We’ve all had delusions of domestic grandeur. I told myself when I got married that I would learn to love cooking because it’s something I’ll be doing for the rest of my life. Alas, I never quite got bit by the Betty Crocker bug. I will cook. I can cook. But I don’t love it. I do, however, love baking treats! It’s a good exercise for me. You need to follow the recipe to a tee (since baking is basically a science experiment), which appeals to my rule-loving nature. But it’s also messy and creative, which are muscles I need to work more often. Today I’m sharing my favorite easy sweet treats. As we slowly start to emerge from this quarantine, I hope that some of the slow-down will stay with us–like making time for messy kitchens and the smell of something sweet baking in the oven.
Cake Batter Fudge
Source: Baked From A Box via Pinterest
1 cup Funfetti cake mix
1 cup confectioners’ (powdered) sugar
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) butter, cut into small squares
1/4 cup milk
Place cake mix in a microwave safe bowl. Add butter and milk. Do not stir. Microwave for 2 minutes. Stir immediately until combined. Spread into greased square pan. Refrigerate 1 hour to set up.
Notes: This makes just a small square pan of fudge. This would be a fun after school or weekend activity for kids because it’s so easy and quick, and it doesn’t make a huge amount so they can’t get too terribly overloaded on sugar.
Blueberry Lemon Quick Bread
Source: Kroger magazine (Come thru, Kroger!)
1 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup sugar
1 Tbsp lemon zest
3/4 cups milk (can use almond milk for non-dairy version)
1 egg, beaten
2 Tbsp canola oil
1 cup blueberries
For lemon glaze:
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1-2 Tbsp lemon juice
Preheat oven to 350. In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt; whisk well. Add the sugar and lemon zest/ stir. In another bowl, whisk together milk, egg, and canola oil. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients and stir just until combined. Toss blueberries with a few pinches of flour, and gently fold them into the batter. Pour into a greased 9×5 inch loaf pan. Bake 40-50 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. To make glaze, whisk together confectioner’s sugar and lemon juice until mixture is thick but pour-able. Let bread cool in pan 15 minutes, then remove from pan and place on a wire rack to continue cooling. Spoon glaze over bread in a zig-zag pattern.
Notes: This makes a great breakfast bread.
M & M Cookies
Source: Modern Honey
1 cup Cold Butter (cut into cubes and microwave on high for a few seconds)
1 cup Brown Sugar
1/2 cup + 2 Tablespoons Sugar
2 large Eggs
2 teaspoons Vanilla
2 3/4 cups Flour
3/4 teaspoon Baking Soda
1 teaspoon Cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1 bag mini M& M’s (You won’t use the whole bag, you will add them to your batter to your taste)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, cream butter, brown sugar, and sugar for 4-5 minutes until light and fluffy. Scrape the sides of the bowl halfway through to ensure even creaming. Add eggs and vanilla. Mix for 1 minute longer. Stir in flour, cornstarch, baking soda, and salt. Mix just until combined. Fold in M&M’s. Scoop cookie dough onto baking sheets. Place extra M & M’s on top of cookie dough balls so the M & M’s show up after baking. Bake for 9-11 minutes or until the edges just begin to turn a light golden color. Remove from oven and let set for 5 minutes before removing from the cookie sheet.
Notes: I grabbed a bag of mini M&M’s on a whim in the baking aisle one day and I really do think they are preferable to regular-sized if you like soft cookies. I didn’t measure them out. I just added them until the dough looked good to me and pressed four on top of each cookie. How many you add on top will depend on how large you make your cookies.
Sugar cookie mix of your choice (break and bake, slice and bake, or a powdered mix will work fine)
1 block cream cheese, softened
1 cup brown sugar
1 Tbsp vanilla
Fruits of your choice (Blueberries, strawberries, kiwis, raspberries are good options)
Bake cookies according to package directions. Make sure the balls of dough are smooth so the tops of the cookies will be fairly flat. Beat softened cream cheese in mixer until whipped. Add brown sugar and vanilla. Beat until smooth. Chop any non bite-sized fruit into smaller pieces. Serve as a build-your-own-fruit pizza bar or pre-make pizzas by spreading cream cheese on the cookies and adding assorted fruits on top.
Notes: These are so fun when you have company for dinner, especially during the summer. Kids can feel like they’re building their own dessert, and the icing is thick enough that it won’t turn into a total disaster mess-wise. And even if it does, it melts off with water. Grown ups can have fun, too, trying out different fruit flavor combinations. You can also make this but press the cookie dough into a greased 9×13 pan, bake, and top with dip and fruit once cooled. It makes a great 4th of July dessert with all red and blue fruits.
What treats have you been making during these crazy times? Any go-to recipes? Share them in the comments!