People make bucket lists for places they want to travel or other things they want to experience in their lives. Why not make a baking bucket list? All the baking, cooking, and binge-watching I’ve done in quarantine has me feeling ambitious, so here goes nothing.
For me, cooking and baking are creative outlets as much as they are sources of nourishment. I enjoy experimenting and creating new recipes. I also have a shelf full of cookbooks that I haven’t opened in way too long. As an Enneagram 2, I have a hard time seeking help, even just in the form of cookbooks and other resources. Especially with my latest ventures into bread, I’ve been relying less on my intuition and creativity, and more and more on new resources. King Arthur Flour and Bon Appetit are probably my two most visited websites from the last two-ish months.
One thing I’ve embraced recently is this: being a food blogger, food enthusiast, or home chef isn’t always about creating all your own recipes. It’s about learning from others, trying recipes from other bloggers and writers, and popular chefs and outlets to expand your horizons. There’s always something to learn from one another, whether it’s how to use a new ingredient, a new skill or technique, a unique flavor combination, or anything in between. I stress myself so much over creating my own unique recipes, that I lost focus on learning from others. Part of the motivation for this baking bucket list is to get back to learning from others in the space, whether from a cookbook on my shelf or on Bon Appetit’s website.
One thing I have made: Bon Appetit’s “Best Chocolate Chip Cookies.” Let me tell y’all, they’re called the “best” for a reason.
Another side effect of bread baking and quarantine is that I’ve re-binge-watched Great British Bake-Off on Netflix. While there’s a lot of cross-over between American and British baking, there are lots of recipes and treats I’d never heard of before, or only get to taste when I visit England.
Here’s what’s on my baking bucket list.
Some of these items are things that I’ve tried and failed and want to master, and things I’ve just plain never made before. How many of these will I get to before the end of the year—or end of quarantine, whichever comes first?
Tiramisu. This is one of my all-time favorite desserts. In my mind it’s dessert perfection, which has landed it a spot on my baking bucket list. And if I’m going to make this, I’m going all out and making my own ladyfingers, too.
Big, fluffy, flaky biscuits. I confess that I struggle with biscuits. It’s Southern sacrilege, but I can never get them as tall and flaky as I like. I shared more about this in my latest #KateOfLate email, but I feel determined to get my biscuits right. It’s my duty as a Southerner.
Related: you can get #KateOfLate emails (and more yummy recipes) sent to your own inbox by signing up for my email list here!
All the breads. I always said I’d stay away from baking bread, because I’d just eat it all the time. Well, joke’s on me. After starting with sourdough earlier in quarantine, I want to venture into other kinds of bread: French bread, brioche, Paul Hollywood’s plaited loaf, honey wheat, you name it.
On the subject of bread…
Sourdough everything. Who knew you could make so many things with sourdough starter? I definitely didn’t. So far I’ve made sourdough pizza crust, coffee cake, cinnamon rolls, and pancakes. Fortunately, King Arthur has a whole collection of sourdough recipes I can explore. I also stumbled upon these sourdough chocolate chip cookies that might be next on my list.
Victoria Sandwich cake. This is a direct side effect of Bake-Off. I had never heard of the Victoria Sandwich cake until watching Bake-Off, and it looks so elegant yet simple, and I want to make one. Here’s to making Mary Berry proud.
Levain chocolate chip cookies. Thick, chewy, soft, melty, chocolatey. One of my favorite YouTubers recreated this recipe (after tasting the cookies just once), and it doesn’t seem that intimidating. Considering I won’t be going to NYC anytime soon, this will be a good substitute.
Macarons. Okay, so I’ve definitely made these before, but with very mixed results. The first couple times, they turned out okay; not horrible but definitely not perfect. The third time, they were as close to perfect as I thought I’d get. In hindsight, I should have stopped there, because the fourth time making macarons was a disaster. They’re super finicky and don’t do well with humidity, so maybe I’ll wait until the fall to give them another go.
Layer cake. I made a two-layer cake for myself for my birthday a few years ago (this one, if I remember correctly, and of course I added rainbow sprinkles). It was tasty, but could have been executed better. Next time, I want to make a three-layer cake with good buttercream frosting and nice decorations. Maybe I’ll even try a drip cake, or an ombre cake?
Fruit galette(s). Crusts have never been my strong suit (though to be fair, I haven’t made very many of them). Especially with all the wonderful summer fruits we’re about to have, a galette seems like a wonderful way to showcase them. Peach and blueberry galette, anyone?
If quarantine goes on any longer, I’ll be able to knock a few of these off my baking bucket list. Now, who has a birthday or special occasion I can bake for?
What’s on your baking (or cooking) bucket list?