Baking or cooking—everyone leans a little more toward one or the other. You might excel at both, but you might not love them equally. For me, it’s baking, no question. I’m not the cook in our house; if I’m found over the stove making any type of meal, it’s because I’m entertaining a crowd of at least six people and my spouse is out of town. Otherwise, if I’m dining solo and need to scrounge up a meal, dinner is nothing more elaborate than scrambled eggs and sweet potatoes. Baking is where I derive my joy, perhaps because baked goods are an occasion unto themselves. Everyone’s gotta eat, but breads and cakes and cookies are indulgences to be savored, playful and colorful and frivolous. The non-necessity of it is what makes baking feel more relaxed and enjoyable to me.
That said, there are some recipes that just fail to spark my loved ones’ excitement. You can tell by the way the platter remains woefully full; your guests will point to adjacent items and excitedly ask what’s in those other desserts, having already determined that your plate of pecan sandies is a definite pass. Unfortunately you don’t get to grab these people by the lapels and insist that those beige little cookies might be a tad plain-looking, but dammit, they’re full of roasty flavor—it just wouldn’t be good manners. Instead, you just have to smile and take it, then box up your untouched cookies at the end of the evening and slowly, steadily eat them all yourself over the next day or two.
I’ve got a number of recipes like this: things you make more for yourself than anyone else. I know for a fact that my sandies will be cruelly ignored at every party, but I can’t help it; they’re fun to make, relaxing to slice and plate and display, and absolutely delicious, if only to me. So I keep baking them, making them better and better each time and wondering if they’ll become a hit once they reach a certain quality threshold. Will I ever make a pecan sandie too delectable to ignore? Probably not. More for me, I guess.
Do you all have recipes that you make solely for yourself? Something that your family or friends or roommates would never touch, or perhaps aren’t allowed to? What’s a purely selfish indulgence that you keep coming back to? And does anyone want a tupperware full of pecan sandies?