18 Secret Recipes That Were Just Released for the First Time
Your kitchen is about to get a whole lot more interesting.
The ultimate comfort foods
With much of the world staying home to help flatten the curve and many restaurants’ dining rooms still shuttered in response to the global coronavirus pandemic, would-be customers were left to answer the daily “what’s for dinner” (and breakfast and lunch and dessert) question all by themselves. That is, until several chefs, chains, theme parks, and airlines started releasing secret recipes from their menus to help loyal diners spice up their lives in the quarantine kitchen and recreate the restaurant experience at home. It’s a little gesture that goes a long way to make life in lockdown a little better and satisfy your cravings until you’re allowed back in the booths. So, when will things go back to normal? Here’s what a post-coronavirus life could look like.
DoubleTree’s welcome cookie
Now you can welcome home your essential worker or reward the kids for extra effort at the end of another remote-learning school day with the same warm chocolate chip cookie they’d get when checking into a room at any DoubleTree by Hilton hotel. In a normal year, more than 30 million are consumed on arrival at the properties, but the hospitality giant recognized that 2020 is far from normal and thought that releasing directions to make 26 of them at home might help. “We know this is an anxious time for everyone,” said Shawn McAteer, DoubleTree’s senior vice president and global head, in a statement. “A warm cookie can’t solve everything, but it can bring a moment of comfort and happiness.” While they bake, check out these stunning hotel pools around the world and start daydreaming about the first vacation you’ll take when this is all over.
Disney’s assorted delights
Since it will probably be a long while until families can visit any of the Mouse’s houses, the gastronomic geniuses behind some of the signature eats found throughout Disney’s many amusement parks have gone viral in a new Disney Parks blog series to turn fan kitchens into the happiest places on Earth. Sometimes you just really need a fix, and Disney has provided several, including one for the ubiquitous churro and another for classic Mickey Mouse–shaped beignets. You can Disney-fy your kitchen even further by cooking with Le Creuset’s five-piece logo stoneware set, Minnie Mouse mixing bowls, or a Pixar-character slow cooker.
But wait—there’s more! Disney also released the following recipes to create further magic in your mouth:
• Plant-based cookie fries from Beaches & Cream Soda Shop at Disney’s Beach Club Resort
• Canadian cheddar cheese soup from Epcot’s Le Cellier Steakhouse
• The Grey Stuff mentioned in Beauty & The Beast‘s “Be Our Guest” and served atop a scalloped cookie at both the Red Rose Tavern at Disneyland and Walt Disney World’s Be Our Guest restaurant
• Tonga Toast from Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort
• A frozen pineapple treat that’s a worthy substitute for the Tiki Room’s famous Dole Whip
When the gates open again, scope out these new foods you have to try at least once when visiting Disney World.
McDonald’s Egg McMuffin
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, so fans of Mickey D’s morning-menu items— especially those in the United Kingdom and Ireland, where all of the chain’s outposts were shut down for several weeks due to the pandemic—were lovin’ it when a recipe for how to make the popular Sausage and Egg McMuffin was revealed on Twitter. You are only six ingredients and a metal egg cooking ring away from pre-afternoon delight. Adding a red and yellow box with a signature smile makes the meal even happier. McDonald’s published a print-and-construct template on its website. In case you were wondering, this is why the McDonald’s logo is yellow and red.
Dollywood’s cinnamon bread
Dolly Parton doesn’t want her die-hards to go hungry during the pandemic, so while her Tennessee theme park remains shuttered, the queen of Nashville wants you to carbo-load from “9 to 5.” Among Dollywood’s attractions is a working grist mill, where guests can watch bakers assembling the self-proclaimed “slap your mama good” pull-apart cinnamon bread before enjoying it hot from the oven and slathered in icing or apple butter. It’s so good that they sell, on average, 350 loaves per hour. So, throw on your apron of many colors, turn up the Smoky Mountain songbird’s tunes, and get elbow deep in yeast, butter, flour, sugar, and cinnamon as you use this recipe to make yourself a loaf. Calories don’t count in quarantine, right?
While Dollywood is tops in Tennessee, here’s the best amusement park in every other state.
The Cheesecake Factory’s chicken and broccoli pasta
Unfortunately, no, they did not reveal how to make the namesake dessert. They do need to give diners a reason to return to one of the more than 200 cheesecake nirvanas after coronavirus sheltering is over. But they are divulging recipes for other fan favorites from the 899-page book they call a menu, including the Chicken Taquitos, and Warm Crab and Artichoke Dip. Some of those had been demoed on broadcast segments before, but the Chicken and Broccoli Pasta, which was just added to their nationwide oeuvre in March, was unveiled in the first-ever virtual cooking class with Chief Culinary Officer Donald Moore on Facebook Live.
