We’ve all heard of shortbread, but what exactly does it mean when we say a pastry is “short”? The terms “short crust,” “shortbread” and even “shortening” all refer to the texture of the crumb of the pastry. Short pastry is usually dense, crumbly, crisp and buttery, and these flavorful bars, studded with orange zest and nuts — and drizzled with chocolate — are no exception.
Heather Baird of Sprinkle Bakes is back and more delicious than ever with her sophomore cookbook, Sea Salt Sweet. Sea Salt Sweet strikes the perfect balance between the art and the science of pastry and baking with fun, accessible recipes that tickle both your sweet cravings and your salty ones.
We checked in with Baird to get her top do’s and don’ts for using salt. Hear what she has to say below, and read on for some of her favorite salty-sweet flavor combinations. And those brownies up there? Those are Baird’s Double Chocolate Cream Cheese Brownies with Maldon Flake. Check out the recipe for these beauties below.
If I had to name the two dishes that most intimidate even enthusiastic home cooks, I would have to say risottos and souffles. Both are most-often experienced in restaurants, usually of the fancier ilk, and therefore wrapped in mystique and a perceived high level of culinary skill. But toss aside those misconceptions, as both recipes actually involve a simple series of steps, and some attention, but nothing fancy by way of technique or dexterity. Read more
When I was little my neighborhood block was my universe. My best friend lived next door. We played kickball on the street in front of the house and explored the woods behind; our driveway was the best racecourse that any daredevil biker could hope for.
My dear friend Doris also lived on my block. She probably had a good 50 years on me, but that didn’t stop us from becoming close. She was kind and extremely gracious, considering that I would drop in on her without notice whenever it pleased me. My own grandmother lived 8,000 miles away, but Doris was nearby and I was grateful for her company. We’d play checkers and drink lemonade for hours. I loved our chats, and I loved her smile.
But that wasn’t all. Doris had the best snacks around — Little Debbie everything! She had crispy and crackly Star Crunch, dense and fudgy brownies, and my personal favorite, plenty of Oatmeal Creme Pies. Even today when I see those boxes in the supermarket, I’m immediately whisked back to the time when I’d sit on Doris’ fuzzy, teal couch in front of the glass coffee table considering my next checkers move with a mouthful of sugar.
Meal planning over the weekend for a few nights’ worth of dinners during the week indeed has its merits; after all, who doesn’t want to come home to a nearly-ready-to-eat meal? But you know what’s perhaps even more enticing than supper at the ready? Dessert at the ready. Take a few hours today to prep one of these over-the-top indulgences — think towering chocolate cake, the easiest chocolate chip cookies and buttery lemon bars worthy of citrus season — and get set for some sweet treats during the week when the craving hits.
When I first started making cookies, I always baked them one tray at a time in the center of the oven. It certainly drew the process out, but I had found that two trays baked at the same time never produced consistent results. Baking one sheet at a time was the only way to guarantee perfect treats. This all changed, however, when I got an oven with a convection setting — and it just happens to be ideal for baking these peanut butter whoopie pies. Read more
Craving both cookies and pie? A classic crumb bar is just what you need! It’s got a tender, sweet cookie base, real fruit filling and a chewy crumb topping. More portable than pie and more satisfying than a cookie, I’d say a crumb bar with a tall glass of milk would even make a pretty good breakfast (if there were any leftovers from the day before, that is!). Read more
I’m a pistachio fiend. I love pistachio ice cream, pistachio cakes and pistachio candies. I even use bright-green pistachio oil to make delicious salad dressings. Honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever met a pistachio I didn’t like. Read more
At first glance, this may just look like your average vanilla cake with chocolate frosting. But it’s so much more than that. I’ve enhanced the classic to make a snack cake worth talking about.
This is my very favorite gluten-free cake base. I use it all the time. I’ve made it into lovely layer cakes, Boston cream pie, perfect petit fours and every upside-down fruit cake that you can imagine. The key to its perfect tender, buttery crumb is almond flour — my secret weapon for gluten-free baking.