If you know me, you know that I love a sweet treat or two. I’m more of a nibbler than someone who dives into giant vats of treats, but I’m a big fan. It’s no surprise that when we became homebound during the Covid-19 safer-at-home orders that I, like so many others around the country, turned to baking.
I used to bake with my mom when I was a kid. She made some pretty incredible chocolate chip cookies, but I remember baking pies with her during the holidays. I also distinctly remember her helping me practice for Home Economics. I wasn’t great at it, but I have fond memories, and thanks to the lockdown, I had plenty of time to try. Also, Andy is a willing taste-tester. While he got serious about cooking, I turned to baking – with some mixed results.
Sour Cream Chocolate Chip Banana Bread
I feel like everyone embraced banana bread at some point over the last six months. It’s a great way to use overripe bananas, and it lasts a reasonably long time once it is baked. I hunted around for recipes wouldn’t be too dense or too try, and found my favorite (so far) at Country Cleaver. I’ve used both sour cream and yogurt in different recipes, and they both brought an incredible moistness to the bread. I could make this recipe every week. As it is, I probably make it a couple of times a month.
Flourless Chocolate, Chocolate Chip Cookies
Oh, this was a disaster. They have never turned out well, but at least once, they didn’t set, and the batter all ran together. I had one big sheet of severely burned sticky dough. There was only one attempt at this recipe that went well for me. While it is perfect for anyone looking for something gluten-free (or anyone looking for a recipe that doesn’t use their dwindling flour supplies), it is an egg hog. I will say that while this final attempt doesn’t look anything like the King Arthur Baking photos, we did eat them all. So, not a total loss.
Chewy Chocolate Cookies
What do you do when you have some leftover cocoa powder and an urge for cookies? If you are me, you try your hand at making chewy chocolate cookies. These were delicious and made from a recipe at Allrecipes. The key to making them extra chewy is the creaming of the butter and sugar at the start. Andy was trying his hand at frosting that day, so we were able to test his vanilla frosting on these cookies. We felt pretty decadent!
Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookies
Thanks to Ruth Wakefield and her famous recipe, my mom and I had decades of fun making chocolate chip cookies together. While I haven’t quite cracked the code on my own, this batch got as close as I could to a tribute to mom’s (and Ruth Wakefield’s) efforts. They were much chewier than I thought they would be, but I’m okay with that.
Chocolate Chip Muffins
It wasn’t a far leap for me to move from cookies to muffins. We devoured these. There were two key reasons that these were such a hit: 1) I used the lighter White Lily All-Purpose Flour, and 2) I flash baked the muffins for the first five minutes at 425 degrees and then turned it down to the standard 350. I find that the high heat in the first five minutes pushes the rise, and you get beautiful domes on the muffins. Sally’s Baking Addiction clued me into this trick, and their recipe is one of my favorites.
Can you believe that I moved away from chocolate? It’s a strange but true thing. As the spring turned into summer, we started eating more and more blueberries. Having them around inspired me to try my hand at “The Famous Jordan Marsh Blueberry Muffins.” Moist, delicious, and sprinkled with just enough sugar to delight the taste buds, these blueberry muffins will be a consistent part of my baking rotation. Love them!! King Arthur Baking showed me the way.
How about you? If you are baking, have you made anything that you love?