When You Can't Think, Procrastibake

There's work to be done, but sometimes #procrastibaking just feels better. (Photo: Alina Kholopova/Shutterstock)

To procrastibake is to bake something completely unnecessary to avoid doing something you should be doing or just to avoid the cold hard truth of life — and it's a real thing. It's so common that if you search the hashtag procrastibaking on Instagram, you'll find more than 40,000 images of breads, cakes, pies, cupcakes, and cookies, as well as several memes about the habit.

A not-so-new term

The Urban Dictionary added a definition for the habit in 2008. The New York Times says the term procrastibake became widespread around 2018. More recently, it's had a resurgence with other hashtags appearing alongside like #stressbaking #quarantinebaking — a reflection of the times. For some, the focus is specific, like learning the art of baking bread, but for others, it's any form of baking.

Treehugger recipe contributor Jerry James Stone — who develops recipes, writes cookbooks, and has a YouTube cooking channel — is so often in the kitchen that procrastibaking seems like an odd choice, since what's he's putting off is other baking and cooking. But it's still procrastinating.

"Sometimes," he said, "I should be folding laundry or something else."

One of Stone's favorite procrastibaking recipes is White Chocolate Blondies, a coconut-based, gluten-free bar that he demonstrates how to make in the video above.

Still accomplishing something

cinnamon rolls dripping with icing
Imagine waking up to homemade cinnamon rolls you just have to pop in the oven. (Photo: matka_Wariatka/Shutterstock)

Often, a plus side to procrastibaking is you're accomplishing something worthwhile, unlike other procrastination habits like mindlessly watching television or spending hours on social media.

"My procrastibaking is much different from my general baking," said Debbie McCarson of PPP Writing Services (and a former English teacher I had the pleasure of teaching with many years ago). "If I am procrastibaking, I will make something I have not yet mastered, something complex, and something that I can give away. I think on some level, I feel less guilty for procrastinating if I do this since I will be learning and giving — two concepts that I place high value on. Right now I procrastibake mostly yeast breads since it is on my bucket list to learn how to work with yeast.

"I have recently mastered potato rolls, but I'm still learning to make cinnamon buns. I have been procrastibaking a lot lately, and in the last month have made about five dozen cinnamon buns, yet I still don't have it right."

Procrastibaking inspiration

A sliced pumpkin quickbread
This quick bread is like pumpkin pie, but in bread form. (Photo: Jaymi Heimbuch)

The NYT article pointed out that most people procrastibake with ingredients they already have on hand. Running out to the store for ingredients isn't a common part of the procrastination habit. With that in mind, here are a few recipes to get you procrastibaking quickly so you'll still have time to get back to the task you're supposed to be tackling.

Healthy Pumpkin and Spice Quick Bread: If you have a can of pumpkin that's been sitting in your pantry since last holiday season, procrastibake with it.

Lemon Blueberry Muffins: This recipe calls for part all-purpose flour and part white whole-wheat flour, but all-purpose flour can be used entirely if that's all you have. Lemon zest brightens up the flavor of these muffins made with fresh blueberries (or frozen if that's what you happen to have).

Baked Goat Cheese with Crisps: Who says procrastibaking has to result in a sweet treat? Sometimes, it can create a savory one. This simple recipes takes only 30 minutes, for those who want to put off the task at hand for just a short time.

Baking is not my preferred way to procrastinate, but now that I think about it, I made a couple of unplanned chocolate cakes during tax time. My favorite recipe is the tried and true Hershey's "Perfectly Chocolate" Chocolate Cake, using my choice of cocoa powder, and it creates a delicious procrastibaking outcome.