LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, START YOUR OVENS.
Like so many people around the world I have been doing A LOT of baking. Apparently stress baking is a thing, but it makes perfect sense. When things outside of the 4 walls of our house feel out of control, baking is something that we have a measure of control over. And it also provides physical nourishment as well as emotional. It's a way to show love to our people. Also it tastes delicious. #quarantine15 I've been sharing my bakes on Instagram and had a great many folks ask for my go-to recipes! So I've rounded up my very favorites for you below, just in time for quarantine or Easter baking. These are recipes I've made time and time again. They require a bit of time and patience, as do most things worth doing, but they are totally achievable even for the beginner baker.
ARTISAN BREAD - this crusty, no-knead artisan loaf is perfect for beginners. It cooks inside a dutch oven, and I love any excuse to use my dutch oven. I also love that it's a ratio bake: 4 cups flour, 2 cups water, 2 tsp yeast, 2 tsp salt. SO SIMPLE. It's amazing just as it is, or you can throw in chopped rosemary, garlic, cranberries, asiago cheese, olives, really ANYTHING that you might want in a good crusty loaf.
SANDWICH BREAD - this recipe makes 2 loaves, which is a huge plus. If you're going to go to the trouble to make bread then you might as well get 2 loaves out of it! Eat one now, freeze one for later. Perfect for sandwiches, as Texas toast, or buttered on the side of literally anything.
CHEESY BREAD - Y'all. Let me introduce you to cheesy Irish soda bread. It contains literally just enough flour to hold together the cheese. Also, if you're intimidated by baking bread because you're nervous about the whole yeast factor, then take a breath. This has no yeast; just baking powder. Which brings me to the very best part - no rise time! You'll have bread an hour from when you start.
BASIC MUFFIN RECIPE - master this recipe and you'll be making endless flavor combos of muffins. I love chocolate chip, orange-cranberry, and raspberry lemon.
SKINNY BANANA CHOCOLATE CHIP MUFFINS - no sugar, whole wheat flour, dark chocolate and Greek yogurt make this a healthy morning treat. It's super versatile also. If you're out of honey, substitute agave nectar. No whole wheat flour? All purpose does just fine.
FUNFETTI BIRTHDAY CAKE - Literally nothing says "birthday cake" like Funfetti. We have 3 April birthday and this funfetti version screams party time (Pokemon decorations optional).
LEMON LAYER CAKE - this lemon cake is perfect for birthdays, or any day! Not to brag, but both my son and my father have claimed that this is the best cake they have ever tasted. This year we changed it up and added raspberry jam in with the butter cream and it was AMAZING.
SHORTBREAD COOKIES - My biggest gripe with sugar cookies is that they are lacking in the flavor department. These shortbread cookies tastier than sugar and just as fun to decorate.
ROYAL ICING - to get those pretty decorated cookies THIS is the only frosting recipe you need. It takes a big of practice but once you get the hang of it, it's so much fun to make cookies for any and every occasion!
DARK CHOCOLATE + SEA SALT COOKIES - really, need i say more? The original recipe calls out for milk chocolate, but for my money, it doesn't get any better than dark chocolate with sea salt.
I hope this inspires you to get in the kitchen and bake! Tag us at @taralenneydesign and #TLDbakes so we can enjoy it with you!