Now I am going to confess something shocking. It dawned on me a few years ago that I actually hate baking. One couldn't tell it by looking at my photos of the last couple of years with all of the baking I have done for Christmas, but I really do-not-like baking - - but I do it.
There can be a million things on my plate (cake plate, of course) and I will find a reason to bake. However, there are a few shortcuts I have taken in the years. Like brownies - -
I swear by brownie mixes. (See the Infallible Brownie Mix) It doesn't matter the brand. I buy whatever is on sale. I always keep one or two boxes of brownie mixes in my cupboard. When I feel like procrastibaking - - and a little chocolate, I can grab a brownie mix.
Now it's what I do with the brownie mix that's important. I often add an extra egg. I always add leftover coffee instead of water, and sometimes add a little spice - like Mexican vanilla, cinnamon, or even a little chili or cayenne pepper. I have also added a few chocolate chips to the batter. And the pan I use to bake the brownies is always lined with parchment paper. The brownies lift right out of the pan and I cut them right on the parchment paper - and I don't have a extra dirty pan to scrub. I love parchment paper as much as I love a brownie mix.
I think the reason why I am not a fan of baking is I get bored measuring out the little stuff: salt, sugar, baking powder, baking soda... And then there's the moisture part of it - do we use butter, shortening, oil - - and what kind of oil? Olive, corn, canola, vegetable... snooze.
Recently, I discovered another secret when it comes to procrastibaking - cake mixes. I typically don't buy cake mixes because I don't bake cakes. However, if I do make a cake, I make them from scratch - and I use my grandmother's carrot cake recipe or the Waldorf Astoria red velvet cake - another family recipe. And that's my limit when it comes to baking cakes... I guess I have always been a fruit pie baker and less a cake baker.
So what do I do with cake mixes? When life hands you lem... bananas, you bake bread - banana bread! I freeze a lot of bananas because once they start getting ripe, I won't eat them. Baking banana bread is boring, but I recently came across a recipe for banana bread using cake mixes. My first try was a couple of loaves of chocolate banana bread for gifting - and the reviews were excellent.
For the next banana bread science project, I bought a yellow cake mix... Also, I am going to experiment with less oil and/or none at all and rely on the bananas for the moisture. We'll see how that works.
Chocolate Banana Bread
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray two 9-by-5-inch loaf pans with nonstick cooking spray. (Also I used parchment. The breads lifted right out)
Now stop what you're doing and go procrastibake!