Sunday, March 29, 2015

Baking from scratch isn't always necessary

At home, I never use a box mix to bake something.... it just doesn't feel like baking. It feels like cheating. It's not from "scratch", and you can definitely taste the difference. Yes, I'm a bit of a baking snob. So for me, if I don't have the time to bake from scratch, I just use that as an excuse to go visit one of my favorite local bakers!

Here in France I'm living in the dorms at school and using a community kitchen for some of my baking escapades. It's rather challenging for SO many reasons - for instance, we only have one mixing bowl in the entire kitchen. Sometimes there are no spoons. There is no electric mixer or hand mixer. There's no hot water from the tap, so if hot water is needed, it has to be boiled. There is an oven, sort of.... it's actually a miniature countertop oven, or an over-sized toaster oven. Although originally I thought I would not be able to bake here, with a little creativity I've been able to make it work, and I've discovered that a standard size pie plate just fits!

This week I was having a chocolate craving and a longing for some time in the kitchen, but I wasn't up for the challenges of international baking, so I indulged in a box mix..... and it was GOOD! I was pretty skeptical when I saw the paper baking pan that came in the box, which was in two pieces and required some assembly, but amazingly it worked great. One bowl, some water, and a couple of eggs was all I needed. Quick and easy.... and delicious!

A few days later I was still (or yet again) craving chocolate, and remembered a recipe I'd found for some chocolate cookies. I use that word loosely because they turned out more like chocolate truffles or bonbons, rather than a traditional cookie.They are Brazilian Brigadeiro, and with only three ingredients and no actual baking, they were SUPER easy, and perfect for my kitchen situation.

Plain sugar for some, Speculoos cookie crumbs for the others

So, I'm learning to admit my prejudices against boxed baking mixes, and am letting go of some of my preconceived notions about baking. I am embracing the convenience of boxed mixes, and "baking" cookies that don't actually require baking. And through this process I am experiencing a little more freedom and a lot more goodness in my life!

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