After I told you about the absolute easiest meals you could make for dinner, the ones with three ingredients or two minutes of prep or no possible excuse for not making them, I felt a little guilty. Some of us like to cook–we dream all day of the meals we’ll put together as soon as we have a little bit of extra time, bookmarking absorbing kitchen projects that we know will produce delicious results, in part because we made them deliberately. And so, in homage to the fact that doing things slowly can be as appetizing a prospect as whipping up a decent weeknight dinner instead of ordering takeout, here are a handful of excuses to spend a couple hours in the kitchen.
(Lead photo from an upcoming complicated project of my own, which I can’t wait to tell you about!)
**8 Complicated Cooking Projects**
2. Giant Layered Cookie Cake. This masterpiece involves shaping cookie dough into five even circles, baking them all (especially complicated if you only have one or two oven racks), cooling them, and then layering them perfectly with cream cheese icing. The result is ridiculously impressive.
3. Potstickers. Our first Valentine’s Day together, Alex and I made dumplings from scratch together, homemade wrappers and all.
4. No-Knead Bread. Another one that doesn’t require that much close attention but simply requires you to be in close range to accomplish a couple of easy steps. The result of all your proximity? Simply stellar homemade bread.
5. Pork Bo Ssam. While not exactly complicated, this project is time-consuming and messy. If you want to dig in deep to a kitchen adventure, try supplementing the toothsome pork with ginger-scallion sauce or homemade sriracha. Also, at Momofuku, they serve the bo ssam with oysters, so why not shuck your own?
6. Layer Cake. This applies to any layer cake, not just my beloved raspberry-lemon one. There’s just a lot to do, between mixing up batter and icing and then becoming a structural engineer and artist for cake assembly and decoration.
7. Coconut Caramel Ice Cream. Homemade ice cream–sounds complicated already. Add in a process of reducing coconut milk and brown sugar to a luscious (but dairy-free) caramel, and you’ll be in the kitchen for a couple of relaxing and productive hours.
8. Chicken Pot Pie. The old-fashioned instructions for this rich dinner are anything but streamlined. That’s great if you’re in the mood for some kitchen time and are ready to make homemade broth, thicken it into a sauce, roll out a pie crust, and pick lots of chicken meat from the bone.