The guys at Baked whip up a must-have list
Baker duo's go-to ingredients inspire cookbook
Finding themselves again and again turning to the same roster of ingredients at Baked, their Brooklyn bakery, Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito were inspired to organize "Baked Elements," their third cookbook.
What it is:
Bakers Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito develop their ideas somewhat backward. Instead of saying, I want to make chocolate chip cookies, the thread goes more along the lines of, I want something chocolate, what shall it be? Finding themselves again and again turning to the same roster of ingredients at Baked, their Brooklyn bakery, inspired them to organize "Baked Elements," their third cookbook, around their desert island favorites: peanut butter, lemon and lime, caramel, booze, pumpkin, malted milk powder, cinnamon, cheese, chocolate and bananas.
Praise and quibbles:
The recipes, grouped in chapters saluting each of the 10 ingredients, amount to redeveloped classics, often with a twist. Key lime tart is here, but with a pretzel crust and a filling spiked with tequila. A butter cookie has lime and a touch of anise flavor from fresh tarragon.
Flavors are intense. "We always add a little more flavor, a little more spice than we should," Poliafito says. "Those flavors are important, might as well punch them up." Indeed, a batch of spicy brownies gets 2 teaspoons of cinnamon. Snickerdoodles lots more. Flavor is layered on flavor. Bread pudding with a chocolate chunk pumpkin bread base gets more pumpkin in the custard. On the downside, some recipes call for making multiple components — the dough and the filling and the assembly and the frosting.
Why you'll like it:
Lewis and Poliafito want recipes that fit the Baked philosophy: "delicious, interesting and unpretentious" — and the offerings here do feel grounded. If some lean from interesting into out-there — cookies stuffed with candy bar chunks and double-dipped in melted chocolate — well, plenty of home cooks are willing to follow.
— Joe Gray,Tribune Newspapers