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3 of My Favorite Things to Bake- From Scratch!

First of all, I hope everyone is healthy and well, both physically and mentally. It's wild that a month ago, I wrote a post about life on the road, then a few weeks later, I wrote about working from home. And here we are, social distancing and adjusting to this new normal.

A big shout-out to my Triple M Facebook group- thank you for joining and continuing the conversation about this blog. You voted, I heard you. Keep reading!

One of the ways I am coping with this whole situation is by baking. I've always loved baking; I get it from both parents. But it has given me such comfort in the last few weeks. Something about the methodical gathering and preparation of ingredients, the cleaning up, and enjoying the finished product just makes everything better for a little while. I even have had the chance to share some of the spoils with people, ding-dong-ditch style with doorstep delivery! The sharing is really the best part.

Since I cannot actually share the baked goods with all of you, I can share my recipes and tips. I promise not to make you read 1700 words before you get to the recipe (I HATE that), so the recipe will be first and then you can skip my commentary, if you want. I won't be offended. Hell, if you made it this far and read every word, I love you real hard.

I made this
Banana Bread

Ingredients:

8 tablespoons (1 stick) SALTED* butter (*trust me)
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs, room temp
1/4 cup milk, room temp if you can but less important than for eggs
1-1.5 teaspoon vanilla extract (I often over pour, right over the bowl #noragrets)
3 medium bananas, very ripe
2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt (because of salted butter; use 1/4 tsp if using unsalted butter)
1/2 cup (or more) chocolate chips (technically optional but who are we kidding? Add some)
Chopped walnuts optional and I leave them out because my boys hate them.

Instructions:

Pour your favorite adult beverage and grab your favorite apron. Not required, but definitely more fun.

Heat oven to 350°F and prep the loaf pan. I am a HUGE parchment paper girl. Line the loaf pan with parchment (I generally trace the bottom of the pan and then cut out) and then spray the hell out of the inside with non-stick baking spray.

Melt the butter in the microwave or on top of the stove. Watch it like it's Tiger King and you don't wanna miss a thing (seriously though, WTF is that mess?!!) and don't let it burn.

Combine butter and sugar and whisk until combined. You can use a mixer but you don't have to, which is a bonus of this recipe.

Add the eggs by cracking them directly into the bowl because why dirty another damn dish? and whisk it, whisk it good. Then add the milk and vanilla and yes, you guessed it, whisk it.

Mash the bananas in a separate bowl which is very good for taking out your rage at the current state of affairs and your moody teenager. You can make them as smooth or lumpy as you want, depending on the texture of the bread that you prefer. I like it a little chunky (like my waistline after eating all these baked goods). Whisk them into the batter.

Add the flour, baking soda & salt and PUT AWAY THE WHISK. Switch to a nice spatula or wooden spoon and very gently stir everything together until just combined. Don't over mix your dry into your wet.

Fold in the chocolate chips and/or nuts and again, be gentle.

Add the batter to the prepared loaf pan smoothing out the top of the batter to make it look real pretty.

Bake 50-65 minutes to your desired doneness. I actually like it a tiny bit under in the middle because it feels more indulgent for some reason. Let it cool in the pan on a rack for about 10 min, then remove it from the pan and cool it on the rack for at least another 10 minutes.

I like to crack into it warm and spread some butter on it like a goddamn glutton but you might have more self control than me.

Banana bread seems to be the sexy quarantine thing to bake. Kitchen and actual goddess Chrissy Teigen made a gorgeous one that makes mine look like trash but she's famous. I ate some for breakfast the last few mornings and I've convinced myself that's okay because it has BANANAS, OKAY?

Hi, I'm drooling


White Chocolate Confetti Cookies
Literal fun in a bowl

Ingredients:

2 and 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder (yes, it needs both!)
1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar* (*I almost always double the brown and leave out the white sugar in cookies, but not for this recipe)
1 (3.4oz) box white chocolate instant pudding mix (GAME. CHANGER)
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup white chocolate chips
1 cup rainbow sprinkles (or red & green for Christmas, or black & orange for Halloween, etc. etc.)

