Try Try Again

This, my friends, is the time I tried to make a cake using almond flour. See, I bought this bag of almond flour back in December to surprise my mom with Christmas macarons (seen here, 4th food photo down). I made macarons three times before making her gift, and every time I got it wrong. Even the end result was far less than perfect (as you can see!); no matter what I did, I could not make them look the way they were supposed to look. Since then, the almond flour has been sitting around in the fridge, wasting away.  So I decided, the hell with macarons, I’m going to make a cake! I read online that you could replace the flour in any recipe with it, but it’s heaviness required more of the rising agent….so I used my favorite yellow cake recipe and doubled the baking powder (2 tsp instead of 1). Ka boom! Bad idea.

After the cake mess, I started feeling like a failure, and I started to worry that my future endeavors would have the same sad ending.
I know there are tentative chefs and bakers out there who might see their failure as a sign they aren’t cut out for making food. I felt that way with macarons! I tried and tried and tried, and it broke my heart to see website after website showing off their perfect macarons.  The only way to move on is to realize your strengths.  I make dynamite pies, and countless other things that have had people clamoring for a taste.  So what if macarons aren’t my forte?
I also realized that others fail too, all the time, even successful chefs that I admire.  Working as a baker, more than anything I have learned that we learn from our mistakes, and that I am still so young in my quest to be a great chef.  It is part of the human condition to compare our lives to others and wonder why we don’t seem to be doing as well.  A quote I have heard around the interwebs says it succinctly:
“One reason we struggle with insecurity: we’re comparing our behind the scenes to everyone else’s highlight reel.”

So that night, after I cleaned up the cake pans and scraped the cake off the cookie sheet, I pushed on and made dinner. Pasta with homemade Caesar dressing and homemade croutons!

Then I wondered if maybe I’m just better at cooking than baking. After all, cooking is an art, while baking is a science. But what’s more scientific than homemade marshmallow creme???
Mmmm, s’mores sandwiches for life!!!

My point is, we have to keep trying. Try, try again. And again and again! Only those who never give up succeed.



Spotlight On: The Pastry Blender

If you love making homemade food like me, chances are you could use a pastry blender. Anytime you’re making a dough that requires cutting butter or lard into flour (like biscuits, pie crust, or tortillas), it’s a great time and energy saver. I was using forks frustratedly until I ventured out to my local grocery store and bought one for $3-$4. Using it also makes me feel like a real chef in the kitchen! 🙂
Maybe one day I’ll replace my wine bottle with an actual rolling pin and truly be professional, but for now, spend a few bucks and invest in a pastry blender!


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