Stress Baking

By: Jane Weinke, curator of collections/registrar on September 7th, 2016

Finding ways to cope in stressful situations varies from person to person. Some take the healthy route – hours in the gym or a miles-long run. Several blog-9-7-16freezerfriends advocate for yoga. Occasionally, a glass of wine or a cocktail can soothe shattered nerves. For years, I’ve opted for this: when tension puts calm thinking at risk, I take refuge in my kitchen. I take a deep breath, choose one of hundreds of recipes I’ve saved, and mix flour, sugar, eggs, and other ingredients into baked goods – mostly cookies.

My family has a long baking tradition. I remember standing on a chair alongside my grandmother and mother, watching and learning. Living in a household of bakers means you must learn patience; the phrase “too many blog-9-7-16flourcooks in the kitchen” comes to mind. When I was a young wife, I began baking cookies to share with friends. Over the past thirty years I’ve baked cookies at least once a week. I take pleasure from sharing them with my Woodson Art Museum colleagues, neighbors, and – in winter – those who gather in the snowmobile-racing trailer, where cookies are a weekend necessity.

I have ten go-to recipes – those with ingredients that are always in the blog-9-7-16cupboardpantry and never fail to be tasty and look presentable. Any baker will understand that no matter how many times you use a recipe, a day comes when it fails.

I’ve included a go-to recipe for you to try.

Oatmeal Craisin Cookies


3/4 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamonblog-9-7-16ready to go
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 3/4 cups rolled oats
1 cup craisins
1 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In large bowl, cream together butter, white sugar, and brown sugar until smooth.

Beat in the eggs and vanilla until fluffy. Stir together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt.

blog-9-7-16mixerGradually beat into butter mixture.

Stir in oats, craisins, and walnuts.

Drop by teaspoonful onto parchment-paper-lined cookie sheets.

Bake 12 minutes in the preheated oven, or until golden brown.

Cool slightly and remove from sheet to wire rack.

My stress baking ramped up a level in the last two weeks. To treat the sixtyblog-9-7-16baked
artists visiting Wausau for the opening of Birds in Art, I baked five selections to sample during the Friday-afternoon artists-only time in the galleries. I hear the sighs from those of you who regularly read this blog and will not be here – sorry. Perhaps this is the start of another baking tradition.

P.S. If you try this recipe, let me know what you think; share photos,

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