mess and start over.  Learning from my mistakes.  Following the directions more  closely, the advice of those who had gone before me.

But that's the thing about life and baking.  There are the two kinds of people, the leaders and the followers. 

The leaders, the pioneers who forge out on their own, by either desire or necessity and pave the way for those to follow.  Documenting their trials and errors, sometimes in great detail, learning more from their failures than any cookbook could ever teach them.

The leaders don't always know as they venture forth into the uncharted waters that others will follow in their wake.  Waiting to see their next move, watching to see what happens. 

But in life, as in baking,  I guess we are all a little of both.