Malted Brownies & P-L-E-A-S-U-R-E: a Sensual Baking Exercise

When’s the last time that you baked for function? A cake for a birthday, cookies for a new mom, biscuits as a housewarming gift. I bet that baking can often fall onto the to-do list of things that just need to get done. Crossed off the list. Completed in a seemingly endless carousel of weekly tasks. 

And when’s the last time you baked to fulfill a craving? Wanting the end result. Not really enjoying, reveling even, in the process of getting there?

This weekend, I decided to bake for the first time in my new apartment, and to infuse pleasure into every particle of the process. To prioritize my pleasure as I baked. 

…to make it sacred.

The recipe? Claire Saffitz’s Malted Forever Brownies [side note: she calls them “forever” brownies because this is literally the only brownie recipe you’ll need ever again]. 

The exercise? Surrendering to my senses in the moment. From observing the glossy texture of the butter and chocolate as they melted in unison, to inhaling a wave of decadence as I bloomed the Dutch cocoa, to noticing the snowflake-like beauty of each grain of sugar as I leveled the measuring cup… this was baking like never before. This was presence. This was pleasure. And I haven’t even gotten to that first bite yet.

You can follow along via the recipe right here, and this exercise to help you experience pleasure in each and every moment while you bake.

Start off by connecting to yourself in the present moment. Take a few deep, slow breaths in and out. Notice your feet on the floor in your kitchen. Check in with your body – is your jaw clenched? Are your shoulders tight? Loosen into the present moment. Thank yourself for being there

Read the entire recipe, from start to finish. Pay attention – is there a step that you’re most excited about? Something that piques your curiosity? 

As you pull out each ingredient from the pantry before you begin, give your full attention to each one. How do they feel in your hands? Is the glass bottle of vanilla extract smooth and cool, while the AP flour bag feels brittle, dusty?

Make an exquisite ritual out of each step in the recipe. Slow down. 

Feel the granulated sugar crystals between your fingers. 

Taste the difference between the milk chocolate and the semisweet chocolate. 

Watch the butter swirl into the melting chocolate over the double boiler. 

Listen to the scrape of your whisk against the bowl. 

Smell the baking brownies as their aroma begins to permeate your space.

Observe your desire start to build after you put them in the oven. 

When you take them out, use all 5 senses to receive them. Pay attention to the incredible details. The heat. The smooth surface. The wave of scent that hits you when you open the oven. 

And when you take that first bite… allow that rush. Immerse yourself in the pleasure of it. Chew slowly. Give thanks for every morsel, and for how deeply you are present to experience it ❤

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