There’s an old saying that “cooking is an art, but baking is a science.” And if I had to choose, I’d say that I am more artist than scientist. Which is why it is utterly baffling that I am a baker.
The saying comes from the idea that, when cooking a dish, a pinch of this here and a dash of that there is really all about creating a tapestry of flavors that suit your tastebuds as you cook; when baking a dish, if you add a pinch of baking soda but were supposed to add a pinch of baking powder, you’re looking at a potential disaster.
What I’ve discovered, however, is that once you understand the fundamental mathematical & scientific process that govern the successful creation of a baked good, then you can start to look at the dish from an artist’ s perspective.
Which is how my Vegan Cranberry Walnut Banana Bread Cookies went from “really good” to “freaking amazing.” All it took was a little bit of experimentation and scientific guidance from a guy named Mattie. Mattie doesn’t know me from a hole in the wall, but I discovered his website, veganbaking.net, the other day, and it’s changed my life. He has an incredibly scientific approach to the conversion of conventional baked goods (the butter-and-eggs kind I’m used to baking) into vegan ones. It was on that site that I discovered his recipe for vegan banana butter–which sounded like it might be the perfect ingredient to kick my cookies into the “freaking amazing” category.
I’m really proud of these cookies–and I’m starting to feel more confident in experimenting with flavors and even fundamental ingredient combinations, which can only make my cookies better. And I’m grateful for people like Mattie–as well as Alton Brown (but who isn’t grateful for Alton Brown), and Jeff Potter (who wrote Cooking for Geeks)–because they do the dirty work of figuring out the exact ratios of xanthan-gum-to-lecithin to create perfect vegan butter, or explain the hows and whys behind mixing one ingredient before another to create the perfect cookie consistency.
And now that I’m gaining that confidence, my cookies are only going to get better. I’m hoping that with every batch, I am one bite closer to becoming a professional baker, and not just an amateur with a little luck.
And thank you all for reading as I start to grow into myself and into my kitchen. Your support is what keeps me baking.
I love you all & have a happy Thanksgiving!
Love & Cookies,
PS I’ve made a commitment to myself today that in one year–on my 26th birthday–I will have a fully functional, successful cookie business. And by making this public declaration, well, I have no choice but to live up to my words and make it a reality. Get ready, world. KP’s cookies are on their way.