Baking in Quarantine

Much as been made of stress-baking and procrasti-baking during quarantine. I am both thrilled and spiteful of this. Sort of an “I did it before it was cool” feeling, but also welcoming new friends into the fold.

I am absolutely no expert, and no genius. I’m a regular girl who likes chocolate and who likes to impress coworkers. I like the process of measuring, melting, leveling, folding, testing, and frosting. I like the satisfaction of being able to tell exactly when a cake is done by looking at it. I like finally being able to easily roll out a pie crust without holes. These steps are intense but peaceful, and create works of art. Made of chocolate.

Since I’ve been making dinner so much more often, and can’t bring my treats to work or parties, I’ve nearly baked less than usual, but have still managed to ingest a pretty solid amount of sugar. I’ll cover my yeasted goods in another post. Here are most of the treats I’ve made over the past few months.

America’s Test Kitchen Key Lime Pie. Truly one of the best desserts of all time. So easy, so few ingredients, incredibly delicious.

BA Basically Cardamom-Pistachio Carrot Cake (without the pistachios). Like, who has carrot juice during quarantine? Who likes nuts in their cake? I made this twice – TRUST ME: just make it without nuts and without the glaze and it will be the BEST afternoon-tea-time-don’t-feel-so-bad-cause-it’s-vegetables cake break you ever have.

BA Basically Buckwheat Chocolate Chip Cookies. Like, who has buckwheat in quarantine? So just make these with regular AP flour and they will be fantastic. Pictured above.

Smitten Kitchen Pumpkin Bread. Always a classic. But turns out, even with chocolate chips, pumpkin just doesn’t pack the same punch in April.

Smitten Kitchen Ultimate Banana Bread. OMG this is so good with chocolate chips. It’s a really tough competition with the carrot cake up for the “BEST afternoon-tea-time-don’t-feel-so-bad-cause-it’s-fruit cake break.” I’ll have to keep making them to decide. I made a half-recipe of this in a 6-inch pan two or three times already. Michael doesn’t really eat cake, so it’s best not to have a FULL SIZE cake at home for JUST ME. Pictured on the home page.

Smitten Kitchen My Favorite Brownies. I actually tried to make a box brownie mix first, and I managed to BROIL them. My (very old school) oven has a bake/broil switch that is SO EASY to miss. Clearly the universe doesn’t want me making box mixes, because I had to chuck those and make these classic goodies instead.

Puff Pastry Herb Pesto Rolls. I made a basic pesto in the food processor with whatever I had in the fridge: parsley, a bit of other herbs, lemon, parmesan, almonds. Rolled them up into little rugelach shapes with Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry and boom, impressive appetizer to bring to a party.

Smitten Kitchen “I Want Chocolate Cake” Cake. I also managed to broil this… somehow it was still perfect! Pretty easy, truly delicious, a nice small size for just a few people!

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