You may not realize it, but many essential therapeutic techniques can be accessed right in your own kitchen. In Mind over Batter, licensed psychotherapist and master baker Jack Hazan guides you through 75 simple, healing recipes that can help you tap into whatever you might be going through that day.
Inspired by the Syrian and Middle Eastern baked goods he grew up with, along with his take on classic American desserts, recipes are organized into themed chapters based on common life moments and needs.
- In need of connection? Make some Pesto Pull-Apart Bread to share with your loved ones.
- Looking for a way to release some anxiety? Knead away your stress with a Chocolate Babka Crunch.
- Simply in need of some self-care? Whip up a single-serving indulgence like a Devil’s Food Mug Cake.
Throughout each chapter are invaluable exercises and “quick sessions” that connect baking processes to the evidence-based therapy tools Jack Hazan uses in his practice every day.
UNIQUE TAKE ON SELF-CARE: This is a different way to get a sweet dose of self-care—baking-as-therapy is really just a problem-solving approach to mental health. Although it is not intended to serve as a replacement for traditional psychotherapy/psychiatric treatment, the 75 recipes relate to psychological problems people go through, including connecting with others, practicing self-care and self-esteem, dealing with disappointment, exercising mindfulness, and feeling your feelings.
EXPERT ADVICE: Licensed psychotherapist Jack Hazan has an engaged online audience with an interest in both his baked goods company and psychotherapy practice. He posts weekly baking videos and weekly therapy “advice” videos. He is known for connecting with his audience on an intimate level, and his videos and techniques are well-received and trusted.
SUPER APPROACHABLE: These recipes are easy to follow and fuss-free, but different enough to speak directly to whatever you might be going through. No recipe contains so many steps that the task of finishing feels daunting or demands complicated techniques that prevent you from making progress. As a psychotherapist, Jack Hazan’s goal is to help you focus on one thing at a time. In baking, you take recipes one step at a time, too.
- Home bakers of all ages
- People looking for new ways to think about self-care and mental health
- Procrastibakers or stress cooks
Mind over Batter: 75 Recipes for Baking as Therapy Hardcover by
Stress-less Banana Pudding Trifle
It doesn’t take a pastry chef to make a trifle; the work is practically done for you. It’s impossible to mess up. Just dump the ingredients in a bowl, preferably in aesthetically pleasing layers—but you do you, my dear. This recipe is so nonstressful that you can throw it together at a moment’s notice. Did you forget about that dinner party you agreed to go to tonight? No problem. Whip up this trifle in the morning, let it set in the fridge, and then head out the door!
1 cup [200 g] granulated sugar
¼ cup [35 g] cornstarch
4 egg yolks
3½ cups [840 ml] whole milk
1½ cups [360 ml] heavy cream
½ tsp fine sea salt
pinch of ground cinnamon
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
6 or 7 large underripe bananas, peeled and sliced (see Note)
about 44 vanilla wafer cookies (a little more than half a box of Nilla Wafers), plus extra for decorating
2 tbsp powdered sugar
- In a large bowl, whisk ¼ cup [50 g] of the granulated sugar, the cornstarch, and egg yolks.
- In a medium saucepan, combine the milk, ½ cup [120 ml] of the heavy cream, the remaining ¾ cup [150 g] of granulated sugar, the sea salt, and cinnamon and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Remove the heated milk from the stove, and using a ladle, slowly add a spoonful of the hot milk into the egg mixture, whisking constantly to prevent the eggs from cooking (this is called tempering). Repeat with a few move ladlefuls, until the outside of the bowl is warm to the touch. Carefully pour the mixture back into the saucepan and bring to a boil. Boil, whisking constantly, for 3 minutes, or until thickened. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter, vanilla, and vanilla paste. Set aside for 15 minutes to cool slightly.
- Spread ½ cup [120 g] of the pudding in a 9 in [23 cm] clear square baking dish. (I use a Pyrex baking dish but you can make individual portions in stemless wineglasses or double the recipe and use a glass trifle dish.) Add one-third of the sliced bananas in an even layer. Add half the cookies in an even layer and then spread 1 cup [240 ml] of the pudding on top. Add half of the remaining bananas, then another 1 cup [240 ml] of pudding, and then top with the remaining bananas. Top with the remaining cookies and remaining pudding. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 6 hours and up to overnight. (Letting it set overnight is what makes it taste so wonderful—the bananas magically ripen a little bit and the cookies soften so it is one consistent texture.)
- When ready to serve, beat the remaining 1 cup [240 ml] of heavy cream and the powdered sugar until stiff peaks form. Spread on top of the trifle and then decorate with the extra cookies, crushing some for crumbs and placing some whole ones on top. Store leftovers in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 2 days.
Note: Use underripe bananas here (slightly green on the end, with no black spots). Don’t cut them all up at once—as you layer, you may realize you need not need all of them. It’s OK to use store-bought whipped cream if it relieves stress (no judgment here). Keep the pudding covered tightly; if it is exposed to air, the bananas will brown.
Baking affirmation: Today, I will let go of expectations and allow myself to be open to the journey.
Recipe reprinted with permission from Chronicle Books.