Pandemic Home Chef: Some of What We’ve Been Cooking Up – Dessert Edition

COVID-19 is something everyone wants to avoid and many turned to their home kitchens to support social distancing measures over the last several months and begrudgingly, or happily became the home chef.

We turned our kitchen into a place to experiment, to learn, to laugh and to enjoy the fruits of our labor.

It’s been great to cook with my children and to take the time, to now have the time, to really prepare meals for both nutrition and aesthetics while teaching them some basic kitchen skills.

Plus, we’ve used the time to explore different culinary cultures which has launched many table-time conversations from where we’ve been to where we’d like to go.

I’ve created and researched many recipes and I’m thinking I’ll put together a cookbook for the kids to have when they go out on their own. They can pass the recipes down and tell the stories of our time in quarantine following returning to the United States in March through the months of social distancing, gardening, landscaping projects, cooking and baking together.

Scroll through our kitchen creations to see what our family has been up to in the kitchen and find some new inspiration from our house or share with us the best things you’ve made and learned while being a pandemic home chef!

Let’s start the culinary journey off with a desserts edition… because why not?

All the banana bread recipes that were floating around and the Instagram photos being taken of banana bread at the beginning of the Stay-At-Home orders we’re dizzying. Whomever looks back will probably be curious why everyone was making banana bread.

I’ve heard that many attributed the trend to the comforts of carbs. Funny, when just weeks before I’d have guessed the world was more a Keto-land than carbo-load but, there’s some seriousness that warm, comfort carbs are soothing to the soul. We made only one loaf of banana bread but, we did join in on the chocolate chip cookie craze.

We tried the Doubletree cookie recipe when they released it. Did you?

I think we made chocolate chip cookies for weeks in the beginning; changing and modifying recipes until we had our perfect cookie.

Our favorite was a toffee-flavored chocolate chip cookie that we created by complete accident. Happy accidents!

Then we moved on to other types of cookies based on what we had in the house. From there it was cakes, then pies and then various pastries and then to master the French macron, which I can offer… WE DID master the little devil of a cookie.

These were as good as those we found in Paris. It took awhile to master but, we sure got them right… after many, many failures. Look at those feet! I made a dark chocolate ganache filling.

Then the coffee drinks and I decided that I would start my pretend gelato shop and made endless creations of delectable gelatos based on what was growing, what we had or what inspired me.

Reminiscent of Italy and the dessert coffees.
By far, the best gelato I’ve made: cappuccino.
When we were in Costa Rica we had a wonderful coconut ice cream and so we tried our hand at coconut gelato and I even made one similar to an Almond Joy.
Orange Creamsicle with leftover Little Cuties.

We even tried to candy-coat fresh fruit… which didn’t work out because, of all the kitchen gadgets I do have, a candy thermometer wasn’t one of them and when recipes call for a specific sugar temperature than that is exactly, precisely… to the degree… what they mean. Lesson learned.

They were pretty and yet they never hardened. We had soft-ball fruit and those candy makers know what that means and for the rest it means avoid if you have even one dental filling.
The lemon cookie because we had extra lemons to use up. I still have some in the freezer to bake.
Our trip to Door County in the previous year yielded a bunch of tart cherries we picked and I had placed in the freezer. No time like a pandemic to finally pull them from their frozen world and use them up. I made pies, pinwheels, and a dessert cherry pizza.
Cherry pie with tart cherries made even better because we picked those cherries.
My mother’s pecan pie recipe using my pastry recipe. My mother always uses frozen pre-made pie shells and yet I find it tremendously easy to put together homemade crusts so I never use the store bought. What do you use?
Extra pizza dough was turned into a cherry bomb.
An English coconut cake… We decided to go four layers high so we ended up with a half a cake 😂
A quick nectarine upside down cake. Easy, quick and it resolves the problem when pitted fruit won’t ripen before it’s rotten. The oven makes them sweet and perfect.
A Russian apple cake for our culinary visit there.
I had extra cherry pie filling which I made from our Door County tart cherries and I had a Paleolithic box of puff pastry in the deep freezer so, I made some cherry pinwheels. We actually enjoyed them for breakfast over dessert.

There were way more desserts made in our kitchen than this little glimpse. I think we can finally call ourselves bakers and sweets makers!

That’s all for the desserts edition! Sweet dreams.

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