Today I share with you my secret to bribing for affection with baked goods. This is derived from years of experience and through rigorous testing. It may seem calculating and insincere but I prefer to think of it differently. If I am putting in the effort to bake you something, I may as well optimize the effort by going for something to impress and to be appreciated, right?
Let’s first go through the don’ts. Unless you’re intimately familiar with the taste of your subject, don’t go for adventurous. Sweet & salty? Nope. Bacon? Nope. Unusual ingredients? Nope. I’m not saying that you’re baking for the lowest common denominator. It’s just that I prefer a sure bet. Don’t need to go for fancy either. Comfort food is familiar and tugs at the heart string with ease. Don’t be frugal with ingredients. Use the highest quality ingredients you can afford and the result will speak for itself.
Of course, the most important question is what to bake?
age 2-10: cookies
age 11-18: bribing cease to work on teenagers. They hate older people regardless.
age 19-24: promise of booze-filled dessert
age 25 and up, male: pie
age 25 and up, female: healthy, vegan, gluten-free thingy
Kids love cookies. The more candy-like the better. Last weekend I baked a batch of M&M cookies for the kiddies in my life. In exchange, I received hugs, bedtime story, and request to see me again the next day. It was almost miraculous considering I’ve never been particularly popular with kids. Oddly enough I never baked M&M cookies before as I consider them too sweet. Thankfully they now have dark chocolate M&M which is perfect for baking. I used Cook’s Illustrated Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe substituting chocolate chips with M&Ms. With 3 tablespoons of dough per cookie, it is ginormous, the way it should be. You should have seen how the face of the kiddie lit up when he held one of those ginormous cookie in his hands.
Man loves pie is an important lesson I learned from Lucinda Scala Quinn. This show stopping Yuzu Meringue Pie was something that I whipped up for a close family friend. The flaky butter crust is a recipe from Melissa Clark's In The Kitchen With A Good Appetite. The tangy and voluptuous yuzu cream is adapted from Dorie Greenspan's lemon cream in Baking From My Home To Yours. The billowy brown sugar Italian meringue recipe comes from Flo Braker's Baking For All Occasions. Despite the copious amount of sugar and butter that went into this confection, it tasted surprisingly restrained. The slightly bitter but infinitely citrusy yuzu is my favourite and it turns the ordinary lemon meringue pie into something extraordinary. Alas the weather’s been much too humidly hot and even the best effort from the fridge could not set up this pie to be perfectly sliced.
I don’t understand why buzz words like vegan and gluten-free can get a girl’s heart racing. Perhaps the promise of decadence in a dessert goes against the virtuous nature of vegan and gluten-free diet? It feels like cheating the system? Anyway, I made a batch of gluten free banana bread from a recipe in Leite’s Culinaria for a girlfriend. It was a joy to see the smile on her face when she tasted it. The flour in question is Bob’s Red Mill all purpose gluten-free baking flour. From texture to appearance to taste, this banana bread is spot on. I’ll definitely return to this recipe next time I need to win over the female population.
Do you have any tips on bribing for affection with baked goods? I would love to hear about them!