Friday, March 22, 2013

Baking Therapy

I was in a horrid mood this afternoon. One of those horrid moods where you wish you had a punching bag to work off the frustration, but you know you're too clumsy and weak for it to work and you'd wind up hurting yourself in the process. ;)

A friend of mine had posted a recipe for a brownie mix that you can pre-make and it supposedly only costs $.30/mix. It wasn't a gluten-free recipe, so I asked if it would convert, and I was told it should with any gluten-free all-purpose flour.

What do the two have to do with each other you ask? Sometimes baking is therapeutic for me. I have to be in the right kind of bad mood, but when I am, there is something about baking that calms me. I feared a failed recipe would really send me over the edge, but I decided to attempt it anyway. I happened to have all the ingredients necessary (sugar, flour, baking powder, cocoa, vanilla, eggs, oil, and salt).

I began to calm down as I measured the dry ingredients. I worked my way into my own little world as I cracked the eggs. I smiled as I poured the batter into the pan.

After I put the pan in the oven, I looked around the kitchen and suddenly had the urge to clean. By time the brownies were done, I had emptied and reloaded the dishwasher, and I had tilapia in a glass dish ready to bake it. As the brownies cooled and the tilapia cooked, I started wiping down the outside of the fridge and stove.

I laugh now because this never would have worked before I went on a gluten-free diet. What exactly is therapeutic about dumping a boxed mix into a bowl and adding some eggs and oil? Not much if you ask me. I think part of it is age and maturity (what young person thinks cleaning is therapeutic?), but a lot of it is being required to slow down. Losing the convenience of...well...convenience, causes one to appreciate things more. I appreciate the process, and the outcome, and everything in between.

In case you want to try it, this is the recipe I used:

1 Cup Sugar1/2 Cup All-Purpose Flour1/3 Cup Cocoa1/4 tsp Salt1/4 tsp Baking PowderStore mix in plastic bags or mason jars.At Baking Time Add: 2 Eggs, 1/2 Cup Vegetable Oil, 1 teaspoon Vanilla. Bake @ 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes in an 8x8 or 9x9 pan.

The purpose of the recipe is to pre-make the mix, and then just add the wet ingredients when you want brownies rather than purchasing a mix and adding the wet ingredients. The only modification I made was using 2 teaspoons of vanilla which was recommended by a (expert when it comes to gluten-free baking) friend of mine. I used Jules Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour and Hershey's Cocoa, but I plan on trying different flours in the future to see if it makes a difference.

They didn't turn turn out excellent, but I also started eating them when they were still very warm. They taste great, but they didn't want to stay together and they have a little more of a cake consistency then a brownie consistency. Here's a picture of the pan of brownies and an individual one:

I also promise I normally take much better pictures. These are "I'm in a bad mood, you're lucky I took a picture at all" pictures ;)

p.s. Writing also calms me.

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