Sanity…some baking required!

Sometimes, you just have to bake. There are, of course, the obligatory baking occasions – birthdays, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and office potlucks. But that’s not what I’m talking about here. I’m talking about those times when you absolutely, positively, MUST…BAKE…SOMETHING…NOW or else your head will explode.

That was me last weekend. I love baking. Lovey dovey LOVE IT. But I’ve been out of town for a while and haven’t had access to an oven, so I’ve been DYING to bake. It had gotten to the point where if I went absolutely one more minute without baking something, I was going to develop a nervous tic.

Thankfully, I was able to visit the boyfriend for Easter weekend, and since he was working on Saturday, I had the whole day all to myself to make a giant mess in his kitchen and bake to my heart’s content! (And yes, I brought my own measuring cups and pans. Don’t you travel with those?)

The results at the end of the day? One diabetes-inducing pan of homemade chocolate peanut butter brownies, and 2 double batches of chocolate chip cookies – that’s like 10 dozen. Oh, and my sanity intact, and nervous tic averted.

Diabetes in a pan.  So good.
Diabetes in a pan. So good.

Sure, I ate a few along the way, but the deliciousness really isn’t the reason why I love baking so much. I love baking for all of its other benefits:

Baking is relaxing. I suck at relaxing; like, fail miserably at it. When I’m stressed, it’s time to break out the mixer. Baking allows me to trick myself into believing I’m doing something productive while simultaneously giving me an excuse to watch reruns of The Big Bang Theory in 8-minute segments while the cookies are baking. I get to relax without feeling like a total slacker, and sweet deliciousness comes out on the other side. Double win.

Bite-sized happy.
Bite-sized happy.

Baking is a lost art. Not a lot of people in my generation bake anymore. We 30-somethings don’t make stuff from scratch. When we need baked goods, we order them from the bakery or pick them up from the grocery store. If we’re feeling particularly froggy, we buy that pre-made cookie dough that breaks up into little chunks and throw them in the oven and call it “homemade.” We don’t crack eggs, measure flour, and stir by hand anymore. I love baking because it’s such a lost art and when something really-for-real-homemade shows up at a social gathering, people notice.

Baking is simple. There are very few things in life that are simple. Mapping your career path? Complicated, at best. Choosing a new car? A significant research project. Putting together Ikea furniture? You may as well just burn the furniture along with the Swedish directions. But baking is EASY. You pull out the recipe card, you do exactly what it says, chemistry and magic happen, and you have deliciousness 8 minutes later. Life doesn’t get much simpler than that.

Baking makes happy memories. There were a fair amount of baked goods in our house growing up. Mom always made special birthday cakes for my brother and me. One year, she even bought special shaped pans and then decorated the cakes for hours with colored frosting piped from a bag in those tiny little star shapes. My cake looked like a doll wearing a pink jumper. We always had a ton of Christmas cookies that we decorated together as a family. And when I was 13, Mom taught me how to bake chocolate chip cookies, and I’ve been making the exact same recipe the exact same way ever since. It’s not so much the fact that there were cakes or cookies, but rather, the memories of the special occasions for which the baked goods were made. Baking reminds me of happy times at home with family, so when I miss them, I whip up a batch of happy and give Mom and Dad a call on the phone.

Baking is delicious! Ok fine, I’ll admit it. The deliciousness is at least some of the reason why I love baking so much! While Sara Lee and those little Keebler elves do have some skills, they just can’t measure up to the delectable goodness of cookies still warm from the oven.

What are you waiting for? The oven is calling! Go answer it!

I may have eaten 4 cookies during the writing of this post.
I may have eaten 4 cookies during the writing of this post.

 


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