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Learning to Bake by Jessica Shenning (Grade 5)

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Learning to Bake by Jessica Shenning

Robin loved to watch her mother bake. It was fascinating how easily she could whip up cookies, cakes, or pies. Everyone loved her treats and looked forward to them on the holidays.

There would always be a huge feast of delicious food, but everyone knew to save room for dessert.

Robin could almost taste the pumpkin pie and closed her eyes to remember it better.

“Can you hand me the spatula?” her mother asked, interrupting her daydream.

Robin snapped back to reality and held it out for her mother to use to pour the creamy batter into the cake pan. She wished she would be able to eat it, but it was for the birthday of one of her mother’s friends.

“Thank you. Also honey, when is your school bake sale?”

Robin smiled, “It’s tomorrow.” Her mother always baked for it. Usually she made brownies, which were a favorite and always the first to sell out.

“Oh dear, I’m sorry. Between this cake and Susanne’s birthday today, I won’t have time to make anything.”

“But everyone loves your brownies! What am I supposed to take?”

“You can pick up something from the store.”

“It won’t be the same though,” Robin sat down with a sigh.

Mother leaned down and lifted her chin. “There is another option.”

“There is?”

She smiled, “Yes. You could make the brownies.”

“Me?” Robin said with surprise.

“Yes. You’ve watched me plenty of times. I’m sure you’ll do a great job.”

“But, what if they don’t come out just like yours?”

“Well it takes practice, but you can use my recipe.” She pulled out her recipe
book, flipping pages until she came to it. “Just follow the instructions and they’ll be perfect.”

“Ok! Can I go ahead and start?”

“Sure. I have to go now and take the cake. The kitchen is all yours. I’ll go ahead and turn the oven on for you.”

Robin jumped up excited to begin. As her mother left, she read through the instructions.

“This doesn’t look too hard,” she said to herself. “Just pour everything into a bowl and mix.”

She started getting out the ingredients. In her pantry she pulled out the bags of flour and sugar, the salt and cocoa powder, the vanilla extract and oil, and lastly the eggs from the fridge.

However, she felt like there was something missing. Looking back at the recipe she realized she had skipped over the baking powder. Returning to the pantry she looked everywhere but could not find it. Instead, all she found was baking soda.

“Baking powder and baking soda aren’t that different,” Robin thought aloud. “They’re both white powders and mother sometimes uses baking soda. I’m sure it’ll be fine.”

Taking the baking soda over to the mixing bowl, she began combining the oil, sugar, and vanilla. She added the eggs, and then the rest of the ingredients. Leaning down to inspect the bowl of chocolaty batter, she could not see any difference that the baking soda had made. Proud of herself for being able to change her mother’s recipe, she confidently poured the batter into the baking pan and carefully placed it in the oven. She set a timer for twenty-five minutes and waited.

When the timer dinged Robin ran over to inspect her masterpiece. What she saw
devastated her. The brownies had not risen. They were completely flat. Using an oven mitt to pull them out she placed the pan on a cooling rack on the counter.

Robin took a closer look. There was no resemblance to her mother’s perfectly risen, flaky goodness. She had failed to follow the recipe and now she had nothing to take to her bake sale.

At that moment the front door opened. “Robin, I’m home! How are the brownies my
little baker?” Her mother peered into the kitchen and witnessed a tear stained face hiding a tray of brownies. “What happened dear?”

Robin looked down at her hands, “I tried to follow the recipe, but I couldn’t find the baking powder, so I used baking soda instead.” She looked up at her mother, “I thought it would come out the same but now they’re all flat. They don’t look anything like yours.”

“Oh honey.” Her mother enveloped her in a hug. “Baking soda acts differently than
baking powder and now you can see the difference in the way the brownies turned out. But they aren’t ruined.”

“They’re not?”

“No, when brownies are dense they become fudgy.”

“And they taste good?”

“Yes, go ahead and taste one.”

Skeptically Robin ate a piece. It tasted incredible!

“I can sell these at the bake sale!”

Her mother smiled, “You can be proud of them too. And you know what?”


“You now have your first recipe for your very own book!”

Robin’s smile stretched from ear to ear.
Why did Robin make the brownies?
  1. for a friend's birthday
  2. to share with her mother
  3. for a school bake sale
  4. to make up a recipe of her own
Why was Robin disappointed with the brownies she made?
  1. They did not look like her mother's brownies.
  2. The recipe did not make the right amount of brownies.
  3. The brownies did not bake all the way through.
  4. They had less chocolate in them than regular brownies.
What did the baking soda do to the brownies?
  1. It made them rise.
  2. It made them flat.
  3. It made them salty.
  4. It made them brown.
How did the brownies taste?
  1. They were fudgy.
  2. They were salty.
  3. They were bitter.
  4. They were sweet.
Who caused Robin to be interested in baking?
  1. her mother
  2. her grandmother
  3. a friend
  4. a famous baker
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