Cooking And Coping is a collection created by @HungryEditor profiling folks on what they’re cooking and the way they’re coping in the course of the COVID-19 international pandemic.

Zinhle Essamuah is a New York based mostly journalist, filmmaker, and artist. Essamuah is at the moment a reporter at NBC Information, the place she covers politics, tradition, justice, and all of the information of the day. Previous to that she spent over 4 years at NowThis Information reporting and anchoring the “KnowThis” franchise. This multi-platform storyteller additionally directed the award-winning documentary movie, Hands Up, which adopted the Black Lives Matter motion from Ferguson to Baltimore. Her debut movie was an Official Choice for quite a few worldwide movie festivals and was seen on screens throughout the US, Canada, and Europe. This venture additionally earned her a Gracie Award for her filmography. Essamuah has additionally been tapped for her sharp moderating and talking expertise at distinguished occasions all through the nation in addition to the United Nations. In her spare time, you’ll find Essamuah singing, laughing, and brewing tea. You may comply with her on Instagram @simplyzinhle, Fb @zinhleessamuah, and Twitter @simplyzinhle.

Benjamin Liong Setiawan: What recipe are you loving proper now?

Zinhle Essamuah: I actually had to consider this. I admire variation in my meals, however on the subject of dessert I at all times return to my favourite: a superb ol’ chocolate chip cookie. Particularly, a gluten free, dairy free chocolate chip cookie. 

Zinhle’s Gluten Free, Dairy Free COVID-Survival Cookies


  • 1 ¾ cups of All-Function Gluten Free Flour
  • 2 tablespoons Powdered Peanut Butter
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • ½ teaspoon Kosher Salt
  • ½ cup Further Virgin Olive Oil
  • ¾ cup packed Mild Brown Sugar
  • 1 giant Egg, at room temperature
  • 1 giant Egg Yolk, at room temperature
  • 1 ½ teaspoons Vanilla Extract
  • 1 cup (150g) Dairy Free Chocolate Chips
  • 1 teaspoon of Cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon of Cardamom
  • Optionally available: Crushed Himalayan Salt, for topping 
  • Optionally available: Incorporate Crushed Roasted Cashews or Almonds 


  1. In a bowl, whisk collectively flour, powdered peanut butter, baking soda and salt and put aside.
  2. In a mixing bowl combine collectively olive oil and brown sugar till evenly moistened. Add egg and egg yolk and beat quickly 30-60 seconds till clean. Combine in vanilla.
  3. Dump in dry substances and blend till virtually included.
  4. Add chocolate chips (the very best half!) and fold with a spatula till chocolate is evenly distributed all through.
  5. Cowl tightly with wax/parchment paper and chill for a minimum of half-hour — although I sometimes preserve it over night time or freeze the additional. Nice for these days whenever you need some contemporary baked cookies! 
  6. Preheat oven to 350 levels F. Line a heavyweight baking sheet with parchment paper.
  7. Lower and type into clean balls. You might have to press the dough tightly as it might be oily. 
  8. Bake for 7-10 minutes or till puffed and edges are golden brown.
  9. After baking, prime with Himalayan salt. 
  10. You might want so as to add a further couple of minutes of bake time if baking the dough immediately from frozen. 
  11. Let cool (if you happen to’re affected person), however tbh I usually eat them heat!
  12. They need to retailer in an hermetic container for as much as 3 days.

Setiawan: How did you come throughout this recipe? 

Essamuah: I prepare dinner like my grandmother — which suggests whereas I derive some inspiration from recipes — I am going primarily off of reminiscence, feeling, and what’s in provide. This makes me extra eager to prepare dinner than bake, which is a way more exact exercise. So, shout out to NYTimes Cooking and Love and Olive Oil weblog for offering the bottom for this recipe.  

Setiawan: What do you like about this recipe?

Essamuah: I like communion. Typically on-line you’ll usually discover me posting meals spreads and different what I name #znomz on Instagram. On this time of bodily and social distancing, I’ve most frequently made these cookies for members of my pod. I’ve fond reminiscences of tiny gatherings in a time that has been isolating and lonely for therefore many.  That’s truly additionally how I acquired into freezing my very own cookie dough! It’s my favourite pandemic hack. Since typically there are only a few mouths to feed, there are at all times leftovers! So each time I make a batch, I’m at all times certain to freeze some for these inevitable bitter days that might use some sweetening. 

Setiawan: Any particular reminiscences linked to this recipe?

Essamuah: Initially of the pandemic I’d purchase quite a lot of chocolate chip cookies, however there’s one thing particular about making them from scratch for my pod. I’ve discovered to make these cookies very quick. So my favourite reminiscences are once I’ve unsuspectingly made these cookies for mates or mailed them to family members over the vacations. I didn’t get to go dwelling for the vacations final winter 2020, so it was good that I may ship these as a logo of my love. Additionally, what I like about this recipe is that I can cater it to my temper. If I’m feeling a bit more healthy…I’ll add flax and nuts! If I’m looking for cozy consolation…I’ll most likely be a bit extra heavy handed on the sugar and chocolate chips. 

Setiawan: Who do you need to make this recipe for?

Essamuah: Actually, I’d like to make these with my dad, particularly as a result of he taught me how you can bake! 

