Baking is Therapy


I don’t know why, but yesterday the whole time I was at work, I was having this really huge urge to bake something. I had only ever baked once before, but the feeling was so persistent that I ended up leaving on my lunch break just to get the supplies. For some reason, I really wanted to make cookies.

And I knew exactly which ones. There is a very good recipe in Jamie Oliver’s latest book on Comfort Food that involves a whole lot of chocolate and just looked absolutely delicious in the book- so I knew I had to make it.

The mix calls for the inclusion of three types of chocolate: dark, white, and maltesers. It also involves adding something called Horlicks, which as Google told told, is a malt milk mixture- whatever that is, I thought I could do without because the internet also did not give me a substitute for it. So the cookies would have to be more chocolatey rather than have that malt flavor the book was calling for.

It was my first experience at melting chocolate, and to tell you the truth, I was terrified. Going online can do so much to a person’s confidence if they’re not careful. I happened to concentrate all my research on what could go wrong with the chocolate if it didn’t happen to be melted on low heat or if it came in contact with water. Thankfully though my mom helped with this part as the chocolate melted in the make-shift bain marie we had made by placing a regular glass bowl over a pot of water. It ended up okay, happily.

From here, we added the flour and the sweetened condensed milk. Adding stuff is always one of my favorite parts of cooking because it always lets me mash up and mix things together, releasing the frustrations of a long work day. Our hot melted chocolate was smelling good but it was also beginning to harden up, so it was time to chill it in the fridge for the instructed 20-30 minutes.

In the meantime, we chopped up the maltesers and the white chocolate. And I swear to you that if we didn’t need to add it to the mix, I would have just grabbed that bowl and ate them all. They looked so inviting and not at all guilt-inducing. Here, my sister helped a lot, as she held the knife and just destroyed those chocolates!

I think we did leave the mix in the fridge for a bit longer than the need because when it came out, it felt a bit stiff and I was worried if we would be able to shape it into cookies. But after scrapping it from the bottom of the bowl and tossing in all that chopped up chocolate, it seemed to be okay- and we started working on forming the shapes.

At this point, we had the oven preheated to the recommended time in the book, and we had two baking pans, one lined with the red silicone, and one lined with regular baking paper. We were starting to get excited- did I mention they were already smelling so good? The recipe had said to bake for 12 minutes or until the edges were crispy and the interior was chewy. We had formed them in a way that they weren’t too small or too chunky.

So we waited those 12 minutes. And when the timer went off, we opened the oven to find that the cookies had  horizontally expanded and they were still a large goopy mess. Not at all the delicious cookies we had planned to make. So we left them in for another 10 minutes, then another 5, then we decided to turn off the heat but keep them in there for about 5 minutes. It ended up needing about double the time in the book.

How did they turn out?! Well for a first try at making cookies, I would say they were pretty okay. Sure we would have all preferred if they were chunkier and less chewy, but they seem to be fine. We also ran into a bit of trouble with the cookies placed on the paper- because they ended up sticking to it and we had to scrape them off and then reheat and I don’t know what. But the taste wasn’t compromised and nothing was burned!

The experience helped though. Not only was it a good family bonding activity, but it slowly confirmed to me that with a bit of practice, I can start to say that baking is therapeutic. Nothing gives greater satisfaction than doing something from start to finish and having people positively comment on it.

I guess my fiance was onto something when he got me those cookbooks for my birthday


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