Nothing can keep me from baking a batch of these scones.
I can be swamped with work…
I can be sleep-deprived…
It can be 100 degrees that day…
But when I feel the urge to bake, I can’t be stopped.
What can I say? It’s my therapy. It’s my relaxation. It’s my treat to myself and others.
So when a review copy of the new “Baked Occasions” (Stewart, Tabori & Chang) landed in my mail, I immediately dropped everything else and started leafing through it.
This is the fourth cookbook by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito, the owners of the popular Brooklyn baker, Baked. It includes 75 recipes perfect for holidays, special events and just any day that is an occasion of any sort. Find recipes from “Toffee Coffee Cake Surprise” to “Easter Coconut Sheet Cake” to “Peppermint Chocolate Meringues.”
“Chinese Five-Spice Sesame Scones” caught my eye from the start because I love the intoxicating fragrance of five-spice in stir-fries.
You won’t be able to resist these tender little cakes.
If we do eat with our eyes first, then I must gain 10 pounds every time I lay eyes upon Erin Scott’s luminous food photos.
The creator of the blog, Yummy Supper, serves even up more temptation now with her similarly named new cookbook, “Yummy Supper” (Rodale), of which I received a review copy.
Scott of Berkeley, who as a teenager grew up a stone’s throw from Chez Panisse, describes herself as a “gluten-free omnivore.” She may have celiac disease, but she doesn’t let that define her or limit her ability to enjoy delicious food.
In fact, all it takes is a cursory look at her blog or cookbook of 100 recipes to see that. Both are filled with vibrant, seasonal dishes that carry a fresh California sensibility and aren’t too fussy.
That’s what drew me to the recipe for “Brown Butter Almond Tea Cakes.” Well, that and the fact that I love anything with almonds. Or in this case: almond flour.
My new favorite ice cream.
Not only is the color vivid, so is the taste.
“Blueberry Ice Cream” sounds so matter of fact. But it’s quite special.
This is an ice cream in which the berry flavor soars spectacularly.
Juicy, jammy and the perfect taste of summer.
What do you get when you combine fresh summer raspberries with juicy mangoes?
A tart that’s nothing short of sensational.
It is beyond easy, too.
“Juicy Mango-Raspberry Crumble Tart” is from “One Bowl Baking” (Running Press) of which I received a review copy. The book is by Yvonne Ruperti, a former recipe developer and writer for Cook’s Illustrated magazine.
As the name implies, these are recipe that for the most part do only require one bowl to make. Of course, there are a few exceptions, such as if you make one of the layer-cake recipes, then you will need a bowl to make the batter, and another to make the frosting. The recipes don’t require the use of an electric mixer, either, just good ol’ fashioned arm-power to whisk or stir.
Dark chocolate and mint make one arresting dessert. (Photo by Carolyn Jung)
I love the dichotomy of dark chocolate and fresh mint.
On one hand, you have the deep, rich weightiness of the chocolate. On the other, the breezy lilt of the tingly mint.
Put them together and you get the best yin-yang: one ingredient so devilishly decadent it can’t help but lure you in, and the other so fresh and vibrant, it clears your palate to egg you into enjoying another mouthful — and yet another — of chocolate.
Chef Sarah Rich of the wildly popular Rich Table in San Francisco knows this. Trained in both the savory and sweet side of the kitchen, she knows just what is bound to tempt.
That’s why I couldn’t have been happier when I asked her to contribute a recipe to my debut cookbook, “San Francisco Chef’s Table” Lyons Press), and she chose “Mint Chocolate Sable with Mint Chocolate Cream & Iced Milk.”
It was one of the first recipes I tested. (Hey, I’m no fool!)
Think of this as a fanciful yet rustic version of an ice cream sandwich. (You see why I wanted to try this one right off the bat.)