I love to bake, but my electric hand mixer is on a very high shelf, and even once it's down, it's so daunting — the splatters, the cord-wrangling, all the twisty bits to wash. Which is why I am devoted to these two recipes, which require nothing more high-tech than a mixing bowl and spoon.
Photo: Getty Images / Marco Di Lauro
The trick: both rely on melted butter. (I use a microwave-safe mixing bowl and just melt the butter in the microwave in there, though you can also use a double-boiler.) When baking sweets, the electric mixer is usually for creaming butter and sugar, a process that results in a light, fluffy base for your recipe.
But when the butter is melted, it stirs easily into sugar, requiring neither electrical nor muscular power. (I know you can technically cream butter with a spoon or whisk by hand, but come on.)
This brownie recipe from Epicurious is ostensibly Katharine Hepburn's. It uses baking chocolate instead of cocoa and barely any flour, giving you dense, fudgey brownies that are even better a bit underbaked. (Start checking them around 20 minutes.) They're also easily adaptable to gluten-free — I've had great results replacing the 1/4 cup of flour with 1/8 of coconut flour.
These blondies from Smitten Kitchen are as easy to make as their recipe is easy to memorise: everything's in ones. I love them with chocolate chips, but as the recipe title says, they are "infinitely adaptable," welcoming of all sorts of adaptations and additions. They're infinitely easy, too.