My Quarantine Activity: Baking
Updated: Apr 15, 2020
I feel like I don’t need to go into too much detail about how unproductive or bored some of us may be feeling during our quarantine. With all this time on our hands, there is endless opportunity for what we can do. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to feel motivated when there’s no time-frame for how long we will need to remain at home and it's difficult to want to get off your couch or out of your bed when there is no obligation or commitment pushing you to do so. So, while watching Netflix in your pajamas is the more comfy option, making the effort to do an activity will offer you a sense of productivity. I, for example, had been struggling with the idea of quarantine until I realized the infinite opportunity it held. I could finally do the one thing that I rarely found time to do in my daily life before this: Baking!
While I have a brownie business, baking never really appealed to me as much as cooking did. My brownie recipe was something I experimented with a lot until I found the right measurements to get the result that I wanted. Even though I don’t consider it to be perfect yet, it's something I can test and change to my taste. Not all baking is like that. Baking calls for precise measurements and exact ingredients to yield the sweet treat you set out to make. I never quite found that appealing because with one wrong move, the entire recipe is messed up. Cooking, on the other hand, can be done to taste. With varying options for what can be done with the ingredients, your food can turn out exactly how you want it. You are in complete control during the cooking process. With baking, I always felt as if the recipe controlled you and one slip up cost you your treat.
This was my, slightly flawed, logic up until I began my isolation through quarantine. I wasn’t able to cook the meals I wanted because going to the grocery store was out of the question and my usual meals required vegetables and grains that we didn’t have. Because of this, I turned to baking. Now, my sister was the understood baker in the family, but I always was the one who had an affinity for the kitchen. The first week staying home, I made a batch of Oreo brownies. The second week, I made mini chocolate cupcakes with dulce de leche icing. The third week, I made a berry crumble. And now this week, I made peanut butter cookies. This baking craze has given me a sort-of mission for my quarantine. It has created a goal of some sort where I teach myself the rules of baking that I used to despise. I have learned how dough doesn’t carry milk, cakes and brownies need baking powder to rise, and the consistency of your butter matters immensely. So while I physically am not in school during this time, I have added a new class to my course selection, one where I teach myself how to bake.
I decided to include the recipe I used for the berry crumble (with my personal modifications) in case anyone reading wanted to try it out. There will also definitely be more recipes to come!
Yummy Berry Crumble
1 ½ cup frozen blueberries
½ frozen mixed berries
¼ cup sugar
¼ cup flour
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup rolled oats
½ cup flour
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
1 stick unsalted butter (cold)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9-inch pie plate
Stir sugar, flour, and cinnamon into the berry mixture. If you are using frozen berries, do your best to make sure there are no large clumps of berries frozen together. If you are using fresh berries, you will not have this problem. When done mixing, place into the buttered pie plate.
For the topping: mix oats, flour, salt, and both sugars in a bowl using a blender or a fork (I used a fork and still got a nice consistency). Cut the butter into small pieces and add to the mixture. Use the fork to incorporate the butter into the mix and stop when it becomes a coarse mixture.
Spread the topping evenly over the berries. Place the pie plate in the oven and bake for 50 minutes. Remove the pie plate from the oven when ready and let it cool for about 10 minutes before serving
Tips: I used frozen berries because that is what I had at home. Also, feel free to substitute blueberries for your favorite type of berry as long as the total amount of berries equals 2 cups. The picture is how my berry crumble turned out. You can double the topping part of the recipe if you want more crumble than berry. Happy baking:)