Sugar High!

23. Sugar: Write something so sweet, it makes your teeth hurt.

Here’s a list of some of my very favorite sweet treats the boys and I have been enjoying during lockdown. I have resolved not to eat any sweets not of my own making, so because I have a terrible sweet tooth, we’ve been doing a lot of baking.

New Zealand afghan biscuits (AKA chocolate corn flake cookies). A wonderful combination of chewy and crispy, with chocolate frosting on top. Here’s the recipe I use. (Slight modification: I add a scant 1/2 tsp salt to the cookie recipe and I put 1 tbsp melted butter and 1 tbsp milk in the frosting instead of water.)

Fudgy cocoa brownies. I can never be bothered to melt the chocolate down in the bain marie, blah blah blah… This recipe is fudgy and delicious and is made with cocoa powder. Easy.

Banana bread. Bananas keep going brown, no matter how many we devour. When I get four good ripe ones, I freeze them until I have time to make banana bread. I always put in walnuts.

Cranberry upside-downer. My très chère cousine sent me Dorie Greenspan’s book Baking as a housewarming gift. I bless and curse her every day. My taste buds bless her, my waistline curses her. This cranberry upside-downer is my favorite recipe from the book so far. It’s the perfect combination of sweet and tart, and can be served with ice cream for dessert or enjoyed as an indulgent breakfast coffee cake.

Big crumb coffee cake. ‘Nuff said.

Apple (or plum, or rhubarb, or blueberry…) pie. I decided to learn how to make pie in 2018. I am both glad and angry I did. Glad because I love pie. Angry because my waistline has yet another reason to curse. I used to use an apple pie recipe from the NYT, but since life is too short to pre-cook the apples, I now use Dorie Greenspan’s recipe. (Bonus: here is my favorite all-butter pie crust.)

The boys love to help me bake. The afghan biscuits above are great because the recipe doesn’t include eggs, meaning I’m less worried about their licking the dough. Here’s another egg-free recipe that my mom got somewhere (not sure where so I can’t give proper credit, sorry).

Oatmeal Raisin Bread

1 cup oatmeal
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tbsps sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
1 ¼ cup plain yogurt (I use Greek or whole fat)
¼ cup molasses
1 cup raisins

  1. Preheat oven to 175C/350F. Grease and flour a bread pan.
  2. Combine the oatmeal, whole wheat flour, all-purpose flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Whisk together well.
  3. In a 2-cup measuring cup, measure out the yogurt. Pour in the molasses until you have 1 ½ cups of liquid. You can either stir it together, or I like to use my immersion blender to really mix the molasses into the yogurt. Add to the dry ingredients. Stir in the raisins.
  4. Pour (or spread, because it will be thick) into the prepared bread pan and bake for one hour or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

This bread isn’t too sweet, so we love to have it for breakfast and spread all kinds of delicious things on it. Nutella, jam, marmalade, honey… And always, always butter.

Baking as a Family

Baking is fun and relaxing, and it’s the only way to get the boys interested in the kitchen. They morph into my little sous-chefs and usually end up with sticky faces. I will break with blog precedent to include a photo of them after our latest batch of brownies had gone into the oven.

There’s trouble for you.


The Brain In Jane works mainly in the rain. It's always raining somewhere. Find me on Twitter, Google+, and Pinterest.

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