She Can Cook. But Can She Bake?

As I write this, I quickly remember that I infinitely prefer cooking to baking. In cooking, improvisation is forgiven if not encouraged. In baking, if you mix things out of order, you end up with putty instead of cookies, and that’s speaking from experience.

So tonight, I’m baking homemade granola bars as I mentioned in my earlier post, and I’ve decided that on my culinary tour of self-discovery, I’ll share novice tips. If you’ve ever held any accomplishment in the kitchen, you’ll surely think me a fool, but just in case I can save you from similar missteps, here’s novice tip #1 of the evening:

1. Not all baking dishes are guaranteed to fit in your oven.

That’s right. I greased up my cookie sheet, dropped on the oats, almonds and coconut, and, like trying to put on jeans the day after Thanksgiving, the sheet was too big for the oven. Who knew?! I didn’t, that’s for sure. So, I guess you should know how big your oven is prior to stocking up on kitchen tools. I’m giving myself a small free pass though; this is only the second time I’ve turned on our oven…

2. The recipe called for 2/3 cup of honey. This may or may not be exactly 8oz (I’ll look it up later) — the size of the honey bear I bought for the occasion — but honey being very sticky, I recommend you have more than you think you’ll need since all 8oz weren’t going to be coming out of this honey bear any time this evening. Fortunately, I like honey, so I had extra on hand, but even if you fill up your 2/3 cup precisely, you’re still not going to get it all into the saucepan unless you follow EXPERT TIP #1 (from one Ina Garten, Barefoot Contessa): boil the inside of your measuring cup first to keep the honey from sticking to the cup. HOWEVER, my cup was plastic, so I decided to not follow this wise advice.

3. Read the recipe and instructions all the way through at least once rather than starting at the top and working your way down. I’ve found this particularly important in baking. For instance, don’t start mixing together ingredients while only reading the ingredients section. I recommend reading the ingredients THEN the directions, and THEN getting to work. *sigh*

So now my bars are baking, and I have a massive mess (per usual) to clean. Baking is funny. It’s all rush rush rush to get the ingredients mixed in at just the right moment, and then… 25 minutes to clean up.  Maybe I like this after all.

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