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Friday, July 6, 2012

Making cupcakes

I’m considering buying a bread maker.  I do say “considering” though, because I have some serious reservations.

I read the reviews of a particular bread maker online, and the opinions on the quality and performance of the machine varied.  One person was thrilled with her bread maker, the other would have just as soon thrown it out the window.  One said she had success from the first try, the other had to throw the first four loafs she made in the bin.

What worried me the most was that one person said “you have to follow the instructions to the letter and use machine yeast”, while another said “machine yeast doesn’t work, you have to use dry yeast”.  Well, what is it?  Machine yeast or dry yeast?

Another reason why I’m having reservations about the purchase of a bread maker is because … I’m not all that good in the kitchen.  Correction, I consider myself a good cook, but I can’t bake to save my life.
I remember the day like it was yesterday.  My son Dieter had his 6th birthday coming up and I was going to make cupcakes for his party.  I got all the ingredients together, mixed the dough, scooped bits of it in the paper cups and placed the lot in the oven.  
“Keep an eye on them will you Dieter,” I said, “I’m quickly gonna go and make the beds.”

It didn’t take long before he called “Mom!  The cupcakes are foaming.”  
I stuck my head out of one of the bedrooms and said, “You mean they are rising?  They’re supposed to do that.”

A short while later Dieter called again. 
“Mom, those cupcakes are rising really high.” 
“How high?” I called back.
“I don’t know,” he said, appearing in the bedroom doorway.  “The oven looks like a washing machine.  All foamy.”
Foamy?  That didn’t sound normal.

When I went to take a look I saw right away that something had gone horribly wrong.  The whole oven was full of foaming dough and it was forcing its way out through the cracks.  To cut a long story short, instead of normal flour I had used self-rising flour with a good dose of yeast.  It took me ages to clean the oven and Dieter got a store bought cake for his birthday.

Not one to give up easily, I decided to try my hand at cookies.  Maybe that would work better than cupcakes.  I followed the instructions of the cookbook and paid attention to using the correct flour this time.
When the time came to eating the cookies, Dieter took a bite and pulled a face.
“What?” I asked.
“They’re kind a hard,” he said.
I tried one too and … oh my goodness, this wasn’t a cookie, this was a stone and so were the others.

Instead of throwing them in the bin, I decided to feed them to the birds.  Imagine my surprise when a couple of pigeons showed up, briefly pecked at the “cookies” and took off again. 

Oh well, I could always feed them to the ducks. 
“Are you sure about that mom,” Dieter said.  “The ducks might sink.”

I believe that was the last time I ever baked anything.

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