Sep 14 2014

spiced, stuffed, and baked


Activity, baked apple-style: There are more complex, flavor-involved ways to stuff an apple destined to be baked, but at the end of a chicken-roasting Sunday afternoon, I was sleuthing for a reasonably simple–but luscious–expression of this homestyle dessert.

So, with a few spoonfuls of goji berries and uncrystallized candied ginger lumps left in the pantry from a previous baking foray plus applejack at the ready, I was set to stuff, moisten, and bake some beautiful Empire apples.

When baked, the flesh of an apple turns yielding and rather custardy. Contrast this textural quality to the lightly sweetened, cinnamon-scented liquid which thickens nicely as the fruit bakes, turning wonderfully syrupy at the end. Tied into this balmy flavor is the dusky taste of dried fruit and spark of ginger–in all, a formula for capturing autumn in a bowl.

recipe from the baking kitchen gingery baked apples
Sep 5 2014

a tasty clutter

True confession: Among the prepackaged goods, ultimate boredom comes wrapped up in cellophane bags of bland, generic fruit, nut, and seed mixes.

The answer to this dilemma? You chose the ingredients, mix, and store the largess for snacking. The mélange that’s a current favorite of mine brings together unsweetened wide-flake coconut with pieces of unsweetened dried mango, sunflower seeds, cashews, almonds, and goji berries. It’s just a matter of select-and-combine, and it’s all set for immediate enjoyment.

This recipe is a fun assortment of some of my favorite things, but feel free to go right ahead and customize, customize, customize…

recipe from the baking kitchen fruit, nut, and seed jumble

sweet and savory baking notes

delicious bites of baking information

Sep 22 -

Baking by Flavor Best-Loved Recipes: Baking favorites from the Butter chapter include Butter Biscuits, Butter Shortbread, and Golden Butter Cake.

Sep 21 -

Baking Style Tracker: My answer to readers asking me to choose a favorite cookie from Baking Style: Art, Craft, Recipes: The recipe for when chocolate chip cookies go butterscotch (page 475). These are buttery and caramelly. Crisp and chewy, with background flavor notes of toffee and vanilla.

Sep 20 -

A purchase that enhances my collection of cast iron for cooking and baking is–adorably!–a 6 1/2-inch Lodge cast iron skillet. In it, I’m already planning to bake-and-test a baby, fresh-and-tender corn meal-based quick bread. The buttermilk is on hand and some mighty textural meals are ready to be measured.

i have a baking question

ask Lisa a baking-related question


From your books, can you offer a list of recipes for two autumn baking ingredients–apples and pumpkin?


Both the windfall of cooking apples and spice-friendly pumpkin does indeed create luscious baked goods. Generally, you can look forward to moist treats, full of flavor (some subtle, others a bit bolder) and, occasionally, pleasantly spiced.

From Baking by Flavor: Caramel Upside-Down Apple Tart (page 233, and following pages), Spiced Apple Waffles (page 473), Pumpkin-Almond Keeping Cake (page 112, and following page), Pumpkin Ginger Cake (page 378, and following page), Gingery Pumpkin Muffins with Ginger-Sugar Sprinkle (page 398, and following page). From ChocolateChocolate: Chocolate-Chocolate Chip Applesauce Scones (page 257). From Baking Style: Art, Craft, Recipes: Apple Cake, Maple Butter Glaze (page 55, and following page), Pumpkin Cake, with Chips (page 360), Gingered Pumpkin Squares for the Breadbasket (page 462).


In your latest cookbook, Baking Style, how did you style the baked goods to appear so natural and appealing, yet so “perfect” looking?


While developing the look of the images (in addition to the selection of background materials and the massive amount of tableware–all from my own collection), it was important to me, as both author and baker/stylist of Baking Style: Art, Craft, Recipes, to reveal the core expression of my baking in a visual way. It was my great fortune to have a marvelously sensitive photographer, Ben Fink, chosen for this project–his camera lens acted as an extension of his art, and a very supportive editor (Pamela Chirls) and publisher (Natalie Chapman) at John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Hand-in-hand with Ben’s ability to somehow capture the essence of my work in baking, I developed a way to arrange and present the variety of sweets and savories to show off their natural goodness. Jagged edges, crumbs, and broken pieces appear visually against architecturally-correct borders, perfect scalloped exteriors and lacy edges, and very clean cuts. Most times, I simply let the baked good “control” the way it needed to be placed and, occasionally, a wayward bit of something let loose and I just let it be.

