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Baking with Zoë (and ADHD)

Baking with Zoë (and ADHD)Today is the first day of the Chinese New Year. It’s the year of the Dragon.  I thought I’d celebrate by starting off with some fresh-baked peanut butter cookies for breakfast.

The Dragon made me do it…

Confession: that’s not exactly how I planned it; cookies for breakfast on Chinese New Year was serendipity, of sorts. I’d planned to make them yesterday, as a way to take a break from my work.

As a little girl, peanut butter cookies were my favorite. How hard could it be? I thought. I found a website called Simply Recipes which I mistakenly read as, “simple” recipes. With only nine ingredients, and three – 3! – steps, I thought even I could handle this cookie-making thing. Goes to show how wrong you can be.

On my first break, I made a quick trip to the grocery store to buy white sugar. Knowing my culinary limitations, I decided to play by the rules instead of substituting demerara sugar for the white sugar called for by the recipe. (I have no idea what I’ll do with the huge bag of white sugar that is left over. I loathe baking and white sugar. I really just wanted to use up the peanut butter.)

Driving home, I prayed that no eggs would be required, although a dawning suspicion was creeping over me that they might be. I’d considered eggs at the grocery store, but decided against them. I’m constantly trying to stick to a vegetarian diet (and failing).

Time to start. Or not.

I checked the recipe one more time. Ingredient #5: 1 egg. That was okay. I’d already realized on the drive home that I had no cookie sheets.

I temporarily abandoned the mission, and went back to work.

By six o’clock, shoulders aching from sitting at my desk, I was ready for another break. I bought the cookie sheets, the eggs, read the recipe over once more, and was ready to start. I’d taken the butter out of the fridge so that it would be room temperature. The oven was pre-heated. I was feeling pretty good about the whole thing.

Vinegar is for washing windows; baking soda is for…baking?!

That’s when I noticed baking soda on the ingredient list. The last time I’d seen baking soda it was at the back of my fridge ineffectually battling the liquefied lettuce and God-knows-what-else. I’d forgotten it was actually a food.

Instead of making trip #3 to the grocery store, I fed the dog and got back to work. Deadlines are deadlines.

My just dessert

By 11 o’clock, I’d had enough. Wouldn’t it be nice, I thought, to end the day with fresh, home-baked cookies?  One problem: where, oh where, was I going to get baking soda at this hour? Then I remembered the one grocery store in my small, rural Ontario town that’s open ‘til midnight.

Except on Sunday.


On a cookie (or is that, “kooky”?) quest

Driving around town, I racked my brains trying to think of a 24-hour baking soda store. Adrenaline pumping, determination swelling, I would not abandon my quest. I had already put far too much time into it. I mean, far too much time. Then I remembered the 24-hour drugstore with its three grocery aisles. Bingo!

By 11:30 p.m., I was mixing the dough and looking forward to my cookies. That’s when I noticed instruction #2:

“wrap dough in plastic and refrigerate at least three hours.”

Baking with Zoë (and ADHD)
Here you go, Dragon...

At that rate, the cookies would be ready around 2:30 a.m.

I figured leaving the dough in the fridge overnight would qualify as “at least” three hours. I went to bed.

The cookies are ready! …and it only took 15 hours…

This morning I took the cookie sheet out of the oven to find a vast, flat, shapeless plane of cookie dough the texture of hardened sand. Yum. Where were the fluffy mounds with their jaunty criss-crossed patterns of my childhood?

All is not lost. It is, after all, the first day of Chinese New Year. I’m going to feed my cookies to the Dragon.


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Baking with Zoë (and ADHD)

Zoë Kessler, BA, B.Ed.

Zoë Kessler is an award-winning author, journalist, and speaker specializing in women and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD / ADD).

A frequent contributor to ADDitude Magazine, Kessler has also created video, standup comedy, and guest blogs on ADHD and Marriage covering ADHD-related topics.

Zoë, an internationally recognized ADHD expert, has been interviewed on radio and featured in magazine articles, documentaries, and books on the topic of women and ADHD across North America.

Her newly-released memoir ADHD According to Zoë - The Real Deal on relationships, Finding Your Focus & Finding Your Keys (New Harbinger Publications, 2013) about life with ADHD is now available.

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APA Reference
Kessler, Z. (2012). Baking with Zoë (and ADHD). Psych Central. Retrieved on August 4, 2020, from


Last updated: 24 Jan 2012
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