Cooking from: The Back in the Day Bakery Cookbook

I'm harboring a (not so) secret desire to go to Savannah someday, perhaps helped along by the reading of one too many Mary Kay Andrews novels, Savannah Blues being my favorite). It just seems like such a romantic, old-fashioned, historical place. And by the ocean too...

Not only does it have The Paris Market, it also has the Back in the Day Bakery. I love little bakeries like this! I find them irresistible. Not just for the food, but the atmosphere too.

I bought this cookbook in my last trimester, a rare indulgence to buy such a pretty glossy brand new cookbook, but I thought it might be fun to have some fresh inspiration to cook after the baby was born. And indeed it has been! Now that things have settled down, I've been cooking from this cookbook about once a week when I have some spare time and everything has been utterly delicious.

Now I must warn you, if you're a health nut, Paula Deen wrote the foreword to this cookbook, and it is not short on butter. In fact, I've had to stock up on butter from Costco and keep it in the freezer. (Did I just admit that?) But I think if you're going to eat something naughty on occasion, it might as well be fresh and homemade and good. Forget fast food or storebought.

So far I've made: 

  • Mocha Oatmeal Muffins - heaven in a muffin cup, with the most amazing subtle flavor - chocolatey, but also hints of coffee and cinnamon. 
  • The Pecan Espresso Coffee Cake - also ah-mazing, unusual flavor with almond extract, bittersweet chocolate and espresso powder. 
  • The Roasted Chicken and Vegetable Cobbler - like a potpie but with a biscuit crust. I had to go to a special spice shop to find fennel pollen. I've never cooked with fennel pollen before - never heard of it! But it was so worth it. This recipe was almost too good. (Btw, I cut back a fair amount of the butter and it was still quite good).
  • Buttermilk Biscones - a cross between a biscuit and a scone that doesn't require rolling it out and using a biscuit cutter. I made a batch of the dough, then froze it on a cookie sheet and pulled a couple out now and then for a fresh hot biscuit breakfast. Yum!
  • Southern Corn Cakes - a bit like a corn bread muffin, light and sweet. A very nice accompaniment to chili or a winter stew. These can also be frozen on a cookie sheet and saved to bake later.
  • Lavender Shortbread Cookies - I've also never cooked with lavender before. These are so british tea and ladylike.

What's next on my hit list? 

  • Summer Fruit Trifle
  • 'Nana Puddin' (with homemade shortbread bars)
  • Ham and Cheese Pastry Puffs
  • Brown Sugar Banana Bread
  • Vegetable Potpie
What I think makes this cookbook so distinctive (besides its sheer vintage prettiness) is the unique subtlety of the flavors. Things are familiar, yet fresh and different.

Do you have any new favorite cookbooks to recommend?