July 20, 2020 -
There are various ways one can distract themself when things get a bit much, baking has proven to be one of the most effective ones. Whenever the brain needs a break from the endless stream of worry and stress, baking is the only occupation that fully diverts the mind. A noticeable plus-side is that you end up with a delicious thing to eat at the finish line.
Not only that, but you also get the sweet sense of accomplishment of having made something with your own two hands. It’s basically a win-win situation.
Here are three easy-to-make recipes for delicious baked goods:
1. Cheese Scones
They melt in your mouth, they’re at their most delicious when smothered in melted butter, and they’re super easy to make. I am, of course, talking about the humble cheese scone. This recipe by Leiths School of Food and Wine — a UK cookery school makes six scones.
225g/8oz self-rising flour
½ teaspoon of salt
30g/1oz grated strong cheese, grated
150ml/¼ pint milk
1 egg beaten, to glaze
Preheat the oven to 220°C/425°F/gas mark 7. Flour a baking sheet. Sift the flour with the salt into a large bowl. Rub in the butter until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Stir in the cheese. Make a deep well in the flour, pour in the milk, and mix to a soft, spongy dough with a knife.
On a floured surface, knead the dough very lightly until it is just smooth. Roll or press out about 2.5cm/1in thick and stamp into rounds with a small pastry cutter. Brush the scones with beaten egg for a glossy crust, sprinkle with flour for a soft one, or brush with milk for a light gloss and soft crust.
Bake the scones at the top of the preheated oven for seven minutes, or until well risen and brown. Leave to cool on a wire rack, or serve hot from the oven.
2. Chocolate Brownies
Brownies are basically heaven-sent. Below-mentioned is a brownie recipe by Thomasina Miers, co-founder of the Wahaca restaurant group. “This sophisticated, crater-like, deeply chocolatey cake, with the merest hint of cinnamon and a generous scrunch of sea salt, is so popular amongst my friends that it comes out at almost any opportunity,” says Miers. “I stole the recipe from a friend of my parents when I was eight (which gives you an idea of how easy it is).”
Ingredients for the brownies
380g dark 70 percent cocoa solids chocolate, chopped
380g unsalted butter
380g castor sugar
Several large pinches of sea salt
Two small pinches of cinnamon
180g plain flour
5 large eggs
Ingredients for the topping
4 Mars bars (157g)
5 heaped tbsp golden syrup
90g dark chocolate
50ml double cream
3 Flakes, chopped into 2 cm lengths
1 large packet peanut M&Ms (optional)
Pre-heat oven to 190C
Grease and line the base of a rectangular brownie tin. Melt the butter in a medium pan over low heat; once melted stir in the chocolate, being careful not to burn it. When the mixture becomes a smooth velvet, add the sugar, salt, and cinnamon. Stir until the sugar has melted and then slowly sift in the flour, stirring to combine. Beat the eggs, then beat into the chocolate mixture bit by bit until fully incorporated. Pour into the prepared tin and bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes until the outside is dark and delicious looking and a skewer comes out just clean. Leave to cool in the cake tin for 15 minutes before turning out and cooling on a wire rack.
Meanwhile, chop up the Mars bars and melt with the milk, syrup, dark chocolate, and 50ml of the double cream. Pour over the Mars bar sauce and scatter the chopped Flakes over the surface of the cake. Serve with a scoop of your favorite ice cream.
3. Yogurt Cake and Muffins
If you’re a baking beginner, fear not. This recipe is a good introduction if you have some degree of experience.
“This recipe’s simplicity makes it a perfect introduction to baking for anyone with limited equipment, ingredients, and/or experience,” says Kerry Connolly, founder of Willow & Greene — a gardening and cookery school in Northern Ireland. “It was handed down by my mum 25 years ago and I’ve been using it in Home Economics classes ever since.”
1 x 125ml carton of yogurt (and then use the carton to measure)
1 carton of corn oil
2 cartons of caster sugar
3 cartons of self-raising flour
Use the yogurt carton to measure the ingredients (no weighing scales required), then bung everything into a large mixing bowl and mix using a hand mixer for three minutes until the batter is well combined.
Grease and line a small loaf tin and or muffin cases and pour in the cake batter until three-quarters full. Bake at 180°F. Large muffins take 15-20 mins and a 1lb loaf will take 30-40 mins. Test the top of the cake with your index finger and when it springs back it is cooked. Remove from the oven and cool in the tin. It tastes like a Madeira cake and can be eaten on its own, with butter or warmed and served with fresh berries and sour cream.
Feel free to play around with the ingredients and use what is available in your lockdown larder — most flavors of yogurt will work well, as will any flavorless oil. Boost the flavor by adding an extract like vanilla, pineapple, or freshly zested orange or lemon.