One of the things I love to do, especially during the holiday season, is bake. Last year, I went on this cupcake phase. Maybe I still am on it to some degree once you see what I’ve come up with this year. But last year, everything was chocolate with white icing and a special minty surprise in the middle of the chocolaty goodness. I find baking very therapeutic. When I’m stressed, or when I’m waiting for some sort of news, I bake. It allows me to focus on just the act of mixing ingredients together and nothing else.
The first thing I do when I bake is shop for everything I would need. My mom is a baker too, so most of the ingredients are always available at home. But things like extra butter or chocolate chips need to be purchased. When I know what I want to make, like Brookies and Cheesecake Brownies, I put a list together of what I need and head for the store.
When I get back, I make sure everything is ready. I gather the bowls, spatulas, measuring cups, mixers, and baking pans in one place. Then I pre-heat the oven. Always remember to pre-heat the oven. It’s the most important part of baking. The last of my prep goes to organizing all the ingredients so that they are within reach.
This year, I decided on Brookies and Cheesecake Brownies, but instead of using rectangular baking pans, I used cupcake pans. The reason for this is it’s easier to portion everything. You just scoop the batter on top of one another and slide everything into the oven.
For the brownie base of the Brookies and Cheesecake Brownies, I decided on a double fudge brownie. This makes everything just a little more decadent. I mean ‘tis the season. Calories cease to exist. Am I right?
For the cookie part of the Brookies, I chose an Oatmeal Chocolate Chip recipe. Got to add some oatmeal in there for extra texture, and it’s just plain old yummy. For the cheesecake portion of the other brownie, I used cream cheese, some butter, an egg, flour, and sugar.
Honestly, I believe the best place to experiment is baking. Once you have the basics down, there are a ton of combinations you can come up with. It’s very much like writing that way. I guess that’s why I’m so drawn to baking whenever I need a break from my writing. Plus, it makes the house smell so damn good.
What are you baking for this holiday season?