I never really thought of myself as a baking-as-therapy person, but let me tell you the simple exercise of combining ingredients really works wonders on my soul. With my job stress at an all-time high, decisions about my future hanging over my head, and Colorado wildfires raging in the background I guess I was bound to find an outlet. My journal, reading, and the oven came to the rescue.
Now, I would by NO MEANS characterize myself as a neat or fast baker. I take my time and I think that’s what helps me muddle through my scattered thoughts as I go. Plus, at the end of it there is (usually) something delicious! So everyone wins. Especially my co-workers and the top of a hallway bookshelf that we’ve converted into a “snack bar”.
Therefore in an effort to share the wealth, here are a few of my favorite recipes from this last year. Most of them, I’ll just tell you right now, are from Pinterest. You aren’t really surprised are you?
Also, I find that if I have the Food Network on in the background, it really pushes me to a whole ‘nother level. Iron Chef competitions, especially. Feel free to try THAT at home. 😉
1. Strawberry Shortcake Whoopie Pies. Boy, these are summer in a dessert. The cookie is not too sweet, the strawberries are fresh and delicious, and the sweet filling is ah-maze-ing. Word to the wise, though, put them together right before you serve. In my first attempt, I made them ahead and put them in the fridge and came back to some soggy whoopie situations. (See what I did there??)
2. Lemon Icebox Pie. This one is really creamy and refreshing, with just the right amount of sweet and tang. For a lemon lover like myself, it’s a dream come true! I’ve made it several times and it never fails to disappoint. A little fresh whipped cream on top never hurt anyone, either…apparently, this gets eaten too fast and I have no picture of my own, so I’ll use the one from the original blog post. It’s pretty accurate, except I never have leftover lemons for show to place in the background. OH! Which reminds me, this recipe is time-consuming, but one way to eliminate some time is to use pre-bought lemon juice instead of doing it fresh. The taste difference is minimal.
3. S’more Cups. If you’re looking for a quick, cheap, and delicious dessert to take to a get together or just to have yourself look no further. These little suckers are all of the above and taste like a bite-size s’more–no need for an open flame. Three quick tips. If you have a food processor, it’s much easier to combine the ingredients for the graham cracker crust in that rather than use the rolling pin/ziplock method. Also, the recipe doesn’t make as much as it says, so you’ll want to double it if you’re looking for more than 14-ish cups. I generally take out a tablespoon with a rounded bottom and use that to form the crust into cups in the mini muffin tray. Much faster and easier. These are a big crowd pleaser.
4. Inside-Out Carrot Cake Muffins. If you follow the directions on this one, these will turn out great! It’s all about the proportion of batter to inside cream cheese mixture. Also, I found that the cream cheese mixture was not very sweet, so if you want more of a carrot cake icing type of a taste, you’ll want to add more sugar than it calls for. At the time I made these, I didn’t have coarse white sparkling sugar, so I used some sprinkles I had on hand. Turned out pretty good! I got the parchment muffin liners at my local grocery store, so the presentation was pretty good too. 🙂
So there you have it! May my therapy be your therapy. 🙂 If you have any must-try recipes, please share!