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Everyone reacts differently to stress and fear, but it’s not uncommon to want to bake when things feel unsafe (or downright scary). With, Quarantine and self-isolation are the catchwords of the moment. It is also high time for self-calming measures. So if you want to tie up an apron and turn on your oven when you need convenience, we have some simple baking recipes that you can prepare with pantry staples.
For more information on what to do about food, including for others in need, see the COVID-19 cover on our sister site, Chowhound. Remember to wash your hands frequently. Then get them dirty with flour and butter and at least feel a little calmer for a while.
Enjoy your family when you are all at home together. If you are more isolated and feel lonely, you should arrange a virtual date with a friend (or your grandmother) to bake something sweet or savory. Then you can engage in a video chat while having a snack, drinking a cup of coffee or tea and catching up.
Most of these recipes require eggs, milk, and butter, but not all. And none is complicated because for most of us this is the last thing we need now.
Brownies are one of the simplest and most satisfying sweets, and this version is fairly simple – but if you don’t have any chocolate chips or baking bars in the pantry, replace a mix of cocoa powder, butter, and sugar instead. Get Chowhound’s simple brownie recipe. (And if you have more supplies on hand, check out 11 ways to improve your brownies.)
Raspberry cake slices
This little dessert from Scandi Bites by Trine Hahnemann is perfect if you don’t have anyone to help you eat your baked goods and you’re not very familiar with the self-imposed portion control (um, hello). The jam is made from frozen berries, but you can also just spread a few things bought in the store from the glass in your fridge. And while the pink sprinkles are gorgeous, you can use regular grinding sugar, turbinado sugar, or whatever you have left over from decorating Christmas cookies – or nothing at all. Get the recipe for raspberry cake slices.
Peanut Butter Jelly Bars
Similarly reassuring, but with a larger amount, these peanut butter and jelly bars with a bowl are perfect if you are at home with children. They can help you bake the bars and you will love the well-known PB&J flavors in dessert form. Use jam or jelly that you have on hand. Get Chowhound Peanut Butter Jelly Bar Recipe.
Simple banana bread
If you have bananas that get blotchy, know what to do: make Chowhound’s simple banana bread recipe. If yours are not yet ripe, you will have to wait a while – but for this reason it is worth freezing overripe bananas so that you can bake banana bread at any time. (And depending on what’s in your fridge and pantry, you might want to consider stuffed banana bread or banana bread mix-ins.)
Chocolate chip cookies
Practically perfect in every way, chocolate chip cookies are always welcome – and the methodical way of scooping out the dough is similar. If you have chocolate bars but no french fries, just chop them up and mix them in. Get Chowhound’s chocolate chip cookie recipe (and check out 15 of the best chocolate chip cookie recipes ever, regardless of your texture preferences). If you prefer the unbaked biscuits, read how to make edible biscuit dough that can safely be eaten raw.
Peanut Butter Trail Mix Cookies
These simple, vegan, gluten-free cookies (sweetened with maple syrup) are filled with protein so you can feel good in the morning. They’re also very adaptable – use a different nut or seed butter, swap them out of agave nectar or honey for the syrup when you’re on the go and have no trails, stir up a combination of nuts, seeds, dried fruit, or chocolate to get the total amount of 1/2 cup. Get the recipe for peanut butter trail mix cookies.
Mocha pudding cake
If only something deep, dark and super rich is enough, this foolproof one-bowl cake is there for you. When baking, it separates into three layers: a crispy top, a cake-like center and a sticky pudding-like base. If you don’t want to include the brewed coffee, you can find some substitution ideas. And if you run out of fresh milk, try canned full-fat coconut milk instead. Get Chowhound Mocha Pudding Cake Recipe.
Chocolate crazy cake
No butter or eggs? No problem. Crazy cakes were popular during the Great Depression and during the war because they didn’t need dairy products – nowadays they’re also good vegan options. Instead of icing, you can simply dust it with powdered sugar, pour a little caramel sauce over your slice onto the plate or break out the ice. Get the chocolate crazy cake recipe.
Simple pan of corn bread
If you prepare a large pot of chilli for the week, there is no better partner than the cornbread with the pan. And if you only have normal milk, you can acidify it with some lemon juice or vinegar to use in place of the buttermilk you want. Get Chowhound’s corn bread recipe.
Muffin pan popovers
These provide an entertaining, mini-souffle-like side to any number of hearty dinners, but are also suitable as breakfast with a hint of jam. The best thing is that you only need six ingredients and a standard muffin tin to make them. Get Chowhound Muffin Pan Popover’s recipe.
Onion poppy seed bread
It’s worth making a bakery loaf with crispy, non-kneaded bread. However, if you’re still suspicious of working with yeast (or just don’t have any in your pantry), try a hearty quickbread instead. This is sprinkled with caramelized onions and poppy seeds. Toast it as a side dish for the soup, eat a slice of butter as a snack, or use it for an improved grilled cheese. Get Chowhound Onion Poppyseed Quick Bread Recipe.