Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Reading, Writing and Baking...

As I mentioned in my last post, I've been doing a lot of reading lately. Not the dark and twisty psychological thrillers that are my usual cup of tea, but books that I hope will help me regain my focus and help me to once again find my footing. I've also been trying to rediscover the joy I have previously found in baking.

I recently read an article I found online that discusses the benefits of baking.   In it the author, Gabriele Fantelli, talks about how mental health and culinary experts alike give credit to the idea that baking could be very helpful in relieving the symptoms of anxiety and depression.  It is noted that baking combines the physical and projection aspects of the traditional occupational therapies. Not only does baking help to relieve symptoms, but it also produces something that we get to indulge in. Baked goods are notorious for generating smiles, especially when our creations are shared with others.  The end result is not only a tasty treat, it also fosters positive feelings and happiness.
This comes as no surprise to me. I've been an emotional baker for years.  It's the reason I began this blog in fact. It was therapy for me when I lost my job in 2011. I loved to bake and write and this blog allowed me to combine those two passions.  In light of all that has happened this past year, I've lost my direction and my baking and writing has gone by the wayside.  

My husband, who has remained by my side through these trying times and has shown me so much love and support, even bought me a state of the art Kitchen Aid mixer in an attempt to renew my desire to bake. 

 It's beautiful and I love it, but I will admit that it sat dormant for longer it should have. My therapist encouraged me to use it. She also encouraged me to write. Journaling she called it ( I looked it up, it's a thing). So I did, and here I am, back in the kitchen and at the keyboard.

I decided to return to the book that started it all six years ago, The Happy Baker; a dater's guide to emotional baking by Erin Bolger.  While I'm not in the dating pool (and thankfully haven't been for decades!) I am emotional so this book fits the bill.  

This is the author's go to cookie so I thought it was an appropriate recipe to get me back in the saddle.  If the fact that there were no cookies left to photograph is any indication, I'd say they were pretty good.  As for me? I'm getting there.
You Will Need:

1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup (one stick) butter, softened

1/2 cup smooth peanut butter

1 tsp vanilla
1 egg

3/4 cup all purpose flour

3/4 cup quick cooking oats
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1/2 cup shredded coconut

  • preheat oven to 375'
  • in a large bowl, combine both sugars and butter and beat until smooth and fluffy
  • add peanut butter, vanilla and egg; mix well
  • stir in flour, oatmeal, baking soda and salt being careful not to over mix
  • fold in chocolate chips and coconut
  • using a cookie scoop, or two spoons, drop onto a parchment lined cookie sheet ensuring that they are at least two inches apart
  • press down lightly with your fingers or a fork dipped in sugar
  • bake for 10 to 12 minutes until the edges are golden brown
  • allow cookies to cool on sheets for two minutes before transferring them to wire racks to cool completely

If you'd like to read the full article that discusses the benefits of baking and mental health click the following link:


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