With all of the recent hype over social media about how to prepare your own easy recipes, the countless videos on my Facebook feed have caused me to reflect upon my roots: my Easy-Bake Oven.
You’re lying if you say you never used one of these bad boys, or at the very least wished that you had. It’s the OG little girls’ toy that prepared kids across America for their futures of having to cook for themselves one day by warming food with a hazard-free light bulb inside of a plastic oven.
With that being said, I recently was pondering what it actually was we were eating as little kids that could have been easy enough for a child to prepare and safe enough to be made into packaged powder to which you only need to add water. On top of that, just like most of my favorite childhood TV shows, I assumed that the food probably isn’t as amazing or magical as I remember it to be.
So naturally I decided to whip out my Real Meal Oven and give it a go.
Since I am pretty impaired when it comes to anything related to cooking (I can hardly make Easy Mac), I figured I’m about the same level as the targeted user… an elementary school-aged girl. Although they have changed the design of the oven and the shape of the pans, I still used the oven that was buried in the depths of my garage storage room for authenticity.
As of 2011, Easy-Bake Ovens no longer use light bulbs in favor of more high-tech heating elements, and I wanted to try to keep it as accurate as possible. I did, however, buy myself some new mixes.
The first experiment was chocolate chip cookie sandwiches with chocolate frosting in the middle. They started out looking like any other chocolate chip cookie mix, but just much, much smaller.
With a little bit of water, they turned into the world’s tiniest balls of cookie dough. It may be hard to tell, but these little desserts are so small, they could be the next new dieting fad.
I turned on my plastic timer, pushed in the pan with my plastic spatula, and sat in anticipation for 9 minutes while that little light bulb worked its magic. After what felt like an eternity, my creation was complete.
Once I added the chocolate frosting, they evolved into the most beautiful bite-sized cookie sandwiches to ever grace the presence of an Easy Bake Oven baker. Pure excellence.
All jokes aside, these cookies were actually quite good. They aren’t quite at the level of the big, gooey cookies from Levain Bakery or Mom’s homemade recipe, but they definitely hit the spot. Although these cookies were easy enough, I’ll probably stick with much easier no-bake dessert recipes like these from now on.
With so much success, I decided to try my next experiment: Easy Bake soft pretzels. This recipe consisted of 4 packages: dough, salt, egg wash mix, and a nacho cheese dipping sauce. The complexity of all of the different packages was a little bit daunting, but I pushed my fear aside and got to work.
The “savory” (rather than sweet) mixes, to be frank, were a little bit gross. In particular, the egg wash mix looked like this:
Luckily, the dough was completely normal and I formed it into little pretzel shapes to the best of my ability. After brushing my creation with egg wash mix and sprinkling it with salt, I waited eagerly for them to finally be finished.
To my surprise, they actually resembled tiny soft pretzels. To give you a better representation of how miniature all of this food was, I used a quarter for reference.
The most undeniably scary part was next: creating the cheese sauce. The powder in the package resembled the cheese from Easy Mac but once water was added, it got much, much thicker.
I couldn’t bring myself to actually taste the nacho cheese, however, the pretzels turned out to be pretty tasty. They were a little bit bland, but, like the cookies, definitely hit the spot. An excellent dining experience to say the least. If you’re still feeling nostalgic, here’s an entire list of recipes you can make that will remind you of your childhood.