Dear Bakers and Friends,
Welcome to the December Issue of Betterbaking.com!
From the gathering time of October, to feelings of gratitude in November, we tumble into the final month of the year, December. And what is December's theme? I would say sugar and spice of course but also: stillness. Despite the harried pace of holiday shopping, there comes this quiet oasis wherein you finally have to stay put (if not quite still) in the kitchen. December, (at least once your holiday gift list is accounted for) is a time to slow down. People often roll their eyes when they talk about 'all the cooking and baking' they have yet to do but I secretly think we all love it. It's a chance to leave the mall, get off Amazon and other sites, sussing out gifts and go into that purely physical world of food.
And here's the thing about the physical world of food: no matter what you would prefer, there’s simply no faster way to peel apples, simmer cranberries or melt chocolate. Dough doesn’t roll faster if you install a smart phone app on your rolling pin and you can’t digitalize a batter or virtually print-out your holiday cookies. Nor can you create that extraordinary, riveting fragrance of real home baking with anything else but real home baking. Times have changed and while they’re cool shortcuts to baking (and life) body-and-soul nurturing, home crafted food take both real hands and real time. Accept no substitutes. Your baking wafts a certain energy that can’t be replicated; it’s aromatherapy of the first order. Happily, this is also the fun of it all because nothing is more soothing than hand-work – it’s as grounding as it gets and on top of that it results in beautiful edibles that are pure joy. No one says ‘no’ to homemade anything around this time of year making it a great time to do both new things as well as classics. So with that in mind, I’ve curated (created and tested) some traditional treats for the holidays.
I’m also delighted to share the new cover of my upcoming cookbook, The Newish Jewish Cookbook! It should be available in print and as well as an E-book in the next month or two. The interior is being designed as I write this and the cover as you can see is done. Then all that’s needed is a beautiful index (indexes get done in the last stages of book production). My new cookbook will be for sale from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Chapters Indigo or you can order it from your favorite independent bookseller. I’ll be sure to announce the office launch date so that you can pre-order if you like. This book, as all of my previous ten (can you believe ten books?) has been a journey. Like most journeys, it can be long, wandering and varied of pace but now that it’s all done, I am very proud of what I am bringing into the world to share with you. I think of The Newish Jewish Cookbook as your book. It's the recipes of your grandmother’s kitchen, colliding with the corner deli (when we had them), a millennial’s dash of re-invention of Jewish foods (hence some new spins) and a big dollop of the global kitchen. Think sumac, Rosemary Asiago Knishes, Sweet Potato Hummus, Kosher Pho as well as the most beautiful, classic kugels, soups and a brisket wardrobe to wow you. For now however, you can start with this beautiful Hanukkah Cranberry Babka, one of this month's new recipes. (No, the Cranberry Babka is not in the new cookbook but I already have plans for a whole new Jewish baking book!
15% Off Bella Viva Dried Apricots, Cherries and More from www.BellaViva.com
I’m delighted to share a discount coupon for BB readers from our friends at Bella Viva Orchards https://www.bellaviva.com/ Just put in the code, betterbaking2018 to obtain your 15% off any of their fine products. Nothing beats their dried fruit for holiday baking, especially their dried California apricots for cookie and pastry fillings. The discount begins 12/2018 and ends 12/14/2018.
I've also been baking with an amazing steel pizza sheet you have to look into http://www.bakingsteel.com/. It is turning my regular breads and pizzas into extraordinary creations. A great gift along with some terrific, natural, dehydrated sourdough starters from https://www.culturesforhealth.com/
Happy December and happy holidays, whatever you are celebrate, even if it is just the first beautiful snowfall. I wish you as always, sweet times and happy baking from my kitchen to yours,
Master Baker, Author
Free Recipe of the Month: New Way Latkes!