As previously mentioned, we’re gonna take a blogging baking detour for a couple months!
New episode of Gingham and Steel Bakes! featuring Gingersnap Gems. Scroll below the video for some thoughts and the recipe!
- As I watched some of the comments on last week’s blog roll in, I realized I had mis-titled the series. My previous title (Baking Your Way through a Divorce) inadvertently put the focus on my divorce, which was precisely opposite of what I wanted to do! For while the divorce originally inspired my desire for a project, it’s not the causative force in my life. So I’ve retitled the YouTube series with something slightly more straightforward: Gingham and Steel Bakes!
- I tried a much more contemporary style of editing this time. Gone is my long uncut monologue style of filming; hello to cutting all the dead space out and showing only the important moments. In doing so, I realized how many things I want to change when I’m filming! (Not the least of which is my equipment, haha, but I have no budget to fix that, so we’ll carry on as is.) Putting more space in between sentences or thoughts while I’m recording, and having a clear moment of adding each ingredient, will make it much easier to edit and watch going forward. It’ll be cleaner and simpler to watch, too! So next week, I have hope for an even stronger product.
- I also tried a new camera angle. Let me know your thoughts on wide-shot versus close-up. I think I like the close-up better because I only have to worry about half my outfit, and the mic can pick up my voice better. (Please, though, don’t mention how many times the frame changed. If I even breathed near my phone, it moved, and every time I exited the camera app, I had to rezoom, and the binder clips kept shifting, and anyway, yeah I know. It’s awful.)
- Working with a brand-new-to-me recipe is a very different experience from making one like Kathy’s Pumpkin Bread last week. I realized in the middle of the rolling section that I wasn’t sure how sizes and gooeyness would work, so I made some big balls and some smaller ones, and then experimented with baking times and methods, as well (e.g., freezing before baking). But that makes it hard to record intelligent commentary, because I’m not entirely sure what I’m doing! But again, the editing process really showed me better what kind of shots I want, so next week should be better than this week because I know what I’m doing!
- There will always be something I miss, apparently. Last week, I forgot to record a Giada de Laurentis-style reaction shot to eating my own creation (which is the payoff for the whole show!), so this week I did one (in which you can actually watch me start by parodying Giada but then get overtaken by the cookie being so good, resulting in a very honest Emily reaction, haha – it cracks me up every time I watch it). But this week, I neglected to get close up shots of the final cookies before I ate them! (Partly because I didn’t realize they were off-camera….) So I’m going to start a running “shot list” (like a professional, haha), and hopefully each week I’ll get closer to making sure I have all the footage I want. My only worry is whether having such a structured approach means I stop saying the random asides and goofy things that I think (are you ever sure?) make the episodes uniquely Gingham and Steel. We’ll find out, I guess!
- I do not have enough lights or outlets in my apartment. Seriously, I tried to find a decent lamp to better light my face (because it’s dark as tombs in that video! I keep wanting to yell, “Aziz, LIGHT!”), but none of ours work well for that. I may go to Target and pick up a cheap desk lamp and see if that helps (picture me just pointing it at my face next to the camera). You guys, if you saw my “set-up,” you’d burst out laughing – it really is that amateur. Stacks of books, binder clips (this time clamped onto my glasses’ cleaning cloth, so I can still use the touchscreen!), and don’t get me started on the fact that I have to wait in the middle of the recording process to transfer the footage off my camera and onto my computer, because I don’t have the storage space! It’s an exercise in patience, since I know what it could/should be. Baby steps, I keep reminding myself.
- Oh my stars, you guys, the longest part of this recipe is rolling the darn balls! It felt like it took eternity! I didn’t even try to record it all. (Next time, I’ll record way less footage of me mixing, too – I only used a handful of seconds in the end.) So if you’re making these, plan to spend some time on the rolling. And it’s super sticky! You’ve been warned.
- Let the record show that in my world, fall starts after Labor Day. I don’t care that technically fall starts on the 21st or thereabouts. Fall begins the moment Labor Day is over. I expect the weather to cooperate, and my baking and cooking habits fall in step immediately. I’m sure this is in no small part because I vastly prefer fall and spring over summer and winter. So the more time I can luxuriate in my favorite season, the better. Really, fall is an atmosphere, not a calendar event.
Anyway, those are my thoughts this time around. The recipe is below, and I really would love to hear what you’re baking or cooking up this fall! It’s my favorite part of the season. (And if you’re a regular YouTube user, consider subscribing to my Gingham and Steel channel! And/or to my Facebook page! And to this blog! So many options to click things.)
Gingersnap Gems à la Emily
sourced from Midwest Living (http://www.midwestliving.com/recipe/cookies/gingersnap-gems)
- 2 cups flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 highly heaping tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp cloves
- 1 tsp-ish ginger
- 1 cup sugar
- ¾ cup shortening
- ¼ cup molasses
- 1 egg
Mix the first seven dry ingredients together (not including the sugar!) until homogenous; set aside. Beat the sugar and shortening with an electric mixer on high speed until well blended. Add molasses and beat at a lower speed until blended. Add egg and beat at a lower speed until blended. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and blend until a sticky brown dough has formed.
Roll into 1” balls if you like crispy cookies, or 2” if you prefer doughier like Emily. Roll each ball in sugar, and place on a baking sheet 2” apart (Emily did eight balls to a sheet). Bake at 375 degrees for 8-10 minutes to your preferred level of doughiness, making sure the tops crack and crinkle. Remove from oven and let cool for one minute before moving to a wire rack.