Coronacation Activities: Teaching My Brother to Bake

Article By: Alice Brookston

Over my family and I’s coronacation, I wondered how I should spend all the free-time that I had suddenly ended up with. Eventually I decided I would help out my older brother, Porter. 

Now, I will admit that my brother has a load up book-smarts up his sleeve, but he also is quite lacking in some life-skills. For example, my brother doesn’t know how to bake much more than brownies from a box, and sometimes even that can be a challenge for him.

So this would be my quarantine mission: teach Porter how to bake four new deserts, and hope that they were at least slightly edible in the end. This task would pan out over a few weeks, and any day we had the chance, we would both set aside our online school work to try and bake something new. The four deserts we decided upon ended up being macarons, a checkered cake, a berry pie, and finally, something more simple, just some cookies. Before starting this process Porter commented that, “I’m actually not very excited for this but I don’t think I have a choice either.”

For our first task, we decided to try to make macarons(not to be mistaken with the coconut cookies known as macaroons), a small cookie with an icing filling. We decided that our flavors would be both chocolate and vanilla. So, we cleared our kitchen, found an easy recipe online, and began our first mission. 

Although I would admit that we did not exactly do the most professional job, they actually turned out to be quite tasty. Some were disfigured and didn’t look totally like round circles, but they tasted very yummy anyways.  So, overall a pretty successful attempt for our first time making them.

Next up was a checkered cake. This one was actually a lot of fun, in part because we got to be a lot more creative with it, but also because it just ended up turning out really well. At the beginning we argued a little bit about what colors we wanted to do (he wan’t to do red, white, and blue and I wanted to do galaxy colors), but we eventually settled for red, yellow, and blue.

The beginning stages of making the cake were very simple, but when actually constructing the cake, it was a little more complex. In other words, the cake ended up a little lopsided because it was a three layer cake, and not surprisingly, we are not professional bakers. In the end, it turned out looking very cool, and it tasted amazing, a fact which both of our parents can confirm. 

The next dessert on our list was a berry pie, a food neither of us had ever made before, so there was definitely a learning curve with this one. We were sort of confused at first as to what in the heck we were supposed to be doing, but after looking at some online recipes, we got the hang of how to make everything. It surprisingly didn’t take up all that much time, but to me, personally, it didn’t taste incredible. It made our kitchen smell very nice though while we were making the berry mixture. My family really liked it though so that was a plus, but this dessert was definitely not our favorite.

For our final desert, Porter and I decided to go with something much more simple: snickerdoodle, chocolate chip, and sugar cookies. Porter is leaving in about a month for Westpoint, the United States Military Academy, and because of Covid-19, he wasn’t able to really enjoy his last few months on the West Coast with his friends. So, we thought it would be a fun idea to bake cookies for our friends and drop them off at their houses, so we could say hi, and talk from a safe distance, and obviously wearing a mask as well.

So, we got to work in our kitchen and whipped up a few batches of the cookies, a task which both of us enjoyed significantly more since we were much more skilled in this area of baking. They tasted delicious, and our friends loved them, and it was very good to get to see them again. Porter also said that, “The cookies were 100% my favorite thing that we made.”

For me, personally, it was a very fun experience trying to teach my brother how to bake, and we made some nice memories before he leaves in a few weeks. Porter agreed too that he had fun and said that, “I think my baking skills have increased from a 0 to a solid 2 now.” From both Porter and myself, we hope everyone will stay safe during this scary time, and find even small things to do to help fill the time.

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