How My Friends and I Planned a Quarantine Bake Swap

It's our way of staying connected right now.

May 06, 2020

Photo by: Lauren Tom

Lauren Tom

For those who have been baking up a storm lately – you’re not alone. These past few weeks have given me the opportunity to cook and bake my favorite foods and even master a few recipes I’ve been wanting to try for the longest time. I’ve gone from classic chocolate chip cookies, to an experimental lemon loaf and my latest adventure: the Belgian waffle.

Spending more time in the kitchen and baking religiously on the weekends have brought me closer to food than ever before! The only problem? The more I bake the more I have to eat. Under normal circumstances that wouldn't be an issue but I'm baking way more than our two-person household can eat. Last time we tried, we had to break out the tums! And, nobody wants to eat the same thing over and over, even if it is delicious.

Luckily, a few of my friends were in the same exact boat. All over Instagram, I would see beautiful photos and step-by-step videos of their latest baking projects, from decadent cakes and intricate pies to beautiful loaves of crusty sourdough.

I messaged my one friend after she snapped a pic of her homemade soft pretzels on her Instagram story, jokingly asking if she does delivery and seriously asking for advice on working with yeast. A few hours later, my doorbell rang, and a box of pretzels appeared on my front steps and my friend was waving from her car! In return she got a slice of my lemon cake — I couldn’t have her leave empty-handed.

Later that night, my friend and I discussed how fun it had been to exchange our baked goods and interact with each other (even in the smallest way.) Could we do it again? We scrambled to think of other friends who were in the same baking predicament and who lived in close enough proximity to take part in the drop-off routine. Soon we had formed a group message on Facebook and called ourselves The Sisterhood of the Traveling Dough 😂.

Photo by: Lauren Tom

Lauren Tom

The four of us were ecstatic that we had found a place to continue our baking and share our yummy creations. We decided that Sundays would be best to do the #bakeswap since none of us work that day. Then we picked a designated time and place for everyone to safely drop-off their food.

Before getting started, we thought of some ground rules because every sisterhood has them (have you watched The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants?!)

  1. We would alternate the drop-off location between all our houses to make the traveling fair.
  2. The #bakeswap would take place every other week.
  3. Everything needed to be tightly sealed and packaged.
  4. Everyone would attach a note and the recipe to their baked goods.
  5. We would all consider taking a trip to Greece one day (since we couldn't get the movie out of our heads!).

Photo by: Lauren Tom

Lauren Tom

Our first #bakeswap was a success! Everyone arrived at my apartment and, one by one, each person dropped their bundle of snacks onto a tray that I had placed on my steps outside. Then we took turns taking one package of each baked good, so everyone had the same mix of treats. It was great to see all the different ways of packaging and the cute notes that my friends and I had left for each other. Even though this only gave us a limited amount of time to interact, it felt good to know that even a small baked good exchange could bring us closer. And it definitely solved all of our big-batch baking issues!

I can’t wait for our next exchange.

Thinking of hosting your own #bakeswap? Need a little inspiration? Here’s all the baked goods we scored on our first round:

Photo by: Lauren Tom

Lauren Tom

Coffee Cake Crumble (My Recipe)

Breakfast/brunch is definitely my favorite meal of the day! So, it's no surprise that I wanted to bake something that you can enjoy with your morning coffee. A couple days ago I was craving a piece of coffee cake (like this one) — the kind that you get at the diner (with all that delicious, crumbly topping) but didn't want to bake a whole tray for just myself. That's why it was the perfect recipe to share for our #bakeswap! I thought the crumble would be the most difficult part turned out pretty easy when you use your hands to break up the pieces.

Photo by: Lauren Tom

Lauren Tom

Chocolate Chip Shortbread Cookies (from my friend, Janice)

Janice said, "I wanted to make something sweet since I thought everyone would go the savory route! Chocolate chip shortbread is a super easy recipe that only requires basic pantry ingredients. Plus, if you don't want to use so much butter, you can easily halve the recipe. Best served with a big pot of tea!"

Photo by: Lauren Tom

Lauren Tom

Sourdough Cinnamon Rolls (from my friend, Cat)

Cat says, "Homemade cinnamon rolls (like these ones) can seem daunting because you need to wait for the dough to rise. However, when I was making these, I used that time to catch up on work. That way, when they came out of the oven, I was free to enjoy my sweet treat while binge-watching my favorite show."

Photo by: Lauren Tom

Lauren Tom

Moist Cornbread (from my friend, Madison)

Madison says, "There’s nothing better than a warm piece of cornbread with butter. It’s pure comfort, which is why I decided to make it for my friends. We all need a little bit of comfort right now. My secret ingredient for making this cornbread moist is sour cream. It sounds weird but I’m telling you it works!"

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