The Brilliant Benefits of Baking
Artwork by Erin McPhee
Some of the best memories I have of my childhood, is standing at the kitchen countertop on a stool baking shortbread cookies with my nanny. It was a good setup, because my nanny loved to bake and I loved to eat. I also loved the feeling of being able to make my very own food to eat.
The thing about baking is that it’s a great outlet for being creative. This may sound like a weird thing to say because when people use the word creative, you think about artists, writers, or designers. However, chefs and bakers should also be included on this list. Like in the arts, there are a lot of opportunities to try out different techniques. Instead of paints, plots and materials, you can experiment with ingredients.
Trying out so many different recipes led me to discover more healthy ways to bake. I found I was trying more and more recipes that called for little to no flour or sugar. The reason I ended up liking these more was because I also happened to feel better after eating these kinds of foods.
Baking is a great cure for boredom, because it fills up time in your day. I know on days that I don’t have a lot planned, it makes me feel like I’m using my time productively; because I’m creating something.
Aside from getting to prepare and see the food you’re putting into your body, you can also get the satisfaction that you’re making something for yourself and other people to enjoy. Personally, I love that feeling.
I’ll admit that sometimes my family doesn’t love my healthy alternatives to classic recipes, however they always like trying my new creation of the week. And believe me, I’m starting to get even more creative as time goes on. At this point, I could write poetry about how honey and dried dates have changed my life as a baker.
It’s time for me to stop rambling though, instead I’m going to link one of my favourite recipes below.
The recipe is for Healthy Coconut Banana Cookies. The ingredients are pretty simple and you’ll most likely already have the majority on hand. The cookies are vegan and possibly gluten free! The recipe comes from a great cooking blog called Alida’s Kitchen. After this, I recommend checking out her other recipes because she’s fantastic!
2 cups of oats (depending on the type you use, will make the recipe gluten free)
¼ cup of coconut oil (melted)
1 cup of dates (chopped)
3 tablespoons of unsweetened coconut flakes + additional for topping
1 tablespoon of vanilla
Directions: Mix all ingredients together and form into balls to flatten. Then bake for 20 minutes at 350°F.
One of my favourite substitutions for this recipe is instead of dates, use dried cranberries. Another is instead of coconut oil, you can use vegetable or canola oil. You will notice a small difference with the flavour, however these oils are more common to have than coconut.
There is a lot of debate on whether oats count as a gluten free ingredient, because of the things within them can trigger a person with celiac or a similar allergy. So if you’re making these cookies for those with allergies, it’s best to buy gluten free oats to be on the safe side.
For a more in depth post of these amazing cookies, take a look at Alida’s post.
At the end of the day, the brilliant benefit of baking is that it’s fun. It’s cool being able to create something, and the fact that you get a snack out of that something, well that’s the best part.