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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Pumpkin Jam

It’s very hard to make generalizations. An article might say, “The French love their cheese,” and, of course, there will be someone out there who will say, “I have a French friend and they don’t like cheese.” Or “Americans love cinnamon,” which is partially true, although I’m sure there is at least one or two of you out there that can’t abide it. Generally speaking (at…

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German baking, I don’t think, gets its due. It’s partially because the names of the pastries and baked goods don’t exactly roll right off most of our tongues. Kartoffel-Käse Dinnede, Zitronenbiskuitrolle, Aachener Poschweck, Schwäbischer Prasselkuchen, and, well…I’ll quit now, because it’s taking me too long to hunt down all those keys on my keyboard. And I’d rather be wrapping my tongue around German cakes and cookies, rather than trying to…

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Cheese Ball

The French concept of terroir, a confluence of elements – soil, atmosphere, weather, and other factors – that gives something a certain taste or flavor to foods and wine, is often spoken of as an elusive concept outside of France. But it does exist in the United States, as well as other countries. We just don’t have a word for it. The French, being so…

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The most interesting neighborhood right now in Paris is the 9th arrondissement. Walk in any various directions from a métro station after you land there, and you’ll find yourself in a completely different neighborhoods, whether it’s surrounded by stately buildings on the Avenue Trudaine or the Square d’Anvers lorded over by Sacré Cœur (which hosts one of the rare afternoon/early evening outdoor markets in Paris). There’s the rue…

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[UPDATE: This sale is now over, but the book is available online, or at your local bookseller.] Get ready for holiday baking with the electronic version of Ready for Dessert on sale for only $1.99 for a limited time. It’s a collection of my all-time favorite baking recipes, from a spicy, moist Fresh Ginger Cake, just in time for the holidays, to the best Chocolate Chip Cookies. Ready for…

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