It’s spooky season folks! And the scariest thing this season? Midterms. Their timing is predicable each year, and yet I’m still surprised when they hit. These couple of weeks are some of the most stressful weeks of the semester. Now of course, not all stress is bad, and everyone copes with it in different ways. However, every year during these few weeks, my anxiety level rises to new heights. But fear not friends, for I have discovered a great method of stress relief that also leaves me with snacks when times get tough: stress baking. Just channel all your nervous energy into kneading your dough or mixing that batter! Here are five of my favourite things to stress-bake this midterm season:
Bread is one of my favourite things to stress bake for many reasons, the first being kneading the dough. It’s kind of like using a stress ball where you can knead that nervous energy away. The other great thing about baking bread is punching the air out after a proof. Bread baking is therapeutic by design; during each proof, you’ll have time to run through your notes and go through a practice problem or two, allowing your tension and frustration to build. And then, before you know it, it’ll be time for you to go punch the air out of your dough while visualizing beating the air out of your exams and emerging victorious!
- Chocolate Chip Cookies
They’re quick, easy and allow a lot of room for creativity! Go ahead and toss some M&Ms into the batter if they make you happy, or perhaps some Skittles if you’re feeling brave. Sometimes, you just want an extra little serotonin and sugar is a great short-term hack. Pop some cookies into the oven and ten minutes later, you’ve got yourself some instant happiness!
- Mug Brownies
Who doesn’t love a good brownie? The only problem is that making brownies can take a bit of time and effort, both of which I usually like to spend on preparing for those exams. Let’s be honest, we need all the time we can get on that front. While we don’t really have the time for actual brownie squares, we can turn to mug brownies instead! Just toss your ingredients into a mug, mix, and bake! The mixing is the best part, because you get to physically release the tension you’ve been holding in while you work on smoothing your brownie mix.
- Pastry Tarts
Now I know some might see the word “pastry“ and immediately dismiss this point, but hear me out. Making puff pastry is an arduous and time-consuming process. However, there is an easy solution: Buy the puff pastry. As for filling, go wild and pick your favourites. Nutella and fruit jams are popular fillings, but you can also opt for something like applesauce, which you can sweeten to your taste. The great thing about pastry tarts is how creative you can get with the designs. Don’t have too much time? Just grease up a cupcake pan and line them with squares of puff pastry. Fill ‘em, bake ‘em, and voila! You could also have a bit of fun and cut out interesting shapes and designs of the puff pastry and fill them as you please. You can get as fancy or as simple as you want!
- Sugar Cookies
Now, you might think this is a repeat of number two but, since sugar cookies have a smooth finish, they are easier to decorate. Add-ins are what really make chocolate chip cookies interesting, but with sugar cookies, we get to have fun with the decoration aspect. One great way to spice up your cookies is with icing. Cut your sugar cookies into some holiday-themed shapes, like pumpkins or ghosts for Halloween this weekend, and once baked, add details with icing to make some really fun and cute Halloween cookies. Try making dough in bulk and storing in your fridge to have cookies for days. This way, you can bake them whenever you have a craving for sugar cookies!
I know that midterms are tough, but you will get through this. You’ve done it before and will do it again! Remember to be kind to yourself and ensure you aren’t overworked, and if you feel stressed, pull up this article and get baking!