The coincidental baker: A sweet comeback story

I love “small-world” coincidences. Those moments of joy when you and an acquaintance discover something surprising in common. They speak to the statistician in me, as if to say, “what are the odds?”

Since I started my journey I’ve encountered so many coincidences that I’ve lost count. I’ve met someone who turned out to be a flatmate’s friend, I’ve met people who turned out to be (or work with) my future colleagues, and I’ve found myself accidentally competing against friends in a pub quiz. But this latest one is a real doozy.

Me and baking

I’m no stranger to baking. As a kid I’d often help out my mum with whatever cake or muffin recipe she was working on – usually by licking the spoon! At my first flat I was baking oat slice or muffins on a weekly basis for snacking.

Unfortunately, I moved to a flat with a dodgy oven. Let me tell you, no baking habit can survive a dodgy oven. Seriously, this thing was 50°C under temperature. Two undercooked batches of muffins later, I called it quits.

Fast-forward three years. I’m in a different flat with a better oven. In fact I’ve been here for most of that time. But the motivation wasn’t there. I needed a reason to get back into it. I needed… inspiration.

r/Whataretheodds

In recent months I’ve found myself surrounded by bakers – in my flat, at work, and in my social circles. It seems like everywhere I turn there’s a fresh batch of cookies looking back at me. This sowed the seed in my mind, but still didn’t persuade me to break out the muffin tray.

That is, until one of these bakers started a blog for her recipes – just as I was about to launch mine! (If you’re reading this, I promise I’m not just copying you!)

And to top it off, the perfect occasion popped up: my flatmate’s birthday party. An indoor picnic at our place – BYO food. She’s the sort of person who really appreciates a personal touch. So, after a quick google and shopping trip, here’s what I came up with for my comeback from baking retirement.

Banana & date muffins

For my first bake since forever, I picked the simplest thing I could find – with one catch. I have a rule that I don’t use added sugar. So no packet sugar, no golden syrup, and no cheating with sugar substitutes either! Fruit sugar is all good of course. (Chocolate and honey are a grey area). This was borne of the “I quit sugar” movement, and my general distaste for over-sweet foods.

I followed this recipe from Kidgredients – it has kid in the name, so it must be simple! The only change I made to the ingredients was to use (imitation) vanilla essence instead of vanilla paste. As you can see here I didn’t exactly splash out – I figured I should save the good stuff for later on when I get some skills.

1 - other brands are available
Other baking supply brands are available

I’ll let the pictures and captions tell the story from here.

Cue training montage music!
2 - food processor
Pro tip: blender =/= food processor
3 - coconut oil
So this is coconut oil… I honestly had no idea what I’d find under the lid
4a - 1
Batter 1…
4b - 2
Batter 2…
4c - 3
Batter 3…
4d - batter up
Batter up!

 

5 - toasty
Toasty
6 - lick the spoon
I get to lick the spoon, yay!
7 - 5 minutes in
Too toasty! Quick, turn it down and move them to the bottom!
8 - looking good
Looking good! Except that one in the back corner…
9 - taste testing
…which of course I used for taste-testing purposes!
10 - ready to party
Ready to party! (Down to 8 after the flatties had their share)

And the guests took care of the rest. A complete, and subtly sweet, success. Which means I’m just gonna have to bake more for myself!

It’s good to be back.

 

Had any great small-world moments lately? What’s your go-to simple baking recipe? Let me know!

3 thoughts on “The coincidental baker: A sweet comeback story

  1. Haha no worries at all about ‘copying’, I’m all for there being more baking in the world!

    And I’m glad I’m not the only one who shies away from sugary recipes – I’m not as stringent as you in that I’ll use maple/brown rice syrup or molasses, or coconut sugar if I have to but sweetening things with banana/applesauce/dates just makes me SO much happier.

    And wait until you open your coconut oil in the middle of summer – it won’t even be solid anymore!

    Like

    1. I don’t think I could copy your baking if I tried! (It would make for an entertaining post though…)

      I feel like maple syrup etc. fall into the grey area as well, since they add a flavour besides just “sweet”. But in the past I’ve tended to reduce the quantities when the recipe calls for these.

      And if I still have that container of coconut oil in summer, it probably means I’ve given up baking again 😛

      Like

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