Tag Archives: easy baking

Basic Blondies

Basic BlondiesI almost feel silly posting this recipe—how many variations on blondies does one blog need?

But here I am, doing it anyway, because blondies are easy to make, require limited ingredients, and damn near everyone likes them—perfect for this time when all of us are staying at home.Basic BlondiesThis isn’t so much a variation on blondies as it is a back-to-basics. There are no wild flavors or mix-ins, just pure butterscotch flavor and chocolate chips.Basic BlondiesI’ve essentially used the same blondie recipe since 2010, but recently started cutting the flour in an effort to make them denser and chewier. At Christmas, I reduced the usual 1 cup by 2 tablespoons. Now I’ve taken it 2 tablespoons further, so the recipe requires just 3/4 cup flour. Not bad for a whole pan full of blondies!Basic Blondies
As promised last week, this recipe has a bevy of options for substitutions so you can make them with whatever you have in your kitchen. No brown sugar? Mix 1 cup of granulated with a tablespoon of molasses to make your own. In a pinch, you can sub the molasses with maple syrup, honey, agave, golden syrup or dark corn syrup. And if you don’t have any of those, just use your granulated sugar as-is and call them “platinum” blondies.Basic BlondiesBasic BlondiesUse whatever salt you have and are comfortable with. If you only have 1/2-1 teaspoon of vanilla to spare, that’s fine. You could probably get away with nixing it altogether. No parchment for pan-lining? Use foil, or grease & flour the pan.Basic BlondiesRegarding mix-ins, the sky’s the limit! Add whatever you want into your blondies—busted pretzels, chopped nuts, candy bar pieces, swirls of Nutella, a layer of cheesecake—or leave them completely plain. Whatever you want to use is the right thing to use.

As I’ve said many times before, take my recipe and make it yours.Basic Blondies

Basic Blondies
makes one 8- or 9-inch pan, about 16 blondies

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 cup light or dark brown sugar, packed
1 large egg, room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease an 8-inch square baking dish and line it with parchment (or foil), leaving overhang on two sides for easy removal. Grease again. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together melted butter and brown sugar. Add egg and vanilla, followed by flour and salt. Check to make sure the batter isn’t too warm to the touch before stirring in chocolate chips (you don’t want them to melt).

Spread batter into prepared pan and bake for 20-22 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out mostly clean. Let blondies cool in the pan on a rack until they reach room temperature. Run a small, thin knife around the edge of the pan, then use parchment to lift them onto a cutting board. Slice with a large, sharp chef’s knife, wiping the blade clean between cuts. Serve.

Blondies will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.Basic BlondiesBasic BlondiesBasic Blondies

Friday Favorites: Bare-Bones Baking

Oh, hello. Are you social distancing? Good—me too!

I have tons of baking supplies at the moment; I scooped up 20 extra pounds of flour when everything started to go to hell about three weeks ago. Before anyone scoffs, I’m not taking from others, baking is literally my job. I understand, however, that you may not have had a 10 pound bag of chocolate chips from Costco on your list, and even if you did, the likelihood that you actually got it is not great. But. But! You don’t need 20 pounds of flour or a gazillion chocolate chips or even to sacrifice eggs in the name of baking during this pandemic.

Real talk—if there ever were a time to bake, this is it. We’re all going to be home a lot; we are going to need things to do to pass the time. For better or worse, baking is entertainment, a way to redirect your mind, and it results in something delicious for you and your family/significant other/roommate(s). You’re going to need something to do between your Zoom meetings and burning through Love is Blind.

These are some of my favorite bare-bones recipes, meaning that maybe they don’t require eggs or can be made with different fats or use only the smallest quantities of everyday ingredients that are hard to find right now. These are the things you can make when you don’t have much in your pantry. I want you to get the most bang for your baking buck, you know? And in that spirit, all the recipes I post (and I will continue to post) for the foreseeable future will fit into these categories or come with substitutions.

We’re all in this together.Friday Favorites: Bare-Bones Baking

Oatmeal Blender Pancakes

These excellent pancakes just happen to be vegan and gluten-free, so you won’t need hot-ticket items like flour, butter or eggs to make ‘em. As long as you have oats, oil and some form of milk (plant or dairy)—oh, and a blender—you can make a shortstack in record time. Heads up that these freeze well and can be microwaved for pancakes on-demand.Friday Favorites: Bare-Bones Baking

Buttermilk Biscuits

I am happy to eat a biscuit any time of day. They take just a few minutes to whip together and can be on your table in about half an hour. Don’t want to sacrifice a whole stick of butter? Swap half for shortening, or try coconut oil biscuits. Cream Biscuits & Cornmeal Biscuits are also great options right now.

One great thing? Biscuits don’t require any eggs. They sure are delicious with them though.Friday Favorites: Bare-Bones Baking

Sour Cream Waffles

I have half a container of sour cream that needs a purpose, so I’m going to make some waffles this weekend. If you’re not in the same position, you can swap in some plain yogurt, or use buttermilk in place of both the milk and sour cream. I won’t be able to eat all the waffles at once, which is wonderful for future me. They can be frozen and reheated in the toaster when the mood strikes. Trust me, the mood will strike.

If you need your waffles to be gluten-free or vegan, try these Cornmeal Waffles.Friday Favorites: Bare-Bones Baking

Chocolate Chip Cookies

No dessert is quite as comforting as a chocolate chip cookie, and chances are that you have some chocolate chips or a bar that can be bashed up, thrown into some cookie dough, and baked. Don’t have cornstarch? Nothing terrible will happen if you leave it out. Same with vanilla. You can also swap all the sugar for brown sugar. I haven’t tried using all granulated sugar in this recipe, but if that’s all you have, you can use this cookie base, minus the sprinkles.

