Baking Therapy

I wouldn’t consider myself someone with a sweet tooth. Sure, sweets are good and I enjoy them, but I’m more of a savory girl. Salty, spicy, sour flavors are right up my alley. Despite this, I have found that I’ve been doing more baking this winter. I think it is more of a therapeutic thing, a method to focus on dough & batter, and nothing else matters.

I’ve been wanting to create a recipe for a healthy protein cookie so I did a little experimenting.

Protein Cookie Experiment

Protein Cookie Experiment

They look fantastic, right? They were okay. I made them with vanilla protein powder, oats, applesauce, egg whites and a few other ingredients, leaving out butter. They turned out more like muffin tops, in that they had a muffin-like texture & look, which I expected. They were a tad on the dry side and lacking the pop of flavor that I wanted. Back to the drawing board on this one.

Next up in the oven… I was thumbing through a stack of older Cooking Light magazines, I found a recipe for Chocolate-Hazelnut Thumbprints. It was the perfect opportunity to use up the last few tablespoons of Nutella, like I need an excuse to eat Nutella! We also had some whole hazelnuts leftover from a hazelnut torte project Mr. Nine was working on last week. Here’s how the cookies turned out:

Chocolate-Hazelnut Thumbprint Cookies

Chocolate-Hazelnut Thumbprint Cookies

I had a hard time getting the dough not to crack when I made the thumb indentations. They were very good, but I disagree with the “rave” reviews on the CL website. I liked them, but was not wowed by them. They were a fun treat to make though and used ingredients we already had in the house… well except for the eggs. I was certain we had eggs, and I had all the dry ingredients mixed and was about to grab the eggs to mix with the espresso powder and, you guessed it, no eggs. Luckily Mr. Nine was nice enough to run to the gas station to get eggs for me (now that we no longer have our own chickens, that story is for another post). I had no idea that gas stations sold eggs! I checked the best buy date and packaging, very skeptical of the quality of them, but they seemed fine. First time for buying eggs from the place you get gas, strange!

At the end of my baking, I felt a little empty because I did not create a WOW recipe. I mean doesn’t everyone want to leave the kitchen in total foodie bliss, happily eating & talking about their fantastic food creations? I know I do. In all this I realized though that not every recipe is going to be amazing. Sometimes we have great meals, sometimes they are mediocre, sometimes they are total flops. But with each batch of cookies, or pot of soup, or whatever we make, it is a process. We learn a little along the way and each time we step into the kitchen, and no matter what the outcome, it sure beats a trip to the drive-thru.

For me, these last two recipes were also therapeutic. Whisking the egg yolks & espresso powder together (what a fabulous color it turns!) and kneading the dry, crumbly dough into a smooth, shiny ball of cookie potential. All of this reminds me why I love being in the kitchen.

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