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What I did on My Winter Vacation

I know I already posted about the insane number of holiday cookies I baked over winter break, but I’m here with an update, and the update is: my mother and I went through a 10lb bag of flour in one month. I’m honestly kind of proud of us, while also a little disturbed by how much granulated sugar we went through during the same period. In any case, we baked an impressive amount of breads, cakes, and cookies while I was at home with my family, and I learned a little about myself at the same time (cue the sappy montage music).

We tried a few new recipes from cookbooks we acquired over the last year- mainly from stars of the Great British Bake Off (a show we love). We made ginger cake and macarons from Martha Collision’s first cookbook.

We also repeated a few recipes that we know and love, almost all from back issues of Bon Apetit magazine. This included the sticky toffee ginger cake, stollen, and babkallah (the unholy combination of babkah and challah which turned out to be incredibly tasty). We also made gingerbread cookies from one of my mom’s oldest cookbooks, which we’ve been baking from since forever.

I also baked with friends- I made nestle tollhouse chocolate chip cookies and Martha Stewart vanilla cupcakes with two different sets of friends over break.

So, what was that cheesy life realization I came towhile baking all of this food? Mainly that I somehow love the routine of following recipes, and spending hours letting bread rise or letting macarons set, and throwing out bad batches and starting again, and yet, three years ago, I abandoned bioengineering research for computer science because I hated the lab work. Baking seems to be the closest "real life" analogue of biology wet-lab work, and yet I seem to only like it when there is sugar involved. Maybe there is something else going on there, or maybe I just really like sugar! Either way, It’s interesting that I get to keep a little chemistry in my life while baking, even though I’ve moved on to other types of work in the rest of my life.