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!
Some new stuff I learnt:
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.