Huckleberry by Zoe Nathan is an all-around stunning book. From the immaculate food photography to the craving-inducing recipes to the yellow polka-dot pattern adorning the pages, Huckleberry is everything you could hope for in a bakery cookbook — and then some. Nathan’s witty stories bring you right into the heart of her kitchen, and it’s easy to feel like she’s unlocked her bakery doors for you and invited you in for a tour.
The chapters roll out based on what time in the morning Nathan and her team start which baked goods, from muffins at 3:30am to biscuits and scones, rustic cakes and tea cakes, breads and other things that rise, flaky dough and its many uses, things baked in a dish, fried stuff, pancakes, cereals, sandwiches, hearty plates each topped with an egg to 10am coffee and other beverages. The substance of each chapter is a marvel, and the book features more than a hundred recipes that you can easily make at home. Nathan gives detailed notes on ways you can change things up, and the balance between sweet and savory dishes ensures that the book has something that will speak to any craving. With food photographer Matt Armendariz’s stunning food images, there’s no way to escape craving the Chocolate Chunk Muffins, the Vanilla French Toast with Brown Sugar-Cranberry Sauce, or My Dad’s Pancakes. The recipe for Black and Blue Oat Bars is included below, in case you just can’t wait to try one of the recipes.
What’s most enchanting about Huckleberry, though, is Nathan’s tone as she talks you through her morning routine in the bakery. Her tone is honest and funny, but you get the sense that she cherishes her time in the small hours of the morning while her place of work slowly hums to life, one oven and mixer at a time. She speaks about her team with deep affection and respect, and you can’t help but feel as you read the chapter introductions and the recipe headnotes that Nathan is sharing with readers a delicious part of her soul. Huckleberry officially goes on sale Sept. 9, and you can preorder your copy here.
Black and Blue Oat Bars
Makes 16 Bars
This is our whole-wheat shortbread with tons of fruit on top and a whole lot of crumble, my idea of pure heaven. These would also be great with cranberries, sauteed apples, sauteed peaches or sour cherries. But blackberries and blueberries are our traditional combination.
The best way to enjoy these is simply with a tall glass of milk. Or, if you want to take it to the next level, spike your milk. I can’t imagine a better cure for a sleepless night.
It’s key to slice the bars the moment they emerge from the oven. If you let them cool at all, they’ll be too crumbly and you’ll end up with a big ol’ mess instead of beautiful, clean-looking squares.
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons/255 grams unsalted butter, cubed, at room temperature
1/3 cup/65 grams granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/3 cups/170 grams all-purpose flour
3/4 cup/95 grams whole-wheat flour
2/3 cup/85 grams cornstarch
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons/55 grams rolled oats
1/2 cup/60 grams whole-wheat flour
6 tablespoons/85 grams unsalted butter, cubed, at room temperature
5 tablespoons/70 grams brown sugar
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 tsp kosher salt
5 cups/750 grams blackberries and blueberries
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons/130 grams granulated sugar
1 tablespoon water
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Grease an 8-inch-square baking pan.
To make the crust: Cream the butter, granulated sugar and salt in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the all-purpose flour, whole-wheat flour, and cornstarch. Mix cautiously, just until combined.
Press the dough into the prepared pan, distributing it evenly. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F/180 degrees C.
Meanwhile, to make the crumble: Combine the oats, whole-wheat flour, butter, brown sugar, honey and salt in a bowl and blend with your fingertips until homogenous. Set aside in the refrigerator until needed.
Bake the crust until golden, about 35 minutes.
When the crust nears readiness, make the filling: Toss together the berries, cornstarch, granulated sugar, water and salt to combine.
Remove the crust from the oven and, immediately, while hot, fill it with the berry mixture and top with the crumble. Return it to the oven to continue baking until the filling bubbles and the crumble is deeply browned, about 1 hour longer.
While it’s hot, quickly slice into squares. I like to cut 16 squares, which is 4 by 4, but you can go with any size or shape you like — just as long as you cut them right away. Allow to cool completely before removing the squares from the pan. The best way is to run a knife through the original cuts a second time, then pry the squares out with a small spatula. Once you snag the first one, it gets easier..
These keep beautifully, tightly wrapped, at room temperature, for up to 3 days.
Zoe Nathan with Josh Loeb and Laurel Almerinda, Huckleberry: Stories, Secrets, and Recipes from Our Kitchen, Chronicle Books (2014).
Photos courtesy Matt Armendariz