- I made over 80 recipes from celebrity chefs in 2020, and there are 15 I’ll be making long into 2021.
- Duff Goldman’s recipe for chocolate-chip cookies is my favourite from 2020.
- Emeril Lagasse’s scrambled-eggs recipe, Carla Hall’s cornbread recipe, and Guy Fieri’s biscuit recipe are all winners in my book.
- I plan to sip on Sandra Lee’s hot chocolate and Ina Garten’s mulled wine throughout 2021.
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In 2020 I spent more time in the kitchen than ever before.
I tested countless recipes, from Mountain Dew-infused grilled cheese sandwiches to Martha Stewart’s Insta-famous baked potato. But one of the most interesting series I worked on this year involved testing celebrity-chef recipes.
I was able to find amazing new ways to prepare some of my favourite foods and see just how accessible these recipes were to normal, everyday home cooks like myself.
Some of the recipes were downright delicious. Even my partner, the pickiest eater of all time, enjoyed many of these dishes (and drinks).
Over the course of 2020, I made a total of 83 celebrity-chef recipes. Here are the ones I’ve already made multiple times and will continue making well into 2021:
My all-time favourite recipe of 2020 is from Duff Goldman.
I cannot get enough of the chocolate-chip cookie recipe from Goldman.
I’ve baked them several times in 2020 and I plan on making them again at the start of the new year. It beat out recipes from other celebrity chefs and has become my go-to dessert.
They are deceptively easy to make – I can whip up 24 cookies in only 20 minutes.
These cookies have the perfect texture with soft, chewy middles, slightly crisp edges, and gorgeous ripples across the surface. The batter has just a hint of saltiness to contrast the sweet cookies and all of those delicious chocolate chips.
This was truly my favourite recipe of the entire year.
Guy Fieri’s rich, indulgent French toast was a hit.
If you want to make an impressive breakfast or brunch, Fieri’s French toast should be at the top of your list.
It’s pricey – I spent $US40 on ingredients for this dish thanks to the three different types of alcohol that go into it – but it’s worth it.
The bread was crisp on the outside, soft on the inside, and was very sweet and rich. It also doesn’t have the eggy taste that some French toast dishes can have.
The instructions include making a homemade caramel sauce, sautéing bananas, and, of course, frying up the French toast.
The complexity of the recipe means this will be reserved for special Saturday mornings, but I am very much looking forward to eating this bananas foster French toast again this year.
Sandra Lee’s alcohol-infused hot chocolate is my favourite winter drink.
I like hot chocolate, but I typically reach for coffee or tea when I’m craving a warm drink.
Lee has changed my mind though, at least when I want a nightcap in the wintertime. Her boozy hot chocolate is so good that I’ve already made it more than once.
I’m not a huge fan of milk chocolate, so I wasn’t sure that I’d like this recipe, but the chocolate combined with hazelnut liqueur really blew my mind. The steps were quick and simple, too.
I’ll be making this again soon, and I also wouldn’t mind testing it with dark chocolate.
I loved the surprising flavours in Rachael Ray’s nutmeg-infused macaroni and cheese.
Homemade macaroni and cheese is one of my favourite meals, and I make it at least once a week.
My typical version is quick and requires a handful of seasonings and no roux, but when I’m feeling a little fancy, I’ll be making Ray’s white-cheddar mac and cheese, which surprised me with its addition of nutmeg.
This gooey mac really impressed me with its golden-brown cheese topping and unexpected flavours. With just a tad less nutmeg and a sprinkle of fresh herbs, this recipe will definitely make it to my dinner table at least a few times in the coming months.
I wouldn’t mind waking up to some of Ree Drummond’s maple cinnamon rolls in 2021.
Cinnamon rolls are one dish that has always stumped me, so I typically go for store-bought and just call it a day. And although Drummond’s cinnamon buns aren’t quite as easy as popping open a can, you only need one pot to make the dough.
The real star of the show is her maple icing, which is so divine it’s hard to put into words. I could eat it with a spoon.
This recipe is pretty messy and time-consuming, so I don’t know that I’d make it just for myself unless I was really inspired to do so. But when it is safe enough to gather with family and friends again, this is what I’ll feed my loved ones. Luckily, Drummond’s recipe makes more than enough to feed a crowd.
