What happened to The Darling Baker? (and a few other questions)

1. What happened to The Darling Baker?
2. Why “lucky”?
3. For those following along at home
4. If in doubt…

1. What happened to The Darling Baker?

I’m still here! Relatively speaking.

It’s been years now since I lived and baked in Darlinghurst, Sydney, and more than a year since I moved to New York — into a building called The Lucky One, believe it or not. “Darling” really did refer to my original locale rather than the style of my baking, which is on the whole more eccentric, experimental and temperamental than the name “darling” would suggest.

So the name has changed, but everything else will remain mostly the same. Watch this space for unscheduled recipes from the internet, my library and my brain — condensed, tweaked and recorded for my own convenience, and hopefully yours.

2. Why “lucky”?

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In baking as in life, huh?

Baking doesn’t require any particular talent, and there’s no mysterious knack to it. It doesn’t even involve luck — unless you mean the happy success that comes from effort and practice. Follow the instructions — or bake so many cookies you don’t even need a recipe anymore — and of course the results will be stellar!

That said, I’m still surprised every time a pie turns out as expected (or hoped for). But it’s not really an accident — based on the following logic, anyone can be a lucky baker:

  1. Follow the rules: When you’re working with something completely new (say you’re baking a chocolate cake for the very first time — you’ve never made one before), you have to obey the recipe to. the. letter.
  2. Learn the rules: At some point down the track, when you’ve tried a few different recipes — or practised repeating the same recipe — you’ll get a feel for which ingredients, measurements and techniques are integral, and which you can play around with. The rules are flexible, it just takes practice to know how far you can bend them before they break (and your pavlova collapses).
  3. Work around the rules: By intention or not, it doesn’t take long to understand the science of baking*, and we all know that knowledge = power. That knowledge empowers you to make informed judgement calls and even tinker with or rewrite recipes that don’t seem right (or don’t match up with what’s currently in your kitchen)**. When those judgement calls turn out to be right, and the improv recipes work, you can put it down to “luck”.

(You could also just come over and bake at my apartment in The Lucky One, where everything is, by default, lucky.)

*Bicarb + some sort of acid = bubbles = fluffy cakes. Sugar, alcohol and fats don’t freeze solid, so ice-cream needs one or all three. Nothing too complicated.

**If the recipe says to bake for 40 minutes but it doesn’t look “done” yet, 5 minutes longer probably won’t end in disaster.

3. For those following along at home

A) Confusion and conversion: Firstly, I’m Australian, so I use words like “colour”, “aluminium foil” and “cling wrap”, and while I don’t pine for Vegemite I’d give my own left arm for a lifetime supply of CSR Soft Icing Mixture (it doesn’t clump, rarely needs sifting, and is super cheap!) and I sometimes post recipes for ultra-Aussie stuff like ANZAC Biscuits. Anyway, I’ll always give temperatures in ºC and ºF (at least these days!), and will endeavour to call out/explain ingredients that might be specific to the US (or Australia). Beyond that, Google is your friend!

B) Footnotes: In case you couldn’t tell, my brain works in parenthetical asides. To keep the recipes clear and easy to follow without omitting important tips and tricks, I often (really often) use asterisks + footnotes — or numbered footnotes if things are getting properly out of hand.

C) Hardware:

When I say “in the bowl of your stand mixer”, I’m talking about a standard, trusty, pretty KitchenAid — but any other stand mixer will perform similarly, and hand beaters + a large bowl are often just as good.

 

 

 

 

When I say to measure our “heaped teaspoonfuls” of cookie dough, I’m using my grandma’s old honey spoon. At all other times, I mean an actual teaspoon measure: 5mls.

 

 

 

 

4. If in doubt…

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