Anytime of year is a good time for baking, as far as I’m concerned. But winter baking is probably my favourite.
First, it’s dark out. I can start baking after dinner on a weeknight and not feel like I’m missing out on valuable garden time, because it’s pitch black out.
Second, who doesn’t feel the need for a few extra calories on those cold winter days? We can all justify eating that extra cupcake in order to stay warm.
Third, with the house closed up, the glorious smells of cinnamon, chocolate and butter linger in the house. If you bake on Monday evening, you can still smell those delicious cookies the next morning. You don’t lose those scents out the open windows.
But possibly the best thing about winter baking is the opportunity to revisit the other seasons by using the fruit stored up during the rest of the year.
Monday night I made chocolate raspberry cupcakes using the last of the raspberries frozen at the height of summer—that fresh taste is so welcome in mid-winter when berry fruits are little more than a memory.
Last week I made apple pie with apples frozen during autumn. The aroma of fruit and cinnamon evoked those marvellous days of plenty.
Next week, for the solstice and Matariki, I’ll pull out the frozen currents and make my very favourite winter treat—current pie. Its tart flavour is the taste of summer. It reminds me that the long days of December are only six months away.
So I will bake my way through June, July and August, dreaming of warmer days past and planning for warmer days to come.