Amid the coronavirus pandemic, many restaurants closed temporarily, and people are doing their part to “flatten the curve” by social distancing at home. Cooking has become an important activity to feed family members stuck at home and a great way to pass the time or learn some new tricks.
As a result, social media has been full of posts about cooking and baking.
So what’s everyone making? For one, a lot of bread. According to Google, search interest for “bread recipes” in April was the highest it’s been all year. “Banana bread” searches also reached an all-time high in the United States.
Some of the top trending recipe searches on Google the past few weeks have been whipped coffee, frittata, tater tot casserole, Chrissy Teigen’s banana bread, churros, beef stew and lemon bars. It looks like we’re all craving comfort food.
Whipped coffee, also known as dalgona coffee, is the now-viral coffee drink of spring, thanks to TikTok. Made from just three ingredients — instant coffee, sugar and water — whipped until frothy and caramel-colored, then spooned over iced milk.
You can’t search banana bread without Teigen’s version popping up. And because it’s her recipe, it’s bound to be delicious because everything she makes is just that.
Online “quarantine cooking” searches also turned up lots of lasagna, meatloaf and Bolognese. The latter serves as a great weekend cooking project, yielding enough sauce to share with friends and neighbors or to stash away in the freezer for the coming months.
Whether you’re cooking for necessity or to pass the hours, these recipes should satisfy any quarantine cravings you might have for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
Makes 1 coffee drink
Whipped coffee has become trendy, thanks to a viral TikTok video, so I had to try it to see what all the fuss was about. Also known as dalgona, or beaten coffee, this easy-to-make coffee drink has been a staple in South Korea for quite some time and is surprisingly easy to make. Sweet and refreshing, this might be the coffee drink of summer in my house.
2 tablespoons instant coffee
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons hot water
Flavoring, if desired, such as 1 tablespoon cocoa powder or ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Iced or hot milk, for serving
1. Combine the instant coffee, sugar and hot water in a large bowl.
2. Whisk it with an electric mixer, or by hand, until the mixture is very frothy and light brown in color. It will take about 5 minutes with an electric mixer. Add flavoring, if desired.
3. Scoop the whipped coffee on top of milk and serve.
Chrissy Teigen’s Banana Bread
Makes 2 loaves or 1 Bundt cake
Resist the urge to bang this out with anything but a bowl and spatula — Chrissy swears this came out differently when she used an aggressive electric mixer.
2 cups mashed very ripe bananas (from 6 bananas)
4 large eggs
⅔cup canola oil, plus more to grease the pan
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the pan
2 cups granulated sugar
1 (3.5-ounce) box vanilla instant pudding mix
1 teaspoon baking soda
1½ teaspoons kosher salt
1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1 (3.5-ounce) bar dark chocolate, chopped into chunks
Salted butter, for serving
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Combine the mashed bananas, eggs and oil in a large bowl. Stir together the flour, sugar, pudding mix, baking soda and salt in a separate bowl. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir well but gently. Fold in the coconut and chocolate chunks.
2. Grease and flour a Bundt pan (that means wipe a little grease all over the inside of the pan, dust it with flour and tip it upside down to shake out any extra flour). Pour the batter into the Bundt pan or divide among two loaf pans.
3. Bake in preheated oven until the cake springs back when lightly pressed and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 55 to 60 minutes. (Test it with a toothpick at around 50 minutes.) Let it cool slightly in the pan, then use a butter knife to gently release the cake from the sides of the pan and around the inner circle, then flip it onto a plate. Let it cool, then cut it into slices. Rewarm them if desired and serve with salty butter.
— Adapted from ‘Cravings’ by Chrissy Teigen
Makes about 3 quarts
Relax, pour yourself a glass of wine (you’ll need to open a bottle for the recipe!) and start simmering. Bolognese sauce, a slow-simmered Italian meat sauce, is made with a handful of ingredients but tastes as if you labored at the stove for hours. Traditional Bolognese refrains from the addition of canned tomatoes, relying instead on a bit of tomato paste for flavor and acidity. Serve some for dinner, tossed with simmered fresh tagliatelle or pappardelle noodles and garnished with heaps of finely grated Parmesan cheese. Save the rest for making a big batch of lasagna or for when the need for pasta Bolognese strikes again.
