Baked: A New Frontier in Baking

Baked: A New Frontier in Baking by the owners of Brooklyn’s eponymous caf‚ Baked, Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito, is, in a word, luscious. The Baked philosophy and flavor are clear in the introduction, “We would reduce sugar where possible and increase the amounts of chocolate where possible.” The results are award-winning — the Baked Brownie was declared the best by those ultra-selective testers, America’s Test Kitchen. This dessert boasts 11 ounces of dark chocolate with cocoa powder and instant espresso for depth. The recipe calls for two sticks of butter and five eggs. Five eggs. The brownie is magnificent. It’s dense and chocolaty and comes out of the oven just as beautiful as the picture. Most of Baked’s recipes are updates of old favorites, like the Oatmeal Cherry Nut Cookies that give raisins the boot in favor of dried cherries, ground cardamom, and toasted walnuts. The Brewer’s Blondies add malted-milk balls to the mix, and the Root Beer Bundt cake seems like a dessert best tried once for family and then, if successful, added to the bake sale menu. The book’s design is carefully trendy, with endpapers featuring a pattern of stylized orange deer silhouettes complemented by small blue birds. Photos are bright and clean, often staged with vintage place settings completing the hip yet down-home feel. Baked is unapologetic in its quest for a delicious, decadent dessert. From the Sour Cream Coffee Cake: “Though some similar recipes suggest you substitute low-fat sour cream or yogurt to reduce calories this is not one of those recipes.” The focus on quality ingredients and simple, clear recipes make this book an excellent addition to any baker’s bookshelf.