Wagamama’s katsu curry
As most people are working from home these days, the Asian fast-casual chain figured why shouldn’t they drop a letter and wok from home, too. They created an online video series with instructions on how to make some of the brand’s popular meals, starting with the Katsu Curry. After that, requests for Steve Mangelshot, executive chef, to show other recipes came fast and furious, and Wagamama responded by shooting demos for its house salad dressing and Firecracker Curry. It also posted full recipes for its versions of dishes like Chili Chicken Ramen, Chicken Donburi, and Yaki Soba on its U.S. website.
Blue Bottle’s Liège wafels
Blue Bottle Coffee, an Oakland, California–based network of third-wave cafés in the United States, Japan, and Korea, knows that mornings have been rougher lately, so they’re giving you a reason to get out of bed. Behold, the secret strategy to whipping up their addictive Belgian-style yeasted Liège wafels. Fluffy on the inside and crispy on the outside, the batter needs a couple of hours to double in size, so plan ahead. (It can also be made the night before and refrigerated for a slower rise.)
To get the interior caramelized crunchy and sweet spheres that this European style of waffle is known for, you’ll need to procure pearl sugar (a compressed beet sugar that is near impossible to substitute) and a good waffle iron. The coffeehouse’s suggested caffeinated pairing is Giant Steps, its darkest blend named in honor of jazzman John Coltrane.
When you’re finished perfecting your waffles, check out these 5 tricks for making the perfect cup of coffee.
The 155-year-old company responsible for Down Under wonders like Tim Tams, Choc Ripples, and Tina Wafers has vowed to release a new secret biscuit (that’s Australian for cookie) recipe from its closely guarded vault every week that stay-at-home orders are in place in Australia. Arnott’s Big Recipe Release campaign kicked off with the Monte Carlo, a cream-filled cookie sandwich, and continued with Scotch Fingers, a classic shortbread stick that requires only four fairly common ingredients.
IKEA’s Swedish meatballs
For many, a trip to the Swedish furniture emporium is just as much about sinking your teeth into some Swedish meatballs at the in-store cafeteria as it is about buying build-your-own bookshelves. That’s why, according to IKEA U.K. and Ireland country food manager Lorena Lourido, the company felt a call to provide “an almost-as-delicious alternative” to “fill a gap.” The exact recipe, developed in 1985 with the help of founder Ingvar Kamprad, remains a mystery. But IKEA gets points for creativity. When IKEA dropped the recipe for the balls and accompanying cream sauce (which you might be surprised to learn includes Dijon mustard and soy sauce), it was cleverly disguised as the illustrated assembly instructions that come with their products. Here’s hoping you don’t have any parts or screws left over at the end.
Pret A Manger’s dark chocolate vegan cookies
Not to be outdone by DoubleTree, the quickie eatery and grab-and-go market released instructions on its Facebook page for how to make its famous chocolate chip cookie. According to the Independent, cookie monsters had inundated the company’s social media accounts with requests for the recipe, especially when its United Kingdom chapters were locked down in an attempt to contain the outbreak. Pret then posted directions to whip up its Little Cup of Goodness (a yogurt and granola bowl) and dark chocolate vegan cookies. No matter which recipe you choose, avoid these 12 baking mistakes you didn’t know you were making.
Cathay Pacific Airways’ Cathay Delight
Happy hours at high altitudes seem like a far-off fantasy these days. But there’s no reason you can’t make a toast to future plans on your next Zoom call with a round of frozen award-winning mocktails/cocktails created by Cathay Pacific Airways. To prepare the Cathay Delight—which is served in first and business class, as well as in Cathay lounges—follow the recipe below.
- ½ cup (135 ml) whole milk
- 1 ⅓ tablespoon (20 ml) coconut milk
- 1 cup (240 ml) kiwi juice
- Mint leaves
- Optional: alcohol of choice
- Pour all ingredients together in a blender; keep some mint sprigs aside
- Add in ice
- Blend until combined and frothy
- Pour into your favorite glass
- Garnish with mint sprigs
The Bend Soup Company’s broths
Owner Dave Johns has vowed to post a recipe a week for one of his 30 proprietary Bend blends and broths on his business Facebook page, while his Oregon mobile soup stop is out of commission due to coronavirus stay-at-home measures. So far, he’s released French Onion, Mommy’s Chicken Noodle, Zuppa Soupa, Lasagna Devotion, Undercover Sausage Lentil, and a gluten-free vegan squash soup called Golden Autumn. He told local TV station KTVZ 21 that it is a “big deal” for a chef to share his secrets but that he wanted to reward loyal customers hunkering down in difficult times. “I just want people to spend some time at home and make some soup,” he says. “It’s comfort food.”
