The Genius Recipes column on Food52 started in June 2011 as a weekly showcase of recipes from legendary cookbook authors and chefs that we claimed—boldly! shamelessly!—would change the way you cook. You’d never truss another chicken, or simmer tomato sauce for hours, or feel intimidated by baking bread or making piecrust again.
And we learned nothing from our hubris, because the recipes indeed took hold and found new life, virtually on their own. The conversations around them grew, with readers exchanging pointers in the comments sections and on social media. Tips for more genius recipes kept pouring in. In 2015, Genius Recipes
became a cookbook, which then became a New York Times
best seller. The world of Genius Recipes had become a force unto itself, one of the internet’s most generous water coolers. I have been the lucky one who gets to keep showing up and filling the cooler.
This time around, I asked the Food52 community for their lifelong favorites and reached out to home bakers, food editors, test-kitchen directors, and pastry chefs I thought might have strong opinions on the matter. I’ve thanked the ones whose recipe tips landed in the book on page 267, but many more generously shared their wisdom and time, enhancing the collection in ways big and small. I spent more than a year testing, retesting, and gathering feedback from opinionated tasters at Food52 HQ. (Want to know what their favorite was? It’s almost too obvious; see page 41.) In the process, we whittled this book down to a complete set of iconic baking recipes that will reliably turn you into a local legend. I’m proud to say that it’s a caliber of recipes that none of us would have ever been able to find without the collective experience of crowdsourcing, hundreds of bakers strong.
Here are the criteria I kept in mind and what you can expect to find in this book—right before you find yourself surrounded by Almond Crackle Cookies and Greek Yogurt Chocolate Mousse . What are Genius Desserts? Most importantly, they must taste very, very good.
They solve problems. Most are super easy. A few aren’t, but they’re worth it. They surprise us. They innovate and move our baking forward.
Best of all, the more you bake, the more making desserts can become a continuum. If there’s leftover lemon cream, you should definitely smear it between cookies and freeze it for a treat the next time you get home from work in a funk. Stale cake and cookies make amazing trifles, icebox cakes, and something chef Alex Raij calls migas dulces
. Pie dough scraps turn into all sorts of brand-new treats—never throw them out. And I promise you this: every dessert in this book also makes an excellent breakfast the next morning.
Copyright © 2018 by Kristen Miglore. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.