I can cook. Really I can. My friends all say so. Even my brother, who thinks nothing tastes like mom’s home cooking, enjoys my food. But I can’t bake. Cooking is trial and error. Adjust as you go? No problem. Don’t get me wrong, it takes skill to be a proper chef who can pull off a fabulous dinner party or run a restaurant. My knife skills could be better but I cook at home and people enjoy it.  

Now, baking… well… baking is chemistry. The proportions must be just right. You can’t just substitute whatever you like. Even the oven matters (you even need one that gives off good, even heat)! I’ve baked some easy things, like pound cake, cookies, and cobbler. I make fantastic cobbler! 

A cake, now that’s hard. My grandmother could bake like nobody’s business. People used to buy her cakes for their weddings or their holiday celebrations. They were so tasty! She passed on several years ago, but every time I bake something, no matter how simple, I feel a little closer to her. I feel like I should be able to use her recipes and her guidance to create something remotely passable. Sadly, nothing comes out quite the way it’s meant to. I’ve actually thrown cakes in the bin because they didn’t taste quite right. Too dry. Too soft. Too gummy. Ick.

BUT. I’m determined to learn to bake. It’d be nice to make something fancy like this lovely strawberry cake from scratch but I figure I’ll start with something easier. Each week I’ll go for something new, and talk about how well (or badly) it’s going.  Here’s my attempt at biscotti: cherry chocolate chip on the left and hazelnut chocolate chip. Not too hard, but still crunchy. Pretty tasty too. Phase one: success! On to the next…