Cooking can be very comforting. And back in March, two northeast Seattle girls knew they really liked to bake, but their habit took on a whole new dimension once COVID-19 lockdowns started.
“I like trying new recipes, and they don’t always turn out great, but it’s fun to try them,” says Nina, 13.
She and her little sister are now prolific coronavirus bakers, tackling a lot of complicated recipes. Nina says she tends to gravitate towards yeast-based recipes, including challah and babka.
She has even woken up the family to freshly made morning doughnuts, coated in cinnamon sugar. “She did the yeast batter the night before, and then she woke up before school to make the doughnuts,” says their mom, Melissa Cox.
“It’s very pleasant, as a parent, to wake up to the smell of doughnuts!”
Margot, 10, has ventured into developing her own recipes during their coronavirus baking.
“I have my own recipe for banana-chocolate chip muffins and I also have oatmeal-chocolate chip cookies,” says Margot. (Bon Appétit, take note.)
Margot’s favorites include an apple cake she’s made. “I really like making cakes, because you can decorate them however you want,” she says. Since they’re both fans of Gamewright’s board game Dragonwood, she created frosted cupcakes in the image of the Bucket of Spinach card found in the game.
The girls have found baking can be a very calming and tranquil activity after online schooling ends.
“I think it’s very relaxing,” says Nina. “It’s just really satisfying to follow a recipe through and then have the result.”
But despite the fun, there comes a point where you can have too much of a good thing, even with coronavirus baking.
“We had a problem for a while where each of them would bake every day, so I had just way too many baked goods … and they were all good,” says Melissa.
“That’s why they started taking turns,” adds dad Landon Cox.
Thankfully, they haven’t had issues with the flour and yeast shortages other coronavirus bakers encountered in the spring, but there is one ingredient they can’t seem to find anywhere: pumpkin purée, for Melissa’s pumpkin-chocolate chip muffins.
“The whole city is out!” says Melissa.
When being interviewed, the girls were looking forward to an upcoming family weekend at a Hood Canal cabin near a beach packed with oysters. They would not be unprepared, as Landon was already planning how they could make food writer Mark Bittman’s no-knead bread for the occasion.
Priorities. Put baked goods at the top of that list.