It's hard, because I can bake really well, and I know what it tastes like. I think of the quality of whatever the forbidden food is. A bite of scone from Starbucks? I can pass that by. One of my own scones, hot out of the oven? I may not be able to hold out. I time my baking so I'm not tempting myself if I'm hungry.
I remember well what it felt like to be surprised and humiliated by my baking back in my twenties. Some days everything tasted great. Other days, it was like eating loofah. What turned things around for me was Rose Levy Beranbaum's book The Cake Bible. Rose made me realize that cakes didn't have it in for me--it was all about chemistry. Once I read my way through her book and started trying recipes, it became clear that I could be a very good baker. Suddenly I could count on compliments.
Over the years, I've come to a few realizations:
- It's a bummer to rotate baking sheets and switch the sheet rack positions, but the end result (beautiful, evenly-baked cookies and cakes) is absolutely worth it. (Someday, I'd love to have a true convection oven!)
- Professional bakers are handicapped by the fact that they often bake and freeze their cakes in advance to be able to meet demand, so be confident in the quality you produce as a home baker. It could very well taste better than something you buy at a fancy bakery, even if they do get major cred for prettiness.
- I really love Chicago Metallic half baking sheets. I use Silpat nonstick half-sheets to bake on.
- It's worth it to own a KitchenAid mixer because it helps develop the structure of a cake without too much sweat on the part of the baker.
At some point, I'll start posting recipes, both gluten-free and wheat. It's a joy to share good food. I hope you'll share some of your favorites too.