I Cooked With An Easy-Bake Oven For A Week And Here's What Happened

Welcome to Easy Sarah's Bakery.

Posted on
Hasbro / Via youtube.com

I got my first Easy-Bake when I was 10 years old. Like any new toy, I played with it obsessively for three months before moving on to something cooler, like American Girl Dolls. That doesn't make it any less special to me. Every time I see that oven, a nostalgia wave washes over me and I wish I could just lie back and drown in the memories.

amazon.com

Fifteen years later, I still ascribe to the “just add water” cooking philosophy. Easy Mac? Check. Rice? Yes. Cooking real food? No. I don’t have the patience or the time.

Then one day, whilst perusing Amazon, the stars aligned in my “recommended for you” section. I learned that in the year 2015, the Easy-Bake Oven makes an actual meal: pizza. Pretzels, too! Things have really changed. Kids today can be the chefs of their own meal destiny. They are apparently making themselves meals more complicated than ones I make for myself.

I clicked away and returned to searching for doggy dental floss (doesn't exist). But even after I closed my laptop and went on with my day, I couldn't stop thinking about that Easy-Bake Pizza. If kids can bake their own pizzas using Easy-Bake, why couldn’t I? I’m like, double a kid. I’m an adult. Surely a device created for kids would be simple and easy enough for me to use.

Given the proper (children’s) tools, couldn't I also make my own meals?

Couldn't I provide myself with something I haven't had since high school: a week of home-cooked meals?

New Line Cinema

Yes. YES I CAN.

Plus, the lightbulbs of our youth have now been replaced by fluorescent lamps, which means the oven *should* be able to cook to a temperature of 375 degrees! REAL FOOD, HERE I COME!

Day 1: Pizza!

Sarah Burton/Buzzfeed

I decided that my first Easy-Bake meal would be cheese pizza. I love pizza Lunchables, and figured this would not be much different.

First I unboxed the Easy-Bake and took out all the ingredients. The oven itself had a distinct, plasticky smell, which made me think I should scrub it. But I'm lazy, so I didn't.

Then I made the marinara sauce. When I took it out of the package, it was a white powder. When I added water, it turned red. Some food purists would call that disgusting, but I call it magic.

Next up was the dough.

I had questions about the "Egg Wash Mix" but like a good kid, I decided to keep them to myself. But when I saw that the instructions said to put the cheese in a bag and squeeze it out onto the pizza, I said, "Get the fuck out." Instead, I sort of smudged the cheese on top and prepared the pizzas for entry into the oven.

I let the pizza "bake" for 20 minutes and then pushed it out of the oven, only to find that it hadn't baked at all. Apparently you have to push the pizza into the very middle part for it to cook. I pushed the pizza into the very specific, correct place and waited for my tiny pizza babies to finish.

There is no timer in Easy-Bake land, so I checked the pizzas three times over an hour, waiting for the pizzas to look even a little crisp. Finally, once I saw the slightest shade of brown, I took them out.

Here’s what the pizza bird bites looked like!

Toys R Us/Sarah Burton/Charlotte Gomez/Buzzfeed / Via toysrus.com

I took pictures of them and then put them in my mouth. Somehow, after nearly an hour, they still weren’t cooked all the way. Honestly, nothing in the concoction even tasted like food. The egg wash flavoring was strong.

An hour later I headed out to do a show. During this time, a stomachache grew inside my belly like a demon-child. I don’t have a weak stomach — I eat LOTS of candy and LOTS of carbs. Sometimes I punch myself in the stomach just to remind it who’s boss.

My stomach never flinches. But this was too much. Shortly before I had to go onstage, I vomited.

The Easy-Bake Cheese Pizza returned from whence it came: the toilet.

Easy-Bake Cheese Pizza Rating: 1/5 stars ⭐*

*One star is automatically awarded for existence, nothing more.

