In this, their third cookbook, Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito, the Brooklyn-based founders of Charleston's Baked bakery, really hit the ball out of the park (or should that be Yankee Stadium?).
The book, Baked Elements: Our Ten Favorite Ingredients (Abrams, September 2012), is jam-packed with the authors' highly original and decidedly tasty approach to baking and pairing flavors. It's organized by their 10 favorite ingredients—peanut butter, lemon and lime, caramel, booze, pumpkin, malted milk powder, cinnamon, cheese, chocolate, and banana—the ingredients that they "would take to a desert island or rescue from a burning house," the authors wittily write.
They traverse the landscape of Americana with soul-warming and regionally influenced treats like buttermilk donuts and devil dogs. Making the book not only a well informed read but also an extremely fun one, is their ironic, absent minded-professor humor (e.g., "If you have ever woken up with a slight hangover and a dubious, half-remembered, half-eaten jar of peanut butter at your side. We can empathize. We have lived this shame.").
Beautifully organized and photographed by Tina Rupp, it is a must-read for Baked bakery fans and bakers everywhere. Seventy-five delicious recipes with fun names (Lacy Panty Cakes, Lemon Pecorino Pepper Icebox Cookies, Toasted Pumpkin Seed Brittle, Tunnel of Hazelnut Fudge Cake, Banana in a Blanket, and a luscious Cheddar Corn Souffle) are bound to bring out the inner baker in anyone.