about the author

Lisa Yockelson is a baking journalist and three-time award-winning author of Baking by Flavor, ChocolateChocolate, and Baking Style: Art, Craft, Recipes. Baking Style: Art, Craft, Recipes received the 2012 IACP cookbook award for the best baking book in New York City on April 2, 2012.

book report

read about noteworthy cookbooks

Tartine Book No. 3: Modern, Ancient, Classic, Whole, by Chad Robertson (San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 2013), $40.00

In Tartine Book Nº3: Modern, Ancient, Classic, Whole, Chad Robertson dives deep into baking with whole grains (including ancient grains), turning the tables on classic pastries (take a good, tasty look at his Chamomile-Kamut Shortbread on page 251 and Buckwheat-Hazelnut Sables on page 261) and reinvigorating traditional breads with blended grains (a spectacular example of this is the author’s recipe for Spelt & Toasted Corn-Flour Baguettes on page 59, and following pages, and a veritable textbook on how to achieve the best “crumb” and flavor in a creation based on a multi-layered process and likely appealing to only the most passionate–and possibly advanced–of bakers). Even if you only put together Robertson’s 50/50 Sablé Cookies (page 258, and following page) and read through this work at leisure, you would come away deeply admiring the scope of the topic and love of the art Roberston conveys.
This is an exciting book. It may shake up some time-honored formulas and techniques–but only if you are not wedded to exploration.
The dynamic quality of Tartine Book Nº3 is evident throughout many distinctive chapters, like “Hearth Loaves with Sprouted Grains” or “Pastry.” Expect to add to your baking education–and the pantry–significantly by creating perfect crispbreads, scones, or tarts. And prepare to take your notion of the peanut butter cookie and have it turned completely upside-down (hint: Robertson’s take is made with oat flour and the cookies make one huge jump into confection immortality).
My suggestion: With a copy of Tartine Book Nº3 in hand, travel into this author’s mixing bowl to learn his philosophy and methods. It may take several reads to absorb the material. Even if bread is not your thing, perhaps he can lure you with Salted-Chocolate Rye Cookies (page 248, and following page). Unlike his Golden Brioche (which uses four different flours and a poolish, in addition to kefir butter), the cookie-making is a way-briefer, easier event, makes you rethink rye flour entirely, and produces swoon-worthy results.
All bakers beware. This book enchants.

Food Styling: The Art of Preparing Food for the Camera, by Delores Custer (Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2010), $75.00

Delores Custer, a food stylist, built a career on fine-tuning the look of food for television and publication, culminating in an instructional volume titled Food Styling: The Art of Preparing Food for the Camera.

In our visual culture, the audience for Food Styling is not only for professionals whose job it is to cook, bake, or otherwise fashion food-based items to be photographed. Any individual who needs to capture a pleasing food-related image should consider using this book as a reference for composing camera-ready food.

Taking a trip through the contents of Food Styling reveals the author’s range, with chapters devoted to all of the preliminaries (“The Medium is Everything,” and “Prepping the Assignment”), then moves on to cover aspects from advance preparation and working with a photographer to assembling the equipment necessary to actualize the job. All of this is a prelude to the meatiest section of the volume titled “Working with the Food: Overcoming Challenges”: This is a comprehensive view of styling in a range of categories, including food for breakfast, sandwiches, dairy products, main course proteins, sauces, and garnishes. The concluding chapters in this section concern “baked goods” and they are valuable reading for visitors of baking style diary.

In the baked goods sections (“Cakes: the pleasures and pitfalls,” Cookies: aiming for consistencies,” and “Chocolate: the problem child for the food stylist” among them), you will learn viable solutions for preparing beautiful bar cookies; creating just the right look for drop cookies; baking and presenting a flawless pie; ways to bake, assemble, and stage layer cakes; and how to form the best-looking dollop of whipped cream. One of the most intriguing sections is the information regarding the baking, styling, and presentation of chocolate chip cookies (page 266, and following pages). On those pages, we learn how certain ingredients, baking techniques, and background materials contribute to a different end result.

Food Styling is a resource book that is destined to become the industry standard of its genre.