what's in your cake this time

i can't bake.

i just want to get that out in the open right there in the beginning so that there are no misconceptions. oh sure i like to think i can and so i dabble now and then with the flour/sugar/butter formula, but if i was being honest, and i think it is time i start, then i would have to say that...well, i can't bake. i have known this for years and yet still every christmas i feel this urge. i suspect it is somehow connected to martha stewart and a little of my mother is in there to. whatever it is i go through this year after year. this has got to stop.

now don't get me wrong, i mean i understand the concepts, and i try my best to mix in love and that little something extra that takes baking to another level, but my something extra always ends up being burnt or undercooked or ugly. sometimes all three...wait really? really. that is actually possible.

tonight was the night i got my seasonal urge. i knew better than to attempt the cookie debacle that was last year (think several complicated kinds involving strange and complex preparation procedures all attempted in one go) so tonight i stayed easy and settled on shortbread, everyone's favourite christmas cookie. how hard can it be, i thought. the mixing was long and my arm was tired but i was confident in the outcome.

my first roadblock occurred when i felt compelled to get that star shape that some people's shortbread has, you know where it is all ridged and goes to a peak. i decided that the best way to achieve this was my vintage icing press thingy that my mom gave me in a hope that one day i would figure this whole baking thing out. i had never used it before. again, what could there possibly be to know? put the dough in there and squeeze (or turn as it was) out through the end thingamajig. i got that far but then it didn't look much like a star and the peak was stunted and cut off with no finesse. i looked through the different heads, there were no others that even looked remotely star like. maybe it will get prettier in the cooking? i trudged on. i need not tell you that this assumption was grossly inaccurate. if anything the outcome was grislier than the raw product.

mistake number two came when i decided to cover them in chocolate in a hopes to disguise their ugliness, chocolate makes everything edible, doesn't it? turns out melting chocolate to a consistency that makes dipping/dripping possible is a fine balancing act. i fell off the tightrope fairly quick in. i tried to recover it, there was milk and icing sugar and praying and then finally, just as it was about to burn i quickly reached into the fridge for some creamo only to drop the newly opened one litre container on the way to the stove. with creamo all over the floor, my chocolate burnt and my cookies grotesque i silently hung my head in shame. i didn't cry this year though. that's something.

just as i was cleaning the floor marko came in and asked what was up. i didn't even look up just muttered those words, i can't bake. he didn't say "i know" or "who cares" but he did ask who i was baking for. just for us was my reply, just for me really, to prove that i am the kind of person, no the kind of mother, that can adequately bake cookies for christmas. he paused for a bit, weighing in what my reaction would be to what he said next which was, "honey that is what the store is for, sometimes in life one just needs to buy their cookies". no truer words were ever spoken.

remind me we had this conversation around this time next year, will you?


Anonymous said...

Marko is a wise, wise man.

Anonymous said...

I cant seem to bake either, it must be a Tara thing...LOL

I attempted iced sugar cookies, burnt one whole tray, the other was sorta edible (at least Phil said so) but they still seemed hard to me.

I managed to screw up two batches of brownies for Phil's work tomorrow, tough crap really, he is taking them anyway.

Still not willing to totally give up, I tried 5 minute fudge... Guess what, it doesn't take 5 minutes (big shocker). The dark chocolate w/ walnuts came out decent (i use this term loosely), but the peanut butter came out rich and creamy. Score!

Personally, I prefer Break & Bake cookies... They come all measured out, pop em in the oven, set the timer and you are good to go.