I Did It All For The Cookie

Cookies, brownies, cakes, and pies…oh my. 

Within the past five years, I have found baking to be a soothing (and sweet!) hobby.  I blame my foray into the “triad of bad” – what I call the trifecta of flour, sugar, and butter – on Pinterest.  I was an enthusiastic “Pinja” that kept getting served image after image of cookies and brownies.  The pictures that were worth a thousand calories slowly wore me down and got added to a Pinterest board.

Then one Sunday afternoon, I decided to grab cookie-making ingredients and just…bake.

And bake I did.  Chocolate chips cookies.  S'mores bars.  White chocolate chip cookies with dried cranberries topped with vanilla bean-infused sea salt.  Red Velvet Whoopie Pies.  I quickly started looking forward to all of my #SundayBakingProjects.

Jared was more than happy to try ALL THE THINGS.  But a few months in, even though he loved all of the creations…he begged me to start bringing some of the goods to the office so he wouldn't need to buy clothing in a bigger size.

I am so glad he did.  As much as I enjoy the process of making the sweet treats, I get even more pleasure in sharing the goods with friends, co-workers, and family.  The “mm's” and “ahh's” make me smile and reach for AP flour container often,  I get a kick out of taking a sizeable Snap-lock container of my #SundayBakingProject wares to the office to share.

But one of the best things about baking is how it made me even closer to my future father-in-law, Jim.  Jim is also a baker.  He is a man that acts with careful precision.  Every recipe, tool, and resource is read, reviewed and researched with his meticulous eye and adroit mind.  He is passionate about the science, the why's, the how's just as much as he is by the rewards of a good bake.  It's fun to learn and bake along with him.  Many of the tips and tricks you will see below, I've learned from Jim (always delivered with a twinkle in his eye and a baking gadget he uses and wants me to have.  And it is always PERFECT!)

Monica and Jim
Momica and Jim are lovely people that fully support my baking “habit”.

Bake and your whole world bakes (or eats) with you.  Whether it is help in the kitchen or sharing a platter of cookies or brownies, sweet treats bring the people in my life together.  Do you feel the same way about your baking or cooking?

Choosing Cookie Recipes
Jim and I scouring the internet for recipes, tips, and tricks.

Read the recipe all the way through first.  I've been figuratively burned numerous times by not reading it all the way through.  There was a fabulous cookie I wanted to make to “butter up” a colleague.  My plan was foiled as the dough needed to spend 24 hours in the fridge before getting popped into the oven.  Trust me.  Read the recipe all the way to make sure you have everything needed including time!

Perfect Cookie
This cookbook is…well…perfect.  It's a gift from Jim that is now covered with buttered fingerprints.  In addition to great recipes, the cookbook also provides insights into tips, tricks, and tools to help you become a better baker.

Mise en place will set you up for success.  This French term means “everything in its place”.  Similar to reading a recipe through, mise en place has saved my cooking and baking a$$ on numerous occasions.   Have you ever started to make a dish and realized halfway through that you are missing something?  Yeah, me too.  And it sucks.  Mise en place will keep you from “premature cooking/baking evacuation”.

Weight vs. Volume = Size Doesn't Matter.  Jim showed me a Weight vs. Volume baking video years ago.  I nodded my head up and down as I watched because it just made sense.  If you measure by weight, you have a constant which is critical to baking.  If you measure by volume, the actual weight of the ingredient could be skewed.  Once Jim saw that I “got it”, he presented me with a kitchen scale.  It's a kitchen tool that I used for every baking project.

Check out the weight vs. volume video (grab your popcorn and soda…it's a little long) here

The right tools make all the difference.  My kitchen scale was the perfect gift for my baking.  Over the years, I have slowly accrued or received items to help me be a rock star baker – KitchenAid mixer, Sil-Pats, high-quality baking pans from Williams-Sonoma and more.  I think next on my list will be a candy thermometer.

IMG_3271
The only scale I like to use in my home weighs ingredients, not humans.

Better ingredients yield better results.  In a typical month, I bake anywhere from 2 to 4 times and share the goods with friends, family, and co-workers.  I want to “wow” people with my tasty treats, so I go for higher end vanilla, chocolate chips and all-natural flavorings (extracts such a peppermint or orange).  I do find that spending a little more on premium items does make a difference.

Perfect Cookie Chocolove 3
Chocolove chocolate chips gave a recent recipe some dark chocolate “love”.

Who knew that Pinterest would turn me into a “shaker and baker”?  I've learned a lot over the years yet still have so many things to learn and try. Maybe one of these days I will get over my “yeast-phobia” and start making bread and…mmm…cinnamon buns.

Do you like to bake?  Or do you prefer the eating part?  Are there any recipes that you think I should try?  Please let me know in the comments below,

Work Hard.  Play Hard. Drink Chard.  And I've Never Baked With Lard.

