"How rude," I thought, when my alarm sounded one morning earlier this month, marking the end of summer and the start of the school year. "How annoying," I thought, as I packed lunchboxes while simultaneously making breakfast.

No matter how well you've prepared, changes in routine, particularly when they involve children, are challenging. That said, being prepared — a freezer stocked with muffins and waffles, a cookie jar bursting with chocolate chippers, a loaf of good sandwich bread on the counter — makes the daily grind a bit less of one. So here are 10 recipes to make right now that might make life a bit sweeter. Is it the weekend, yet?

Doughnut Muffins Photography and styling by Liz Neily
This doughnut-muffin mash-up will make any morning better.

1) Doughnut Muffins 

Let me be frank: School-day mornings in my house are … not easy. But these doughnuts in muffin’s clothing, with a glittering crown of cinnamon-sugar, help to smooth the rough edges and get everyone out the door with a smile on their faces. 

Pizza Braid John Sherman
This riff on pizza is kid-approved.

2) Pizza Braid 

Are your kids sanguine about sandwiches? Blasé about burritos? Try this savory pizza braid instead. Made with cheesy dough that’s spiked with our Better Cheddar Cheese Powder (which is also awesome on popcorn) and flavored with pizza seasoning, it has a filling of tomato sauce, more cheese, and your favorite toppings. 

Classic Sourdough Pancakes or Waffles Kristen Teig
Make weekday mornings more delicious by keeping a cache of waffles in your freezer.

3) Classic Sourdough Waffles 

One of Test Kitchen Director (and Mother-Of-The-Year) Sarah Jampel’s secret school day weapons is a cache of waffles in her freezer, ready and waiting to be deployed on a hectic morning. This fall, I’m going to follow her lead; the waffles can be reheated in the toaster without thawing. This recipe uses sourdough discard and can be made with all-purpose, whole wheat, or gluten-free flours, too. And if you don’t want to make your own from scratch, try our Diner-Style Pancake and Waffle Mix, which makes an easy thing even easier. 

Fudge Brownies Photography and food styling by Liz Neily
Make a pan of these brownies and you'll have bite-size treats for days and days.

4) Fudge Brownies 

I like to tuck little notes into my kids’ lunchboxes. They may think they’re sweet, but I’m betting they’re more excited when I include bite-size brownies. This recipe makes a big 9"x13" pan of fudgy brownies; cut them into 1" squares and you’ll have four dozen bites to supply lunchboxes for weeks. 

Chewy Granola Bars Shilpa Iyer
These granola bars are fully customizable and perfectly packable.

5) Chewy Granola Bars 

Less expensive than store-bought and fully customizable, these gluten-free granola bars are a lunchbox staple. The recipe calls for 2 to 3 cups of nuts or dried fruit of your choice; to make them school-friendly I skip the nuts and use miniature chocolate chips — in combination with tart cherries — instead. 

Ultra-Vanilla Cupcakes with Easy Vanilla Frosting Danielle Sykes
All festive occasions, including the start of school, should be celebrated with cake.

6) Ultra-Vanilla Cupcakes with Easy Vanilla Frosting 

One of our family traditions is to celebrate our kids’ return to school with cake. Now that they’re a bit older, I fully expect them to participate in the baking process; these cupcakes are a great “gateway bake” for eager children. They’re also perfect for bake sales and school celebrations. Sprinkles (not) optional. 

King Arthur's Classic White Sandwich Bread Photography and styling by Liz Neily
Take your PB&J to the next level by baking a loaf of this super simple white bread.

7) Classic White Sandwich Bread 

For parents and caregivers, back-to-school time can bring about the same sort of aspirational hopes and dreams we might entertain on New Year’s Day. I, for example, long to be the parent who bakes all the sandwich bread on which all her kids’ ham sandwiches are built. If you share my dream, this soft white sandwich bread — a perennial King Arthur favorite — is a good place to begin. 

Chicken and Apple Empanadas Erica Allen
Encased in flaky pastry, these chicken empanadas are a great alternative to sandwiches.

8) Chicken and Apple Empanadas 

These rich pastry pockets contain a kid and adult approved filling of chicken, shredded cheddar, and tart Granny Smith apples. They can be made ahead and frozen, and they’re equally good at room temperature or warm. 

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies Photography and styling by Liz Neily
Happiness is a full cookie jar.

9) Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies 

The key to back-to-school bonhomie is a well-stocked cookie jar, and nothing fuels homework and sports practices quite like chocolate chip oatmeal cookies. This is our 2015 Recipe of the Year; seven years later, it remains as marvelous as ever. Use this cookie scoop to make portioning the dough a breeze. 

Cheddar Cheese and Scallion Scones Photography and styling by Liz Neily
Good for breakfast or lunch, these savory scones are simple enough that your kids can help you bake them.

10) Cheddar Cheese and Scallion Scones 

Good for breakfast or lunch, these tender scones are fun to make with your kids — not only does baking with your children teach them math skills and mindfulness, but it also offers a delicious payoff for their efforts. 

Ready to ditch single-use plastic bags? Pack lunch reusably.

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Doughnut Muffins
Doughnut Muffins
4.7 out of 5 stars 405 Reviews
Total
25 mins
Yield
12 muffins
Tagged:
Filed Under: Recipes
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The Author

About Jessica Battilana

Jessica Battilana is the Staff Editor at King Arthur Baking Company and an award-winning writer, recipe developer, and ardent supporter of eating dessert every day. She is the author of Repertoire: All The Recipes You Need and coauthor of eight other cookbooks, including Tartine Book 3 with Chad Rob...
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