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
1 pound ground beef (preferably chuck)
1 pound ground veal or pork
1 cup red wine
1 small can tomato paste
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 bay leaf
Pinch of finely grated nutmeg
1 quart homemade or low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup whole milk
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. Heat olive oil and butter in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion, garlic, celery and carrot and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 10 minutes.
2. Add beef and veal and cook, breaking meat apart with a wooden spoon or spatula, until no longer pink, and is broken into tiny bits. Add wine, and cook, stirring often, until the liquid has reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Stir in tomato paste, oregano, bay leaf and nutmeg and bring to a boil.
3. Reduce to a gentle simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce has thickened and darkened slightly, about 5 minutes. Stir in milk and broth and bring to a gentle simmer.
4. Cook at a very low simmer, stirring occasionally, until meat is very tender, about 2 hours. Discard bay leaf and season well with salt and pepper. Sauce can be made up to 2 days ahead or frozen for up to a month.
Makes 9 brownies
If I hadn’t tried this recipe, I wouldn’t believe it was possible, but yes, eggs + Nutella = delicious brownies. The key to success with these brownies is whisking the eggs until they’re light lemon-colored, frothy and tripled in bulk. This is what leavens your brownies and keeps you from making an eggy, chocolate-flavored mess. Are these rich and dense like your favorite go-to brownie recipe? Not even close. But when the urge hits and you’re out of flour, these will fill in nicely.
4 large eggs
1 cup Nutella (slightly less than one 13-ounce jar)
1. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 350 degrees. Cut a length of parchment paper so that it lines an 8-by-8-inch baking pan with the ends hanging over two sides like flaps. Coat the parchment and sides of the baking pan with cooking spray or grease lightly with oil (a light spray of cooking spray under the parchment will also help hold it securely); set aside.
2. Place the eggs in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. (Alternatively, use an electric hand mixer and large bowl.) Beat on low speed and gradually increase to medium-high.
3. Continue beating the eggs until they become light lemon-colored and bill and are tripled in bulk. This will take 6 to 8 minutes (slightly longer if you’re using a handheld mixer). The billowier your eggs, the better the texture will be in your brownies and the less “eggy” they will taste.
4. While the eggs are whisking, place the Nutella in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high for 1 minute, stopping every 15 seconds to stir the Nutella. When warmed, the Nutella should be loose and creamy.
5. With the mixer on low speed, drop spoonfuls of Nutella into the egg mixture using a spatula. (With a hand mixer, add a little at a time and mix in between.) Continue mixing until all the Nutella has been added and the Nutella is thoroughly combined with the eggs.
6. Use a spatula to stir the mixture by hand a few times, making sure to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl where the whisk might have missed. Pour the Nutella mixture into the prepared pan.
7. Bake until the brownies start to pull away from the sides of the pan and a cake tester inserted into the middle of the brownies comes away clean, 25 to 30 minutes.
8. Let the brownies cool as long as you can. They are delicious while still warm from the oven but will easily fall apart. For sturdy brownies, wait until they are completely cooled before removing them from the pan and cut into nine squares.
— Adapted from TheKitchn.com
Serves as many as you want to make
Pancake cereal is more a serving idea than a recipe, and consists of tiny, little pancakes piled into a bowl and topped with butter and maple syrup. With all this time on my hands, and a school-aged child as a taste tester, I was game to try.
First, start by mixing up your favorite pancake batter, either from a box or, if you’re feeling ambitious, from scratch. Some people have even started experimenting with other batters, like chocolate chip or funfetti.
Pour the batter into a squeeze bottle, ziptop bag (with a corner snipped off) or pancake dispenser. On a pre-heated and greased griddle or non-stick skillet, dispense small, round blobs of batter (about 1-inch in diameter), and cook until you see the edges start to harden. Since these pancakes are so tiny, it might only take about one minute per side, so watch them closely and work quickly.
When they’re done, toss the baby pancakes into a bowl, top with whatever your heart desires (we like them topped with salted butter and maple syrup) and dig in.