Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Baby Steps

When I first ventured into the baking world, I was afraid to try new recipes. I shied away from pursuing the most basic of recipes, including rolled sugar cookies, simply because I didn't have a rolling pin and I was not certain if purchasing one was worth it. I took one glance at recipes and refused to attempt them if they involved whipping cream for frosting, beating egg whites for meringue, or even sifting powdered sugar for quick icing. The main ingredients in my kitchen cupboards were bags of chocolate chips because chocolate chip cookies never fail to please anyone.

One horrid day, after a particularly depressing argument with someone dear to me, I set about making blueberry muffins. The ingredients came together nicely, and I quite enjoyed the manageable directions; all I had to do was take two bowls out, wield several measuring spoons, and combine everything into a single bumpy lump. Grasping the muffin tin, I crossed the kitchen in two steps, opened the oven door, and promptly spilled the batter all over the tiled floor through a minuscule slip of the hand. I stood there watching the sad, sad blueberries lying motionless in the soupy puddle that had been created to showcase them, and I reached a crossroads: dump the mess and storm from the kitchen in bitter tears, never to return, or quietly mop it up and bake something even more fabulous. I stopped wallowing in my fear of failure and made my first successful profiteroles that day.

Since then, I've crept out of my shell and tried a variety of recipes, some strange and others memorable. Yesterday, I was led to making French macarons. Now, macarons are the cookies that I've heard the most horror stories about, the most unbecoming results, with the dread that those little "feet" may never emerge. But I figured even if they turned out disfigured, they would still taste the same and could be munched on happily.

So I got out my almond meal, beat some egg whites, piped some batter, and came up with...

Cinnamon macarons with peanut butter and powdered sugar filling.
And what a relief. They have feet!