Panera Bread’s favorites
The casual bistro that’s best known for its soups, salads, and sandwiches has released enough recipes through its Panera at Home initiative for folks to recreate the “You Pick 2” plan in their own kitchens. Choose from Panera favorites like Chipotle Chicken and Ranch Flatbread, Fuji Apple Quinoa Grain Bowl, Caprese Mac & Cheese, or Brazilian Seafood Stew. Many use items from their retail line as the starting point, but no one is stopping you from throwing that broccoli cheddar soup into one of those sourdough bread bowls you’ve been stress baking in quarantine.
Shakey’s mojo potatoes
Talk about comfort food in the comfort of your own home! The Japanese arm of longtime pizza parlor Shakey’s let the secret recipe for its zesty fried spuds slip to SoraNews24. The recipe is pretty simple, but the taters fry up best when the slices are all the same size. A mandolin takes the guesswork out of the equation, and a deep fryer will help you obtain restaurant-quality crispness.
- Potato (sliced into 9mm-wide wedges)
- 100 grams of fried chicken breading mix
- 30 grams of salt
- 10 grams of pepper
- Cooking oil
- Microwave the potato spuds for five minutes, preferably at a power setting of 700 watts.
- Next, carefully remove the heated potatoes out of the microwave.
- Stir the dry ingredients (fried chicken breading mix, salt, and pepper) in a separate bowl. Then, mix in the potato spuds, leaving no area unseasoned.
- Deep fry until you reach desired level of crispiness.
In addition to a mandolin and a deep fryer, these are the kitchen gadgets you’ll wish you had years ago.
Ace Hotels’ delectable dishes and drinks
The hipster hospitality company rounded up recipes for cocktails, sweets, and dishes served at several of the brand’s in-house hotel bars and restaurants and packaged them with an activity book, doodles, affirmations, and virtual backgrounds as a free “smorgasbord of safer at home delights.” The Dropbox Care Package, which they initially emailed to patrons in their distribution list, includes favorites such as Whitfield’s Buttermilk Biscuits and Mushroom Gravy (Ace Hotel Pittsburgh), Best Girl’s Pozole Verde (Downtown Los Angeles), King’s Highway’s Date Shake (Palm Springs), Seaworthy’s Holy Water Cocktail (New Orleans), and Hoi Polloi’s Smoked Bacon and Onion Hash (London Shoreditch). While these recipes will continue to be favorites, here are 10 things you won’t see in hotels anymore.
Pea Soup Andersen’s famous soup
Generations of road trippers in California have pulled into the parking lot of this Buellton café since it was established in 1924 to get a break from driving and a steaming bowl of split pea soup. The soup is so famous that it’s actually the restaurant’s name. Until folks can hit the open road again, they can heat up this veggie-heavy puree at home. Even the pea-brained can follow the easy steps provided.
Popeyes’ marinade techniques
The Louisiana Kitchen is still embroiled in a “whose fried chicken sammie is better” war, so they’d be pollo loco to reveal the spycraft behind what makes its poultry simultaneously crispy, tender, and juicy. But the brand’s head of culinary innovation, Amy Alarcon, did let some marinating strategies out of the bag during an interview with Forbes. The main takeaways were Crystal hot sauce, buttermilk, and lots of time in the fridge (at least 12 hours and preferably overnight). She also relinquished her roasted chicken recipe, which employs similar techniques.
Taco Bell’s copycat recipes
Taco Bell stopped shy of revealing its secrets. But the restaurant isn’t leaving fans high and dry either. The Mexican fast-food chain is helping chalupa connoisseurs make a run for the border while sheltering in place by admitting which copycat recipes it thinks are the closest approximations to the real thing. To get even closer, grab Taco Bell’s Original Taco Seasoning Mix and a variety pack of the signature mild, hot, fire, and verde sauces on Amazon. That is, if you aren’t like those of us who already have a pantry full of hoarded packets from B.C. (before coronavirus) trips.
For more strategies, including how people are staying sane and safe, see our comprehensive Coronavirus Guide.