If You're a Busy Sweets Person, Have I Got the Cookbook For You

Yossy Arefi's "Snacking Bakes" proves there's nothing fussy about baking your favorite desserts.

<p>Simply Recipes / Photo Illustration by Wanda Abraham</p>

Simply Recipes / Photo Illustration by Wanda Abraham

Welcome to One Quick Bite, where we share smart, cool, and weird conversations with our favorite authors about their new cookbook and beyond.

A lot of my baking happens in between life—between Zoom calls, before the kids wake up, and in the evening when the dishwasher is already running our day's dishes. Though I love baking, this makes me an impatient baker. I don't have time for butter to reach room temperature and much less patience for a sink full of dirty dishes.

That's why Yossy Arefi's new cookbook, Snacking Bakes, caught my attention. The beautifully photographed cookbook—by Yossy herself!—holds 60 cookie, cake, brownie, and bar recipes that promise you'll only need one bowl and easy-to-find ingredients to make.

It turns out that Snacking Bakes is as much a cookbook as it is a manifesto: baking should require minimal effort but yield big rewards. Wanting a warm chocolate chip cookie shouldn't feel like an existential crisis. That's why Yossy will never ask you "to wait for butter to soften or get an electric mixer refrigerate the cookie dough before you bake it, and if you have two large baking sheets, you can bake all of the dough in one go, no waiting around for multiple batches."

This is true of not just cookies, but also cakes, brownies, and bars. Case in point, I made the Chocolate Chip Snickerdoodle Cake during a 15-minute break in between Zoom meetings and was left with nothing more than a dirty bowl, whisk, rubber spatula, and a home that smelled like heaven.

When you bake Yossy's recipes, you'll be rewarded with a sweet treat even if you're not a prepared, diligent, or patient baker. You'll say yes to baking more often. And in the process, you'll become a smarter, more confident baker one easy bake at a time. That's worth its weight in flour and butter.

In this rapid-fire Q&A, Yossy gives us a peek into her life as a busy cookbook author, photographer, and baker.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

What’s your favorite kitchen tool in general and your most-used cake pan?
I love my OXO kitchen scale and use it constantly as you can see in many of my Reels. For baking cakes, I love the USA PAN 8-inch square cake pan—it's the only pan you need to make all of the bars and cakes in Snacking Bakes

What’s your go-to brand of butter, flour, and baking chocolate? 
I am pretty brand-agnostic with a lot of ingredients. I shop for sales and often choose whatever is the least expensive! When testing recipes in general and for the cookbook, I use Land O'Lakes butter and Gold Medal Flour for consistency. I love Valrhona and Guittard chocolate, but I almost always have a big Pound-Plus bar from Trader Joe's on hand—they are great!

Describe your ideal chocolate chip cookie.
Depends on my mood—I love a soft and chewy cookie, but I also love a thin and crispy one. Chopped chocolate always!

Tell me about an expired ingredient in your fridge that you can’t get yourself to throw out.
I have some quince jam that I can't bring myself to toss. It took so much effort to make!

What dish is your go-to contribution to a potluck? 
If I am cooking, I'll bring a simple, seasonal baked good, like the Cranberry Almond Chocolate Bars and the Spiced Applesauce Crumb Cake from Snacking Bakes would be great for right now when the weather's cold. If I don't have time to make something I will pick up a loaf or two of really good bread.

Tell me about your most stained cookbook.
The Last Course by Claudia Fleming, the James Beard Award-winning former pastry chef of Gramercy Tavern, was life-changing for me. It was the first time I had seen a baking/pastry book that was so focused on seasonality, and I was completely obsessed. It influenced the work on my blog Apt. 2B Baking and my first book Sweeter off the Vine a lot.

What is one recipe from Snacking Bakes you want to be remembered for?
There are a few recipes inspired by growing up in Seattle and getting treats from the coffee cart that I just love. There is an oatmeal jam bar called a Mazurka that I can't get enough of! 

If you didn’t have the limit of time and budget, what cookbook would you write? 
I'd love to travel to Iran to study and photograph regional foods and family recipes.

BUY THE COOKBOOK: Snacking Bakes

Read the original article on Simply Recipes.