Year-end lists can be very revealing. Take, for instance, Spotify’s personalized lists of users’ most-played songs and artists, all of which can be telling. Was there a lot of upbeat pop or groovy disco? Or was it all Death Cab for Cutie, a sign that the vibes were not quite so high? Whatever the case, The New York Times Cooking staff’s end-of-year recap also reflected our general mood: Comfort and ease were essential, and so were reliable old standbys.
You know when you just want to eat cake and you want it now, and you also don’t want to decide between vanilla or chocolate? This is the cake for you! Quick to make with swirls of vanilla and chocolate, the recipe makes more chocolate cream-cheese frosting than you actually need on the cake, which means more for you to snack on. And the Bundt pan makes it look fancier than it actually is! This cake served me well this year — perfect for weeknights, Sunday scaries, birthdays and casual snacking. PRIYA KRISHNA
2021 was my Cheez-It year. At a certain point not long ago, I had a family-size box laying on its side in the cupboard, my very own Cheez-It dispenser. But when I wasn’t eating fistfuls of Cheez-Its through a hard and exhausting year, I was making tubs of Hetty McKinnon’s spicy soy dressing. I’d keep it in the fridge, alongside a few blocks of silken tofu: a tiny meal kit, so steadfast, so comforting, so ready in five minutes or less to warm me, night after night when I’d once again forgotten to eat. KRYSTEN CHAMBROT
Recipe: Silken Tofu With Spicy Soy Dressing
I think I’ve made sheet-pan baked feta with broccolini, tomatoes and lemon about a dozen times since last year. Before my grandmother died in January, she used to hang out with me at my house, and when I made lunch, it was usually this quick recipe.
Also, not to toot my own horn, I’ve made this sandwich many times this year, not only because I was developing the recipe. Even after it was published, I kept making it in different variations: using smoked turkey, adding turkey bacon and experimenting with cranberry sauce and different jams and preserves. CHRISTINA MORALES
Recipe: Sheet-Pan Baked Feta With Broccolini, Tomatoes and Lemon | Elena Ruz Sandwich
Two things: Yossy Arefi’s skillet caramel apple crisp, which delivers spectacularly for a not-too-hard dessert. (I sometimes just make the salted caramel to pour over ice cream or as a dip for apples.) I’m also on a gougères run, whether it’s the recipe from Dorie Greenspan or the simple Cheddar cheese puffs Julia Moskin got from the Bay Area cook Tori Ritchie. Pull some from the freezer when friends come over and you look like a culinary wizard. KIM SEVERSON
This year, …….