The Art Of Wrestling With A Block Of Sugar

I’ve been baking more this year.  Part of it is to regain the sense of being in the kitchen, the control that comes from a batter coming together. That taste when all the sugar and butter come together, and you add the extra ingredients.

They say that baking is like chemistry, in that you can mix things together and the resulting reactions create the flavors and textures that you seek. Cooking is just figuring out what will go together and taste good when you have to estimate proportions.

Tried doing soul cakes this morning. I made the batter yesterday in the early evening. Rather than use currants, as the traditional recipe applies, I added in some pumpkin and chocolate. Currants aren’t my thing,

It was time to cream the sugar and butter. I let the butter soften and then tried to add the brown sugar. It became as hard as a brick. The sugar would not break. Calamity.

I was pressed for time, as usual. The sugar remained stubbornly in a brick shape. I debated and tried to dissolve it with the butter in the microwave. No dice. I scrape the butter off with what sugar was there and tossed the block. Another time, I’d figure out how to fix it. The batter tasted sweet enough, and I left it to freeze.

It’s hard for me to celebrate Halloween. I don’t go out to drink and am too old for the kiddie stuff. Nevertheless, I try every year. Because it’s the trying that makes it fun.

The soul cake was a little less sweet than I would have liked, but the texture was amazing. I’m going to see if adding sugar to the batter that’s remaining will make a difference. Tomorrow, I’m planning to see if a bit of butterscotch sauce will make the cakes a refreshing breakfast.


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