Everyone should have a great sugar cookie dough (or two) in their kitchen arsenal. The perfect sugar cookie bakes up crisp, sweet and able to handle a bit of icing without getting soggy. I’ve baked dozens over the years and Sarah Kieffer’s Olive Oil Sugar Cookie is one of my favorites, along with her Lemon Sugar Cookie recipe, both you can find in her best selling 100 Cookies book. It’s also where you’ll find her famous Pan-Banging Chocolate Chip Cookies and the amazing Peanut Butter Marshmallow Swirl Brownies (amazing!!!)! This is a must have book. You can watch my son, Henri and I make these Valentine’s Day Sugar Cookies with Blood Orange Glaze from Sarah’s book on his YouTube Channel “Baking with my Mother!”
At a super young age I discovered baking brings me joy and feeds my soul. What I’ve learned from a career in professional kitchens is that I love teaching other people how to bake even more! Now I get to do both, on TV. Joanna and Chip Gaines have given me a series on their new Magnolia Network where I can bake, teach and be inspired by some phenomenally talented bakers (and chefs, farmers, bee keepers and more …) in my Minnesota community.
This is a dream come true and on FRIDAY 2/5 you can watch the first full episode of Zoë Bakes streaming on discovery+. I’ll be making a lattice pie with strawberries and rhubarb (quintessentially MN and lovingly planted by my dad), plus a simple fruit “Fool” inspired by a trip to visit one of my favorite local pastry chefs. You’ll get a glimpse into my baking series (and my kitchen), where I break down all the secrets of pastry and share my tips and techniques. It’s all crazy delicious and easy, so I hope you’ll tune in and bake along with me!
Thank you to Joanna, Chip, Andrew Zimmern, Intuitive Content, Patrick Weiland, Patrick McMahill, Madeleine Hill and the rest of the many, many talented folks (there are dozens) who helped me make this dream come true. I also want to thank my family and friends who dove into this journey with me and made the show feel like home! It takes a village and you’re a spectacular one!
Watch the first episode on discovery+ Come bake with me! xo
If you ask me, Valentine’s Day is best celebrated from morning to night with desserts. You can surprise your sweetheart, friends or family with sweet treats throughout the day, and share in whatever brings you joy on what can be a silly holiday. From breakfast sweets to decadent and beautiful cakes I’ve put together a list of some of my favorite Valentine’s Day dessert recipes.
If you start typing “is cheesecake” into Google, the first suggestion is “is cheesecake a pie?” You’ll get mixed results, including adamant ones from the likes of Alton Brown proclaiming cheesecake is a pie. Others say it’s a tart. And some stand by it being a cake. No matter where you fall on this debate, I think we can all agree that cheesecake is delicious. It works for any occasion, and you can make varieties to please every palate.
Baking with My Mother Cheesecake Video: You can also watch my son, Henri, and me bake cheesecake in an episode of “Baking with My Mother” on Youtube! We make this blueberry Swirl Cheesecake (recipe at the bottom of this post), but leave out the swirls and add a berry sauce, so we can customize the cheesecake to our own preference. He went with Strawberries and I stuck with blueberries. Read More
I fell mad in love with Ireland and have had the good fortune to visit a couple of times. My first stop after the long flight was to a farm, where I had my first Irish scone with marmalade. The love affair with the country and its scones was set in that moment. Like biscuits or pie dough here in America, there seems to be a scone recipe for every household in Ireland. The one constant is the quality of the butter and dairy used to make them. This is such a simple recipe and the butter makes all the difference, so go with a good one. I used Kerrygold, because I met the farmers and cows while in Ireland and know its incredible. You can use any “European” style butter, because it has a higher fat content than most American brands. The other thing I associate with Irish scones is the shape, round. I like a tall scone, so I press the dough into a thick mass before cutting out the shape. The bigger the scone, the more surface there is to spread it with marmalade. Every table in Ireland served scones with a jar of marmalade, which pretty much satisfies all my needs. I LOVE marmalade! It is the perfect balance of sweet and bitter. It is bright in color and flavor and goes with scones or ice cream or just a spoon. I made this kumquat “marmalade” by just cooking down fresh kumquats with sugar, that’s it. No pectin to deal with just gentle cooking. Because I am not thickening the juices, this is a bit runnier than a traditional marmalade. Works brilliantly for me.
Swirled Apple Tarte Tatin is a modern take on a French classic dessert. Apples baked in buttery caramel, until the apple absorbs the caramel and turn amber. The original dessert is rustic and beautifully humble, just apples cut, placed in a pan with caramel, then baked with the curst on top and inverted. Not much to look at, but one of the most revered desserts for the rich caramelized apples and flaky pastry. On instagram I saw a version that was so elegant, but still looked equally as delicious. Perfect spirals of apples, baked in caramel and turned out onto puff pastry. HOW did they get those even continuous slices of apples. I have most pastry equipment available to home bakers, but nothing in my pantry could create this shape. A little sleuthing and I found it, my new favorite kitchen tool.