Before getting ready to fly back to France after the recent holiday, friends invited me to join them on a trip to Havana. I couldn’t make it, but the next best thing is taking the bus to Philadelphia, I’m also juggling urgings to go to Los Angeles, New Caledonia, Mexico City, Vietnam, Florence, Honolulu, Miami, Florence, Oaxaca, Bulgaria, Iran, Gascony, Lyon, Rome, Chicago, Chiang Mai, Sicily, Toronto,…

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From the outside, Compagnie Générale de Biscuiterie is a low-slung place, resembling a workshop of some sort, rather than a pâtisserie, located on the way up to Sacré Cœur, in Montmartre. I made the trek up there to check it out because I was interested in the one thing the low-key place makes: cookies. The French use the word “cookies” primarily to refer to chocolate…

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When I picked up Bitters, a book celebrating the history and culture of using bitters in cocktails, I was immediately hooked on the subject. I am always drawn to books that not only tackle a single subject, but do it so well. The book sparked additional interest when I made the Pith Helmet from the book, an enticing mixture of gin, cucumbers, Pimm’s, lemon, basil, black pepper,…

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Like many others, I’m a fan of Ina Garten. Growing up, her mother didn’t want her in the kitchen and she never considered cooking as a profession. After marrying her husband Jeffrey, though, he suggested she quit her government job and follow her passion, which turned out to be cooking and baking, something she discovered after buying a specialty foods store, even though she had no experience…

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One dessert I don’t make often enough are baked apples, known in France as Pommes rôti au four, or Pommes au four – oven-roasted apples. We have great apples in France, which I like to buy from the local grower at my market. But Americans also have a long history with lovely apples and when I was growing up, we lived near a cider mill and…

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Before my first trip to Mexico a number of years ago, I didn’t know Mexico was a country known for its ice cream (helado), let alone an array of other delicious sweets. I wandered through panaderias (bakeries) with the metal tray and tongs they gave me, picking out my own cakes and confections. I fell especially hard for the little disks of mazapán de cacahuate (peanut paste), caramelized flans…

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It’s been a turbulent week and I went into my usual default mode: I baked something. I’d been planning on sharing an apple cake recipe with you, having cooked up some apples and bought some dates in preparation. But one morning I awoke very early after a fitful night of sleep and started pitting dates, in the early hours of the day, before the sun came…

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I love cookies. If there is a selection of cookies on a dessert menu, I always will order it. I’ve been to cookie shops from Beirut to Bushwick, nibbling my way through chewy chocolate chip cookies, macarons, buttery sablés, and snappy ginger cookies, whenever I can. Even Parisians get in on the act by dubbing chocolate chip cookies, les cookies, perhaps because they are the classic…

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This was a bang-up year for cookbooks. Although my editor isn’t thrilled, I am glad that I didn’t have a book come out this fall with all the other great books that have crossed my path. Because it’s nice to be able to spend some time cooking and baking through them. (While I work on edits for mine, coming out next year. If I finish it…) One…

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