I haven’t had the pleasure yet of eating at NYC’s Ovenly bakeries. My introduction to Ovenly was watching Agatha Kulaga and Erin Patinkin, the founders, on Food52 making their accidentally vegan chocolate chip cookies (which I have made several times, and I like quite a bit). I knew they had a cookbook but I never got around to reading a copy of it.
Well, that changes now! Harper Collins was kind enough to send me a review copy of the 2nd edition, which is releasing today. The second edition is updated and includes a few new recipes.
The chapters are:
- Essential tools and ingredients
- Scones and biscuits
- Quick breads and coffee cakes
- Cookies and shortbreads
- Pies and tarts
- Brownies and bars
- Cakes and cupcakes
- Baking for the holidays
- Fillings, frostings, and sauces
- Bar snacks
- Bakeshop favorites
I believe that the new recipes are in the last chapter, so that’s
- Lemon raspberry loaf
- Apple oat muffins
- Chewy ginger molasses cookies
- Minty crinkle cookies
- Hot chocolate cookies
- Nutty toffee bars
- Lemon lavender cake
- Erin McDowell’s black bottom pecan pie
Since this book already exists in the wild, I thought I’d look up some of the poorer reviews online to see if they had any validity. Here’s what I found:
“This wasn’t the cookbook that I had seen before. It was more of a “how to” lifestyle book for family life. With some recipes thrown in.”
Nope, this is definitely not a lifestyle book. Unless your lifestyle heavily involves butter and sugar. This is a cookbook through and through.
“I can’t imagine why a modern baking cookbook wouldn’t make weight rather than volume the standard measurements…I want a fair chance at success. This means weights. So I won’t buy a baking cookbook that doesn’t include weights for measurements and neither should you. I know I sound cranky, but there it is.”
Yes, you do sound cranky. I like metric measurements too, but most of my cookbooks are from American writers and therefore do not have metric measurements. It’s really not that big of a deal. Maybe it’s because of the way I bake? I tend to use grams for flour and sugar, but I’ll use volume measurements for nearly everything else. (Hybrid method is where it’s at.) Regardless, I’m not about to score a cookbook with one out of five stars because they went with American measurements. What I will say is that the conversion chart at the beginning of the book is completely unhelpful if you want to convert the recipes. Some ingredients in the book are listed in ounces so you can use the conversion chart to grams. But the main ingredients in the book are in cups, and there’s no chart to tell you how to convert it.
“Imagine my surprise when I gave Ovenly’s biscuit recipe a serious look. The recipe starts with 5 (FIVE!) cups of flour plus 21 tablespoons of butter (that is about 3/4 of a pound of butter!) to make a mere 8 biscuits! Just EIGHT!”
This review makes me laugh a little. Let me be honest up front and admit that I’m not great at making layered biscuits. Having said that, I’m dying to try Fox In the Snow’s (aka Lauren Culley’s) recipe for biscuits. I saw a video for it during quarantine, and it’s a behemoth. And guess what? It’s got 5 ½ cups of flour and 3 sticks of butter for 7-8 biscuits. Professional baking is not like home baking. Skimming through it, there is nothing wrong with the Ovenly biscuit recipe except that your body may hate you for consuming it.
I was originally planning to bake a recipe that someone said had failed, but I could not find a review that mentioned a specific recipe that didn’t work out. So, for my test recipe, I’ve decided to make the Apple Oat Muffins because it’s from the Bakeshop Favorites chapter. (But also, I really love muffins.)
The batter comes together pretty easily. The recipe is vegan, and made with vegetable oil, almond milk, sugar, applesauce, apple cider vinegar, vanilla extract, flour, rolled oats, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, lemon zest (optional), chunks of apples, and ideally puffed quinoa and turbinado sugar for the top. I had to skip the topping because I didn’t have puffed quinoa. There is a note that you can sub the puffed quinoa with more oats, but I didn’t have turbinado sugar either so I didn’t really see the point. In the long run, it didn’t matter because I’m an idiot.
I made these first thing Saturday morning… and I initially forgot the apple chunks. I know, I know! How does one forget the apple in an apple muffin?! I am not perfect. Then, I made the executive decision to pull the muffins out of the oven, and push some apples in. (Good thing I skipped that topping, yeah?) A questionable life choice to be sure, but darn it! I wanted apples in my muffin! Despite my clumsiness, these muffins are really good. 10 out of 10, will make again.
Other recipes that I look forward to baking?
- Strawberry basil loaf
- Feta, basil, scallion muffins
- Harvest muffins
- Cinnamon and ancho chile brownies
- Salty super dark chocolate brownies
- Boozy fig blondies
- Flourless chocolate cake
- Hot chocolate cookies
If you like baking, I highly recommend this book. If there was a recipe in the original edition that did not work out for you, let me know. I can try to test it out from the new edition. (Hopefully, not first thing in the morning so that I’m less likely to forget major ingredients. Sigh. I’m not going to let myself live this down for at least another month.)
Disclaimer – I kindly received a copy of this book from Harper Collins for this review. I’m not getting paid for this post. The views and opinions expressed are purely my own.
With COVID-19 still in effect, I’m trying to stay home as much as possible. So pardon me if I choose to skip an ingredient or substitute it.