Kitchen Stories Storytelling

Jessie Sheehan

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“Granulated sugar, all-purpose flour, and salt! Not very sexy, but true.”

American bakery is one of my favorites ever. Cookies, brownies, muffins, colorful cakes, icing sugar, confettis, sprinkles…you name it.
These days on Instagram you can find an infinite number of “bakers” profile but some few can distinguish themselves from the crowd.

grid of Alice Gao photos from The Vintage Baker

“Peeps” let me introduce you to a lady I cherish tones for her flair, the sense of humor and wittiness which she manages her account and of course her baking skills!
New Yorker, a Brooklyn resident since ever, mother of two, plenty of writing collaborations with important publishing and web name, her blog and two books, one of them, The Vintage Baker, which just came out and she is pretty busy baking cookies to take them on promo events. I just bought mine on Amazon (link on title) also available on bookstores in USA.
Meet Jessie Sheehan. And take my words for it, after reading her “Kitchen stories” go straight to Instagram and click “Follow”.

What is the importance of your kitchen in your house?
I love my kitchen and it is the room in which I spend most of my time. It has a lot of light – which is great for photographing my sweets – and a lot of counter space for working. I have an induction cooktop, which offers the cook a lot of control and an even heat. And I have a convection oven which I love for the perfectly browned color it gives my baked goods. My kitchen is a “galley” kitchen, meaning there is a narrow(ish) passageway between two walls of counters and cabinets and appliances. One has easy access to everything one needs at all times in such a kitchen, and I am crazy about mine.

What’s the best part of the day for you to cook?
I am a morning person and love to bake and work in the early hours of the day. I love the light at that time of day and the quiet. I often have a long laundry list of things that need to get accomplished – between baking and photographing and writing – and so I like to start early.

Are you a creative chef or simply love to follow recipes?
I am a rule-follower, which is why I am drawn to baking. When you bake you really must follow the recipe – you cannot add extra flour or remove the leavening, the way you can leave out a spice or use a different kind of citrus in a savory dish. However, I also love being creative with my baking when I am developing a recipe (ie: not following someone’ else’s). I love adding new flavors and spices, some nuts, or coconut for texture, milk chocolate perhaps, rather than dark, etc. etc.

The Vintage Baker Cover

Three ingredients that are never missing on your kitchen cabinet?
Granulated sugar, all-purpose flour, and salt! Not very sexy, but true.

How did your passion for cooking come about?
I did not grow up in a house of home-baked goodies. On the contrary, both my parents worked, but because I had a big sweet tooth, as did my brother, there were always lots of packaged sweets. But as I got older and realized that the one thing I loved more than anything (maybe even my own children) was eating, and sometimes even making, sweets, I decided to learn just how to do that. I went to a bakery in the Brooklyn neighborhood where I live, and asked if they would teach me what they knew, and the rest is history.

What’s your favorite dish to cook that you know it can never go wrong with it?
Hmm, well I would never say “never,” as I still make mistakes all the time! But lately I have been baking the butterscotch potato chip balls (a cookie from my new cookbook, The Vintage Baker) a lot, for many of the events I am doing to launch my book, and I think I could almost make them with my eyes closed now.

Butterscotch Potato Chip Balls

Would you receive for a day an entire tv crew in your kitchen?
Of course! Would love to share what I do with as many people as possible! And I love TV.

Do you follow any tv show or have a favorite cooking book?
I really love podcasts and listen to a lot of food related ones, like Bon Appetit’s, Serious Eats’, and Cherry Bonmbe’s. My favorite cookbook, is probably one of Ina Garten’s or the Baking Bible from America’s Test Kitchen/Cook’s Illustrated.

Jessie Sheehan is a baker, food writer and recipe developer. She is the author of The Vintage Baker (Chronicle Books May 2018) and the co-author of Icebox Cakes (Chronicle Books) and has developed recipes for many cookbooks, besides her own. She has contributed recipes/and or written for epicurious, Fine Cooking, TASTE, food52, and Main Street Magazine, among others. She blogs at jessiesheehanbakes.com and is the FeedFeed editor for the Brown Sugar and Icebox Cakes feeds. She likes layer cakes with lots of frosting and cookies that are thick and chewy. Oh, and she has a soft spot for chocolate pudding. She lives in Red Hook, Brooklyn, with her husband and two boys, not far from her beloved Baked, the bakery where she got her start.

Icedbox cakes

Icedbox cakes is Jessie’s first book also available on Amazon.

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