Common App - Prompt is any
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"Any brownies in this household must be made from box mix and cut with a plastic knife." That is the rule my mother learned from my grandmother, then passed down to me. Baked goods have always been an important part of our family and I cannot recall one instance in which I have visited my grandparents' house and a pan of brownies has not been waiting for us on the kitchen counter.
My love for baking blossomed the year I received an easy-bake oven for Christmas. If you are not familiar with the name, easy-bake ovens are plastic toy ovens powered by a single lightbulb. Now if you read that description and think that doesn't sound like a device capable of creating edible food, then you would be correct. I have many memories of sitting by the so-called oven for hours on end just waiting for it to bake a cake no larger than the size of a single silver-dollar pancake. Luckily my parents eventually allowed me to upgrade from cooking by lightbulb to use of the kitchen oven. With use of a real appliance, I was no longer confined to a 4 x 0.5-inch pan and 100-watt lightbulb. The options for my confectionary creations were endless.
What started as a family tradition and hobby quickly became a love of mine that connected to my other interests, such as science. Baking is a form of chemistry; mix your batter too long and your cake turns out tough and chewy instead of moist and fluffy. Even having your butter too cold or too much melted can ruin the confection. It took many cycles of trial and error, sometimes having to repeat and tweak the same recipe several times before the confection was baked to my liking. As I became more comfortable with the basics of chocolate chip cookies and cupcakes frosted with sprinkles, I explored more complex confections and skills such as fondant work.
A freshly baked cake is a blank canvas with the potential to display my creativity. While my cakes never look quite as good as those of Cake Boss' Buddy Valastro and Charm City Cakes' Duff Goldman seen on television, I always feel a sense of accomplishment upon completion of a cake, as I see it as a form of expression more than a sugary treat my family is eager to gobble up after dinner.