Friday, November 4, 2016

I survived a cookie baking marathon

Guys, guess what? I went back to baking school again. This time - cookies.

You know I never intended to go on this long baking journey. All I wanted in the beginning was to learn to bake bread. Incidentally, I have yet to attend the bread baking course. I accidentally signed up for the Bake Basic Cake course after my bread course was cancelled. I had misread "cake" for "bread" thinking the bread class was back on. Anyway, once I realised my mistake, I decided to go for it as my old friend was also attending and I wanted to experience the class with her.

The Bake Basic Cake course broke me. My confidence took a dive. Already a very shaky and fearful beginner baker with very few successful bakes to her name, it told me how little I knew. It tore me down to pieces. At the same time, the course rebuilt me, boosted me. Over and over again. After every fall, I was yanked back on my feet to face the next challenge. Each cake I baked successfully, I became better and stronger.

So that was how I felt. Feeling so much more confident, I decided to continue with the muffins and scones and this week cookies. Plus, the bread course wasn't happening anyway.

At first, I didn't think the cookies class was worth going. I mean I have baked cookies before. Easy ones, scoop and plop on the tray kind of stuff. Plus I'm not really into cookies. I'm more a sugarless hard biscuit kind of gal. But my kids eat cookies. They pay money for cookies which are usually excessively sweet. So I decided I would learn to bake cookies for my kids.

I was wrong about the cookie course. There was a lot to learn. There was a lot I didn't know. We baked 4 kinds of cookies - Viennese cookies using the piping method, almond crescent cookies using hand moulding method, cornflakes cookies using the spoon drop method and ice box cookies using rolling and cutting method. Whew!

Viennese cookies.

Almond crescent cookies.

Cornflakes cookies.

Ice box cookies.

We also made something called checker box cookies. This one was a lot of work and it led to the class becoming quite contentious at one point. Girl fight!!! I'm kidding. No fists were thrown. Just loud words and unnecessary tension.

Some new stuff I learnt:
 Sugar bath.

Mix batter till it becomes a paste.

Piping. The tester said the way I did my piping, I looked like I was praying, Chinese style (with joss-sticks).

I attended the course with a few ladies I knew from previous classes and my old friend was there as well. It was a lot of fun doing it with people I know.

The practical assessment was tough. We had to make so many of each kind it was exhausting. Mistakes were made which I had to undo. I went blank a couple of times. I think I felt quite stressed because after everything was over, I discovered I had a bit of rashes on my chest, kinda between my boobs. Whenever I get stressed, these little rashes appear. I'm just glad they're on my chest and not on my face! While waiting for my cookies to bake, I managed to squeeze in one last look at my notes to prepare for the theory test. I think it helped because I was able to answer all the questions easily.

Sometime during the course I discovered something surprising happening. I was starting to make use of my eyes and hands to bake. When I first started my baking journey in the cake course, I relied heavily on precise instructions. How long do I mix? At which speed? It cannot be vague or I become lost. Should the dough be this sticky? Is the consistency correct? I had no idea and often brought my dough to the teacher for consultations. I'm not saying I don't need my timer anymore. I'm just a little better than before. How crumbly is crumbly enough? I use my eyes to see and my hands to feel it. So exciting. Am I close to nirvana?

I don't think I will take any more baking courses for a while. It's time to take care of stuff at home and maybe do some housework. And oh yes, bake something.


pennydog said...

You made it seem like the Great British Bake Off, but slightly less intense....

Jane McLellan said...

Good for you! It is a bit daunting you have to do tests at the end, but hey, you've passed them, so now you know you've learnt from the courses.

Projects By Jane said...

Oh Jane, it would be so nice not to have to take the test. I don't mind the practical really. It helps reinforce what you have learnt. It's the theory. I hate having to memorize notes.

Anonymous said...

Love your writing Jane.

so natural and informative.

Tammy said...

Yay! So exciting. Your cookies look fantastic. I think that's the best part when you start to "know" how things are going in the kitchen without looking at the instructions.

Jane said...

Great for you for going back and learning something new. This has always been my thing - I always try to teach myself and shy away from these great resources that can help better my skill (knitting and crocheting for example - but surely baking too)! I also wanted to say thank you for your sweet words on a post where I was grieving about Piri <3 I cried at what you wrote but it wasn't sad tears but just ... I don't know.. a gracious feeling for someone to have been moved at what I wrote.. thank you, Jane <3

Related Posts with Thumbnails

My Bag Pattern Shop

My Applique Patterns

My Embroidery Patterns