Instructions:

Same deal, apron, adult beverage, maybe even a party hat. DO NOT preheat your oven yet.

Mix dry ingredients in a medium bowl (flour, baking soda & baking powder) by whisking and set aside. It might be lonely for a bit but not for long.

Get out your stand-mixer, hand mixer, or muscles and beat together butter and sugars on medium speed until light and fluffy. It should look like hummus (but it surely won't taste like it). Add the white chocolate pudding mix and mix until combined.

Scrape the sides of your bowl and add eggs & vanilla. Mix until just combined.

Add flour mixture in, but turn off the mixer first unless you want to flour yourself like a chicken breast. Add a little, turn the mixer on slow, get it combined, and repeat until all flour is added. Don't over mix. Fold in the sprinkles and white chocolate chips (use a wooden spoon and some elbow grease). The finished product is pictured above. A party in a bowl.

Cover bowl with plastic wrap and transfer the whole party to the fridge to chill our for at least an hour. It's not a punishment; most cookie dough does better when it is chilled. The magic number is about 2.5 hours. Clean up, refill your drink, watch an episode of your favorite show.

Preheat the oven to 350°F and line some cookie sheets with parchment (no need to grease after).

Get out your cookie scoop (if you don't have one, get one. It's important) and scoop 12 onto the sheets.

Bake for 10-13 minutes or until golden brown. Transfer from baking sheets to cooling racks and then go full cookie monster on a few of them for quality control.


Have you ever seen anything so beautiful?

Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Buttercream

Ingredients:

(For Cake)
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, and use the good stuff, mm'k?
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1/2  vegetable oil (I never said it was healthy)
2 eggs, room temp
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup boiling water (this makes it fluffy, I swear!)

(For buttercream)
1/2 butter, softened
1/2 cocoa powder
4 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 pinch salt
6ish tablespoons of milk (you might need to add a little more for consistency sake)

Instructions:

By now you have identified a good reason to make a two-layer chocolate cake (spoiler alert, there is always a good reason), so just embrace it.

Preheat your oven to 350°F and line two 9" round cake pans with parchment (old reliable!) and spray the hell out of them with non-stick spray.

Whisk together your dry ingredients (flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a pretty big bowl.

Whisky in milk, oil, eggs, and vanilla til smooth. Your whisking muscles should be on. point. by now. Stir in your boiling water; I boil it in the  microwave for a few minutes in a glass Pyrex. The batter is going to be thin but don't worry about it. It's supposed to be!

Divide the batter evenly between the two pans. Don't pull a nailed it and overfill those babies! They need room to rise! They will be around half full, give or take a little. Do your best to get it even, but you've probably had a bunch of wine by now, so just do the best you can (oh, is that just me?).

Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 10ish minutes in the pans, then invert onto cooling racks. Say a little prayer when you go to tip those babies out. Don't forget to peel off that parchment paper. Let them cool COMPLETELY. Frosting a warm cake is like what happens to Mrs. Doubtfire's face when she wears the whipped cream.

Make the frosting by beating all frosting ingredients in your mixer until smooth and spreadable.

Stack & frost the cakes; take one cake onto your cake tray or a plate and frost the top of it. Place the other cake on top of that and frost the top and sides and try real hard to make it look pretty but then realize it will never look as good as the pictures.

Add some sprinkles or nuts or chocolate chips or whatever on top if you wanna and then dig in. It will be moist (ew I hate that word but it is accurate) and fluffy and real chocolatey. If you want to change it up a bit, swap out the cocoa in the frosting and add about 3/4 cup of peanut butter to make peanut butter buttercream. Experiment. Live dangerously. Do you.

Cake porn. Get after it.
Next time, I'll share a few cookie recipes, along with a few secrets for soft and chewy cookies every time. If you make any of the above, let me know- share it to the group! I'm always open to tips, tricks, and variations from fellow bakers!

Happy baking, and remember to wash your hands often during baking, and before & after eating yourself into a sugar coma with the items above. 

Be well!

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