Baking fails {and practicing optimism}


My appetite and taste buds were impatient tonight as I mixed up a new recipe for homemade gluten-free chocolate chunk cookies. If any of you have been following my recipes and cooking adventures since I found out I am gluten intolerant, you’ve probably noticed that I’ve come up with some extremely fun, creative, and delicious treats!

However, like anything in life, not everything is a “win.”

Baking is my thing…my jam…my favorite thing to do in the kitchen. It has always come very naturally to me, and generally even when I just throw random ingredients together into a cookie, cupcake or brownie, they somehow come out perfectly magnificent. Tonight, friends, was a very big exception.

I was experimenting with some new ingredients (most importantly a different gluten-free flour than I had ever used before), and it all seemed to be going as planned until I took the cookies out of the oven. The chocolaty aroma filled my apartment…my eyes grew wide at the sight of the yummy treats…they looked perfect. But then, the very second I touched one of the cookies, they turned to dust. Completely crumbled…and not into pieces…they literally fell to a fine dust.

Either I had used too much flour, not enough coconut oil, or it just wasn’t my night…but my heart (and stomach) instantly filled with frustration and disappointment. My fiance was watching TV in my living room and heard something along the lines of…

“Oh…my…goodness…I can’t believe this…”

He instantly asked me what happened, and I went on to explain that my baking adventure I had so looked forward to (after shopping at Trader Joes for the perfect ingredients, spending the time preparing the cookies, waiting for them to bake) turned out to be a complete disaster.

I told him that they smelled great…and even looked wonderful, but the second I touch them, they turn to dust. I explained that I just needed to throw them out and start over with a new batch. Nathan interrupted me and pleaded that I bring him two cookies right away. Had he not heard me? These cookies were a failure. I do not want to feed these dreadful cookies to the man I am about to marry.

However, he insisted that I bring him these cookies and so I did. He took his first bite, and yes-some “cookie dust” fell onto his plate, but Nathan still had a genuine smile on his face. He looked at me and said:

“Yum! These are delicious! I love dust cookies. Or should we call them sand cookies? They’re great!”

Not only that, but he went ahead and ate a third cookie.

I don’t know if he realized it, but in that moment, so much was mended. My frustration was gone, I didn’t feel like I had wasted my time, my feelings were no longer hurt, I didn’t feel like a failure, and my self esteem was instantly higher. Nathan had the creativity and optimism that I was so lacking. He saw a tasty opportunity where I saw a baking nightmare.

This makes me wonder-how often do we give up and throw things out of our lives when we could simply give them a different outlook? Having a new perspective brings so much clarity to our lives. I encourage you this week to see the glass half-full…to see the cookie half-baked…and to see your life half-way closer to a more amazing place.

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