And So It Begins
The Stress-Baking Diaries, Day Three

The Stress-Baking Diaries

On Friday morning, after the kids left for their last day of school for...well, who really knows at this point, I made a batch of chocolate chip granola bars.

They taste just like the Quaker/Annie's bars, but are much cheaper and stupid-easy to make. I add semi-chopped Cheerios to them which is inexplicably exciting to my children when they come across an almost-whole one. I don't know either. They're a favorite snack to pack on after-school activity days. Which are also cancelled now. 

Later on Friday, I baked a chocolate sheet cake.

I usually cut this cake up into mini squares to send as a special treat in their lunchboxes, dusting the tops with a little powder sugar in the morning so it still looks pretty at lunchtime. Instead, I just cut them big full-sized squares for dessert. I also helped myself to a couple small stress-bites right out of the pan, no powdered sugar required. 


Meanwhile, Jason baked bread and made some pizza dough we could freeze for later.


On Saturday, we were supposed to have our annual neighborhood wine tasting party. It got cancelled because drunk people are bad at social distancing. We'd planned to take some pinot noir and Jason's bread and Julia Child's boeuf bourguignon, so we ate (and drank) it by ourselves at home instead.


I walked a few servings over to the would-be host of the party. She'd just returned from collecting her son from college in New York. He'd been given 24 hours notice to leave his dorm. It's his senior year and his commencement's been cancelled, so they took a couple pictures in his cap and gown anyway, in their backyard.


I came home and made blueberry muffins.

I misjudged the yield/distribution and baked the extra batter in a ramekin, creating one colossal muffin/cake hybrid. Ezra and Ike split it in half and requested a full batch of nothing but Monster Muffins next time. 

Good, I thought. I'll have something to do in a few days, then.


On Sunday morning, we added whole wheat oatmeal pancakes and homemade danish pastry toaster tarts to our stash of frozen breakfast options. 

On Sunday afternoon, we ventured out to Target to pick up a backordered prescription. Jason waited in line for 30 minutes while the guy behind him repeatedly coughed and sneezed. I wandered around the half-empty aisles, mildly amused at what items were completely ransacked and what was mostly left alone. Still no toilet paper but I did get a four-pack of tissues. 

I also bought more butter and some ingredients for a pumpkin cake. 

We went to downtown Ellicott City for lunch, since like everyone else we're stuck between wanting to support our local small businesses but also we don't want to be stupid? Are we being stupid? We sat at a bar several seats away from the next party over and ordered an appetizer. A large group was celebrating St. Patrick's Day in the back, posing for group photos and hugging one another in between rounds of shots. 

Not long after our food came I read about D.C.'s ban on all bar seating and standing. Then about how New York City just up and closed all the bars and restaurants entirely

We asked for our check and a gift certificate. 


Then we came home and tried our hand at homemade Cheezits

On Sunday night, Jason defrosted the dough and made pizzas. I guess it was technically later. Time already feels kind of weird.


Today Jason and I are trying to keep out of each other's way, something I failed at immediately by sending our school district's guides for at-home learning activities to our annoyingly noisy printer while he was on a conference call. 

Noah is super irritated at me for making him do anything school related, and passive-aggressively ate nothing but cereal for breakfast.

Our Blue Apron box arrived today, right on time, just like normal. So we're technically set for three nights' worth of dinners. But since I can't seem to shake this restless, unsettled feeling, I think I'll prep a lasagna or some enchiladas this afternoon anyway. (You know, something from the 'Freezes Beautifully' section of mah cookbook.) Or maybe the kids will eat enough of the chocolate cake so I can justify baking another one, or some cookies. Maybe our neighbors would like some cookies. I know almost everybody is home but I haven't actually seen anyone all day. 

It's only Monday. I hope I bought enough flour. 


Katie H.

It's just so FREAKING WEIRD!!! And you nailed it - unsettling. My husband kept calling me on Friday because he had meetings all day and in the span of an hour or two the whole WORLD would change... again and again. I've never seen anything like it and like you, I don't want to panic, but they keep upping the ante of things to panic about so I'm going to Target on my way home from perhaps my last day in the office and getting 50,000 piece puzzles. Hang in there!


Today is my son's birthday. He and I were supposed to go see a show tonight, a live version of a science fiction podcast that he and I love. I was ridiculously excited that it was coming to our town on his actual birthday, and could not wait to hand the tickets to him as a present and watch his face light up. It got (understandably) postponed. We really want to go out to dinner tonight to our favorite local sushi place as kind of a last "hurrah" (because we are hearing rumors that our restaurants will all be ordered closed soon). I think if the restaurant is open, we will go.

I wonder what our kids will remember from this time........................

Dori P

I stress baked banana chocolate chip muffins and we painted a room then put together a shelf for games in the basement. We are not particularly social but all of this is so weird and makes me want to fidget and get things accomplished. Well, except for work. I'm having a hard time concentrating on that...


I thought my forty gallons of chicken stock and ciabatta making were ambitious for this early in the, um, what ever we are in. Now I feel out classed. And curious about your home toaster danish recipe.


Deep breaths. Doing practical, hands-on things like baking for the freezer is supposed to be very good for pandemic anxiety, as is limiting news intake, but you know that anyway. Take care of you and yours xxx


BraveTart's Chopped Chocolate Chip Cookies, Cook's Illustrated's Big Chunk Granola, cornbread, cornmeal drop biscuits, and then finally cranberry-almond muffins this morning. I was also eyeing the cinnamon-sugar scones that Smitten Kitchen posted on her InstaStories, but I have somehow run low on sugar. So - I guess I'm baking bread tonight? Or whatever only requires brown sugar. Social distancing is not good for the waistline, but I do feel better with something comfy in the oven.


