Confessions of a hapless baker....to dough, or not to dough

by Cyndi Paxton Johnson

I love bakeries - Cake Boss leaves me drooling like a Newfoundland. New York City has amazing bakeries with freshly baked treats arranged in the windows to lure you in like the proverbial moth to the flame. Fortunately I was quite young when I lived there and could breakfast on the large, chocolate filled pastry logs without requiring an extra seat on a plane. (these days I go up a pants size by simply looking in the window)

Ever since I left New York I've strived to re-create the pastry perfection of those dream-filled windows. I've managed, from time to time, to create some rockin' cinnamon rolls, bread, muffins and cakes.

What I simply CANNOT do - is anything that requires rolling out. I make drop cookies, drop biscuits and drop dumplings. I don't make pasta or gingerman cookies or.....pie crusts. There. I've admitted my secret shame. I'm forced to use the refrigerated pie crusts that you simply unroll (I love them - SHHH!). 

It's not as though I haven't tried to conquer my shortcomings. When flour and rolling pins failed me I tried pie bags, plastic pie forms and a silicon baking sheet. The results: The Universe: 3762; Cyndi:0. Just this week I attempted to roll out fondant on the silicon sheet - and ended up scraping it off with my fingernails. (my daughters took over and quickly produced near perfect sheets of chocolate frosting - so at least the problem isn't genetic) 

Seriously, what's a pastry lover to do? Do I accept that the Universe is looking out for my health and pants size and bypass the calling of my heart stomach? 

Nope. Can't do it. I'm willing to bypass the over-sugared donuts and peanut butter fudge in my quest for a healthy life balance - but I need to be realistic. 

And, realistically, all I want for Christmas is a chocolate-filled pastry log! (or twenty two!)

Is there a 12 step program for pastry blunderers?  How do I roll out pastry without destroying 1. the pastry  2. my kitchen and  3. my self-esteem?


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