Thursday, August 6, 2009

Martha Stewart Never Has these Problems

There are two significant traits that I lack which prevent me from being a really good baker: patience and attention to detail. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy baking from time to time. I always get the urge to bake something yummy when the weather changes or when a party is coming up. My preference is to cook something for dinner.

Baking requires exact measurements and measurements as precise as quarter teaspoons. Cooking is a handful of this and measuring “to taste”, which is much easier and more appealing for me. If you mess up the ratios while baking, you can have flat cakes or cookies that are too dense. Not so with cooking. Too much or too little of something usually doesn’t yield anything awful unless it to the extreme.

I admire bakers. Everything they create seems so effortless. And usually baked goods are so pretty! That is the best part of baking. I love rows of chocolate cookies all lined up on the cooling rack like little soldiers. Or when you peek into the oven and see the cake rising proud above the pan.

Baking typically requires decorating which is my other downfall - no attention to detail. (This skill I lack also explains why I can’t stand scrapbooking.) Sure you can eat a cake with frosting slopped on but a cake on a plate with globs of frosting coated in a dusting of cake crumbs doesn’t look very nice. Baking yummy treats and making them pretty is tedious and time-consuming. My back starts hurting as I hunch over cupcakes painstakingly applying icing only to have them look like they came out of an Easy Bake Oven. You know, the toy we had as kids where we baked cakes in an oven that used a light bulb as the heat source.

I think the ultimate goal of bakers is to create a product that tastes homemade but looks professional. I subscribe to several baking blogs and love how each one posts pictures of the final product. For our family reunion last week I decided to bake sugar cookies so I could cut them in summer shapes like I did for our wedding reception five years ago. I made a huge batch and was really disappointed in the results. Now I think it is because I don't care for sugar cookies. I prefer shortbread and the cookies I made before were more shortbread-like. These cookies had an odd texture on the top and the glaze I made was sickly sweet and just gross. Bill suggested I frost them but I remained unconvinced. I made up some frosting and just went to town, fully anticipating that I would throw them all away.

Bill said they were fine with frosting and that they reminded him of the sugar cookies he used to buy at 7-11. Not exactly a compliment in my book, to have something you made compared to the convenience store version, but Bill meant it as high praise so I decided they were okay to serve for the event and frosted and decorated the remaining 4 dozen cookies.

When I was done, I noticed that this was the prefect opportunity to take a picture since they turned out pretty cute.

I took several pictures, attempting to shoot some clever angles like I see on the baking blogs. While arranging the cookies and snapping some pictures, I noticed something I hadn't while I was decorating.

I'm sure you saw it right away. In my efforts to make cute, summery cookies for our party, I inadvertently made boob cookies.

Though people seemed to enjoy the cookies, I think I'll stay away from sugar cookies for awhile.