You don't become a baker without developing a few bad habits along the way. Perhaps my most noticeable habit is that I forget to wear an apron. This wouldn't be a problem with most people. Sadly, the same cannot be said for me. When I worked in a bakery, the first business in the morning was to put on my trusty apron. It was more than just a flour barrier between my clothes and me; I relied on it to take the brunt of my clumsiness in the kitchen (graceful, I am not) and often used it as a towel to wipe my hands when a customer came calling. By the end of the day, the apron was hardly recognizable.
Even though I am a home-baker now, with a closet full of adorable aprons, I don't remember I have them until my pants resemble a powdered sugar nightmare. It's a work in progress.
I'm a little ashamed to admit bad habit #2. I don't own a kitchen timer. When I worked in the bakery, it was standard procedure to never set a timer for any baked goods. At first this seemed odd to me, but the ovens were passed so frequently to reach the kitchen sink and food was so strongly on the mind that the entire time I worked there, we only burned a handful of items. I like to think I've developed a "baker's intuition" in my own kitchen, justifying the fact that I never remember to check the time when I put something in the oven. The truth is that sometimes I have excellent intuition and, well, sometimes I do not.
I have gotten quite well at slightly over-baking a little bit of everything. Can we keep this our little secret, though?
Perhaps most shameful of all is that I am lousy when it comes to doing the dishes after wreaking havoc in the kitchen. My boyfriend could write you a novel revealing the horrors of kitchen aftermath. Always full of excuses, I complain to anyone within listening distance that after baking and photographing (and eating) whatever I've made, I'm much too tired to wash the bowls in the sink. No amount of sad eyes and pouting will convince them to clean up after me (I've tried). This continues to be a battle for me, but I am getting better at it. Slowly.
What are your bad kitchen habits?
Molasses Cookies with Ginger Cream Cheese Filling are spiced with everything nice. The cookies bake up soft and cake-like, with a strong molasses flavor and a touch of cinnamon. The cookies are sandwiched together with a cream cheese frosting spiced with ground ginger. Whether you think of these cookie sandwiches as whoopie pies or not, one thing is for certain—it's hard to stop at one. I like to twist open the sandwiches and eat the halves one at a time just to make them last a little longer.
Molasses Cookies with Ginger Cream Cheese Filling
Yields 12 cookie sandwiches
1/2 cup (100 grams) brown sugar, packed
4 tablespoons (60 grams) butter
2 large eggs
1/3 cup (80 ml) molasses
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups (250 grams) all-purpose flour
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C).
In a large mixing bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add in the eggs one at a time, mixing between each addition. Mix in the molasses, spices, and salt until uniform. Gradually add in the baking powder, baking soda, and flour, mixing until just incorporated. The dough will be thick.
Drop cookies by the tablespoon onto a baking sheet and bake for 8-12 minutes, or until cookies begin to take on a little color. Transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.
Ginger Cream Cheese Filling
2 ounces (60 grams) cream cheese, room temperature
3 tablespoons (45 grams) butter, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
Pinch of salt
1 1/2 cups (190 grams) powdered sugar
In a large mixing bowl, beat together the cream cheese and butter until smooth. Mix in the ginger and salt. Gradually add in the powdered sugar, beating until the frosting becomes smooth and thick.
Spread frosting on the bottom half of a cooled cookie and press the top half on top. Repeat for all cookies.
Store in an airtight container at room temperature. Best eaten within 1-2 days.