I planned to wait until Friday to write about this book, since that’s our recipe and entertaining day. But after three straight days of flipping through Baked bakery’s new cookbook, I cannot physically restrain myself from talking about it right. this. minute. Why? Because it’s that darn good.
Before I dive into the book, I’ve got a small confession to make: I’ve always been (and probably always will be) someone who lives to eat, rather than eats to live. I know it’s not the healthiest philosophy, but food has always provided me with a comfort that’s hard to put into words. Whether I’m happy or sad, a great meal always makes things better. I know I should go for a run or take a boxing class to work through stress, but for me, there’s no greater comfort that that first big bite into an amazing piece of cake or a deliciously fudgy brownie. We all have our vices and well, sweets are mine. So to say that Baked’s desserts are the most comforting (non-Mom-made) desserts I have ever eaten is the highest compliment I can give.
Baked Explorations: Classic American Desserts Reinvented is packed full of the heart-warming and tummy-pleasing recipes that I love about Baked. From gooey Monkey Bubble Bread breakfast recipes to classic Whoopie Pies, Baked’s second cookbook has it all and then some. And this time around, that “and then some” means a few unexpected surprises like recipes for Pumpkin Cheddar Muffins, two versions of Mississippi Mud Cake, Strawberry Jell-O Salad with a pretzel crust and my favorite “What The?” recipe, Tomato Soup Cupcakes with Mascarpone Frosting. Sound a little wacky? Sure. But will I be buying the ingredients to try them this week? Absolutely. Primarily because I trust just about anything the Baked boys (Renato Poliafito and Matt Lewis) tell me will taste good. Something about Renato and Matt, both personally and baked good-wise, has always felt special to me. Maybe it’s because they share my love of the deep South, or that they remind me of all the classic Southern desserts my grandmother would make when we visited her house in Richmond, but reading through this book felt like coming home to me.
I plan to take this book with me in a few weeks when we visit my family in Martha’s Vineyard. Aaron and I are cooking for the entire visiting family and I know that any one of these recipes (even the Tomato Soup Cupcakes) would be a hit. So as I bookmark my favorite pages to try next month, I hope you’ll consider picking up a copy to try in your own kitchen. I very rarely say things like “I guarantee you’ll like it,” but this one is a home run for me. The recipes are fun and approachable and Tina Rupp‘s photographs are the perfect combination of baking-meets-Brimfield antiques. Click here to pick up a copy online ($19.77 at Amazon) or if you’re in Brooklyn or Charleston, stop by Baked’s bakeries to taste their sweets for yourself. You won’t regret it. Congrats to Matt and Renato on another wonderful book! xo, grace