Bake the Book: Baked Elements


[Photograph: Tina Rupp]

Baking is a synergy of art and science, so a little organization of the elements goes a long way. Baked Elements: Our 10 Favorite Ingredients, the third cookbook by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito, uses the principles of the periodic table to present recipes sorted by essential ingredient. Bananas, cinnamon, pumpkin, chocolate and even cheese are all featured elements, and each one is given a chapter around which recipes are built.

Using ingredients rather than recipe types as a basis emphasizes the excitement that the men behind Brooklyn bakery Baked have for dessert. Not a page goes by without some personal anecdote, tip, or bit of advice that makes every recipe feel personal, well-tested, and well-loved. The book itself is gorgeous, with drool-worthy photos and an elegant layout that makes finding old favorites easy and choosing new treats a breeze. The most difficult part is deciding where to start; every chapter makes a stunning argument. "Malt Powder", for example, features a semifreddo malted milkshake recipe that had me scouring the spice shelves for a packet of the stuff.

We've taken some of the guesswork out of the process by selecting four recipes that best represent the intense flavor, style, and simple-yet-smart technique the book evokes. With a chapter called, quite simply, "Bananas", banana pudding seems a natural choice. And with the recent snap in the air, pumpkin cheesecake bars are the right way to go from late summer to fall. Our first recipe, "Good Morning Sunshine Bars", with their combination of creamy peanut butter, crunchy cereal, and smooth chocolate, are that elusive combination of childhood memories and adult indulgence. Plus, you can totally eat them first thing in the morning. It says so right there in the book.

Win A Copy!

Thanks to the generous folks over at , we are giving away five (5) copies of Baked Elements this week.

All you have to do is tell us what dessert element you couldn't do without in the comments section below.