Day 2: Party Pretzel Dippers

Sarah Burton/Buzzfeed

I know what you're thinking. Is this really a meal? Well, I often eat Auntie Anne's pretzels for lunch, so yes, this is a meal. Plus there's a cheese-like side dish, so there's my fill of calcium for the day.

Like the marinara sauce, the cheese sauce magically changed color with the addition of water. I had some trouble rolling the the dough into tiny pretzels. I may have small, delicate fingers, but that didn't make it any easier.

I put the pretzels in the oven. I took them out. I put them in the oven again. I took them out. The pretzels would not cook. I took my dog for a walk. I came back. I decided they had to be done. I plated them and sat down.

Hasbro/Sarah Burton/Charlotte Gomez/Buzzfeed / Via hasbro.com

In what seemed to be an emerging Easy-Bake theme, the pretzels never fully cooked. The cheese was weird and salty. I’ve baked pretzels before, so I know these don’t look right.

Easy-Bake Pretzel Dippers: 1/5 Stars ⭐

Day 3: Chocolate Chip Cookies

hasbro.com

I've often heard that the more colorful your meal, the healthier it is. However, I only got a chocolate chip cookie mix free with my Easy-Bake Oven. There would be no pink sugar cookies for me.

No instructional box came with these packets, so I had to look up how to make them.

Somehow, there are TWELVE steps to Easy-Bake's chocolate chip cookies.

hasbro.com

Step 1: Lift your hand. Step 2: Move your hand to packet. Step 3: Open packet. Step 4: Pour packet into bowl. Step 5: Why are you even still reading this?

I made the damn cookies.

Hasbro/Sarah Burton/Charlotte Gomez/Buzzfeed / Via hasbro.com

You know what? These were pretty good. Not as good as, say, actual chocolate chip cookies, but I could eat a box of these while sitting in front of my computer. Unfortunately, the batch only made six quarter-size cookies, which is hardly enough for dinner, let alone dessert. I was forced to supplement my meal with outside cookies. Nevertheless, in the darkness that had been my Easy-Bake experience thus far, these cookies cast a flickering light.


Easy-Bake Chocolate Chip Cookies: 3/5 Stars ⭐⭐⭐

Day 4: This Has Gone Too Far

Cartoon Network

I woke up feeling pretty gross. What started out as a "quirky, cute, and fun" experiment was getting less and less Zooey by the day. Clearly this wasn't working and I didn't want to starve, so I consulted a nutritionist who specializes in making healthier versions of traditional recipes to see what she could offer me.

Shelly Marie Redmond, M.S., R.D., LDN, is a dietitian, cook, and blogger at Skinny Louisiana. I chose Shelly because she says she doesn't "do difficult, complicated, or hours in the kitchen." Plus she specializes in Cajun food, which I'm all about.

Shelly assured me that I could use the Easy-Bake Oven with a lot of regular recipes. With it, she said, you get "temperatures of 375 — so very similar to our regular ovens." My pretzel sticks begged to differ.

I took the recipes Shelly gave me and picked three favorites. For the first time this week (and... in my life?), I would mix more than water and a powder into a bowl and cook actual food.

Day 5: Skinny Cajun Meatballs

skinnylouisiana.com

Ingredients:

1 pound ground sirloin

1 teaspoon of Louisiana hot sauce

2 teaspoons of Cajun seasoning

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

⅛ cup Panko bread crumbs, crushed

⅛ cup Fiber One cereal, crushed

¼ cup milk

1 egg


Preparation:

Preheat [Easy-Bake Oven].

Coat baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray.

In a large bowl, combine ground sirloin, hot sauce, Cajun seasoning, Worcestershire sauce, panko bread crumbs, Fiber One, milk, and egg.

Using a tablespoon, scoop mixture and mold into meatballs.

Place on baking sheet.

Bake in [Easy-Bake] oven for 15 to 20 minutes.

Serve.

Personal Notes:

I don't know what ground sirloin is. Honestly, the grocery store is a terrifying place for me. I could walk around for hours looking for things and never find them. They're like Ikeas for food. I ended up purchasing 90% lean ground beef, which I believe is the healthiest of the ground beefs.

