As the temperature drops and the days grow shorter, seasonal tastes shift from bittersweet cranberry compote towards the caustic but warming bite of gingerbread. Unfortunately, this year we are unable to share our favorite holiday cookies with our friends, forcing many to dive into baking in order to satisfy their holiday cravings. Thankfully, teachers from Loyola have shared tips and tricks with hopes of making our Christmas season a little bit tastier.
Counselor Mara Baltazar remarked, “Plan ahead for your baking! I always shoot myself in the foot when it comes to handling the butter. Whether it’s melting it or softening it at room temperature, I need to make a conscious effort to deal with the butter.”
Baltazar’s paramount tip for new bakers is tidiness.
She noted, “The number one thing for me is being organized while baking, because following the recipe is essential.”
Comparing it to chemistry, Baltazar pulls out all of the ingredients and organizes them in the order they are used. Upon using the ingredient, she makes sure to store it, guarding against any future errors.
Baltazar added, “I always make sure to separate the dry and wet ingredients and combine them exactly when the recipe says too.”
Theology teacher Thomas Cendejas, however, shared a different approach.
Cendejas said, “One of the main things I do in baking is improvisation. I personally am not a strict follower of the rules. When making a chocolate chip cookie I may crunch up snicker bars and toss them in. I am definitely more of an artist in the kitchen.”
He continued, “Look in your cupboard, see what you have, and even think of adding a spice that will work well with the flavors.”
However, he provided a warning for those wanting to dabble in bold flavor profiles.
Cendejas added, “When dealing with ingredients that have complex flavors, you need to be very careful. The last thing you want is for the baked good to be dominated by one taste.”
Many agree that one of the main turn-offs in baking can be the copious amounts of dishes. Thankfully, Cendejas offered a smart solution.
He said, “One helpful method that ensures that dishes will not pile over your head is cleaning as you go. An easier way of making sure the dishes will get done is by creating a partnership with someone who will exchange washing the dishes for baked goods.”
Unsure about what to watch while downing your patisseries?
Both Baltazar and Cendejas recommended the show Nailed It citing it as incredibly entertaining, particularly due to its premise.
Baltazar remarked, “The show essentially follows these amateur bakers who are trying to replicate the beautiful masterpieces, and it always falls into chaos.”
Cendejas stated, “Sometimes I watch Nailed It because it makes me feel less self-conscience about my own disasters in the kitchen.”