DAY 2 (PREP)
Making a List and Checking it Twice
You’ve picked out a recipe… But now what?
Now that we’ve covered what to expect and discussed some basic cookie knowledge, let’s jump into the next phase of your baking journey: prepping for success!
So, you’ve picked out a recipe. That’s great! Now you need to make sure that you have everything that you need to make it a success! How do you do that? It’s as simple as reviewing your recipe with a watchful eye. Are you ready to play detective, Sherlock?
Here we go!
Once you’ve selected your recipe, you need to study it. Make sure the directions don’t ask you to do anything that you don’t understand. If it does, then you need to research that mystery step and decide for yourself if it’s something that you feel confident tackling. If yes, great!
If not, maybe pick a different recipe for right now. There is no shame in knowing your limits. That’s how you build a foundation of knowledge- on the backbone of small victories.
During this step, also scan for what types of equipment you will need to create your chocolate chip cookies. You’ve probably deduced that you’re going to need a cookie sheet- but does the recipe mention parchment paper or greasing the pan? (Which is code for a uniform layer of cooking spray.) It can be easy to overlook these small details that are embedded in your recipe.
Unless you know to look for them.
And if you’re not an avid baker, chances are your kitchen isn’t stocked with these items on hand… which makes it very difficult to adjust on the fly. This practice, surveying your recipe for a list of tools you’ll need, is also applicable to non cookie recipes.
For example, if you want to make a Bundt cake, make sure that you have a Bundt cake pan to bake your batter in. So making this part of your recipe-selection routine is a good habit that will serve you well.
After you’re comfortable with the language of your recipe, and know what tools you’ll need to get the job done, shift your focus to the ingredient section. Odds are this is the section that captured your attention in the first place. The delicious combination of ingredients made your mouth water and you said- I have to taste this for myself!
But now that you’ve committed to making the recipe, you need to scan the list with a more discerning eye.
Make sure that you recognize all the ingredients on the list. AND know where to buy them. Sometimes ingredient availability is a challenge. This is especially true if you’re making a healthier or vegan recipes that substitute butter and sugar for dairy-free butter and coconut palm sugar.
Not that you shouldn’t attempt these recipes- just know that the more specialized and obscure, the trickier it could prove to find the ingredients you need to follow the recipe.
And you always want to follow the recipe!
I find that whenever something goes awry with one of my creations, 9 times out of 10, it’s because I failed to follow the recipe somehow. Perhaps I thought my cookies didn’t look done yet and I accidentally overcooked them. Or I boiled the milk, instead of scalding it, causing my frosting to have a weird consistency.
Now, that’s not to say that you can’t adjust a recipe. But, at least when you’re making something for the first time, be sure to follow the advice for the recipe creator. Because A) They know what they’re doing. And B) it was their creation that attracted you to the recipe in the first place!
So, I’ll say it one more time: Follow the recipe!
It really is that important, that it’s worth saying twice!
By this point, you’ve scanned the recipe and understand it completely. You’ve looked up any confusing recipe jargon. You know what tools and equipment you need to be successful. You’ve inspected the ingredient list and know what you’re going to need in order to make the cookies.
Now that you’re intimately familiar with the recipe, the final step is to create a shopping list.
Check your pantry and cross reference your ingredient list with the food items you have on hand. Anything you don’t already own goes on the list. If you suspect your kitchen is lacking a tool you’ll need to make your cookies come out well, invest in some equipment.
Do you want wire cooling racks for when your cookies come out of the oven? Do you want two cookie sheets, for a convenient, streamlined baking experience? Do you want to buy a hand mixer? Or are you comfortable saving a few dollars, and giving your arm a workout, mixing the batter with a spoon?
Only you can answer these questions.
But once you know the answer, you’ll have everything that you need in order to head to the store. And once you get back, you’ll have everything you need to get started!
Then you can jump into the kitchen and start having some real fun!
So tune in for tomorrow’s email where we’ll go in depth on how, exactly, you go about making cookies from scratch.
And please don’t spend the rest of today stressing!
Tomorrow’s email actually includes a recipe video that will cover each step of the process in detail. And it’s even got a voice over that adds extra helpful hints.
Because we want to do everything in our power to set you up for success!
So take today to prep your kitchen and I’ll see you tomorrow so we can make some killer chocolate chip cookies together!