Top Five Favorite Things to Bake

1. Lemon Cake
The recipe is slightly tedious, and there are lots of dishes to be dirtied, but if I've had a stressful week and I really want to unwind in the kitchen for half a day, this is the recipe I reach for. It's a huge plus because it's amazingly delicious, and everyone loves it, so it's naturally my go-to for dinner parties in the Spring and Summer. It's worth every single bit of work.

2. Breads: Zucchini, Banana
When I think back on cooking and baking with my mom, banana bread is the one thing I remember vividly. My mom made the best banana bread, and she taught me how to do it, too. When I was a little older she started making zucchini bread as well. I've seen taken the basic recipe and ran with it, and it's such a comfort food to me. My new favorite is Brand's mom's zucchini bread recipe, adapted of course.

3. Pumpkin: Loaf, Cookies, Muffins
There aren't very many things I love more than pumpkin flavored anything. It makes such a difference to puree the pumpkin yourself, and since I started a little over a year ago, I can't stop. The dense layers of flavor, filled with warm, comforting spices remind me of nights cuddled in front of a fire with a delicious book.

4. Seasonal Pies
I've never really had a huge love for pies, but for some reason, I really enjoy making them. Maybe it's because pie is so simple and straight forward, but can provide complex and fresh flavors. In the fall, I (of course) love a good pumpkin or apple pie. In the summer, though, I absolutely swoon over strawberry-rhubarb pie... **Teaser: Baking pumpkin pie tonight--look for recipe soon!**

5. Cookies
The first thing I really started experimenting with on my own as a kid in the kitchen was cookies. I haven't made cookies forever, but the process is so integrated into my mind, that it's a very soothing thing to make. I could probably make Oatmeal-Raisin Cookies with my eyes shut. Sometimes my mom would have peanut butter cookies waiting for us, hot out of the oven, when we came running inside from taking the bus home. Every time I burn my mouth with a hot, crumbling cookie, fresh out of the oven, I'm reminded of that.

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