When it’s the dead of winter and there are no fresh, vibrant berries or stone fruits to speak of (at least, not the type that hasn’t been shipped thousands of miles and has the “meh” flavor and price tag to prove it), baking can seem kind of dreary. There are only so many brownies and chocolate chip cookies a person can take. It’s then that apples and pears are the answer. Hearty with a long storage life, you’re bound to find a couple rattling around the fridge just about any time of year.
There’s a fine line between apple pie and this recipe. I’ll level with you—I’m not sure there’s a line at all. What it comes down to is how this item is found in Midwestern bakeries: on sheet pans the size of barn doors, slicked with icing, often called an apple slice or apple square, and eaten out of hand midday with no thought about it being dessert. So, this recipe being a pastry and not pie is a state of mind, is what I’m saying.
This recipe has made the rounds, and never fails to impress. It’s all the satisfaction of crisp, sugary, brown-buttery chocolate chip cookies for very little time and effort. Perfect for weekday baking, gifting, compulsive snacking, and making friends and influencing people.
The United Society of Believers in Christ’s Second Appearing, more commonly known as the Shakers, is a Christian sect founded in England in 1770 by a woman named Ann Lee. Ann Lee, who was thought to embody the second coming of Christ, established four basic tenets: communal living, celibacy, regular confession of sins, and isolationism from the outside world. The Shaker story is an intriguing study of a social and religious experiment in utopian community in early American history. They were radical for their time in many ways: they practiced social, sexual, economic, and spiritual equality 75 years before emancipation and 150 years before suffrage. They strongly believed in gender equality, even though their responsibilities were separated by sex.
Cardamom gives this almond cake a wonderful, delicate perfume.
Cornbread is very simple and quick to make. But, like so many “simple” things, it takes a lot of practice to master. When you examine what makes a good cornbread, you realize right away that it’s a very personal preference from one cook to the next. For me, the best cornbread has to tick a few boxes. First, it has to be cooked in a cast-iron skillet, started on the stove and finished in the oven. The crispy, deep brown, caramelized crust achieved when you cook cornbread this way is unbeatable. Then, when you bite into the soft crumb inside, you want to taste a tangy sourness that only buttermilk can give. The corn and buttermilk are the two ingredients that make or break a skillet of cornbread. Even if you’re still searching for your ideal skillet of cornbread, if you start with great full-fat buttermilk and high-quality cornmeal, the result will be memorable. But “high quality” doesn’t have to mean “the most expensive.” High quality means a flavorful variety of corn, organically grown, dried in the field, harvested, and ground, all with care. That means when it gets to you, all you have to do is cook it with the same care to enjoy something truly special.
This recipe is autumn in a loaf pan. The deep flavor of molasses is the perfect companion to crisp fall mornings, and calls back childhood memories of cooking next to grandma over a wood stove while fog slowly lifts from the mountains. In Southern Appalachia, families relied on locally-harvested sweeteners such as honey or sorghum molasses. Sweet breads like this one were reserved for celebrations and holidays, in contrast to the daily pans of cornbread or biscuits. Each bite of this rich bread tastes like the mountains, like home. The recipe comes together quickly, but be sure to sift the flour to avoid clumping in the loaf. For a more authentic flavor, use sorghum molasses. We recommend serving it warm with butter and coffee!
Our pecan sticky buns are justifiably famous, since they beat Bobby Flay in a throwdown. We once calculated that we bake off about 220,000 sticky buns a year (that’s over 600 daily) just to keep up with the demand. When something is that popular, is there any reason to tweak it or improve it? Well, in New England we can’t help but get pretty excited about apple season every fall. I myself eat at least an apple a day (I have one in my bag now) and when the idea to switch out the pecans for apples came up, I couldn’t wait to try it. I love how the tart cider and the fresh, spiced apples bring our sticky bun to a whole new level. These are insanely good and I actually love them better than the original.
Florentines are pretty little lacy cookies, studded with sliced almonds and dipped in chocolate. These were in my childhood cookbook and I could not make enough of them. They are so simple to make and yet so elegant. Give these to close friends and loved ones.
I’ve made these so many times, so you won’t have to. On the surface this seems like a dead-simple recipe, but it took quite a bit of tinkering to nail. Tahini has a complex molecular structure made up of lots of tiny carbohydrate molecules that cling to liquid for dear life, seizing up the way chocolate does if you add liquid to it at the wrong time. But if you play your carbs right and add the tahini last, after all of the other ingredients, it stirs in smoothly and bakes up into these sexy little squares that get better as they sit around. To make these non-dairy, swap in a neutral-flavored olive oil or vegetable oil instead of the butter.