Easy holiday baking

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This holiday season, many students will face the age-old dilemma of not having time to bake something good to bring to an event. Whether it’s a family dinner or a potluck at work, we just don’t have enough hours in the day to commit to baking. Fortunately, there are quick, easy recipes available to help you maintain the illusion that you’re a competent young adult with your life together.

Homemade ice cream

You’ll need:

10 ounces of frozen mixed berries

¾ cups of sugar

⅔ cups of heavy cream

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

Put the berries and the sugar into a blender and mix them until they’re still pretty lumpy. Remember to do this when your roommates are awake; because blender sounds at 3:00 a.m. aren’t berry nice to hear. Also, if you do wake them up, do not make bad baking puns or they will become even more infuriated.

Now, stop blending, take off the lid and add the cream and vanilla extract. If you keep blending at this point you’ll have more of a mess than going to Ian Beddis instead of Bob Davis for an exam when you’re already almost late. In theory, you should add this gradually, but how many of us actually do that, right? Put the lid back on — firmly — and blend it up.

Keep going until it is fully blended. You can serve it as is or keep it in the freezer until you’re ready for it. Let’s be real, though, you’re probably making it last minute right before a holiday party.

Cookies (just cookies)

You’ll need:

2¼ cups of flour

1 cup of warm butter

2 eggs

1 bag of chocolate chips

1 teaspoon of baking soda

⅔ cup granulated sugar

¾ cup of brown sugar

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

Pinch of salt

Preheat your oven to 190°C, or 375°F. If something about this temperature gives you a bad gut feeling, you’re wrong. These are ordinary cookies. You’re overreacting.

Mix together the flour, baking soda and salt in a completely normal way.

Separately, beat together the butter, sugars and vanilla until the mixture is creamy. At this point, beat in the eggs. Add the flour mixture gradually, but try not to watch the sifting powders like falling snow, hypnotizing you… do you smell blood? No, you don’t. Stir in your chocolate chips and get a grip.

Spoon the mixture onto a cookie sheet. Put in the oven and bake for about nine minutes or until they look like they’re done. Try not to listen too closely to the inside of the oven. These are normal cookies. What are you trying to find?

Remove the cookies and allow them to cool. This should produce about 60 completely ordinary cookies. Do not worry if some disappear. That is very normal for cookies. So is the faint sound of children laughing, which may persist even after the cookies are gone. This is fine.

Existential dread fudge

You’ll need:

1 box of Jell-O pudding mix, but not the instant kind

2 tablespoons of butter

1½ cups of powdered sugar

¼ cup of milk

This is like making Jell-O but for grown-ups. Mix together the pudding mix, butter and milk in a saucepan. Bring it to an actual boil, not just the kind where you’re staring at three bubbles at the surface wondering where you went wrong in life.

Continue boiling for one minute while stirring and then remove the saucepan from heat while wondering where your inner flame has gone. You used to be so passionate.

Mix in the sugar quickly. Pour the mixture into a pan and put it into the fridge.

While you wait for it to cool, contemplate past failures and imagine a life in which you did pursue your dreams of performing in a travelling circus. Slowly realize how much work you’d have to put in at this point to be fit enough to do trapeze, get frustrated, and then take a nap. The fudge should be set when you wake up and face the harsh light of reality.

Sneaky cake

You’ll need:

1 box of cake mix

1 egg

Milk

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

1 pinch of salt

1 can of pre-made frosting

Food colouring

The trick here is to put in minimal effort and still get a decent outcome, which is the quintessential university student dream. Follow the directions on the back of the cake mix box, but substitute milk for water and add an extra egg. Also add the vanilla and salt. Cook according to the box instructions.

When it comes out, put it in the fridge for a couple of minutes while you mix some food colouring into the frosting so it looks like you actually made it yourself.

Here’s the big thing to remember: don’t put the frosting on the cake until it’s actually cool. If there’s one lesson we can all draw from Netflix’s 20 million baking shows, it’s that putting frosting on a still-warm cake is the worst thing any of us could possibly do in life — and if you make this most grievous error you will be sent home.

Come to think of it, being sent home sounds great. If you’re heading to a holiday gathering you don’t want to be at, bring a soggy cake and present it to the host with a big smile. They will then tell you you’re not the house’s top baker and ask you to pack your bags. You won’t have bags, but you will have your ticket out of there.

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