Choosing a baking project takes a little careful planning to be a success. By success, I mean FUN!
So, are you going to start with something seemingly simple using a bunch of boxed mixes? Are you a bake everything from scratch person? OR have ever considered a fully featured baking kit or even a customization one?
Baking and decorating especially, is an extremely creative process and with a little thought on what you want to accomplish, you'll be giving yourself a pat on the back for providing plenty of smiles for all those that share in the experience.
So, before you pull out the mixer and gather up the kids, ask yourself three important questions which I look forward to clarify later :
1. How much time can I devote to this baking project?
2. What level of experience is necessary for this project and what am I really looking to accomplish?
3. What am I going to need to have to do everything? Equipment, accessories, ingredients, etc ...
Yes, there are a seemingly endless amount of good and not so good recipes readily available on line or in one of your cookbooks you have stored away somewhere. However, if you have ever attempted to bake from scratch ( ie. no prepared mixes), you may know that depending on the level of complexity, baking can be quite challenging. Why?
For one thing, baking is not as forgiving, as lets say, cooking can be. What does that mean? Well for one thing, baking involves attention to accuracy regarding quantities of proper ingredients followed by careful adherence to procedures. Other important factors to baking include timing, baking and mixing temperature (both room temperature and batter or ingredient temperature) and in some locations, pressure and even humidity.
Why are there so many factors to consider? Well the short of it is baking involves more of the properties associated with chemistry and is not so forgiving to the "a little of that and a little of this...throw it all in and mix it up" theory. With that said, there is not so much wiggle room for varying from proper procedures and ingredients called for.
Yet, keep in mind that not all baking projects will necessarily involve these considerations. Also, many parts or steps can be avoided or skipped using a multitude of store bought dry packaged mixes (cake ,brownie, frosting, cookie, etc.).
Alternatively, there are some great baking kits you can find online, providing different levels of product offerings for baking and/or decorating cookies, cupcakes, cakes and more. You'll want to make sure if you are buying any of these kits, that you are buying from a reputable company and not someone who is baking out of their home kitchen. You can find an amazing product line of baking kits for both adults and kids at : www.CelebrationsInTheKitchen.com , perfect if you are looking to get right to and maximize the fun aspects of baking without all the fuss or muss. You may very well be pleasantly surprised how these terrific baking kits can turn you into an amazing cake decorator or provide a ton of baking and decorating fun for your kids with zero effort, stress or mess to worry about.
So getting back to our top questions:
How Much time Can I Devote to This Baking Idea Or Project? You will want to consider some of the factors above, fully understand what you are looking to accomplish and what it takes to get to the final result. (a beautifully decorated theme cake for someone special, delicious and amazingly decorated cookies for the kids, moist and delicious cupcakes for a family treat ....) Also there is the obvious such as shopping time for all the ingredients, set up and clean up when you are all done with the preliminary baking steps. Remember most recipes have an approximate time associated with completing the recipe but there may be a lot of assumptions built in to that. You could say the total amount of time is somewhat analogous to a football game where there are only 2 minutes to go to the game but 20 minutes later it is still going on!
What kind Of Experience Is Necessary? Know what your limitations might be preventing you from coming out with the result you are expecting. So choose something simple to bake and or decorate to start with. Be patient with yourself and not to critical and work your way up from there. Practice.
What Ingredients, Equipment And Accessories Are Called For? Nothing is worse than getting through half way of a recipe and realizing you do not have a crucial ingredient or you are lacking the proper equipment or even knowledge of how to use it in some instances (food processor, mixer, blender attachments, rolling pin, measuring utensils, parchment paper, liners and so forth). Read through your recipe carefully to understand what is required.
Lastly, don't forget to consider the "who is doing the baking factor?"...Are you baking by yourself? Are the kids baking or decorating with you or do they want to do it by themselves? Of course, this is the subject of a future blog which I can assure you will open up a whole new insight into what kids really want to experience from baking and decorating.
Remember, whatever direction you choose to start your baking idea or project, it ultimately is about the FUN, GREAT MEMORIES and certainly the YUMMY TREATS too that baking and decorating will create for you, your kids, your family and loved ones!