Only in college: A baker's secret

Few bakers in college have materials this good, but they make do. (Flickr)

“I think that’s everything,” I said to my friend as I tossed another package of white chocolate chips into my shopping cart alongside the coconut flakes, coco powder and - my favorite - jimmies.

We headed toward the checkout line, which at 5 p.m. in Price Chopper extended nearly a quarter of the way down the baking isle – how convenient.

“Wait, Julia, do you have eggs already? Butter?” She was looking at the array of toppings in my cart wondering how we were to create a cake from little more than different shapes of sugar.

I looked up at her, smiled, and shook my head, “we most certainly do not have everything.”

Baking is always fun, whether it’s Christmas pies or birthday cakes. Baking with me is always an experience, whether it’s my refusal to follow a recipe or my loud and very necessary dance music. Baking with me in college, however, now that’s an adventure.

Unlike at home, I do not have access to a fully (or at least mostly) stocked kitchen. Eggs aren’t just conveniently located in our mini fridge and all-purpose flour hasn’t yet become a dorm room staple. Ingredients such as vanilla, baking soda and milk that I just take for granted at home now must be sought out (bought, borrowed or somehow pilfered from the dining halls) before any baking endeavors begin.

Although remembering to obtain all the ingredients can be challenging (forgot the oil when I made cake pops and decided that a little extra butter and water would do the trick) and getting the correct ingredient even more so (my roommate accidently filled a water bottle with balsamic vinegar from the salad bar when the goal was olive oil) what has posed as an even greater obstacle to dorm room baking success is the equipment.

“Well, I have a cookie sheet,” is pretty much my response to all pan and plate requests.

Making a cake? Just add some tin foil to the edges, the batter should stay in. Need a bowl? I have an enormous tea mug – two in fact – so you can mix up almost anything with our soup spoon.

After an over eight hour cake pop adventure, I thought simple chocolate chip cookies for my friend’s Super Bowl party would be a cinch. I have a cookie sheet, after all.

Things did go pretty smoothly.

I don’t have measuring cups but, as my biochemistry lab partner could tell you, I’m really good at pouring things. Somehow, I can just feel if I’ve poured in a cup of flour, a tablespoon of sugar or a teaspoon of salt. I know it’s unorthodox, and my food service professor might be having a fit, but it’s seems to work.

I had all the ingredients combined, the chips stirred in, the cookie dough rolled and squished down onto the tray, the oven on, the tray in the oven, the timer set – just 1 more minute to go – when my friend asked just one more simple question.

“Julia, do you have an oven mit?”

I started to laugh and grinning I slid my arm out of its sleeve.

“What do you think shirts are for?”  It’s this baker’s secret.


Julia Werth is the news editor for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at julia.werth@uconn.edu.