It wouldn’t be Thanksgiving dinner without fresh baked sweet treats on the menu. Don’t we all look forward to the moment when we can dig our fork into a slice of pumpkin pie, topped with decadent whipped cream? Or savoring the flaky crust and tartness of the apples in Mom’s homemade pie?
Sonoma Pastry Chef and proprietor of Crisp Bake Shop, Andrea Koweek, shares her holiday baking tips, along with photos of her beautiful and delicious Thanksgiving desserts, taken by Sonoma photographer Sarah Deragon.
Chocolate Hazelnut & Espresso Cake with Hazelnut Praline & Espresso Filling and Vanilla Bean Buttercream, $50
START WITH A GREAT RECIPE
“Successful baking is all about following good recipes,” Andrea advises. “If you don’t have a recipe you can rely on to be tasty – either one you’ve used for years or a recipe from a friend or relative – ask around and if you do research online, find a reliable site and make sure to read the reviews thoroughly.”
Apple Pie with Cardamom & Brandy and a Lattice Top Crust, $36
“With cooking you can sometimes wing it, but with baking you really need to follow your recipes exactly,” says Andrea. “Weigh ingredients whenever possible, make sure your ingredients are at the correct temperature, use the proper baking pans and make sure your oven temperature is accurate – an oven thermometer is a great tool!”
Pumpkin Pie with Bourbon Maple Pumpkin Filling, $32
“The great thing about baking is that most recipes use a basic standard set of ingredients,” Andrea says, “so if you make sure you have plenty of butter, sugar, brown sugar, eggs, flour and chocolate in the house, you can make a variety of delicious items with just a few additions.”
Salted Caramel Chocolate Macarons, $22 per dozen or $2 each
PREPARE IN ADVANCE
Andrea suggests doing as much preparation in advance as possible and says, “Holiday baking really lends itself to advance preparation: pie pans can be lined with dough and put in the freezer weeks in advance. Cookie doughs can be rolled out and portioned either with a small ice cream scoop or cut into shapes. These doughs can typically be refrigerated or frozen and the items can be baked as you need or want them.”
Earl Grey Macaron, $22 per dozen or $2 each
BAKE WHAT YOU LOVE
“Most of all,” she says, “bake the things you enjoy making…and eating!”
Almond Croissant, $3.85 each
Morning Bun, $3.85 each
Andrea reminds us, “The holidays are all about spending time with friends and family and baking is one of the best ways to provide a homemade touch to your meals without taking time away from that because you can do so much in advance.”
If baking isn’t your thing or you don’t have time, you can order your sweet treats from Andrea at Crisp Bake Shop, just like I did!
For more tips on holiday table decor and floral arranging, check out ” and How to Create a Beautiful Floral Arrangement for Thanksgiving.
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