Then there's the oven. Not only is the temperature measured in centigrade - easy enough to overcome, thanks to the internet. But it's also a fan-assisted oven. So even after converting, I have to use my "judgment" (something auditors are all to familiar with) and reduce the temperature to account for the efficiency of the fan.
During the first half of my time here, my only baking venture was pumpkin bread. And that was only because I had brought the spices and canned pumpkin with me from the States. I only had to add flour, eggs, and water. Even that was a challenge as I used a cheaply purchased measuring cup for liters and converted to cups.
Coming back after Christmas, I thought I'd taken adequate corrective measures. I came back armed with good ol' American measuring cups and spoons along with vanilla, baking powder and baking soda. Surely this would solve my baking issues (no smart remarks from the peanut gallery need be added here!).
Embolded by last week's success with the sugar cookies, I wanted to satisfy my long-unfulfilled craving for good, chewy, oatmeal cookies this weekend. And what better brain food to give my team for the big week ahead. Pretty simple, one of your basic cookie recipes, and the only new ingredient it required was brown sugar - no problem. HA! The grocery store's baking aisle revealed nothing that looked like brown sugar as I know it. The only "brauner zucker" was granulated in crystals - like white sugar. Oh well, how different can it be? Tonight, as I began to mix together the cookies (BTW, creaming butter and sugar - not so easy without a mixer!), I quickly googled "granulated brown sugar" to see if there was a difference in proportions. I didn't exactly find an answer. The only thing I found were sites saying explicitly do not substitute granulated brown sugar for regular because it didn't have the same moisture... hmm... Despite the warnings, I decided to go ahead and hope for the best. I was craving these cookies! My first tray didn't turn out so well.....
....Flatter than a pancake is a pretty accurate description! How obnoxiously frustrating. These cookies didn't seem to lack any moisture. I started experiementing with adding flour and tweaking the oven temp and only cooking a couple cookies at a time. In between each new iteration, Berlin citizens may have seen a girl hanging outside her 15th floor apartment window shaking a cookie sheet in the cold air to cool it down quickly (these cookies are becoming more trouble than they're worth!). *sigh* After several tries and reviewing the recipe a couple times (yep, I put the right portions in), I finally arrived at a decent-looking cookie. It won't win any contests, but at least it's edible.
One thing I'm looking forward to about coming home: baking on my home turf!