Use it or lose it
I used to bake stuff. I was good at baking stuff. And stuff you bake yourself is so much tastier than stuff some factory baked and shot full of chemicals so it would look and smell a certain unnatural but oddly appealing way and also so it would last through a nuclear holocaust.
I’m looking at you, Twinkies.
But then I pretty much stopped baking stuff. It took time and energy I didn’t have. Suddenly, 20 minutes in the kitchen to throw together some ingredients and dump it into a pan and plop it in the oven seemed like an overstretch of my resources. I knew it would taste better. I knew it would be a healthier option, even if it was sugary. But the idea of it made me tired and whimpery.
Nobody likes tired and whimpery, not even the tired and whimpery person.
It seems my energies are shifting, however. And for the past two days, a bunch of nasty browning bananas have been staring at me from the end of the counter. Creepy, I tell ya. So I began to think thoughts of banana-y baked goods. And so I went poking about Al Gore’s internets to find a new recipe for…something.
I found a recipe for a banana snack cake that the originator described as “the perfect amount of sweet”. That sounded good to me, because I didn’t want something very sweet and most banana breads are really sweet, which tastes nice, but sugar isn’t my friend and so I am gradually learning to like things less sweet. Besides, overripe bananas are inherently quite sweet. So the recipe sounded good.
But the problem with baking is that it’s a skill and one can fall out of practice. And by that, I mean one can forget how to effectively read and follow directions, because that is really the crux of most home baking.
I tell you, I re-checked the recipe twice and even though it clearly said “baking powder”, I still dumped in baking soda. I caught it too late to do anything about it, so I went ahead and added the baking powder. Maybe I’d just get a puffy cake.
I forgot that baking soda is also a browning agent, which means that by the time the cake was done, it was deeply browned. Not black, but really brown.
It was still warm when I cut into it. I took the first bite, looking for that “perfect amount of sweet”.
Um, no. Definitely not the perfect amount of sweet. I’d probably have to double the 1/4 of brown sugar it called for to get the perfect amount of sweet. Since my piece was still warm I dropped a few chocolate chips on top and let them melt, and then swirled them around and ate it.
Eh, not exciting. I won’t be making that recipe again, should I get another wild hare and another bunch of shifty-eyed bananas.
And I don’t even know why I didn’t just sprinkle some chocolate chips on the rest of the cake (and I use the word “cake” very loosely) while it was still warm. I may need to frost that imperfectly sweet cake to make it palatable.
Or just pitch it and use the rest of the bananas in some real banana bread.