Bassetti Baking: Baking Tips for When You Live in an Actual Shoe-Box

If you’re a first-year student at CWU, chances are you reside in a Bassetti. From their communal bathrooms to their super shaggy striped carpets, the Bassetti's are just about as far as you can get from home sweet home. Living in the Bassetti's can have its perks, however, you get the chance to be close to the center of campus, and you get to know your neighbors well, being so close to one another. Something I personally didn’t expect about living in the totally tubular 60’s styled residence hall was the actual shoe box sized kitchen for the entire building (if you know, you know). I come from a large family of bakers and pastry chefs, so something that makes me feel close to home is baking. I cannot imagine trying to bake in the legitimate cubby hole that is the Bassetti kitchen. The other alternatives for a warm pastry are the Student Union or other on or off-campus places. Nothing says home, however, like a warm chocolate chip cookie made by yourself. So, here are some easy life-hacks and how-tos on making simple desserts to make you feel more at home!

Churched-up Pillsbury Cookies:

Photo Credit: Sydney Cater 

If you’re not familiar with the term “churched-up”, essentially it just means to add extra snacks, and treats into your cookies. Cookies are most often associated with a home feeling. Living in a dorm can make the process of baking cookies quite tedious. To make these cookies you will need:

  • Premade Pillsbury Cookie Dough in a log: $2.99
  • Box of M&M’s or choice of candy: $1
  • Bag Pretzels or choice of chip: $1

Steps:

  1. Take a quarter-sized amount of cookie dough and roll into a ball in your hands
  2. Add your choice of candy to the top of the cookie
  3. Add your choice of a salty treat to the top of the cookie
  4. Place on a greased cookie sheet or oven-safe pan spacing about an inch apart for each other
  5. Bake at 350° F for 13-15 minutes

Rice Crispy Treats:

Photo Credit: Sydney Cater

Something so simple, yet so customizable rice crispy treats are a dessert enjoyed by most. Some of my earliest childhood memories were making basic rice crispy treats with my family on cold fall nights. The best part of making rice crispy treats is you really get a bang for your buck and they last for a decent amount of time. To make these rice crispy treats you will need:

  • 6 cups Rice Crispy Cereal (or you can substitute for cereal of your choice): $3.69
  • 1 bag of marshmallows (or you can substitute for marshmallow fluff): $1
  • Optional: Chocolate candy: $1
  • Optional: Salty chip of crunch: $1
  • 3 tbsp butter: $1

Steps:

  1. In a medium, pot add your butter and marshmallows and turn the stove onto a low setting
  2. Constantly stir the mixture until the marshmallows are fully melted (make sure your pot isn’t too hot, so you don’t burn the marshmallows)
  3. Once melted add your rice crispy cereal or choice of cereal and the optional candy or crunch
  4. Mix until well combined and let cool
  5. Once cooled, lather your hands with the remaining butter and spoon your mixture into balls

Soda Cake:

Photo Credit: Anya Dumas

Once believed to be a baking myth had turned into a fun trend a couple of years back, soda cakes are an easy way to make a box cake mix. This is the easiest recipe by far and is packed full of flavor. If you are unfamiliar with what a soda cake is, it is just a box mix with a carbonated beverage and nothing else.   If you’re not one for being in the kitchen for long periods of time, then this recipe is for you. To make this soda cake, you will need:

  • 1 box of Betty Crocker white cake mix (or you can substitute for your favorite type of cake): $1.25
  • 1 tsp of butter: $1
  • 12 ounces of Sprite (you can also substitute for your favorite carbonated beverage): $1
  • 1 can of butter crème frosting: $1.50

Steps:

  1. Pour your cake mix and soda into a bowl
  2. Mix ingredients thoroughly until no clumps are visible
  3. Lather your banking pan with butter or non-stick cooking spray
  4. Pour mixture into the pan
  5. Bake at 350° F for 25 minutes
  6. Let the cake cool and then add frosting

Hand Pies:

Photo Credit: Sydney Cater

Taking inspiration from Franz Bakery’s handheld pies, these little pockets of sweet fruit are great to have around the dorm for a quick snack. Although they require a little more skill and time, they are cost-effective and store well in the freezer. To make these hand pies you will need:

  • Premade pie crust: $2
  • Can of cherry pie filling: $1

Steps:

  1. Unwrap your pie dough once it reaches around room temperature
  2. Taking a small round lid about 3 inches in diameter press the lid into your dough and trace around the dough with a knife to make perfect circles
  3. Once you have multiple circles divide your stack in half
  4. Take one of your stacks and stretch out the dough just about a half an inch more, these will be the top to your pies
  5. Taking the smaller circles place a half of a tablespoon amount of cherry preservatives into the center
  6. Place your larger circle on top and with a fork, clamp the edges shut
  7. Poke holes into the top of the pies
  8. Bake at 375° F for 25 minutes

Being a first-year student is already one of the hardest things anyone will ever have to go through. From homesickness to figuring out how college works, life can be super stressful. Something so small such as chocolate chip cookies from scratch can be ridiculous for someone living in the Bassettis. Hopefully, these tricks and hacks will help you feel more at home with your belly full of pie!