The musings of a (not-so) single chick in the city. (Don't think that the term chick is derogoratory. We refer to boys by a number of terms). The travails in the life of an ex-miss-goody-two-shoes, ex-journalist, ex-small time model, ex-television actress, of being female in Chennai/ Pune/Bangalore, of ideas old and ideas new....

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Cinnamon Craze

I love baking. I love when the dough rises and the sweet cakey and the fruity smell fills the house. I love experimenting with different ingredients, mix different flavours like pecan and banana or chocolate and pineapple and love it when the combination works beyond what I had imagined. I love giving ppl the food I have created and watch them enjoy it.
Of course I have had oven mishaps. It was the very first time I tried making chocolate-chip cookies. The dough was too soft and started running in the heat, and I got a huge, flat and rectangular cookie the size of the tray that I had put the (what I had thought small )dollops of dough on :)
Anyway, I was without the outlet that baking provided for almost a year and a half before I treated myself a month ago and bought a small 15 litre capacity oven from Spencers. Now the entire family is complaning that I am making them fat. Somehow, as much as I love baking, I never eat more than a couple of pieces of whatever I have made. Maybe that is because the cook ( or I am ) with the product right from when its still flour, butter, sugar, milk, fruit, vegetable and eggs, that by the time the cake or cookie or pizza or pie comes out of the oven, steaming hot, you have lost your appetite for the product.
Anyway, now I have started to make the neighbours fat too :) Made a heavy banana cake today, which doesnt really need eggs. (mom and grandma are strict veggies)
I always used to wonder at the western taste, where almost all desserts have cinnamon in them. My Indian sensibility was revolted when the apple pie I was served at a 4th of July celebrations came with a heavy cinnamon dusting. Cinnamon was a hot, spicy food condiment, usually gracing biriyanis and pulavs in a fried state, and seeing it in desserts never became normal for me in my 2 years in the States.
But, I realise it now. It lessens the sweetness, when the sweetness is too much and can lead to what we call - thegating in Tamil. When too much sugar can lead to a cloying sensation and you can eat no more of the dish. I realised this when I tasted the small sticky pieces of cake that came out with the fork, when I was testing done-ness. Some recipes call for extra sugar to give size and shape to particular cakes. So I ground up some sticks of cinnamon and dusted the top of the cake along with some white sugar. Cake tasted great and the sweetness was tempered well too :D

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