Cost: A few dollars and up
Time Required: Depends on what you’re baking, but otherwise completely up to you
The last time I was at my parents’ house, my mom showed me how to make bread from scratch. No bread machine or anything like that – everything was done by hand. I’ve made bread myself a couple of times since then and have found the process relaxing.
While I was in the hospital, the recreational therapist would sometimes run a cooking/baking group. She’d bring in the ingredients, utensils, bowls, and baking sheets, and those of us in the group would all help measure, mix, and get everything ready, then she’d take it to the kitchen down the hall and put it in the oven. Sometimes – particularly if the group was large – we’d make more than one recipe at the same time. I really enjoyed these groups, and it was nice to have a treat once in a while.
I’m not particularly good at baking, but I enjoy doing it as long as the recipes are simple. I don’t know if I just need practice, but if the recipe is too complicated I can get overwhelmed. Fortunately, there are a lot of simple recipes out there. Here’s one of my favourites that I got from the hospital:
- 1 cup butter or margarine, softened
- 1 cup white sugar
- 2 eggs
- 3 3/4 cups all purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 container (295mL) of frozen lemonade concentrate (thawed)
- 2 tbsp white sugar
- Preheat oven to 400F. Grease a cookie sheet.
- In a large bowl, cream together margarine and 1 cup of sugar. Blend in eggs. In a medium bowl, stir together flour and baking soda. Gradually beat into margarine/sugar/egg mixture. Add 1/2 cup of lemonade concentrate. Roll into balls.
- Bake 8-10 minutes or until lightly brown. Brush lightly with remaining lemonade concentrate and sprinkle with 2 tbsp of sugar.
I’ve found that this makes about 16 decently-sized cookies.
Whenever I make this recipe, the cookies always turn out like little mutant lumps, but they taste great. I guess anything with a cup of margarine and a cup of sugar in it is going to end up being tasty. You can also easily change the recipe by using a different flavour of frozen concentrate (I usually use pink lemonade).
A quick search on the internet or trip to your local library can provide the recipe for anything you could possibly want. If you’re making things for yourself and don’t want to end up with a large quantity, there are many small-batch recipes out there that make enough for one or two people.
I find baking to be an enjoyable way to spend an afternoon. There’s also that sense of accomplishment when I open the oven and take out a tray of delicious mutant cookies and share them with J.