Baking in Foreign Countries for Beginners
So, this is totally me just making fun of myself, not quite an actual tutorial. However you still might learn something, so by all means keep reading! Haha
There are a few things that without which, you absolutely cannot bake in a new country!
Here's my top five:
Google Translate (Better yet, a local friend that can read the language, but if you are fresh out of those like I was today, then Google Translate will work.)
A Flexible Recipe (You never know what ingredients will be plentiful and which ones you won't be able to find, so no super complicated or fragile recipes)
A Trial-and-error-is-a-good-way-to-learn Mindset. (I'm definitely not fond of failure, so I had to prep myself that this may not work, so I would be able to enjoy the process!)
A good imagination (I'll explain why this made my top 5 lol)
The ability to laugh at yourself, after all you're in a new environment and you're learning.
So once you have purchased your ingredients (Yes, this may take a few hours, especially when you walk to the store and then have to walk to another store, give yourself sufficient time!), you can start the baking! For me, I only have a stove top, so I had to choose a no-bake cookie recipe. I found this one by Crystal on her blog Mrs Happy Homemaker. (You should definitely try it, mine really turned out to be something completely different, haha, but her recipe looks delish!).
I wasn't able to find a white or yellow cake mix, so I just got chocolate (the only flavor available) and decided to make Chocolate Cake Batter Cookies lol. So first things first, you need to melt the butter. That may sound simple, but not everyone packages butter in a stick (no, I did not previously know this either!). This is where your imagination becomes your best friend, because you will need to visualize the appropriate volume of butter in your head, so you can cut close to the same amount out of the butter square that you have. If you happened to remember your scale on which to measure out the butter, that will work! Believe it or not, a kitchen scale didn't make it on my packing list for Romania.
And speaking of measuring, make sure to buy a measuring cup with labels that you understand or you will have to convert everything over. This is totally doable, it just depends on how badly you want to eat.
So once the butter is melted, add the milk and sugar. Now, because of the language barrier and my laziness typing labels into Google Translate, because who really wants to spend the whole day in the grocery store!? No one, because there are cookies to be made and eaten! Anyway, I wasn't sure if the chocolate chips were sweet or not, so I broke into those pretty early on into the cooking process (They were sweetened!). Unfortunately, I realized when it was time to add the chocolate that I needed all of the chips and I had already eaten several... food for thought next time! So, by all means check to make sure you have the right ingredients, but also check your recipe for quantities before snacking too much.
After letting the melted butter mixture cool, its time to add the chocolate chips and chocolate cake mix. Again, the packaging might not look the same to what you're used to, so don't spend too much time at the store looking for something familiar. For example, the chocolate chips are packaged in plastic bottles in Romania, kind of like vitamin bottles in the states. Here's a picture, they are delish, less sweet than what I'm used to.
The cake mix also came with mix to make the icing and like a cream to go in between cake layers. They were each labeled, thankfully, so I chose the one that looked the most like "cake mix" lol if it wasn't the right one, it at least tasted good! (Side note: My flippant choices in life really stress out my lovely, left brained, strategical friends)
After mixing the chocolate and butter, its time to add the oatmeal and sprinkles. Since my cookies ended up so far from the cake batter flavor, I left the sprinkles out, but who knows they could've add a special touch!
And of course the most important part of any baking venture is to have good friends to share your treats with! And I have to say, the completed cookies were good, but the company I shared them with was the sweetest part of the evening.
I wish you happy baking where ever you may find yourself,