Amy, this helps. Seeing a new post on your blog gives me a "treat" to look forward to. I'm on the other end - an educator, so worried about our kids at home. Take care of yourself and your family.


We need the recipes! Signed, flour hoarder


I have also entered stress baking mode. I’ve got a key lime pie in the oven now, and I’m thinking of making a pound cake tomorrow. Pizza dough to freeze is a good idea. And granola bars since that’s all my husband wants to eat. I have a ten pound bag of flour, so I’m ready as long as I don’t run out of butter.


None of my local stores have any flour right now and I've only got one more bag in the pantry... it's really putting a damper on my stress baking. :(


Can you please share the recipe for the granola bars? I want to bake my own, and I know my kid would enjoy the ones that taste like Quaker's. THANKS!

Katharine McIntyre

I give up on cooking or baking. PBJs for dinner. Maybe I will cook tomorrow


Ok, I thought I cooked/baked a lot the last couple days, but you outdid me! It seems to be the time to take comfort in the small things.

Joanna Moore

I made homemade pancakes this morning and cookies in the afternoon...I might be stress baking too.


I just bought yeast and THOUGHT about baking;).


Omg my husband and I are cooking and baking all of the things and I’m drinking all of the wine. Also have 3.5 boys (stepson) and my 12 yr old is passive aggressive AF. We sent him to my sisters for the night to chill.

Anywho....I feel like I will be gaining at least 10lbs from this quarantine. 😢🙄🧐


Please link to the recipes! Specifically the granola bars and sheet cake and toaster pastry. And all the rest.
Thank you. 😍

Emily G.

Started taking a sewing class earlier this month as an anxiety-busting activity, but only got through 3 classes before the Quarantine. On the plus side I have made 5 pillows and 3 tote bags. I also can do the first half of a pair of pajama pants! Guess I’ll learn to finish them sometime in May? Until then, looking mighty stylish. Hang in there, everybody, and thank you Amy. Staying connected online keeps me from feeling totally alone.

Margaret @ApproachingFood

Granola bar recipe please!!!!!!
Also, I bought 10 kgs of flour in anticipation of quarantine baking. Every day imma baking. So naturally the dishwasher decided this was the perfect time to die.
Chocolate is my wine of choice, so I also stocked up on 20 lbs of chocolate. I'm already down several lbs of chocolate in my pantry. And up several lbs in my weight.


I made pizza today! Giant batch of pasta e fagioli soup tomorrow. Sugar cookies yesterday. I am unsettled and reaching for our giant bag of candy my children don’t know about in the basement, and yet I feel that familiar thrill of canceled plans! No Saturday night concert, no out of town guests, no dentist, no car inspection, no job, a clear calendar! It’s a nightmare and pure relief at the same time.


Yes, I want the granola bar recipe too! We go through so many of them.

Sadly, my stress baking has to be juggled with the fact that I work from home full time (so yay, I have a job and there’s nothing really new about it except that my kids are home for at least three weeks), trying to run my side business, and obsessively refreshing the news.

Thanks for some good suggestions for when My baking can fully manifest itself


I, too, have almost used all my flour (banana bread! waffles to freeze!). Strange times. I'm going to gain 20 pounds.


Amy, All of that looks delicious. Happy to see you are baking up a storm and doing your best to be safe. Take good care of yourself and your beautiful family.
Also, this is the week that I realized I may need some anxiety medication. Holy shit.


I made a big batch of banana pancakes to put in the freezer. Unfortunately, my kid only got one. Our shepherd mix however, was very pleased with herself. I swear I was only out of the room for a minute while they were cooling, but the whole batch was gone like they never existed.


We have done chocolate chip cookies, Smitten Kitchen's blueberry muffins, NYT baked pasta with sausage and ricotta, Smitten Kitchen's pretzel blondies, Dorie Greenspan Peanut Butter Change Ups. I cannot go on like this.


I will take your excess cookies, if you have excess cookies. I am 37 weeks pregnant and unable to wrap my head around the fact that I'm going to have to deliver a child in the midst of all this bullshit. And we have no idea what this bullshit will look like next week or the week after. So, mail those cookies my way if you have too many! Are we still mailing things? Is that still happening? *facepalm emoji*


Recipes please? Especially the granola bars?


Wow. Is it cuz you're New Yorkers?? I'm on the west coast. I did get my pantry updated for this, but the last thing I want to do is cook up all my supplies.


it really IS weird, I went to an Aldi in which the only meat left was corned beef and the only frozen vegetable was corn. We can’t find bread anywhere, so my husband bought three bags of flour, but there was no yeast to be found, either. I guess it’s time to make that sourdough starter that lives in our fridge earn its keep.


We (the two and three year-old and me) will be making a birthday cake for my husband for Friday, meaning we'll probably make cakes on Thursday and make frosting and decorate on Friday because attention spans. But we need something to do tomorrow, so I was thinking pumpkin bread. My husband made lemon pancakes on Sunday, using the one lemon I had for the Jamie Oliver lemon/bacon/pea/mint/parmesan pasta I got all the stuff for. What I get for staying in bed that extra twenty minutes. They were good pancakes at least.


Can I ask for your pizza dough recipe please? And was that done in a regular oven or a pizza oven? It all look fab!


My oven broke on Saturday. Maybe it’s a good thing? Sure am craving a cookie.


I really want to know if the 9 hour Cheez Its were worth it ... if so, I'm in! If not ... that's a LONG time for Cheez Its ...

The comments to this entry are closed.