Whether it’s exam season or just a difficult week, stress-baking has been proven to reduce stress and relieve anxiety. In fact, a study by “Bake Friends” found that one in three Britons turn to baking, particularly desserts, after a hard day. With this, here are seven perfect desserts for stress-baking.
1. Edible Cookie Dough
Nothing says guilty pleasure like sneaking small spoons of cookie dough from the store-bought tub in your fridge, knowing one too many bites may make you sick but doing it anyway because the taste is worth it. So why not combine your secret love for cookie dough with stress-baking for edible cookie dough?
Edible cookie dough is not only safer to eat than normal cookie dough with uncooked eggs, but it’s also by far the most painless recipe on this list to bake, making it one of the perfect desserts for de-stressing.
My favourite recipe: In a bowl, combine 3/4 cup flour, 1/4 cup butter, 2 tablespoons honey or maple syrup, 1 1/2 teaspoons of pure vanilla extract, and a large pinch of salt. Once mixed, stir in 2 ounces of unsweetened chocolate (chopped), top with sea salt, and store it in the fridge covered until it’s ready to eat!
2. Chocolate Crinkle Cookies
Among one of the perfect desserts for your Instagram feed, chocolate crinkle cookies also shout “stress-baking” due to their sweetness and the abundance of powdered sugar you can shamelessly add to your cookies in the name of baking.
These require as much effort to bake as normal chocolate chip cookies, and the number of ingredients and measurements you’ll make in the process can also decrease your anxiety. After all, some would argue that such attentive focus to measuring sugar and flour is a form of mindfulness in itself.
My favourite recipe: Heat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. In a bowl, add 3/4 cup potato starch, 1 cup sorghum flour, 1 cup rice flour, 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1 1/2 cups sugar. Then, in a separate bowl, lightly beat 4 eggs and mix them with 3/4 cup grapeseed oil.
Slowly pour this mixture into the dry mixture of your first bowl. Mix for 1-2 minutes until the dough comes clean off the sides of the bowl and wraps around your mixing spoon. Once ready, roll small cookie dough balls into powder sugar and then place them on a cookie sheet. Bake for 18-19 minutes.
3. Wimbledon Cake
I recently took a break from my own exam revision to bake a Wimbledon Cake, inspired by Mary Berry herself, and I can say without hesitation that this takes the cake (no pun intended) for one of the most perfect desserts to make when stressed, or procrastinating revision. Though it may appear daunting in photos, this cake requires few ingredients and steps for a tasty, anxiety-relieving treat.
It also warrants itself among the perfect desserts for relieving stress because much of the task requires decorating your cake with strawberries, grapefruit, and powdered sugar, and with decorating and making art often being cited as a great form of mindfulness, this process is sure to improve your mental health and wellbeing today.
My favourite recipe: Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Grease a round cake tin, then line its base with baking parchment. In a bowl, mix 3 egg yolks, 100g caster sugar, the grated rind and juice of 1 orange, and 75g semolina. In a separate bowl, whisk 3 egg whites until they are stiff (but not dry), and then gently fold this into the orange and semolina mixture.
Put the mixture into your tin, and then bake for 30-35 minutes. After cooling, slice the cake in half. Halve 1 passion fruit and scoop out the pulp. In the middle of your two slices of cake, add sliced strawberries, passion fruit pulp, and whipped cream. Before serving, decorate the top with strawberries and icing sugar.
4. Banana Bread
Personally, banana bread has always been one of the perfect desserts for stress-baking to me as it evokes memories of family and home. However, even if it doesn’t evoke such feelings for you, the warmth and plentitude of banana bread will both relax you and leave you with leftovers for days, allowing you to set your future self up for success by guaranteeing them desserts for days!
As you let your banana bread cook in the oven for 60 minutes, why not spend this time reading a book, sitting outside, or chatting with a friend, instead of scrolling through Facebook or watching Netflix for an hour? Though it may not be the most appealing choice after measuring and baking, it will further benefit your mind and anxiety.
My favourite recipe: Preheat your oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit, and then grease a loaf pan. In a large bowl, mash about 3 medium bananas to remove as many of the lumps as possible. Then, add 2 eggs, 1/3 cup buttermilk, 1/2 cup canola oil and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. Once combined, add 1 cup light brown sugar, and after mixing, add 1 3/4 cup flour, 1 teaspoon baking soda, and a pinch of salt. After it is mixed, pour the batter into a pan and let it cook for 60 minutes.
5. Red Velvet Donuts
Nothing says guilt-free eating like donuts, and thus it goes without saying that red velvet donuts are perhaps the most perfect desserts not only for eating and snacking on but also for baking and relieving stress.
These donuts combine common mindfulness tactics of deep focus, with measuring and mixing, as well as decorating with homemade frosting, sprinkles, and any other toppings of your choice. And after following the recipe throughout the entire process, your mind will thank you for the ability to choose your own path with the decoration and toppings, so go crazy and treat yourself.
My favourite recipe: Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, and grease your donut pan (search Amazon for one if you don’t yet have one — it will come in handy for stress-baking!) In a bowl, mix 1 1/2 cups of red velvet cake mix, 1 egg, 1/3 cup buttermilk, and 1/2 tablespoon vegetable oil. Cut a hole into the corner of a plastic bag (for your pastry bag), and then fill this with the paper and pipe it into your pan. Bake for 10 minutes.
For the frosting, mix 4 ounces cream cheese (softened), 3/4 cup powdered sugar (sifted), and 2 tablespoons milk. Once combined, frost your donuts with the frosting and add sprinkles or any toppings of your choice!
6. Chocolate Chip Cookies
I couldn’t talk about perfect desserts for any occasion, but especially stress-baking, without mentioning homemade chocolate chip cookies. It seems that everyone has their own recipe or special twist for this dessert, making these perfect for calming any anxious or stressful feelings as comfort food.
The best part about these are the endless possibilities for variation: you can choose caramel chips instead of chocolate, add nuts or M&Ms, make thick cookie dough balls and add vanilla ice cream for ice cream sandwiches, or make small cookie dough balls and snack on your cookies throughout the day. Whatever you choose, make these your own, and take credit for the tasty cookies that you create!
My favourite recipe: Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. In a bowl, mix together 1 1/4 cups flour, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, and 1/8 teaspoon salt. In a separate bowl, beat 1/2 cup melted butter, 1/2 cup light brown sugar, and 1/4 cup granulated sugar until it is smooth. Add 1 teaspoon vanilla and 1 egg to this mixture and mix it slowly.
Then, add your flour mixture from your first bowl, and then add 1 cup chopped chocolate. Place your balls of cookie dough on your pan and top them with a sprinkle of salt. Cook for 10 minutes or until golden brown!
7. Pumpkin Pie
As a token food of Thanksgiving, arguably the most stressful baking day of the year, pumpkin pie is actually one of the most perfect desserts when you’re looking to stress-bake. It’s surprisingly easy to make if you’re using a store-bought pie crust, yet it still guarantees impressive baking results.
Plus, in the spirit of Thanksgiving and wellbeing, why not spread the love and share your homemade pie with your friends or family after making it? Not only will it improve your mental health giving to others, but this dessert and your act of kindness will also decrease their stress and anxiety, too.