Skinny Louisiana/Sarah Burton/Charlotte Gomez/Buzzfeed / Via skinnylouisiana.com

Maybe I was hysterical by this point, but I think I loved these. I think the only tweak I would make is to add more hot sauce. Still, I will definitely be making these again. I could imagine these being served as an appetizer at a wedding (please invite me to your wedding).

Skinny Cajun Meatballs Rating: 5/5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Day 6: Skinny Cajun Parmesan Cauliflower Bites

skinnylouisiana.com

I chose this recipe next because it meant I didn't have to buy a bunch of new ingredients. See? Laziness can sometimes save you money.

Ingredients:

½ head cauliflower, cut into bite-size florets

¾ cup of panko bread crumbs, crushed

¾ cup of Fiber One, crushed

½ cup parmesan cheese, grated

1 teaspoon Tony’s Creole seasoning

2 eggs, whisked

Preparation:

Preheat [Easy-Bake Oven].

Combine panko bread crumbs, Fiber One, parmesan cheese, and Tony’s in a bowl.

Dip cauliflower pieces into whisked egg, roll into crumb mixture, place on lined backing sheet. Continue until all cauliflower is coated.

Bake for 12–15 minutes OR until crunchy. Serve.

Personal Notes:

I had to cut the cauliflowers into thin slices in order to get them to fit into my child's oven.

Crunchy!

Skinny Louisiana/Sarah Burton/Charlotte Gomez/Buzzfeed / Via skinnylouisiana.com

I’m not a cauliflower fan, and this recipe definitely made it more edible for me. I think the Easy-Bake Oven wasn’t really cooking these all the way through, which just furthers my belief that it never truly reaches 375 degrees. I probably wouldn’t go for this recipe again, just because I would rather Cajun-bread something else. Like chicken.

Skinny Cajun Parmesan Cauliflower Bites Rating: 3/5 stars ⭐⭐⭐

Day 7: Skinny Sweet Potato Tarts

skinnylouisiana.com

Ingredients:

4 sweet potatoes, cooked, peeled, and mashed

3/4 cup of sugar

6 large egg yolks, lightly beaten

1/8 teaspoon of salt

1 teaspoon of cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon of ground nutmeg

2 tablespoons of whipped butter

1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce

1 (12 ounce) can fat-free evaporated milk

2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Directions:

Preheat [Easy-Bake Oven].

[If you bought unmashed sweet potatoes, peel and microwave the potato for five minutes. Then mash it until you get tired.]

In a bowl, combine sweet potato, sugar, egg yolk, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, whipped butter, applesauce, evaporated milk, and vanilla.

Divide filling among cupcake/muffin pan. Bake 25–35 minutes.

Serve.

Personal Notes:

I didn't have the actual Easy-Bake Oven cupcake pans, so I improvised by taking a stack of mini cupcake paper baking cups and cutting them in half, height-wise. If they're too tall, they won't fit into the Easy-Bake Oven. I also did not/could not find fat-free evaporated milk (what even is that?), so I used regular skim milk. That's still healthy, right?

Skinny Louisiana/Sarah Burton/Charlotte Gomez/Buzzfeed / Via skinnylouisiana.com

I probably gave up on the mashing of the potatoes too early, but the tart still turned out well! I liked it and my boyfriend also said “this is good,” which is the first time he has ever complimented my cooking.


Skinny Sweet Potato Tarts Recipe: 5/5 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Do I recommend the Easy-Bake Oven to adults?

View this video on YouTube

youtube.com

No, no I don't. That would be ridiculous.

My takeaway is this: Adults should learn how to cook real food in a real oven. And if you don't want your kid to end up like me (inept and unhealthy), don't let them cook crappy cookies with an Easy-Bake Oven. Better to give them the tools to cook and eat healthy for their entire lives — something which I now have more motivation than ever to do, after eating a week's worth of meals made in an Easy-Bake Oven.