Embrace the sheet pan. Surely you have one (or two). In a professional kitchen, my stack of pans that measure 13 by 18, with 1-inch raised, rolled sides and made of medium-weight aluminum, are referred to as “half sheet.” This familiar piece of equipment takes center stage in the recently-released Sheet Pan Suppers: 120 Recipes for Simple, Surprising, Hands-off Meals Straight from the Oven by Molly Gilbert. The book promises versatile, impressively simple, one-pan dinners (plus some sides and a few sweets) assembled on said pan and slipped into the oven–mostly made with an ingredient list free of the pre-prepared variety (though a few shelf-ready items, such as a tube of polenta or jar of marinara sauce, appear here and there). While some may eye-roll at the concept which seems obvious or basic, Sheet Pan Suppers serves as a terrific reminder–an incentive, really–to cook fresh on a regular basis rather than rely on carry-out meals. Gilbert’s “Classic Roast Chicken with Mustardy Potatoes” and “Pork Tenderloin with Squash, Apples & Onion” prove the point of the book deliciously. For dessert, “Salted Rosemary Toffee Crunch” is a fun nibble. If the return to homemade dinner is on your Fresh-Start-of-2015 agenda, Sheet Pan Suppers is an approachable guide to it. So set the table and dig in.
Baking by Flavor Tracker: The well-loved and repeatedly-baked kitchen sink buttercrunch bars (page 209) from Baking by Flavor have filled cookie tins far and wide–year in, year out. Easy. Rich and chewy. A raging favorite.
My recipe for Cinnamon-Swirl Sour-Cream Coffee Cake, a baking delight if there every was one, was published in the FOOD pages of the Boston GLOBE. You can view the recipe here. What a splendid cake to have on hand to serve to a crowd at brunch. Enjoy!
Baking Style Tracker: Top cookie jar favorites from Baking Style: Art, Craft, Recipes include lady bountiful cookies, edge-of-darkness bars, confection brownies, irene’s slice-and-bake sugar cookies (my late mother’s recipe), and wild ones.
Cinnamon toast. I love it more than ever. Simple, aromatic, crunchy, and buttery–all wrapped up in one crispy package.
My recipe for almond-butter cake appeared in the food pages of the Boston GLOBE, and it is a delight. You can access the recipe here. Do serve it with sliced stone fruit or a compote of fresh berries, or simply plain with icy tumblers of tea or coffee.
Some of my favorite things begin with…roasted cacao nibs. I add them to trail mix for a mellow chocolate crunch, use them to scatter over iced sweet yeast rolls, and flick them over granola.
It’s valuable to go back into the literature of baking and take a look at titles which have survived the test of time. Baking authors such as Nick Malgieri, Alice Medrich, Rose Levy Beranbaum, Maida Heatter, and the late Flo Braker and Carol Field (sadly) built their careers structured on authenticity and long-term research. Collectively, they bring depth to their works.
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’ve already baked a tender corn meal-based quick bread. So, so good.
baking style diary updates on Twitter by following the buttery, vanilla-scented, thickly frosted escapades of Lisa Yockelson @sweetpinkbaker! Follow along about my Adventures in Baking Land, and see what’s on the cooling rack.