When this pandemic began I had the same thought that I imagine everyone else had: what am I going to do? Social distancing guidelines and lockdowns made it difficult for me to continue with other hobbies that I liked to do with my friends and family prior to the predicament we are currently in. With all the isolation and time at home by myself, I needed something that I could do independently but still have fun while doing it, that's when I started baking.

I know it sounds a little random, but there have been some painstakingly long months since last March and baking has been a great way to spend that time.  It was surprisingly comforting so I stuck with it throughout the rest of 2020.

I'm no expert so I usually stick to the premade cookie mixes from the grocery store, but it still counts! It's been cool to learn all the baking tips and tricks that I didn't think made a difference, softened butter does not equal melted butter.

It's also incredibly rewarding when the final product turns out like it's supposed to.  My very small one bedroom apartment has an oven, but what it doesn't have is temperature markers so I have no idea how hot that thing is which created kind of a rocky start to my baking endeavors.  But, after a few batches of charred cookies and a couple rounds of under baked brownies, I think I've gotten pretty good at estimating how far to turn the dial.

So, if you haven't tried it already, pick up baking!  It's a great way to spend your free time and it's always nice to make something special for your friends and family, especially when contact with them is as limited as it is these days.  Don't get discouraged if you mess up the first few times, it's all part of the process!

Maybe one of these days when I actually learn how to make something from scratch I'll open up my own bakery, I'll call it "JT's Pastries".

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