Baking beyond boring: Jewel Kyaw

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Kyaw’s enjoys baking whoopie pies most. Experimenting with different add-ons, such as the Fruity Pebbles pictured above, Kyaw has found multiple ways to put a twist on a classic dessert. (Photo submitted by Jewel Kyaw)

While many rave about the desserts served in restaurants such as Jaxson’s Ice Cream Parlor, junior Jewel Kyaw doesn’t need to visit such restaurants. Developing a pastime into a talent, Kyaw uses baking as a stress reliever and connection to her family.

Baking keeps Kyaw close to her roots that originate from Burma. “I mainly got into baking because of my family. Everyone in my family has a huge appreciation for food, and it really ties into our culture. It’s how we stay connected to one another, especially because we’re so far apart,” Kyaw said. “My older cousin Jessica always baked in the house so I really got inspired by her to bake for the people around me and those I really care for.”

Once Jessica left for college, Kyaw decided to experiment on her own. “I feel close to Jessica through baking,” Kyaw said. With Jessica, Kyaw had focused on more Americanized dessert. Now on her own, Kyaw experiments with recipes that connect with her culture while also experimenting with others. 

“Living in South Florida, there isn’t a very large community of like people that I can relate to ethnicity-wise. So one of the things I do is that every time there’s some sort of cultural fair, I’ll always ask to help make desserts,” Kyaw said. “Everyone’s known for making a certain thing, so I’ll sit in with them in their households and we’ll make certain traditional desserts with them, ones that you can’t get in Publix.”

Kyaw started bringing her culinary creations to school after the Holiday Bazaar, utilizing club bake sales as a chance to display treats she’s proud of rather than desserts picked up quickly at Publix the night before. Kyaw especially enjoys baking whoopie pies.

“I love experimenting with the different flavors and fillings. I’ll add some sort of decorational element to the filling, like Fruity Pebbles or sprinkles, things like that,” she said.

Kyaw strives for more than flavor in the kitchen; she wants to make sure everyone, regardless of dietary preferences or restraints, can enjoy her desserts by using no nuts in her recipes and experimenting with vegan options. Additionally, Kyaw attempts to remain as eco-friendly as possible, searching for products such as silicone pastry bags and ingredients not wrapped in so much plastic.

Mainly, baking serves as a way to disconnect with the craziness of junior year. “Baking is something that I see purely for joy. If it doesn’t bring me joy anymore, then there’s no point in me doing it,” Kyaw said. “Seeing people’s faces when I bring it in, and they actually enjoy what I make and seeing their excitement brings me the most joy.”

As a senior, Kayla Rubenstein spends her fourth (and heartbreakingly final) year on staff as Online Editor-in-Chief, Business Manager and Social Media Correspondent. Wanting to make the most of her senior year, Kayla serves as the President of Quill and Scroll, Historian of Rho Kappa and Co-Historian of NHS, while also actively participating in EHS and SNHS. Outside of school, Kayla contributes to Mensa’s publications and volunteers with different organizations within her community. An avid reader, Kayla can often be found with her nose in a book when not working on an article for The Patriot Post or developing a project for iPatriot Post.

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