I’m not sure why exactly baking is everyone’s particular obsession right now. Is it all the spare time at home? A desire for comfort food? Feeling guilty about panic buying too much flour and needing to put it to good use? Probably a little of all three.
I’m deep in it myself. I’ve nearly gone through a whole 5 pound bag of flour in less than a month. So far I’ve made cinnamon rolls, pancakes, waffles, and pita bread—each of these recipes is a tried and true favorite. I think next up I’ll make something totally new to me like bagels or pasta.
But the easiest and most comforting use I’ve found for my bag of flour is these chocolate chip cookies. It’s the only CCC recipe I use anymore and, with just a couple alterations, these cookies always turns out just how I like them—chewy inside, crisp and beautifully caramelized outside.
Here’s what I do differently:
Cut down the salt from 1 tsp to 3/4 tsp.
Cut down the chocolate chips from 12 oz to 10 oz (I know, I know, this sounds crazy, but as much as I love chocolate, 12 oz just ends up being a little too much. It’s even hard to shape the cookies since there’s not quite enough dough to bring all the chips together. With 10 oz you still get plenty of chocolate in each bite plus a more balanced chocolate to dough ratio. Bonus: a handful of chocolate chips leftover for snacking on once the cookies are all gone.
Make the cookies a little bit bigger. I did this by accident, but I like the results. Instead of the 30 cookie yield I get about 21-22 cookies.
I use light brown sugar (instead of dark brown) and dark chocolate chips (instead of semi-sweet), just because that’s what I usually have on hand.
April was (obviously) a pretty unusual month, but even with all the staying home, I managed to keep myself pretty entertained. Here’s what I got up to:
I’ve been very good about following our new social distancing norms, the only place I really go outside the house anymore is walking around the neighborhood. Even though my walks take basically the same route every time, it always seems like new scenery as spring takes shape with new flowers blooming and trees beginning to green. I’m trying to enjoy the little things and learn names of the plants and animals I see. The flowers above are periwinkle. Cute, huh?
I made the most incredible cinnamon rolls. I’m very suggestible when it comes to food on TV. Whenever I watch Bob’s Burgers I have an instant craving for burgers and watching Home Alone makes me ravenous for a gigantic, messy ice cream sundae. After recently binging all of Schitt’s Creek—in which cinnamon rolls make a regular appearance—I had to make some of my own. Thanks to this recipe from Joy the Baker, they turned out ridiculously delicious. Honestly, writing this is making my hungry right now.
For a time when we’re all probably watching a lot more TV than normal, I’m having trouble finding a TV show I like. I started watching Outlander but kind of lost interest halfway through season 2. I also started watching Community, but it hasn’t fully captured my interest yet. I’m going to keep trying, but the whole overconfident-white-guy-incessantly-chases-hot-but-edgy-white-girl-even-though-she’s-repeatedly-told-him-she’s-not-interested storyline is really getting on my nerves. There is one bright spot in this desert of good television though: Midnight Gospel. I almost lost my shit when I found out that the creator of Adventure Time had a new show coming out that would be fully geared toward adults. It’s so joyfully amazing and dense with meaning and imagery. I’m definitely going to have to watch this six-episode season more than once.
Per my goal for April, I listened to at least one podcast episode each day. These are the ones in my regular rotation right now:
Up First – a roundup of each day’s news in under 15 minutes from NPR.
Call Your Girlfriend – two incredibly smart and funny women talk with each other and/or smart guests about politics, pop culture, and life stuff.
Anyone starting to get overwhelmed with so much cooking at home? When I’m in need of something easy, delicious, and leaning toward healthy, I always use the same equation: grain + protein + veggie + tasty sauce. The tasty sauce is really the star of the show here. It makes it easy to mix and match whatever grains or veggies you have on hand to easily pull together a fantastic meal.
I used this sauce to make BBQ seitan the other day and then combined it with quinoa, sautéed garlicky kale, and roasted potatoes, all drizzled with more BBQ sauce. It was so good, I’m still thinking about it days later.
Blend until well-combined:
1/2 cup vegetable broth
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
2 tablespoons molasses
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons peanut butter
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon prepared mustard (I use Dijon)
1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke (I subbed smoked paprika here since I didn’t have liquid smoke)
1/2 teaspoon Sriracha hot sauce (again, I subbed Gochujang here!)
Everyone is talking about how damn long January felt, but I think I fell behind somewhere along the way because I’m not quite convinced it’s already February.
Here’s what I got up to in January.
I celebrated my 32nd birthday. As a self-employed individual, I get to choose my own time off, so I took advantage of that and gifted myself a 5-day weekend for my birthday. I ate some really delicious food, wandered around a museum, and shared cocktails out with some friends at my favorite local bar.
I did yoga (almost) every day thanks to Yoga with Adriene. Ok so I skipped 5 days, but caught myself back up each time with a double yoga session the next day. Now I’m still going (no days missed yet this month!) with her perfectly curated monthly calendars. Honestly, her YouTube channel is a lifesaver.
I started a habit of doing some light meal prep on Sundays and made this really delicious cashew turmeric granola a few times as part of my regular rotation. Last time I made it with walnuts and dried cranberries instead of cashews and dehydrated fruit and it was SO GOOD.