Got the blues? Immerse yourself in baking and reduce stress, sadness and anger with these delicious delights
Lily Vanilli’s Biscuit Brownies
Not only do baker Lily’s chewy biscuit brownies (biscuits and brownies, united at last!) taste fantastic, Swiss experts have found that chocolate – specifically dark chocolate – reduces the stress hormones cortisol and catecholamine in your body, meaning you could begin to feel calmer within minutes of eating them.
Step 1: In a bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder and salt and set aside.
Step 2: Melt the butter and chocolate in a double boiler or bowl over a pan of boiling water. Remove from the heat once melted and stir. Set aside and allow to cool a little.
Step 3: Beat the eggs and sugar together for 2-3 minutes, until pale and slightly thickened. Fold in the chocolate mix, then stir in the flour mix. Refrigerate for 40 minutes. Preheat the oven to 180?C/gas 4
Step 4: Remove bowl from the fridge. Scoop up dessert-sized chunks of dough, round them with your hands and press them onto a lined baking tray, leaving a 5cm gap between each of them. Press almond flakes on top of each and bake for 10-12 minutes, until the tops are shiny and cracked.
Peggy Porschen’s Lemon and Raspberry cupcakes
Not only are these cupcakes yummy, the smell of fresh lemon has been found to directly affect neurotransmitters in the brain, boosting levels of serotonin, the feel-good hormone. Eat up.
Makes: 24 cupcakes
For the icing:
For the sponge:
For the sugar syrup:
Step 1: Preheat the oven to 175?C/gas 4. Start with the icing, beat the cream cheese in a bowl until smooth. In a separate bowl, cream butter, icing sugar and lemon zest. Add cream cheese to butter mixture and mix. Chill until set.
Step 2: For the cupcakes, cream butter, sugar, salt and lemon zest in a bowl. Whisk in beaten eggs, sift in flour and stir. Pour batter into muffin cases in a muffin tray. Drop 3 raspberries into each cupcake. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until golden brown.
Step 3: For the sugar syrup, boil lemon juice with caster sugar in a pan, then set aside to cool.
Step 4: Once the baked cupcakes have cooled for 10 minutes, brush the tops with sugar syrup while they are still slightly warm.
Step 5: Pipe a swirl of icing onto each cupcake. Top with a raspberry.
John Whaite’s Cranberry, Orange and Macadamia Nut Buns
The energy expended in kneading the dough can reduce cortisol and adrenaline levels and quell anger.
For the bread:
For the filling and glaze:
Step 1: Place flour in a bowl and stir in salt, sugar and yeast.
Step 2: Beat water, milk and egg. Add to flour along with butter. Mix well with a fork. Using your hands squeeze dough for a minute.
Step 3: Turn dough onto worktop and knead for 10 minutes.
Step 4: Drizzle oil into a bowl, roll dough in it, cover with cling film, let it rise in a warm place for an hour.
Step 5: Tip dough onto floured worktop. Roll into a rectangle. Spread on butter, sprinkle with sugar, nuts, cranberries and zest.
Step 6: Roll dough tightly. Trim and slice into 12 discs. Arrange in a deep tray. Cover with cling film and allow to rise for 45 minutes.
Step 7: Preheat oven to 220?C/ gas 7. Meanwhile, for the glaze put the icing sugar, water and liquer in a pan, boil, then simmer for a minute.
Step 8: Uncover dough and bake for 20 minutes, brush with two-thirds of glaze.
Step 9: Cool, separate and brush with remaining glaze.