June 26, 2014

Bakeless Sweets by Faith Durand + Giveaway

No Bake Cheesecake

Last year my friend Faith, the incredibly talent editor of The Kitchn, came out with a gorgeous cookbook called Bakeless Sweets: Pudding, Panna Cotta, Fluff, Icebox Cake and more No-Bake Desserts. I no-baked from it all last summer and just pulled it out again last month. You guys, this it the ultimate dessert summer cookbook. Faith knows what we all like – cool, sweet desserts that range from the traditional to adventurous. And she also knows that we don’t have time for complicated cooking techniques and fancy equipment. Her desserts are all easy and accessible and taste completely fabulous.

To get us all in the mood to turn off our ovens this season Faith has stopped by to chat about her book and generously give away a copy. If you want to see the kind of recipes that are in it you should checkout my take on her Graham Cracker Lemon Icebox Cake and her No-Bake Brownies, they are soooo good!

Bakeless Sweets Cover

1) What inspired you to do bakeless desserts? Such a unique idea!

A couple of things! I grew up in a big family, and we loved no-bake cookies and icebox cakes. They hold a lot of nostalgic pleasure for me. But then I published a strawberry icebox cake recipe at The Kitchn, and it shot up to be one of our most popular (and most-Pinned) recipes ever. So I was like, hmmm. People like these, and yet there is no single book out there that covers no-bake desserts and puddings. So lucky me — I got to write it.

I love no-bake desserts’ characteristic ease and simplicity, even when it comes to supposedly fancy desserts like panna cotta. And most puddings are gluten-free. The list of the reasons we should all go bakeless more often just go on and on.

2) I am amazed at all the unique pudding flavors you came up with! How did you come up with so many?

That was the easy part! I think that puddings can be adapted to almost any flavor you enjoy, like Nutella, or peanut butter, or strawberry. I tried to include a good variety of flavors and levels of richness. I also cover quite a lot of categories in the book — classic custards and puddings, rice and grain puddings, panna cotta, fruit jellies, mousse, fluff, no-bake cakes and cookies. With so many areas to cover, they filled up quickly.

3) Testing these recipes must have been a blast. How did you test and retest each recipe in the span of writing the book?

Oh man, it was a lot of work! So much sugar! But puddings fortunately are easy to clean up, which made my husband (the dishwasher!) happy. I tested the base recipes many times, as well as each variation. Then, when the book was nearly done, I made all the recipes again to photograph them for my website. That way readers can have a photo of every recipe — not just the ones we shot for the book itself. You can see photos of all the recipes at Bakeless Sweets.

Caramel Pudding with Apples

4) Summer is the perfect time to take a break from baking. Which of these desserts is your favorite to make to combat the summer heat?

During the summer, you want to stand over the stove as little as possible, right? So I lean towards recipes with gelatin. You hardly have to heat gelatin to melt it; just a minute or two over low heat is all it takes. It’s bare minimum cooking. If you just want a little treat after dinner, the jellies, like Watermelon-Lime Jelly or Champagne Jelly are refreshing and easy sweets with gelatin. If you are serving a crowd, then the Lemon Cream Icebox Cake is truly no-cook — just layer graham crackers with whipped cream and lemon curd, and put it in the fridge.

5) This book takes jellys to a whole new level. It is so great for my young kids. How did you come to know so much about working with gelatin?

I’m so glad you like the jellies! I don’t feel I’m an expert with gelatin — but you don’t have to be. It’s such an easy ingredient to work with. Like I said, you barely have to heat it for it to melt, and all you have to do is mix it with some juice and you have super healthy, homemade Jell-O.

6) In the course of writing this book what did you learn about the writing process. Tell us a little bit about it.

My favorite books, and the ones I like to write, teach as well as give recipes. I want to help readers see the underlying patterns in the recipes so they can be confident in their cooking and in creating their own adaptations. But this can make for wordy writing; Bakeless has a lot of text! I always wish for just one more month, at the end of writing, to go back through and edit myself down!

7) What is next for you? I love reading your work on The Kitchn and would love to see another book!

We have a big, exciting book coming out this fall for The Kitchn. I cowrote The Kitchn Cookbook with Sara Kate Gillingham, the site’s founder, and it’s a really unique book. It has 150 recipes, which are mostly new and not drawn directly from the site (although we did rewrite and retest some reader favorites). But that’s just the beginning. We include 10 tours of home kitchens — from small to big and modest to modern — and we talk about setting up your kitchen, choosing tools, stocking the pantry, essential cooking techniques — 50 of them! — and throwing a party. I like to say that it’s a handbook to the happy kitchen. We’re super excited to share it with everyone. It comes out October 7, and believe me, there will be parties.

Thanks for stopping by, Faith!

To enter to win a copy of Bakeless Sweets:

1) Leave a comment sharing your favorite no-bake dessert idea.

2) The contest runs from June 26th through July 3rd. Winner will be announced in the July 5th newsletter (no newsletter coming on the 4th 🙂 ) Good luck!

Note: All photos from Bakeless Sweets, used with permission. Photos by Stacy Newgent