Baking to de-stress
For many, baking and cooking are relaxing pastimes that result in a tasty treat to be shared with family and friends. As a student pharmacist in Iowa, my friends and I would celebrate the end of semesters or big exams with homemade treats, fondue, or charcuterie boards, as well as recipes discovered on Pinterest. The process of taking the time to buy ingredients at the grocery store and preparing them together was a luxury that we didn’t have every day due to all the demands of pharmacy school. It was always a special occasion when we met to celebrate small those victories.
I moved to the Washington, DC, metro area this past July to begin my year-long residency with APhA, which came with some level of discomfort as I navigated living in a large city. I could no longer drive 5 minutes down the road to Hy-Vee for groceries, which took some getting used to! I also challenged myself to try new foods whenever possible, which hasn’t been hard to do while exploring the city.
While adjusting to postgraduate life in DC, I turned to baking and cooking as ways to decompress.
A sense of well-being
Whatever your de-stressing mechanisms are, it’s important to prioritize and incorporate them into your weekly schedule to maintain a sense of well-being in our often-hectic lives.
Here’s one of my favorite dessert recipes to make during the holiday season. Happy holidays and happy baking!
Ginger snap cookies
1/2 cup softened butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup molasses
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/3 cup granulated sugar, for rolling
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
2. In a large bowl, cream butter and brown sugar together. Mix in beaten egg and molasses.
3. In a separate bowl, sift the dry ingredients together.
4. Gradually mix dry ingredients into the butter mixture until well-blended.
5. Chill dough in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 hours.
6. Use a teaspoon to scoop small pieces of dough and roll into 1 ½ inch balls. Roll balls in sugar and place 2 inches apart on cookie sheet, flattening each ball slightly.
7. Bake for 12 to 14 minutes; cookies should be cooked through without getting browned.
8. Let cookies cool on pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack.
Bella Blankenship, PharmD, is a 2022–2023 APhA executive resident in Washington, DC. She enjoys exploring her new city with friends, including going to concerts and new restaurants whenever possible. She loves to spend time outside and try out new recipes to share with friends and family.