Baking For Others

Hot Fudge Crumble Bars

Posted by on Wednesday Apr 2nd, 2014

There’s no one who objects when hot fudge takes the places of fruit. Too bold? I don’t know, maybe. But take a chocolate-covered strawberry. If you had to choose between elements, would you take the chocolate or the berry? I would take the chocolate.

And so, I took my old recipe for Raspberry Crumble Bars, and I turned it into a recipe for Hot Fudge Crumble Bars. A victory for chocoholics everywhere.

Most of my whimsical decisions, like subbing in chocolate for what would ordinarily be jam, do not materialize out of nowhere. Often, they’re the product of necessity, also …

Are you ready to hold in your virtual hands a brand shiny new eCookbook, one that delivers both instant gratification and dairy-free sweets? Have you ever visited this old, dreary dairy-free desserts page as Passover approached or thought disastrously about substituting olive oil in for butter in brownies when hosting your newly dairy-free friend?

Then A Baker’s Dairy-Free Dozen: Desserts for Every Sweet Day of the Year is for you!

WHERE TO BUY

In its pages, you’ll find inspiration for simple, natural, and tasty dairy-free sweets that work every time. Beyond its pages, you’ll receive a free signed postcard for every eCookbook you buy, so you’ll have something to hold in your real hands (besides dozens of Crackly Chocolate-Chocolate Chip Cookies) after all.

I’m so happy to share a couple of the layouts from the book below. There’s much more goodness inside, and I really hope you like it!

If you squint at the Table of Contents, you’ll make out recipes like Chocolate Mousse and Summer Pudding, Iced Carrot Cake and Glazed Orange Marmalade Muffins, plus essential resources about baking and dairy-free ingredients. (The actual book is high-res and zoomable and perfectly suited to swiping through on your iPad.) You can find out more about the recipes and the eCookbook format by visiting the new A Baker’s Dairy-Free Dozen page.

There’s an early-bird 15 percent discount from now ’til the stroke of midnight on Saturday. If you’re craving delicious, dairy-free sweets, you should give in right now by clicking here. If you like butter but your friends, cousins, or colleagues are lactose-intolerant or kosher, I’d love if you pass on the eCookbook news to them.

Thanks for your support, and happy baking!

Look up to your right, past the lemons and almonds and eggs. Yesterday I added a tab to the main menu: new! eCookbook. It was a sort of muffled announcement of something exciting, I’ve got a brand new BGSK eCookbook coming your way in just a few weeks. The title is A Baker’s Dairy Free Dozen: Desserts for Every Sweet Day of the Year, and its pages contain perfectly tested, ridiculously delicious, simple-to-make dairy-free treats that don’t use a lot of strange ingredients.

To make a long story, a lot of ingredients (pictured), and so much baking fit into one little sentence: I decided to work on a special issue dedicated to one type of eater, the dairy-free sweets lover. I hope this is the first of many pieces of focused, premium content I can offer to you guys in the future, whether you’re eager to see more vegetarian main courses or pages upon pages of breakfast inspiration.

This eCookbook launches in two weeks, on March 7, 2014. We’ll be offering 15 percent off for the first 48 hours, so mark your calendars and sign up for the newsletter to be sure you don’t miss the discount. And, so that you have an object to hold in your hands in addition to all the eStuff, we’ll be shipping real signed postcards to everyone who purchases the book (til we run out of postcards).

Chocolate-Dipped Shortbread Gems

Posted by on Thursday Dec 19th, 2013

I’m so happy today to introduce you to Sam of Love, Cake. Sam’s an incredibly talented baker, writer, recipe developer, and food stylist, and from the moment my friend Jess pointed me towards Sam’s work, I knew I had to get her to share one of her confections over here on the site. She’s currently working on her first cookbook (!) and taking her tea and cookies with a few pages of The Goldfinch. After you read about today’s cookies–Shortbread Gems–be sure to go visit Sam over at Love, Cake to feast on things like homemade almond joy, gluten-free/vegan chocolate-banana-peanut butter torte, and orange-pistachio buns

When the days are short, and especially around the holidays, my favorite present to myself is afternoon tea and cookies, served just as the sun is sinking.

I come from a long line of serious tea drinkers. I grew up in Connecticut, but my parents are from the island formerly known as Ceylon. When I was growing up we would take long trips back to Sri Lanka to visit my grandparents, who lived in a bungalow on an old hillside tea plantation.

I was steeped in tea culture there. Each afternoon, my mother, grandmother, and all the ladies would sit on the veranda overlooking the hills, drinking tea, nibbling on biscuits, and gossiping and giggling. Even before I was old enough to gossip I knew that if I poked my head around the corner at the right moment, my mom would tip a bit of her tea into her saucer and pass it to me. I would sit at her feet and slurp it, warm, milky, and sweet.

