I’m a terrible baker – always have been. My cakes turn out hard, my pies crumbly, and don’t get me started on bread. During quarantine, everybody around me was gushing about finally being able to try out recipes and I couldn’t help but roll my eyes – we get it, pastry doesn’t hate you like it does me!
Determined to have my own freshly baked sweet treats, I scoured the internet for hours on end before I found a website promising me “18 Easiest Baking Recipes (that even beginners can make!)” and I figured I’d trust them. It’s perfectly rational to put faith in the internet. I marched determinedly into my kitchen first thing Saturday morning, grabbed a fire extinguisher, and put an apron on. I was ready.
Classic Banana Bread
° 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
° 1 cup granulated sugar
° 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
° 1 teaspoon vanilla
° 1-1/2 cups barely mashed banana (about 4 medium bananas)
° 2 cups all-purpose flour
° 1 teaspoon baking soda
° 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
° 2 tablespoons cinnamon sugar
STEP 1: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease an 8-inch x 4-inch loaf pan with non-stick cooking spray and sprinkle evenly with 1 tablespoon cinnamon sugar . Set aside.
- Easy enough after I googled what 350°F was in Celsius (177°C) since that’s what my oven uses.
STEP 2: Place the butter in a large microwave-safe mixing bowl and melt in the microwave until just melted. Whisk in the sugar until smooth. Whisk in the beaten eggs until well incorporated. Add the vanilla and mashed banana and whisk until just combined.
- Sugar takes a long time to be smooth! My arm was aching so I had to stop intermittently. Will most definitely recommend an electric whisk. I have to say, I was really proud when I finished whisking everything and it didn’t look like baby throw-up like I’d anticipated. Bring step 3 on!
STEP 3: Gently stir in the flour, baking soda and cinnamon.
STEP 4: Pour batter evenly into the prepared loaf pan. Sprinkle the top evenly with the remaining 1 tablespoon cinnamon sugar.
- Poured like a pro; started wondering if I should start a YouTube channel to showcase my skills to the world.
STEP 5: Bake for 60-65 minutes or until a knife or chopstick inserted in the centre comes out clean. If the top of the bread is golden brown before the middle is completely baked through, tint the loaf pan with foil and continue to bake until the bread is cooked all the way through.
- Used the time to catch up on Grey’s Anatomy.
STEP 6: Let the banana bread cool in the pan completely.
- Yeaaahhh… didn’t get the memo. I ate about half of it out of the pan, all the while trying not to let it scald my tongue.
Almond Flour Cookies (Vegan, Paleo)
° 1-1/4 cups blanched fine almond flour
° 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
° 1/2 cup maple syrup or honey (sugar free syrup works fine)
° 1/4 cups creamy no stir nut butter
° 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
° 1/4 (pinch) of coarse sea salt
° 1/3 cups vegan chocolate chips or mix-in of choice (Nuts, dried fruit, dark chocolate, etc)
° Raw sugar or baking stevia in the raw to coat dough
STEP 1: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
- Again, 177°C. I didn’t have parchment paper so I used foil and it worked. P.S. You have to grease the top of the foil so that the batter doesn’t stick!
STEP 2: In a large bowl, combine almond flour, baking soda, maple syrup, and nut butter. Mix with a wooden spoon or blend with a hand mixer until the batter is thick and ingredients are combined.
- Used a hand mixer this time… like I said, pro. Considered Googling how to monetize your YouTube channel since I was obviously going to become the next big thing but decided to focus on the task at hand first.
STEP 3: Add your sea salt and any other mix-ins of choice, i.e chocolate chips, nuts, etc.
-Well, I turned around to get chocolate chips and my German Shepard who had, admittedly, been quite patient while following my every move in the kitchen, decided he had had enough and decided to get a lick in before I turned around. The bowl toppled over and most of the batter spilled. I didn’t want to have to start over so I just decided to go ahead with the little batter I had remaining. He slurped all the spilled batter up. He did not look in the least bit guilty.
STEP 4: Scoop out a spoonful (similar size to golf ball) of dough. Roll into a ball then roll each dough ball in pure raw cane sugar or sugar free sugar if desired.
- Went pretty well.
Step 5: Press down with hand or back of flat bottom measuring cup (greased so it won’t stick). Once flattened, repeat the process until you have about 9-10 cookies. Place in the oven on the centre rack and bake for 9-12 minutes. Edges will become golden and a little crispy around 11 minutes. Remove and let cool completely before serving.
- My cup kept sticking, so please make sure to grease with at least half a tablespoon of butter or oil.
On the plus side, I ended up not needing the fire extinguisher and I did have sweet treats that evening, but I regret to inform you that I will not be starting a YouTube channel. I found out how much work goes into creating just a 10-minute video!