When I was in Brooklyn a few months back doing a booksigning with the lovely folks from The Brooklyn Kitchen, a friendly woman came up to me bearing a box of treats from her bakery. I don’t like to eat in front of people, because, frankly, no one wants to meet up with an author while he is shoving pastries in his mouth. And in this day and age of people wanting pictures, I’ve learned that absolutely no one looks good when they’ve got a mouth full of food. And I have a hunch that there are a bunch of photos tagged with my name on them, around the internet, that will prove that.
Results tagged Matt Lewis from David Lebovitz
One of my favorite bakeries anywhere is Baked, located way over yonder, in Red Hook, Brooklyn. It’s a ways to go, since that part of Brooklyn lacks subway stops. (And it’s about 3000 miles from Paris, and no métro goes there either.) So I’m happy to hear they’re opening in Tribeca, so when I’m in New York, I can make it over there more frequently. But what’s just as good as visiting their bakery in person, is their latest book, Baked Occasions, featuring Matt Lewis and Renato Polifito’s favorite cakes, cookies, and candies, for entertaining, including during the holidays, and on other festive occasions.
What endears me to this duo is that we share similar tastes in treats. Leafing through the book, I immediately dialed in on the recipe for Lebkuchen, those wonderful German spice cookies iced with a swirl of dark chocolate, and the Salted Caramel Soufflé, which sounds oh-so-good. But the lure of the Old-School Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies (page 110) was too powerful to resist, and I gave those a go first. After mixing up the dough, while shaping the cookies for baking, I was grabbing clumps of the cookie dough and stuffing it in my face. People who actually got to taste the baked cookies should consider themselves fortunate that I had any dough leftover to bake.
However the pièce de résistance for me was learning that they loved Peppermint Stick Ice Cream with Hot Fudge Sauce as much as I do, which was one of my childhood favorites. And I jumped at the chance to churn up a batch of it, to relive those innocent days of my youth, before life corrupted me and made me the person — for better or worse — than I am today.
2010 was a very big year for cookbooks. And when I say “big”, I don’t just mean there were plenty of great cookbooks published this year, but some of them were huge. Ready for Dessert tipped the baker’s scale at over 3-pounds, and subsequent books that continued throughout the year tested the limits of my strength, such as Bon Appétit Desserts, which weighs in at a whopping 6-pounds.
But as they say, “Size doesn’t matter” and I found myself attracted to a variety of cookbooks of all dimensions. Here are a few cookbooks, baking tomes, and food-related books that were released this year or that I featured on the site in 2010.
You’d never know that Dorie Greenspan only spends one-third of her time in Paris because after reading through this massive collection of three hundred fabulous recipes, she nails the city and the food, including stories and recipes from the restaurants, markets, and most endearingly, her stable of Parisian friends—which makes mine look like the unwashed masses. Her moist French Apple Cake was enjoyed from breakfast around here, and eating cake for breakfast probably isn’t very French, but tant pis.
I’d been planning for this trip for years, ever since I first laid my hands on a copy of Baked, the cookbook. Quite a few baking books come out and a lot are really good, but this one spoke to me. I mean, each and every dessert sounded like something I not only wanted to bake, but wanted to eat. As in right away.
As I read through the pages, I have to say that I fell in love with everything in there, from the Baked brownies to the Sweet and Salty Chocolate Cake. With those swirls and swirls of shiny, dark chocolate, I just wanted to dive right into that cake headfirst. And I know this might get me into a little trouble, but I found I had a sweet spot for the authors as well.
I was entranced because Renato Poliafito and Matt Lewis of Baked share with me a similar sensibility about desserts: we seem to agree that forceful, dynamic flavors, trump elaborate presentations, and prefer to let just a few great ingredients shine. Unfortunately it took me about a year after I read their book (and an interesting bus ride from Manhattan) to get there, but it was worth the wait.