Setiawan: What are some methods you are dealing with spending extra time indoors and social distancing?

Essamuah: Recently cleansing, writing, studying, and portray. 

Setiawan: What are you doing to remain sane?

Essamuah: I would rephrase this query and say: what’s bringing me peace? To which I’d say: Analog actions! I’ve realized that since a lot of my work includes pondering, studying, and talking, I actually love the possibility to make use of my fingers throughout my downtime. In consequence, I acquired actually into flipping outdated furnishings in the course of the pandemic (sure I’ve documented this by way of TikToks) and even did a couple of commissioned items for mates. I’ve discovered it’s a mix of all my favourite issues: reimagining one thing disregarded, sustainability, thrift purchasing, and gifting. 

Setiawan: What are you doing to remain inventive?

Essamuah: Whereas the pandemic has restricted alternatives to exit, that hasn’t stopped me from dreaming about nice outfits. I’m now part of a brand new store on Etsy: The Auntie Collective. We’re additionally on IG.  @theauntiecollective is a sisterhood of Black ladies from West Africa promoting trend and primarily pure skincare merchandise. Try our new merch on Etsy:

Setiawan: What are you doing to remain linked?

Essamuah: Lengthy walks (I imply, very lengthy walks) to folks or with folks, time in nature, spontaneous FaceTimes and telephone calls, and oil portray. 

Setiawan: What offers you hope?

Essamuah: Vaccines and hotter climate. Beginning with the latter — I’m a creature of the summer time, and after this winter I’m excited to spend time safely outside with folks I like and really feel the solar on my pores and skin. I like a superb picnic.

The vaccines excite me as a result of it means extra folks might be protected and guarded. I completed a NowThis Report known as: ‘Fighting for Black Lives: Overcoming Vaccine Hesitancy’ — the historical past of medical racism is harrowing in the US, and it’s so vital to acknowledge that previous so we will safely and collectively transfer ahead collectively.  

Setiawan: What are you studying from all of this?

Essamuah: I’m studying in regards to the significance of centering therapeutic in all our work. I actively pursue holistic and sustainable approaches to meals, skincare, and the like in my very own life. This yr has taught me how vital it’s — particularly as I report on violent or lethal points like a pandemic or racism — to are inclined to myself simply as I are inclined to the tales I work on, and the folks I look after. 

Setiawan: What modifications do you hope to see sooner or later?

Essamuah: I hope we normalize hybrid work schedule and that we proceed genuinely asking, “how are you?”

In terms of asking “how are you?” I’ve observed in each sphere: whether or not at work or simply journeys to the grocery retailer, persons are extra open to pausing and genuinely asking or receiving the query “how are you?” I imagine there’s unity in joint struggling. That struggling could also be as adolescent because the struggles of a category getting ready for a tough midterm; or, as grim as a world collectively overcoming a lethal pandemic. I hope that unity and empathy stays.

Setiawan: What rhythms are you implementing throughout this time? 

Essamuah: Sleep hygiene is my huge factor proper now! This rhythm continues to be a piece in progress. However, on my greatest nights to wind down I take a heat bathe whereas burning incense, embrace my skincare routine, brew up some decaf or natural tea, and browse a e-book. Sadly, cookies are usually not a part of this ritual! Late night time sugar isn’t nice for my Zzzs. 

Setiawan: What tasks are you engaged on? 

Essamuah: I’m engaged on an ongoing slow-burn documentary venture about my grandma, who I speak about usually. I’m hoping to develop this venture within the months and few years to return. The TLDR: she survived a dictatorship, exile, monumental losses, and now independently runs her personal farm. Oh, and he or she’s 80! So sure, a real boss and I hope extra folks hear her story. 

As talked about, The Auntie Collective is a pleasant ardour venture. When you’re in search of pure skincare merchandise or stylish West African clothes, we’ve acquired you lined. When you’re seeking to study one thing new, I started a collection #simplyexplained on IG the place I break down difficult points in digestible methods on my web page @simplyzinhle.

Setiawan: What has been probably the most shocking?

Essamuah: I’ve been stunned that I’ve gotten into out of doors exercises and runs! I’m actually unsure if I’ll rejoin a fitness center anytime quickly. I’ve actually loved reconnecting with my physique and nature concurrently. 

Setiawan: What has been probably the most inspiring?

Essamuah: Throughout this tough season, I’ve been impressed by the resiliency of individuals. I take into consideration people like Bruce McIntyre, who I lined throughout my report on Black Maternal mortality in the COVID-19 era. Black ladies are 3 to 4 occasions extra prone to die in childbirth than white ladies, and Bruce’s associate, Amber Isaac Rose, was a type of Black ladies misplaced to childbirth final yr. I’m struck by Bruce’s resilience and dedication to neighborhood care (he started a company known as Save A Rose Foundation), even amid ongoing grief. Typically talking, I’m struck by those that have embraced and pursued self-care and neighborhood care in a season the place it has been immensely tough to take action.   

Setiawan: Who’re some folks you suppose needs to be featured on Cooking and Coping subsequent?

Essamuah: @smallorchids, @sistatheology, @maame_b of @dinediaspora, 

Discover us on Instagram: @simplyzinhle and @hungryeditor.

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