When we think of baking, most of us picture long, slow Sunday afternoons spent meticulously measuring, mixing, and making a masterpieces of cookies, cupcakes, and bread. But it's said that of any truth the opposite is also true, which means that time for baking can also be found in quick bursts and in between moments, even on a weeknight.
Weeknight baking is more utilitiarian fare, to be sure. It's the one-bowl muffins you mix up to serve with slow cooker chili or a quick batch of biscuits to serve with soup. Weeknight baking isn't any less beautiful or satisfying than weekend baking — the process just looks different. But in the end you're still making something delicious to share. With that in mind, here are five of our favorite weeknight baking recipes that help make dinner more special.
Lean on Savory Quick Breads
Muffins and quick breads, like banana or zucchini bread, don't have to be reserved just for breakfast. In fact, savory muffins are one of the fastest baking recipes we can think of. If you fill them with vegetables and serve them with a hearty side salad, they can totally work as dinner. The secret to making them even more weeknight-friendly is to grate any vegetables going into the batter so they don't require any additional cooking before baking.
Make Your Own Dinner Magic with Freezer Favorites
Anything that you make ahead and store in the freezer can lend itself to dinner miracles. By making a batch of biscuits or flatbread ahead of time and freezing them for later, you've got a gift for your future self when dinner starts to feel impossible. Freezing unbaked baked goods for longer-term storage means that you can bake as many or as few as you need and they'll taste freshly made.
Try it: Tuesday Night Freezer Biscuits
Add Some Extra Rise to Your Week
That's a yeast joke, you guys. Practically speaking, yeast-risen dough isn't entirely out of the question on a Wednesday night — you just need more yeast to get things going. A quick dinner roll or a cheesy garlic knot is possible on a weeknight, as long as you understand that you need yeast, and plenty of it, and about an hour of rise time.
Get that cheese pull: Wednesday Night Cheesy Garlic Knots
Feed a Crowd with Sheet Pan Baking
We love sheet pan baking for its ability to quickly satisfy a crowd. Need an easy cake for a midweek celebration? Sheet pan cake! Need cornbread for a crowd of kids? Sheet pan cornbread to the rescue! Because these baked goods are in a thin, even layer, they bake and cool faster than their traditional counterparts.
Get baking: Thursday Night Sheet Pan Cornbread
Make Fan Favorites, Faster
We have pizza at home most Friday nights, but occasionally I forget to start the dough ahead of time and do not want to wait an hour for delivery pizza. Making a simple yeast dough (again with plenty of yeast for a fast rise) means I can skip delivery (and save some dough) while still making pizzas everyone will love.
Here's to pizza Friday: Friday Night Flatbreads