By: Diana Lichtenstein || Staff Writer
It is easy to look at this quarantine and this time away from school and only focus on the negatives. I completely get it, COVID-19 is definitely not a light matter and there is reason to be fearful. Trust me, I did this at the beginning and still sometimes now. But then I realized something. This could be a perfect time to improve on skills that I have yet to fully hone, instead of being in a state of everlasting boredom. Baking, for example, is something that I have always had a passion for and do not have the energy or, frankly, the space to do it at school. In this article, I will share some of my best baking successes that you should all try during this time.
I know that everyone has been experimenting with banana bread and muffin recipes during this quarantine, and I think I know why. People always have two or three extra bananas lying around that are overripe and end up being well suited for a baked banana treat. During spring break, I found a recipe for delicious and easy banana muffins. You can find the full recipe at https://sallysbakingaddiction.com/banana-muffins/ but the ingredients you will need are:
- 1 and 1/2 cups (190g) all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 3 large ripe bananas (about 1 and 1/2 cups mashed)*
- 6 Tablespoons (85g) unsalted butter, melted (or melted coconut oil)
- 2/3 cup (135g) packed light or dark brown sugar (or coconut sugar)*
- 1 large egg, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 Tablespoons (30ml) milk*
- optional: 1 cup chopped walnuts, pecans, or chocolate chips
These were honestly the first banana muffins I have made in a while that were very easy and did not come out too dry. The recipe consisting of only brown sugar allows for more moisture and flavor than just granulated sugar that is in some other recipes. The best part about the muffins was the demerara sugar on top which added a sweet crunch.
Another lovely recipe to try while in quarantine is (in my opinion) one of the best chocolate chip cookie recipes of all time. The cookie is derived from New York Times food writer and chef, Allison Roman. The cookies are famously referred to as “the cookies” on the internet because they are that good. They are salted butter chocolate chunk shortbread cookies, and they are perfect. The recipe can be found at https://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/1019152-salted-chocolate-chunk-shortbread-cookies but the ingredients are as follows:
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (2¼ sticks), cold (room temperature if you’re using a handheld mixer), cut into ½-inch pieces
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup light brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 6 ounces semisweet or bittersweet dark chocolate, chopped (not too fine; you want chunks, not little shards)
- 1 large egg, beaten
- Demerara sugar, for rolling
- Flaky sea salt, for sprinkling
These cookies are great because they are unique. They are a perfect contrast between salty and sweet in the form of a shortbread/chocolate chip cookie hybrid creation. The best part to me, just like with the banana muffins is the demerara sugar that adds a nice texture and crunch to the cookies. These are some of my favorite baking recipes, but please use this time at home to explore many more recipes and see what you like.
Sophomore Diana Lichtenstein is a Staff Writer. Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.