3 quarantine recipes from Stanford bakers (So that you don’t have to make 10 banana breads like I did)

Cloud bread, sourdough and pancake cereal — of all the activities humans could’ve pursued in the face of a deadly pandemic, our natural instinct was to make bread. According to the HUNTER food study report, 46% of Americans report baking more than they have before COVID-19. Between March and June of 2020, King Arthur Baking Company’s flour sales spiked by a whopping 153%

These statistics are from the United States, but the quarantine baking boom seems to be a global phenomenon. I live in South Korea, where we never had a lockdown, yet over half my friends now refuse to eat store-bought blueberry muffins. Baking’s newfound popularity may be thanks to its therapeutic nature. A 2016 research published in the Journal of Positive Psychology showed that “everyday creative activities,” baking included, not only led to increased well-being among young adults, but also created a positive feedback loop in which the initial spike in well-being prompted more creative behavior. No wonder we collectively picked up baking as a hobby — cradling a hot loaf of banana bread certainly gives me a sense of happiness and accomplishment.

To mark the end of 2020 on a delicious note, here are three unique, tried-and-true quarantine recipes from Stanford students. One is from yours truly; others were graciously sent to me upon request — thank you to Acacia Lynch (’24) and Katie Yoon (’23) for letting me share your baking secrets. 

Acacia’s Chocolate Cranberry Orange Shortbread

This is my recipe for chocolate, cranberry-orange shortbread! It’s easy to make and perfect for the festive season.


250 g (1 cup) softened butter (To make vegan, use a vegetable-based baking block or vegan butter)

160 g (1 cup) powdered (confectioners’) sugar

375 g (2.5 cups) plain (all-purpose) flour

1.5 g (1/4) tsp salt

80 g (0.5 cups) dark chocolate, chopped into chunks

50 g (1/4 cups + 2 tbsp) dried cranberries

3 g (1/2 tsp) orange zest


  1. Beat the butter and sifted powdered sugar in a bowl with an electric mixer (or a spatula and some strength) until light and fluffy. Sift in the flour and salt in two batches, mixing in between. 
  2. Add the chopped dark chocolate, cranberries and orange zest, and mix until evenly distributed. The consistency should be soft and not too dry — think play-dough texture. If too dry, add a splash of dairy or non-dairy milk; if too wet, sprinkle on some more flour. 
  3. Divide the dough in half, and roll into a log (with a width the size you want the cookies to be). Roll in a silicone baking sheet or baking paper (whatever you want to bake it on). Chill in the fridge for about an hour (or in the freezer for 20 minutes if you’re pressed for time).
  4. Preheat the oven to 350˚F / 180˚C. Cut the logs into 1cm/0.5 inch slices and place them on a baking tray (with the baking paper), with space between each cookie.
  5. Bake for about 10 minutes, or until the edges just start to turn golden. Let cool on the baking trays, and enjoy plain or dunked into tea (the dunking recommendation for this cookie is a light earl grey, with or without milk).

Jay’s Kabocha Bread

(Photo courtesy Jaehyeon Park)

Note: The original recipe was written in U.S. measurements, which I converted into grams. For the best results, use U.S. measurements.

The holiday season overflows with pumpkin recipes — but I live in South Korea, where classic orange pumpkins are virtually nonexistent. So here is a kabocha bread recipe for anyone craving the cozy flavor but living in a region devoid of North American pumpkins. (Kabocha can be found in grocery stores and farmers markets in the U.S., too! I’ve been told the 99 Ranch Market carries them, for those near campus looking to try this recipe.)

Kabocha is sweeter than butternut squash but not as sweet as orange pumpkins, which is why this recipe calls for honey and brown sugar. If you want a more “hearty” bread, reduce the amount of sweetener.


½ large ripe kabocha, seeded, peeled and puréed

250 g (2 cups) all-purpose flour

1 large egg

60 g (½ stick) unsalted butter, melted

200 g (1 cup) brown sugar

44 g (2 tbsp) honey

3 g (1 tsp) ground cinnamon

3 g (1 tsp) round nutmeg

3 g (1 tsp) ground cloves

6 g (2 tsp) baking powder

6 g (1 tsp) salt

Optional toppings:
cinnamon stick (on top, for the aesthetic)


  1. Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F).
  2. Kabocha puree: Cut kabocha in half, then place in oven at 180°C (350°F) for 40 – 50 minutes until softened. Once cooled, you should be able to peel off the skin with your hands. Place the kabocha in a food processor and blend until there are no chunks.
  3. Mix flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon together in a bowl and set aside.
  4. Mix sugar and melted butter until well-incorporated. Add the egg and mix until well-incorporated. Mix in the kabocha puree and honey until there are no lumps. Do not overmix; this will add too much air, and the bread may collapse later on! Fold in any optional toppings here — I recommend walnuts.
  5. Fold in the dry ingredients. The batter should be pourable, but not thick like brownie batter.
  6. Line your loaf pan with parchment paper and pour in the batter. Smooth the top, then decorate with some optional toppings. I like to crumble walnuts and place a cinnamon stick at the center. Bake in oven at 160°C (320°F)  for 50 minutes, then raise the temperature to 180°C (350°F) and bake for 10 more minutes. Test with a toothpick — if it comes out clean, take it out of the oven and let it cool. Or eat it when it’s still hot, which is what I do.

Katie’s LA-Style Korean Sticky Rice Cake Bars

Note: The original recipe was written in U.S. measurements, which I converted into grams. For the best results, use U.S. measurements.


28g (2 tbsp) of canola oil 

350g (½ cup) of agave syrup 

257g (1 cup) of soy milk 

240g (1 ½ cup) of mochiko (sweet rice flour) 

0.75g (¼ tsp) of baking powder 

0.75g (¼ tsp) of baking soda 

0.75 g (¼ tsp) of salt 

50 g (½ cup) of walnuts/pecans/pine nuts 


1. Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F).

2. Mix the oil, syrup, eggs and milk together in a large bowl. 

3. Stir in the mochiko, baking powder, baking soda and salt into the bowl. 

4. To add an extra bit of texture, add in a half cup of walnuts, pecans and/or pine nuts. You may also mix in raisins or dried cranberries for more flavor.

5. Pour mixture onto a greased pan and bake for approximately 30 to 40 minutes (25 minutes in muffin pan).

6. Remove from oven and cool. 

If you have a recipe (baking or otherwise) that you’ve been wanting to share, please reach out! I’d love to write about it, or try it myself.

Contact Jay Jaehyeon Park at jaehpark ‘at’ stanford.edu.