Baking calms me and meanwhile excites me. You mix separate ingredients and end up with something new, hopefully something tasty. There’s a routine to it, an expected result. Occasionally you literally spice it up and diverge from the recipe. When creative moments turn out even better than the scripted ones, I feel proud. When I fail, burn, or goop-it-up, Mike still eats everything happily.
While the above feels like some metaphor for life, and probably is, I honestly love baking.
During this last week of teaching before winter break, when my heart felt heavy and my brain exhausted, we needed to bake in my classroom. We also needed the classic Christmas, 30-minute movie breaks and cheerful picture books like Snowmen at Night and Tacky the Penguin. More than anything I, me as a teacher, needed to see their eyes light up with wonder as I demonstrated how to turn paper into a snowflake. I needed to hear them “ooh” and “ahh” over melting chocolate. I cherished the glitter everywhere.
So we “baked,” if you can call making Puppy Chow baking.
Only one kid ever-so-slightly burnt himself and another took too deep of a whiff of peppermint extract, but wow did they have fun. They laughed deep belly-laughs while using their pencil-boxes to smash candy canes. They giggled as powdered sugar escaped when shaking the bag of mix. Finally, they fell silent while munching on the fruits of their labor, which we shared with pride at our class and parent holiday party. (And I felt patiently joyful watching the sugar take hold. We had extra recess that day.)
I needed that. I needed to bake. I needed the happiness.
I hope anytime my students make or eat Puppy Chow, they remember that time in 2nd grade when we made the entire school smell like melted chocolate. Most of all I hope they never find a reason to stop smiling.
Some of my favorite Baking Smiles:
- Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Oreo Stuffed Cookies
- Birthday Cake Bark
- White Chocolate Topped Gingerbread Cookies
What are some of your favorite baking recipes, which make you smile?