Friday, August 13, 2021

Notes from a Lazy Baker

I've never been much of a baker. For one thing, it takes time I'd rather devote to other things. Also...I'm just not that good at it. Plus, I definitely have a sweet tooth, so I'm not one of those people who can bake a chocolate cake and then not eat it, so it usually seems best to simply stay away from cake. Even when my children were growing up, I didn't bake all that much, even though I sometimes felt that I should be "that mom," the one who did it all. Instead, we bonded over things other than chocolate cake. (Have I mentioned just how much I love chocolate cake)?

But during the past year and a half (or so), I've had to become the baker. I'm not the only one in the house with a sweet tooth, and I haven't wanted to visit crowded bakeries, so I came up with a simple plan for a lazy baker. Create baked goods that don't take much effort.

Image by congerdesign from Pixabay 

One of my favorite baked items is a pie that even someone who doesn't like making pie crust can manage. Now I could just buy premade pie crusts, but I didn't want to spend the money, so I cheated a bit. I use this super easy, can't fail, you-can-make-it-in-minutes and not even get your hands dirty oil-based pie crust for the bottom. Seriously, only four ingredients, and since it's oil-based, there's no cutting in of butter. You mix it up in a couple of minutes, roll it out between two pieces of waxed paper, peel one off and then, placing the pie pan upside down over the crust, plop it in the pan and then peel the other piece of waxed paper off. Voila! Then I  use a refrigerated store-bought crust for the lattice top (because the oil-based one is too difficult to cut in strips). Toss in a can or two of filling (before the top crust, of course) and in short order, we have pie. Easy as...well, you know, and I get two pies out of one box of refrigerated pie crusts. Here's the link to the pie recipe. Obviously, I halve it for my purposes.

Another favorite easy-to-make is blueberry bread. This recipe comes together quickly. Other than rinsing, drying and flouring (lightly) the blueberries, it's pretty much a "throw everything in a bowl, mix, put in a pan and bake" recipe. (By the way, the images on this page are not of my results. Nor are they from the recipe's page).
Here's the link to the easy blueberry bread recipe (I love the fact that there are so many blueberries in this quick-bread).

When I make brownies, I use a boxed mix and then I substitute melted butter for the oil and milk for the water. It just makes them taste a bit more homemade, but doesn't really add any time or effort to the baking.

And last of all, I have a chocolate cake recipe that I've been making for  years. I'd love to credit the creator, but seriously, I pulled it from a local newspaper clipping over 40 years ago, and I have no idea where it came from. All I know is that it's easy. Just toss a bunch of things together, put it in a pan and then sprinkle nuts, chocolate chips and a little sugar on top. Easy, not overly sweet and it satisfies the chocolate lovers around here. Here's the link (that's actually me. I posted this online on the Chickens in the Road website years ago and then forgot about it. There are other, similar recipes online, but the topping amounts are slightly different, so I'll stick with the old tried and true).

And there you go. I have other recipes, but none as easy as these. When I'm in a rush, these are my go-to sweets. They go great with coffee or tea and a good book.

Now, I'm off to pull an apple pie from the oven. Have a great day!

Happy baking and reading!

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