Heads up that cookie dough can be rolled into balls, placed on a parchment-lined baking sheet and frozen. Once they’re frozen-through, put the dough balls in a freezer bag. You can bake the cookies from frozen at a later date, adding a minute or so to the baking time.

Don’t want to make a whole batch of cookie dough? You can make just enough to make one cookie!

Need your cookies to be vegan or gluten-free? Try these—you can swap in peanut butter in a pinch.Friday Favorites: Bare-Bones Baking

Vanilla Wafers

This was the recipe that got me into this whole baking racket. The ingredient list is short and sweet, but the recipe makes a ton of cookies and they keep forever.Friday Favorites: Bare-Bones Baking

Boterkoek {Dutch Butter Cake}

This was almost a list without a cake—most require a lot of ingredients, including several suddenly-precious eggs. Boterkoek, however, requires just one lone egg and the remaining ingredients are almost all pantry staples, which is a win. Oh, and nothing terrible will happen if you leave out the almond extract and ginger.Friday Favorites: Bare-Bones Baking

Blondies

These are super easy and require just six ingredients (in small amounts!) at their most basic. Throw in whatever mix-ins you have or try one of the options in my archives.

My peanut butter blondies are super popular and can be made with regular chocolate chips and without the Oreos. Oh, and if you’re looking for the recipe that’s pictured, it’s not on the site quite yet—next week.Friday Favorites: Bare-Bones Baking

Brownies

Everyone loves brownies! Make ‘em with a gorgeous, glossy, and gluten-free, or swap out the dry ingredients for flour if you’re in a pinch. No chocolate for melting? Make cocoa brownies—feel free to simplify them by using all granulated or brown sugar. Heads up that brownies freeze incredibly well and are super delicious when ice cold.Friday Favorites: Bare-Bones Baking

Easy Raspberry Jam Squares

These squares require minimal ingredients (no eggs!) and you can make them any flavor you want. They’re somewhere between a blondie, an oatmeal cookie, and a linzer—a great recipe to have in your back pocket.Friday Favorites: Bare-Bones Baking

Magic Bars

I love a magic bar. They’re incredibly easy to make and can be made with damn near anything you have in your pantry, permitting that one of those things is sweetened condensed milk.

Don’t have cookies to crumble? Use crackers and a few tablespoons of brown sugar or try a blondie base. Only have one sort of topping? This is not a problem—just go with it! Magic bars are sort of…magical…that way.Friday Favorites: Bare-Bones Baking

Cornbread

Cornbread goes with everything. My recipe is naturally gluten-free, as it contains no flour, but if you’re running low on cornmeal, feel free to swap flour in for half the dry ingredients. Want to jazz it up? Add chorizo or jalapeños and/or cheese or herbs or bacon or…you get the point.

Friday Favorites: Bare-Bones Baking

Pizza Dough

Pizza dough requires minimal ingredients and can be used for way more than just pizza. Brush it with oil and sprinkle with za’atar for za’atar bread. Top it with everything bagel seasoning for something to snack on or use with a dip or spread or under runny eggs. Brush it with butter and sprinkle it with cinnamon and sugar for dessert pizza. As for pizza, use what you have. Barbecue sauce and cheddar? Throw some chicken on it. Pesto and mozzarella? YUM. Really, your only limitation is your imagination.Friday Favorites: Bare-Bones Baking

Got any bare-bones baking questions? Hit me up on here or social media! I’ll be keeping it simple around here for the duration of this thing. I hope you and your loved ones are all okay.

M&Ms Cookies

M&Ms CookiesHere’s a little midweek cheer! I mean, is it possible to be anything but cheerful when there are M&Ms Cookies around? I think not!M&Ms CookiesThese are simply a homemade version of my favorite bakery cookie. They’re super easy to make and oh-so-colorful and the happiest thing to come out of my kitchen in months. I can’t look at them without smiling. I can’t eat one without smiling either!M&Ms CookiesM&Ms CookiesButtery and heavier on granulated sugar than brown, these cookies have crispy edges and puffy, tender centers that melt in your mouth. And that’s to say nothing of the glut of M&Ms scattered throughout! Soft cookie + melty candy-coated chocolate—YUM.M&Ms CookiesM&Ms Cookies hold up extremely well for days. I’m a bit of a diva about leftover cookies, but I was still reaching for these four days post-bake!M&Ms CookiesM&Ms CookiesThe rest of the batch were taken to an event and placed alongside a coffee pot and a box of Oreos. It’ll come as no surprise that these went first. I suppose homemade cookies almost always go first, but I think M&Ms Cookies are especially hard to resist. Their appeal could be chalked up to a lot of things (homemade, filled with candy, etc.) but I’m choosing to believe it’s the cheer.M&Ms Cookies

M&Ms Cookies
makes about 18 medium cookies

1 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 large egg, room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup M&Ms candy

Preheat oven to 350F. Line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment, set aside.

In a small-medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a medium-large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat butter until fluffy. Add granulated and light brown sugars, and beat to combine. Mix in egg and vanilla. Add dry ingredients in two installments, mixing to combine. Is Use a silicone spatula or wooden spoon to fold in M&Ms.

Scoop dough by in 2 tablespoon increments, roll into balls, and set 3-inches apart on prepared pans.

Bake cookies for 10 minutes, rotating pans top-to-bottom and front-to-back at the 5 minute mark. Let cool on the pan for 5 minutes before removing to a rack to cool completely. Repeat rolling, crosshatching, and baking with remaining dough, letting the pans return to room temperature between batches.

Cookies will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week.M&Ms CookiesM&Ms CookiesM&Ms Cookies