Bake it ’til you make it

By Penny Caldwell »Penny Caldwell

If I can bake successfully, geez, anyone can

November 16th, 2011



Guest post by Jackie Davis, assistant editor. Yesterday I made the Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies from Bake Something Great! By Jill Snider, featured in our Winter issue (see p. 29). They were fantastic! If you enjoy baking, eating, or looking at beautiful photos of food, check out this book. I like it because all the recipes are for cookies, squares, and bars, which are my favourite things to bake. (I’m not so keen on making cakes, pies, crumbles, or desserts that trick you into eating healthy stuff, such as yoghurt or wheat germ.)

People tell me all the time that I’m a good baker, but I’m not sure that’s true. Still, I do bake a lot, so I’ve learned a few things:

1. You don’t need to bake something great. You can bake something mediocre. People will still eat it.

2. It’s not necessary to be all that precise or careful. Or even very alert: I bake early in the morning, when my eyes are still blurry. I make weird substitutions, misread directions, guesstimate, use the wrong tools, forget to add things, and flat-out ignore steps. Everything usually works out anyway.

3. If you bake for people, they will like you. I bring my cookies to work, and my colleagues express actual delight (some even cheer) when they see me. I don’t think this is because I’m a good employee.

4. It doesn’t matter if you can’t cook. As kids, my sister and I were required, together, to cook one night per week. This was a disaster. Everything we made looked like slop—the kind of stuff that might be served to Oliver Twist, or prison inmates. Literally everything. Literally slop. I have no idea why. Forced Cooking Night taught me that a) I can’t cook, and b) I don’t want to go to prison.

Clearly, baking has benefits, and it isn’t that hard. So bake something already! You can visit the Cottage Life recipe section here for ideas.


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Penny Caldwell

Nov. 16, 2011

2:43 pm

I regularly test Jackie's baking when it turns up in the office kitchen, and I can say these were her best cookies! The book’s author, Jill Snider, was the coordinator of Cottage Life’s Annual Recipe Contest, and I had the pleasure of working with her closely for many years—often in her own, roomy home kitchen. Jill still contributes food articles to the magazine. BTW, for anyone who doesn't know Jackie, she's a pretty good employee too, even when she's been up all night baking cookies.


Nov. 16, 2011

1:53 pm

I can't wait to make these for my holiday cookie swap!!!

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Penny Caldwell