Photo courtesy of Emmy Williams
I love baking. I love watching baking competition shows, buying baking cookbooks, and, of course, I love the act of actually baking. My fondness for baking began in 6th grade after I watched a Buzzfeed YouTube video titled “The Best Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies.” Immediately after seeing it, I decided that I had to try making the cookies. How hard could it be? The answer to that question: Very, very hard. The whole process was a complete mess, and by the end of it the kitchen looked less like a kitchen and more like a high school movie cafeteria after a food fight. Despite this, the cookies tasted amazing, and thus began my now four-year-long baking obsession. I’ve tried it all, from layer cakes to macarons (which have failed too many times to count).
One of the things that I love most about baking is experimenting with ingredients. When I first started baking, I held a strong disdain for strictly following instructions, which led me to wing it a lot when baking. At first, it was disastrous. I failed more times than I succeeded, which led me down a long road of trial and error. Eventually I learned to experiment successfully, and although I currently tend to follow recipes most of the time, I now understand how to improve them as I go, which makes baking even more of a rewarding experience for me.
My favorite thing to bake is undoubtedly layer cakes. I adore every minute of the often extremely long process, and I love decorating them, even though I’m not the best at it. This adoration began this February, when I purchased Claire Saffitz’s recipe book: “Dessert Person”. This is most definitely my favorite recipe book. I’ve made nearly half of the 105 recipes, and I plan on continuing to make the rest for a long time. Another recipe book that I love is Magnolia Bakery’s “The Complete Magnolia Bakery Cookbook.” This book is great for more simple recipes such as cookies, cheesecakes, and brownies, and is definitely fit for a beginning baker.
As Claire Saffitz once said, “Everyone can bake if they try, and everyone can be a dessert person. There are no ‘just cooks’ out there, only bakers who haven’t been converted.” I agree with her on this; the scientific precision of baking can be intimidating, but everyone can bake if they try, and if they do, they undoubtedly will love it. Baking is, in my opinion, one of the most beneficial and rewarding hobbies that you can have. If you haven’t tried baking, whether it be because you think you would be bad at it or because you’re intimidated by its unforgiving nature, you should. It’s okay to make mistakes. Everybody has to start somewhere. Take your time, read the recipe thoroughly, and enjoy the delicious reward that comes with this fantastic hobby.