When I was little, some of my favorite shows could be found on one channel: the Food Network.
Now that I’m older, though, I no longer just sit in front of the television watching people create masterpieces out of food. Rather, I’m in the kitchen baking my own dishes that I get to share with others. Because food — specifically cakes, cookies, and baked goods — always seems to taste better when shared with company.
Besides the end result being delicious sweet treats, baking can actually improve your happiness. As Business Insider explains, baking is a form of therapy for some, capable of curing stress and expressing gratitude.
I’ve shared the following three recipes perfect for stress-free quality time with friends. So gather some of your buds, get your ingredients, and try baking some of these tasty desserts.
Peanut Butter Luster Pie
If you love Reese’s peanut butter cups, this pie is for you.
Heads up: this recipe has a lot of steps (12 to be exact). But, that is the perfect reason to invite your friends over to help! Plus, you can all enjoy the quality time in between each step.
1 frozen pie crust (Pillsbury’s Pet-Ritz crust is absolutely amazing —it tastes just like homemade crusts!)
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, divided
1 cup + 2 tablespoons butter, divided
3 tablespoons water
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup smooth peanut butter
12 ounces frozen whipped topping
3 tablespoons milk
1 1/2 teaspoons light corn syrup
- Dock the pie crust with a fork and bake according to the directions on the package.
- After the crust is completely cooled, melt 1/2 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips, 1 tablespoon of butter and 3 tablespoons of water into a medium saucepan before adding 1/4 cup of powdered sugar.
- Stir the mixture until it is silky and spreadable. (If needed, add more water until you reach a desired consistency.)
- Pour the chocolate into the pie crust and smooth it out around the sides and bottom.
- Let this layer set by putting the pie into the refrigerator for about an hour.
- Melt 1 cup of butter with 1 cup of brown sugar over medium heat. Allow the mixture to fully combine, stirring constantly. Then, refrigerate it for 10 minutes.
- Once cooled, add the mixture to peanut butter and frozen whipped topping in a large mixing bowl.
- Spoon the filling into the pie crust. (You will have some left over, but hold on to it because you will use it later.)
- Allow this layer to set by refrigerating it for another hour or so.
- Melt 1/2 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips, 1 tablespoon of butter, 3 tablespoons of milk and 1 1/2 teaspoons of light corn syrup. Once smooth and spreadable, add it on top of the peanut butter layer.
- Decorate the top of the pie with the leftover filling (or eat it plain with a spoon — I won’t tell anyone).
- Refrigerate the pie for two hours.
Makes 8–10 servings.
Butter Shortbread Cookies
For those who like dessert, but aren’t looking for truly sweet treats, these are a good option. And for the ladies out there, these can take you back to the Downton Abbey days of grown-up tea parties.
2 sticks of salted butter (at room temperature)
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
- Preheat your oven to 350°F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- In an electric mixer, beat butter with powdered sugar until light and fluffy.
- Slowly add in flour until a dough forms. (Note: your dough will be extremely crumbly, but don’t worry — all good shortbread cookies begin this way.)
- On a surface dusted with powdered sugar, shape the dough into a ball and roll out to a 1/4-inch thickness.
- Use a round cookie/biscuit cutter to create the cookies and place them onto the baking sheets. (Pro tip: because the cookies will not spread very much, they can be placed closer together on the baking sheets than most other cookies.)
- Bake for about 14–16 minutes, or until the edges are golden brown.
Makes about two dozen cookies.
Greek Yogurt Pancakes
I don’t know about you, but I could eat pancakes all day every day and be completely happy. When making these with friends, try setting up a pancake bar! Offer various toppings, such as chocolate chips, pecans, syrup, or honey. This added level of creativity will make your breakfast bash all the more fun!
1 single-serving container of Greek yogurt (any flavor will do)
3 tablespoons of egg whites (or 1 whole egg)
1/2 cup of flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon (optional)
- Combine the yogurt and egg.
- Add remaining ingredients and stir until thick and smooth. (If your batter is too thick, try thinning it out with some milk.)
- Spray your skillet/griddle with non-stick cooking spray.
- Cook the pancakes on low until little bubbles form.
- Flip, flip, flip!
- Cook until the other side is golden brown.
Makes about two servings.
Whether you’re a professional baker, a home baker, or never cracked an egg in your life, whipping up some tasty food with your friends can be a simple way to stay connected.
After all, gathering together for a meal is one of the best times we can exchange ideas and learn from others.