There’s nothing quite like the flavors of fall. As August heat hits its peak, I begin to look forward to cooler afternoons and all of the wonderful tastes and scents that come with them. This anticipation is no doubt familiar to many across the south and it’s the inspiration behind Editorial Director Brooke Bell’s newest book, Fall Baking. I sat down with Brooke to chat about baking and to learn a little more about the book.
Phyllis: What inspired Fall Baking?
Brooke: I always spend the summer dreaming about that first crisp fall day, when the Southern humidity finally relinquishes its hold upon us, and fall’s glorious light makes everything outside shine. This book is for that much-anticipated day when it’s time to preheat the oven and bake, letting the comforting smell of fall ingredients fill my home.
Phyllis: What fall flavors are featured in the book?
Brooke: More than any other season, I think we identify fall with so many signature flavors—cinnamon and spice, pumpkin, sweet potato, caramel, and more. We might not always know what we want to bake, but we know the flavor we are craving. Fall Baking is organized by flavor, which allows you to choose a flavor and then a recipe you want to bake and share.
Phyllis: What is your favorite recipe in Fall Baking?
Brooke: The simplicity and humbleness of a good pound cake is always a go-to for me, so the Cream Cheese Swirl Bundt Cake is one of my favorites. It gets drizzled with Apple Cider Syrup for a punch of fall flavor. The Apple Cider Syrup—which is nothing but apple cider reduced down—is included in several recipes in this book and has become my secret weapon for fall. I also love the Brown Butter-Pecan Tassies. This is an elevated version of the two-bite treat I remember my mother making for friends and neighbors when I was a child.
Phyllis: What’s your best baking tip?
Brooke: Don’t be intimidated. If you can follow directions, you can be a successful baker.
Phyllis: Spices are prominently featured in fall desserts. Do you have any ideas for keeping them fresh?
Brooke: I replace all of my spices each year when the weather cools. This way I know they are always fresh for my fall and holiday baking.
Phyllis: What is your favorite piece of bakeware at home?
Brooke: I couldn’t imagine baking cake layers in anything but my grandmother’s tall-sided cake pans. They’re nothing fancy, but they hold decades of memories.
Phyllis: Favorite baking tools?
Brooke: I love a French rolling pin, a small offset spatula, and the jar of ceramic pie weights my God son, Alex, gave me.
Phyllis: What kind of music do you listen to when you bake?
Brooke: There’s nothing like streaming WWOZ 90.7 FM out of New Orleans. It always brings happiness and relaxation to my kitchen.
What are your favorite fall flavors?