I’m looking forward to serving my soups and chillis with Carla Hall’s cornbread.
In 2020, I tested five different cornbreads from celebrity chefs, and I was really impressed with almost all of them.
Hall’s recipe is my new go-to, and I made sure to taste it plain, with butter, and with spicy honey – it was so good no matter the topping (or lack thereof).
I love making chilli in the colder months, and I know I’ll be pairing it with Hall’s golden, savoury cornbread.
Bobby Deen’s blueberry pancakes are the fluffiest I’ve ever had.
I don’t agree with the recipe’s label calling these “mancakes” but they are delicious thanks to the whipped egg whites that get folded into the batter.
These really are the fluffiest pancakes I’ve ever had, and I plan to test them with chocolate chips and other delicious fillings.
Fieri’s buttermilk biscuits will be the base for many of my breakfast sandwiches.
I made a bunch of biscuits using celebrity-chef recipes and they all turned out great.
But I couldn’t get enough of Fieri’s pillowy biscuits that were still sturdy enough to hold a soy-sausage patty and a fried egg without crumbling.
I can’t wait to make batches of these to keep in the freezer for quick, yummy breakfasts in the new year.
I’ll whip up Alton Brown’s toasted-oat banana bread for special weekends.
Brown’s banana bread is more complex than the simple ones I’m used to making. Because of the extra steps, it won’t be my go-to recipe when I have some browning bananas, but it will definitely make a few appearances in 2021.
What makes this bread so special is the inclusion of a homemade toasted oat flour that really gives a nutty flavour and more depth to traditional banana bread.
The cute, puffy gingerbread cookies by Alex Guarnaschelli will make another appearance next holiday season.
I’ve made gingerbread cookies before, but Guarnaschelli’s recipe is the one I’ll be following from now on.
Sure, they didn’t hold their shape as well as I had hoped, but the puffy gingerbread people were still adorable.
The star of the recipe is the orange icing, which perfectly complements the slightly spicy gingerbread cookie.
I plan to continue spicing up my scrambled eggs with Emeril Lagasse’s recipe.
In summer 2020, I took a week to test eight scrambled-egg recipes from different celebrity chefs.
It sounds easy since scrambled eggs are a breeze to make, but it had some lows. One recipe broke my spirits because it took 40 minutes and resulted in some nasty-looking eggs that I couldn’t eat.
But another recipe turned things around for me – Lagasse’s scrambled eggs seasoned with his own homemade “Baby Bam” spice blend. These eggs were so savoury with a depth of flavour thanks to all of the 10 different seasonings that go into Baby Bam.
I’ll happily serve up these eggs with the Fieri biscuits, and I’ve already used my Baby Bam spice blend in all kinds of dishes, like roasted veggies, pasta, and pizza.
I also found some amazing cocktail recipes, like Giada de Laurentiis’ Moscow Mule.
Like many others, I spent part of 2020 improving my bartending skills. And although I enjoy light, refreshing cocktails, I’ve never been great at making them at home.
Fortunately, I’ve discovered some great new drinks, like the gorgeous and delicious Moscow Mule from de Laurentiis. Her detailed recipe, which includes a mint-infused vodka and homemade ginger simple syrup, made this a showstopper.
It really goes down like water, and I can’t wait to cool down with a copper mug of this Moscow Mule on a warm summer day.
I see many of Geoffrey Zakarian’s margaritas in my near future.
I love margaritas, so I couldn’t wait to test celebrity chefs’ takes on this classic drink.
Chef Zakarian won me over with a no-frills recipe that beautifully balances sweet agave, salty garnish, and tart lime.
It was also incredibly easy to make.
Chilly winter nights will be accompanied by Ina Garten’s and Zakarian’s mulled wines.
One of my last recipe battles of 2020 was a showdown of mulled wines.
In the cold start of 2021, you’ll find me curled up with one of two delicious celeb-chef mulled wines: Ina Garten’s or Zakarian’s.
Garten’s mulled red wine is so simple to make and it has a deep, sweet flavour. Zakarian’s brings a lot more flourish and spice, and he mixes up this traditional drink by using white wine mulled with pear, citrus, and a lot of spices.
Both were incredible in their own ways, and I look forward to staying warm in the new year with the help of these drinks.