Sunday, October 26, 2008

Bonk, Jiggle, Bonk (baking while angry)

So last night I was trying to bake something good enough to give away, because our neighbor across the street just had something weird happen. Technically it wasn't a death in the family but the situation was similar enough that my Southern-fried brain went into Must Bake Something mode as soon as I heard about it.

'Twas my second attempt at making an orange-flavored quick bread with dried cranberries in it. I don't know how I got stuck on this. Some time ago I stayed at a hotel that gave away Otis Spunkmeyer* cookies at the front desk, and I had an oatmeal cookie made with dried cranberries instead of raisins, and it blew my mind.

I found a recipe online, and for some reason I cannot bake just one bread, so I doubled it. And the dough came out very wet and sticky, such that I thought about adding a little more flour, but decided "Nooo, best not to futz with it." I don't know if that would have done much good or not.

So I took them out when they seemed done, and let them sit in the pans, on a rack, as instructed, for 15 minutes. The Pyrex loaf pans seemed to hold their heat a lot longer than the nonstick metal pans I use for brownies and such. At 15 minutes they were still too hot to touch without mitts, and didn't move at all when overturned. I decided to wait. At 22 minutes, the breads looked moist and sticky and I thought that the longer they stayed in-pan the gooier things would get. I failed to make the connection between "These look kinda sticky" and "These don't seem inclined to come out." So I ran a knife around the edges, turned the pan over, bonked the pan edge on the counter, jiggled, bonked again. Nothing. I ran the knife around more thoroughly and tried again, and, well, most of the loaf came out.

I got Spouse up from WOWing to try the other one, and it was worse: most of the bottom half of the loaf stayed stuck in the pan. He looked at me, shrugged wordlessly, and went back to his cave. (Have I mentioned yet that our fights consist of me yelling and swearing, and him going nonverbal? No? My bad.)

The breads are a bit overdone on the edges, but squishy in the middle. And I put pecans in both loaves**, which means I have two big, dense, sweet breads all to myself, unless I give the less-addled one to Mom.

Apparently a lot of women bake to console themselves on bad days. Sometimes this results in pretty output, good enough to give away, and sometimes not. I've had two disasters in a row now--I burned brownies, for gosh shakes--and I think I may be resorting to Publix the next time I need carbohydrate consolation. Maybe I will just write our neighbor a card.


*Seriously, man, what marketing genius came up with that?
"Okay, team: we need a name that connotes wholesome tasty baked goods."
"All right. Let's try a soul music icon's first name, a slang term for a bodily fluid, and then a German-sounding ethno-snippet."

**Those would be the Goddamn Nuts my husband won't eat (as in "Goddamn it, I'm putting the Goddamn Nuts in both of 'em!"), chopped with alarming force while listening to Tori Amos. Did I mention I was angry? And that bar results come out next Friday? And that Vyvanse doesn't appear to be doing anything at all, and my face still looks like hamburger?


  1. Ha ha ha! Maybe NOT try the cornbread, then.

    It might not be you, it might be the stupid oven. In our last apartment, we had an oven that I THOUGHT worked: we put a thermometer in it and it claimed to be accurate. But everything I baked SUCKED. Then we moved to a house and had to buy an oven, and suddenly I was a baking MAGICIAN. It was the OVEN. Or else the karma in the old apartment, or a ghostie or whatever.

    My spouse also goes all non-verbal when we're fighting. Makes me want to rip his fool head off! See if he has something to say THEN!

  2. Oh, man, the first homemade thing I baked in our oven was this disastrous, horrible batch of snickerdoodles. I ended up throwing out the dough, they spread out so bad. And I thought that our oven was too hot. I've been undercutting recipe temps by 25 degrees ever since (and hemming and hawing about When The Bread Is Done).

    That was probably right at a year ago, at the beginning of Cookie Spree '07. Just the other day I stuck an oven thermometer in there, and the temp was just fine. It was the freaking recipe. Bah! (But now I'm back to trusting recipes. Mostly. Just not from Joy.)