Laurie

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60 thoughts on “I Did It All For The Cookie

  1. I love to bake, but I always end up eating some batter 😛 Baking is a great activity to do with other people, I love doing it with my family so it’s nice to see you two baking together 🙂

  2. I love to bake, but I always end up eating some of the batter 😛 It’s such a great activity to do with other people. I love to bake with my family so it’s nice to see you baking together

    1. Eating batter is a perk of baking! And baking with others is super fun. I need to figure out what I want to make tomorrow. Hmm…

    1. Sometimes the eating is the greatest part! There are certain recipes that definitely “eat up” a bunch of time. I really love baking on Sunday afternoons. It’s a “sweet” way to end the weekend. 🙂

  3. To be honest, I’m avoiding mouth watering blogs about food like this. It easily makes me hungry. Anyway it’s a very great article

    1. Hi, Edward. I am glad you enjoyed it! If I told you all of the photos are calorie-free, would that help? 🙂

  4. Those utensils are quite sophisticate for me, who does not bake. I do, however cook 😮 , I am glad that your cooking bring you closer to your future father in law. What else could we ask for, eh.

    1. It’s really nice having a common bond with my future father-in-law. By the way…he also does it for the cookie. 🙂

  5. I know that cooking is something I need to force myself to learn, it’s just such a great skill to have. Like you said, bring family together. 🙂

    1. Hi, Victor! Forcing doesn’t sound highly enjoyable. It’s a nice skill to have but I prefer to enjoy the process. < --does that sound cult-ish?

  6. Yum !! I love cookies and those look so delicious ! I do not bake a lot but I love too , when it’s easy and fast ahah Thank you for sharing !

    1. I used to think I was a terrible baker. I was a chronic “over-mixer”. Baking can definitely take some time but the results (and smiles) make it worth it! 🙂

    1. Nina…you are a person after my own heart! What are your favorite tools to use in the kitchen?

      1. I have a mortar and pestle but they are made of wood. I need to get a set that has a little bit more texture so I can get a good grind.

    1. Hi, Liev! I bet you could find someone to teach you! I have picked up some great tips via online videos, Food Network and an awesome series called “The Great British Baking Show” on NetFlix. The British show also has a series of “how to’s” on NetFlix which are pretty informative (and fun to watch!)

    1. Hi, Kim! Thank you for the blog name love! I really love cooking and baking but I can entire co-workers much more easily with baked goods. 🙂

      Also…thank you for the cookie love. 🙂

    1. I LOVE key lime pie! Just love it. I am a sucker for the tart lime with the crunchy, sweet of the graham cracker crust.

      1. Jim makes a lemon pie with a saltine cracker crust. I need to make all the things!!! 🙂

  7. Those cookies look so delicious!!! I absolutely love baking sweets but tend to do less during the warmer months….that may need to change this weekend!

    1. It is a bit more difficult to bake during the heat of summer but sometimes a s’mores cookie just makes it worth it. 🙂

  8. I love your passion for baking! I’m jealous that you have a tutor right there with you in your baking journey. I had to learn everything on my own. The most valuable tip I learned was the kitchen scale – so much easier to measure everything and more accurate as well!

    1. I would share Jim if I could! 🙂

      The kitchen scale is by far the best tip he has given to me. I love it!

  9. Cool! These look tasty! Yes the whole weight vs volume thing always made me pause. It’s an American thing to measure by volume. In England we ALWAYS weighed ingredients

    1. I need to go to England to bake. I would fit right in! 🙂

      Let’s be honest…I really want to go to England. 🙂

    1. Hi, Kami! Thank you so much for the post love! I am so glad you are able to enjoy doing so with your boys. Not only are you creating delicious treats but sweet memories. I love that!

  10. Being able to share this with your father-in-law is so nice and a great way for you all to get closer. Baking is so soothing to me and I can see why my mom does it as often as she does. Eating is always tops.

    1. Hi, Serena! There’s something that can be almost meditative when it comes to cooking and baking. It’s definitely soothing! 🙂

    1. Baking is just awesome. I wish I hadn’t convinced myself I was a terrible baker for so many years. Sigh.

    1. Thanks! They all happen to be the same color and incredibly useful. And they were all gifts from different people!!

  11. I could not agree more with your tips. I can’t even tell you ho many times I started to bake something only to realized in the middle that I don’t have all the ingredients. It even happened yesterday. I really have to read all the recipe and get out all the ingredients before I start doing something.

    1. It’s the worst! You are so far in and then realize either something is missing, you need more time or you have the wrong size pan. Were you able to get what you needed to finish?

    1. It’s really fun to bond with him over cooking and baking. He has a sous-vide machine that is pretty darn nifty. If I had more space in my kitchen, I would consider getting one. My kitchen is SO FULL!!! 🙂

  12. I am not the best at cooking, but baking is another story! I don’t do it often, but when I do I am like you – I get so much joy sharing my creations with others who seem to love them. And yes – food scales are a total lifesaver!!!

    1. One of my favorite things is the scent of something yummy baking away in the oven. It’s the best!

I am great at "talking back", so please comment away.

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