I developed these luxurious butter cookies, studded with pistachios, apricots, and dried cherries, as the perfect complement to a mug of tea, a blanket, and a book. Wrap them up and give them away to the people you love, the people you love to gossip and giggle with.

Ghorayebah (Middle Eastern Butter Cookies)

Posted by on Wednesday Dec 18th, 2013

One of my favorite takeaways from my college education as a comparative literature student is the term synecdoche–using the part to refer to the whole. In baking, we use images in our heads of flour (scattered all over our aprons), butter (creamed to whipped perfection), and sugar (its crystals dazzling in the light) to stand in for the entire process of make cookies or a loaf cake. In reality, there’s chocolate chips and vanilla extract and a couple of eggs in the batter, too.

But today, the part is really the whole cookie. Today’s butter cookies contain nothing but butter, sugar, and flour. Of course, we use some nuts for garnish, but let’s let the synecdoche stand.

These cookies hail from the Middle East. As my year of exploring Middle Eastern cuisine for Sargento winds down, I went through the archives and noticed there were no desserts. I’ve tried pomegranate molasses on grilled cheese sandwiches and made lentils every which way. I got stupidly obsessed with za’atar and dukkah. But I haven’t shared anything sweet. Perhaps this is because cheese doesn’t figure in Middle Eastern dessert (though there are plenty of delicious-looking milky puddings). So today we’re venturing away from the cheese and the savory so that I can share these cute, simple, three-ingredient cookies with you in time to get them on your Christmas table.

Yesterday I shared a holiday tart, kicking off a sweets week of sorts. Tomorrow, we’ll have chocolate-dipped shortbread gems from a really talented contributor, so keep your sweet teeth tuned in!

This sponsored post is part of an ongoing collaboration with Sargento, called Flavor Journey. Throughout this year, with the support of Sargento, I’ve been exploring Middle Eastern cuisine–at home, in Brooklyn, at cooking classes, and wherever the flavors may take me. You can see the whole series here. Sponsored posts let me do some of my best work on this blog, and I only ever work with brands whose values and products mesh with the content I love to produce for you. Here’s my affiliate disclosure.

Cranberry-Lemonade Tart

Posted by on Tuesday Dec 17th, 2013

I made swirls for you. The holidays call for showmanship, and a lemon tart bejeweled with bright red cranberry delivers. Not to be outdone by its looks, the tart’s creamy lemon filling, cookie crust, and tangy cranberry dollops taste beyond incredible, like key lime pie that’s come back home for Christmas.

With the holiday so close, it seems like everyone has switched into elf mode, baking cookies and braising brisket for the Christmas Eve party, buying presents and wrapping them in brown paper, concocting a few homemade gifts too, because you can never have too many packages in the pile. With this tart, I’ve entered the workshop too. You should have seen me by the counter when I made this–you would have giggled at my careful deliberations on the swirls and my serious judgment of the cranberry color’s vibrancy. It was a case of holiday-onset perfectionism.

I got inspired to bake this tart from a flavor of mike’s hard that comes in the drink company’s “mike’s hard party kit,” which has four flavors—hard lemonade, hard black cherry lemonade, hard limeade, and today’s muse, the hard cranberry lemonade. The colors of the bottles are, like the tart, so bright and festive and warm (though the drink—like the tart—is cool and refreshing). Those colors, and the drink’s sweet-tangy flavor, emerge in my cranberry-lemonade tart, in the sweetness and tanginess, and in the swirls. Both just feel like the holidays—like gifts. Which means the two also pair beautifully. If you’re heading to a friend’s place with the tart in hand, bring a party pack too (and, vice versa).

Any food we bake for our loved ones is a gift, really. Right? Right. It’s just that this beautiful tart really looks like one. And when you’re a cook, that’s just how the holiday spirit manifests…in swirls.

I should add that this dessert has an impossibly high ratio of glamour to ease. The crust needs no rolling, and the custard-like filling requires no tempering of eggs. That part is my gift to you.

This post was sponsored by mike’s hard. You can find products near you by going here. Thank you for supporting the sponsors who help make BGSK’s content great!

Ever since I traveled to Greece, then Turkey, I’ve had a passion for baklava. I spent all my days in Athens and Istanbul with sticky fingers, because I had to try a piece of the pastry from every bakery I passed by as we went sightseeing.

When my sister Kate studied abroad in Turkey, she wasn’t allowed back into the states without a box of baklava threatening to leak honey all over her suitcase. Likewise Alex, when he visited family in Greece last year. When it comes to my favorite dessert, I’m demanding.

Amazing baklava takes time to make, so I was happy to improvise a 10-minute version of the dessert using Athens’ convenient mini fillo shells, a creamy filling made with mascarpone cheese and lemon zest, and the signature walnuts tossed in my preferred syrup, which is made with honey, cinnamon, and lemon juice.

I’m sharing the recipe for these festive little desserts over at Phyllo.com. Click over to check out the full post and get the recipe!