Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Baking Aspirations by Christine Johnson

Confession time here. I’m a huge fan of baking shows. Holiday Baking Championship, Cupcake Wars, The Great British Baking Show and its American counterpart—I love them all. And their creations? Sigh. Gorgeous cakes, almost too pretty to eat. Fresh bread out of the oven that I can practically smell.

bread


After acquiring a gorgeous pie cookbook filled with mouth-watering photos, I decided to bake one pie per week this past winter. I found willing guinea pigs—er, tasters—and bought my supplies.

Where to begin? I decided a yummy chicken pot pie sounded good. Several hours later (why did I choose such a difficult pie?), it came out of the oven and was ready for tasting. I declared it a success, and my tasters agreed.

pie
No, this isn’t my effort. Mine wasn’t nearly as symmetrical. No photos were taken in order to protect the unskilled.


Alas, the next pie—a chocolate cream pie—turned to disaster when the filling went from thick at room temperature to soup in the refrigerator. I still don’t understand the chemistry of what happened.

A quiche fell flat but tasted good. The frozen strawberry cream pie required a machete to cut into pieces. And the list went on. Needless to say, I won’t be entering The Great American Baking Show anytime soon. On the plus side, all my tasters said they were willing to keep trying my creations. Bless them, Lord! And the key lime pie in a gingersnap crust was delicious.

Are you a baker? Or, like me, do you love to watch cooking shows and dream of being so skilled?

dinner rolls


In my latest book with Love Inspired Historical, Mail Order Sweetheart, the heroine, Fiona, needs to get a husband quickly. She has tried to attract a husband with her baking skills. Unlike my efforts in the kitchen, her rolls and breads are a total success. Her efforts to get a husband? Not so much. With her savings dwindling and her seven-year-old niece en route to live with her, Fiona makes one last gigantic effort to attract a man of means.

Mail Order Sweetheart cover


Christine Johnson
Mail Order Sweetheart (LIH, June 2017)
Freedom’s Price (Revell, June 2017)
http://christineelizabethjohnson.com


27 comments:

  1. I love your cooking adventures. I don't watch the cooking shows. They make me hungry. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lisa, you made me laugh! Following an illness last year, I was in the unusual position of having to put on weight, so cooking shows were a plus. But I understand. If I keep baking, I'll have to be careful which shows to watch too.

      Delete
  2. I love the British Baking Show and when they brought it here! They are so much more civilized! But I am sad because over in Englan, they switched networks and Mary Barry alas will not be switching with them! Don't know if America will pick up the new shows!
    I used to love to bake but as we get older we need less baked sweets!
    This sounds like a cute story! So many possibilities! Thanks for the Baking stories!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Paula, I'm devastated to learn Mary Barry won't be co-hosting next season's Great British Baking Show. She is such a delight. I hope she will continue in the American version.

      Delete
  3. I love pies. I don't usually eat cakes but pies are my weakness. Thanks for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Me too. My mom used to make me a birthday pie when I was little.

      Delete
  4. I love baking but not cooking meals.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ha! That says it all. Dessert first, please.

      Delete
  5. I so enjoyed your baking post, Christine. I love baking but there are many things I have not mastered. Still it's fun to try, isn't it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Mary! I agree. Heavy emphasis on the "try" in my case.

      Delete
  6. Ah, Christine. You made me laugh. Especially this. "No photos were taken in order to protect the unskilled"


    But you've got me with the Key Lime Pie in a Gingerbread crust. I want that recipe. I had a delicious Key Lime Pie in a coconut crust while I was on vacation and it has me craving more.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Cate, it's really easy. Just make a gingersnap crust instead of graham cracker. Grind up gingersnaps in the food processor or blender and mix with melted butter. Prebake about 10 minutes and cool. Then make your favorite key lime pie recipe. I use the one on the bottle of key lime juice.

      Delete
  7. Delightful post, Christine. I'm a baker too, but my mom is the real cook in the family. She keeps going to cooking websites (or knitting websites) and picks up all kinds of malware on her computer. HAHA!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh no! That's a steep price to pay for a new recipe.

      Delete
  8. LOL. I copied a recipe just before checking out today's blog post. I love to cook, and that includes baking. My 9yo granddaughter is coming for her summer visit soon, and I want to have lots of goodies and fresh meal ideas when she gets here. Her dad (my son) is an excellent cook, and one of his best friends is a very accomplished professional chef. Granna has to be on her toes!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Have a wonderful time with your granddaughter. Maybe she can help Granna in the kitchen?

      Delete
  9. I love watching cooking shows , my reality is i have given the tupperware lady some great demonstrations of what not to do with a microwave container :), i get distracted so even with timers stuff can get a charcoal look to it. My brother asked me what will i do when i get married and i replied marry someone who can cook!

    ReplyDelete
  10. I've told my husband that if he wants me to cook and bake, I get to quit the day job. LOL, but I've got cookbooks galore waiting for the day.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That sounds like a good deal, Pamela! Maybe someday...

      Delete
  11. I chuckled several times reading this. I enjoy baking, but rarely have the time to really get into it. And I don't normally take pictures either. For whatever reason, my kitchen, and my oven, isn't completely level. So anytime I bake a pie or a cake without remember to stick a butter knife under the one side of it, the whole thing comes out lopsided.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That is too funny, Dana! I would forget all the time. In fact, your story reminded me that I forgot to take into account the narrow width of the side-by-side freezer for the frozen strawberry cream pie. Oops! I had to turn it every few minutes until it set. Even then it was a bit lopsided.

      Delete
  12. I love the premise of your book ! I've watched many an episode of Cupcake Wars with my girls, but I've heard great things about the British one.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, you will have to check out the Great British Baking Show. It's amazing!

      Delete
  13. My daughter is in culinary school to be a pastry chef. I'm looking forward to sampling her creations. I, however, don't care much for cooking. But I do love to watch Chopped. I get so nervous as the count down goes to the final seconds.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Chopped is another great show! It's amazing what they can make with crazy ingredients and almost no time. I'm like you. I want to yell out, "Get it on the plate" just like the judges do.

      Delete