Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Guest Post: Baking for Beginners (From scratch...for your date)

I won't touch baking... I'm terrible at following recipes and feel the need to improvise even if it's after reading the side of the Mac N Cheese box. So here's another guest post from Kate. About baking. With easy-to-follow recipes. It's like reciprocation through...ahem...baking. After you're done reading this post, you can check out her previous guest post here, and her blog (Doing the District) as well. -Matt

While Matt discovered that cooking can really impress a girl, I've learned that baking can really impress a guy.

Whether it's baking a cake for your boyfriend's birthday, cookies to thank a guy friend who did you a favor, or bringing a loaf of homemade banana bread as a host gift when a guy cooks you dinner on a third date, I've only ever received positive feedback when I bake for a guy. They all love it.

I started baking about six years ago (Of course, it all began one night when I was just looking for something mindless to do after a long day spent in the library studying tax law...). I wandered through the baking aisle of the grocery store and bought some pre-packaged cookie mixes.

I baked four dozen cookies that night.

...and promptly gave them all away to guy friends the next day

Three years later and I'm still baking. And now I only bake from scratch. Why? Because it's rewarding to create something on your own and then watch someone you care about enjoy it. To have a stressful day at work but come home and relax in the kitchen with a glass of wine and a new recipe to try out. To wake up early, brew some coffee, mix together some ingredients, pop your creation in the oven and know that ten minutes later your entire house is going to smells cozy. And that when that sleepy guy crawls out of your bed and plops on your couch his eyes are going to light up when you hand him a warm apple and cranberry muffin.

And let me tell you--- it's really not that hard at all, especially if you follow the same mantra that Matt hammers home on this blog: Just make it fun.

One thing to keep in mind though. While I love Matt's theme of cooking without a recipe, you can't really do that with baking. The right amount of flour, sugar, and baking soda can make or break a recipe. That said, here are two (easy) recipes. Both will impress your man, or your potential man. Or even just your guy friends (Or practice baking homemade goods for your dad this weekend to celebrate Father's Day).

Banana Bread*
  • 2/3 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup margarine/ butter (melter/ soft)
  • 1 2/3 cup flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup banana (mashed)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • (You can also add things in like chocolate chips or walnuts)
  1. Pre-heat over to 350 degrees.
  2. Spray loaf pan with non-stick spray. Set aside
  3. Beat sugar and butter until smooth and creamy. Beat in eggs, bananas, and water
  4. In separate bowl, mix the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt
  5. Mix in with the other ingredients until well blended
  6. Pour into the loaf pan
  7. Bake for 60-65 minutes until the top has a nice crispy crust
*This is a low fat recipe that I found online and altered slightly. The best part? You cannot tell that it's low fat AT ALL.

Chocolate Chip Cookies
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 sticks butter (melted and cooled until warm)
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups chocolate chips
  1. Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees
  2. Line two baking sheets with either parchment/ wax paper or spray with non-stick spray. Set aside
  3. Mix the flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside
  4. Mix the butter, sugar, and brown sugar until blended smooth
  5. Beat in the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla
  6. Slowly add the flour mix
  7. Add the chocolate chips last
  8. Scoop pieces of the dough (about two tablespoons) with a spoon and drop on the cookie sheets about 2-3 inches apart
  9. To make sure you are making them the right size, you should make between 18-20 cookies with this recipe
  10. Bake for 15-18 minutes until the cookies are a light brown
  11. Remove the cookies and let them cool on the baking sheets (this allows the centers to cook a little more while the outer edges cool)

Kate is a co-creator and author of Doing the District. You can follow her on twitter at @appealingkate

1 comment:

  1. Great Guest post can't wait to try the banana bread recipe.


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