En el Horno
I didn't write anything in May. After four months of regular articles and blog post, I took a break.
Instead, I embrace #procastibaking to reflect instead of writing.
While growing up, baking was unheard off in my household. My grandma was concern about connecting our gas stove to our gas cylinders, convince that turning the oven on will cause the stove to ignite. Instead, I will use a small electric oven to bake. I was so eager to learn how to bake. My first baking experience was Blanquita sugar cookies. Blanquita is the leading white flour brand in the Dominican Republic, they posted their sugar cookies recipe in the weekend periodical from El Diario Libre that arrived at my house every Saturday. Let’s say it took some convincing to get Mami to buy me all the ingredients I needed, especially the strawberry jam. Strawberry jam was considered a delicacy growing up, a jar was around 100 pesos, a lot of money back then. Mom saw it as a waste of money, something that we will barely use at home.
Nevertheless, my first sugar cookies came out really nice. I have to overbake them, this will be the beginning of a constant violation of recipes instructions because my family likes their baked goods and almost every food welldone, crispy and with a golden layer. Even when I claim “eso es lo que dice la receta”, that is what the recipe instructions call for. A few angry words and looks will be exchanged until I meet her desire for a Dominican style golden and quemaito, slightly burnt, dessert. This is still really obnoxious when today she asked me to dorar, give a golden layer to chocolate chips cookies.
I wanted to learn how to bake so badly, that I took a year-long baking class in the Dominican Republic. I loved it. I learned how to make all the baked goods and delicias that before I could only find in my favorite Panaderias y Reposterias in Moca: La Casona, Rosaura, and El Polly.
Shortly after I finished the baking class, I moved to the United States. Let’s said my baking change. I discover shortcuts, and most of my baked good came from pre-packaged mixes, that you just need to add water oil, margarine or eggs. Nevertheless, this stage was short-lived, because my family is really anti baked goods. ¡Ay que cuidarse!, we need to take care, they will exclaim every time I bake something. My family has always been really mindful of cholesterol and diabetes, and they attempt to manage their sugar intake as atonement for other healthy eating transgressions.
Nevertheless, Torta de Maíz, cornbread has always been their weakness. Since my aunt Tía Cumba first starting baking the Jiffy corn muffin mix in her Brooklyn apartment after migrating here in the 1960’s. Tía Cumba will even bring Jiffy corn muffin mix back to the Dominican Republic and baked it on her retirement years. This was how I first tasted her signature torta, that know I have claimed as my responsibility to my family. Now, I bake Torta de Maíz using the Jiffy corn muffin mix at least every other week. I try to completely brake off free from the pre-prepared box baked good business, but when I did that a Torta de Maíz from scratch, but it was not well received.
Here is a list of everything I baked in the last eight weeks from scratch. I mostly focus on Dominican favorites and American classics that meant a lot to me:
Deditos de Novia
Pudín de Pan
Habichuelas con Dulce
Peanut butter bars
Peanut butter and chocolate bars
Chocolate Chip Cookies
Lemon Lavender Shortbread Cookies
A lot of cornbread or Torta de Maíz (Jiffy corn muffin mix)
Now, what should I bake next?
As there are not baked good recipes passed down in my family, I use this Dominican cooking recipes blog for my desserts. https://www.dominicancooking.com/