Winter warmth found in the kitchen

One of the best parts about this time of year — I mean winter, not the holidays — is the ability to bake your heart away without dying of heat stroke in your kitchen.

Baking just isn’t the same in the summer when you are dripping sweat. I don’t recall watching any TV cooking shows where the host was sweating due to having the oven on all day and temperatures sweltering outside.

So now that snow is on the ground and it is colder outside, I’ve started perusing baking websites and things like Pinterest to find fun new treats to try.

Let me preface this by saying I’m not the best baker out there. My dad and his side of the family always used to make the most amazing cookies and treats that we’d share around Christmas. Thumbprints, sugar, chocolate chip and so many others often filled our house with the wonderful smell of sweets growing up.

Now, while you wouldn’t be able to tell by looking at me, I’m not the biggest fan of cookies. Don’t get me wrong, I think they are tasty, but it is not the first sweet I’d grab at a bake sale.

Yet, for some reason, baking cookies makes me very happy.

I’m not sure if it is seeing — and tasting — the final product or watching others enjoy the treats that I’ve created that makes me grin. It may be the memories I referenced above.

Or, it might be the overall process.

Baking isn’t necessarily an exact science. I know, my dad is rolling his eyes right now. He follows directions and measurements precisely. But, I’m more a “little dash of this and a sprinkle of that” kind of baker. That is probably why his culinary creations always taste a little better than mine. They also usually looked better than mine.

I’m messy. Typically by the end of the adventure I’m covered in flour, have melted chocolate smeared on my arms or face and the kitchen looks like a child tried to use an Easy-Bake Oven for the first time with real ingredients.

Once the cookies, at least the sugar cookies, are baked you get to whip up some frosting and go to town creating all sorts of colors and designing shapes. Snowmen, candy canes, hearts and swirls. What a blast.

Anyway, I guess the entire point of this column is an apology of sorts. While I know it is the time of year for resolutions and weight watching, I will likely be pawning off some of the baked sweets from my kitchen to family and friends this winter.

Enjoy!

About

Kristen Czaban

Kristen Czaban joined The Sheridan Press staff in 2008 and covered beats including local government, cops and courts and the energy industry. In 2012, she was promoted and now serves as the managing editor for The Press. Czaban has a journalism degree from Northwestern University.

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