Before I really started cooking, I baked. I’ve learned to appreciate cooking – it’s more flexible than baking, less fussy, and there’s something that feels really nice about mixing up a big pot of something warm and nourishing. I like the repetition of chopping vegetables and the knowledge that what I’m making will do good things for me. But baking will always be what I love.
I love how you can mix together simple ingredients – flour, sugar, butter – and create something else entirely. There is a certain specificity to baking that appeals deeply to the Type A part of me. If you put all the pieces together in the right way, you get what you were expecting. It’s chemistry at it’s finest.
My favorite thing about baked goods is that although they are usually not the best for your body, they’re good for the soul. In my family, food has always been an expression of love. You bring dinner to friends who are going through hard times and give chocolate bars on birthdays. The best part about baking? Sharing with those I care about.
In college, I’ve noticed that I’ve moved a little bit away from baking. I definitely still bake – it’s one way that I cope with stress – but I make more muffins and less cakes. I don’t want to eat an entire batch of cookies by myself, I don’t have enough faith in my self control to keep them laying around, and as much as I love to share, I have to face the fact that I am on a budget now.
Baking has started to feel like a waste of time, money, and ingredients that could be used to create nutritious food instead. I’ve been combating this is by modifying my baking to make it healthier or by cooking instead when I feel the urge to bake.
The other day, I made cupcakes with plenty of white flour and butter and so much sugar. These vegan chocolate cupcakes with chai buttercream. Make them, they are delicious. I only ate one (and loved it) – the rest were gifted away. It felt incredible, but I can’t afford to do this frequently, especially since I like to buy high quality ingredients.
For now, my plan is to continue with healthy baking but try to occasionally incorporate decadent baking in as well. Fiscally, it may not be the smartest decision but I’m starting to think the happiness it brings me is worth the money.
Do you have any creative tips for how to better manage a baking habit?